The number of news headlines for the Washington Football Team looks like a CVS receipt. From the messy Derrius Guice situation, the tragic Ron Rivera cancer diagnosis, the Alex Smith comeback story, and the annoyance of Dwayne Haskins just to name a few, it has been a season Washington fans will never forget.
Now you can add NFC East champions to the list.
The game was never out of reach for either side, but when the Eagles turned from Jalen Hurts to Nate Sudfeld, it was as if Philadelphia “gave up” in a sense. Washington’s offense was never great by any means, but they capitalized on the opportunities they had. Alex Smith did have two turnovers, but the defense held the Eagles to almost nothing on offense.
Many of Washington’s important offensive players were not playing at 100%, but made key plays when necessary. Terry McLaurin’s TD on the team’s opening drive (their first of the season), Logan Thomas’ emergence as a key piece to this offense, Alex Smith’s persona, JD McKissic becoming that “Chris Thompson type” 3rd down RB, and Antonio Gibson’s key 4th quarter runs is all Washington needed to win this game today.
Now Washington faces the best offense all season in Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They arguably have the most dynamic receiving core in football with guys like Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski. With Evans’ health currently in question, Washington opens as a -7.5 point home underdog.
Don’t expect Washington to hold Tampa’s offense to anything lower than a couple dozen points, as the Bucs have scored 24 or more in all but two of their games this season. The key matchup is Washington’s pass rush vs Tampa’s offensive line. Washington has the 7th most sacks in the NFL, but Tampa has given up the 3rd least amount of sacksl. If Washington’s secondary can hold strong in coverage for 3 or more seconds and allow the front seven to get at Brady, they’ll have a chance to steal a game. In addition, if Mike Evans does not play, it obviously gives Washington a better chance to win the game.