In a controversial move by the NFL, the Week 15 NFC East matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) and Washington Football Team (6-7) will be played tonight. Whichever team escapes with a win will remain relevant in the NFC playoff picture, while the loser could be done. There is absolutely no shortage of intrigue or storylines for this pivotal (and unexpected) Tuesday night clash, and there will also be no shortage of betting interest.
Let’s take a look at our three favorite Washington vs. Eagles player props picks, complete with full betting analysis for this NFL Week 15 game.
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Washington vs. Eagles Player Props
Kenneth Gainwell Anytime Touchdown Scorer
The Philadelphia backfield has been a mystery all season long. The team’s quarterback is its leading rusher. The back with the most rushing yards has yet to score, and it boasts five ball carriers with at least 200 rushing yards. And yet, none of those players have eclipsed 700 yards. However, we think there is a solid angle for Kenneth Gainwell to emerge as a prime candidate to score tonight.
Gainwell has the fewest rushing yards of those five ball carriers with 200 or more yards, but he is the joint-leader among that group in rushing touchdowns with four. Those four scores on the ground came in four different games, too, one of which was in the Eagles’ last outing against the Jets. Gainwell also earned 12 rushes in that victory, his second highest total of the season, behind the 13 handoffs he saw in mop up duty in the blowout of Detroit. If the Eagles take care of business against a depleted opponent, Gainwell could be the guy rushing the football in the second half once things are in hand.
Eagles and Jets going back-and-forth.
Kenneth Gainwell gives Philly the lead with an 18-yard TD run. #FlyEaglesFly
📺: #PHIvsNYJ on CBS
📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/VGO8QJRY6J
— NFL (@NFL) December 5, 2021
However, what really appeals to us about Gainwell in this game is his obvious emergence as the team’s best receiving back. Gainwell leads all Eaglse running backs in catches, targets, receiving yards, and yards per catch. He is also a solid fourth, fifth, and fourth, respectively, in those first three categories.
Gainwell has Philadelphia’s lone receiving touchdown by a running back this season, too. This could be particularly important here given that Washington has allowed a mind-blowing eight receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs, with all but one of those coming on the road. Look for Gainwell to join that list Tuesday night for a nice payout.
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John Bates Anytime Touchdown Scorer
When Logan Thomas went down with his season-ending ACL tear, it opened the door for Ricky Seals-Jones to step into the spotlight as the team’s primary tight end. But what it also did was create a spot for rookie John Bates to see some action. The Boise State product has looked impressive in his limited role with a current streak of six straight games with a catch, hauling in three receptions three times in that span. In fact, Bates had three catches in three of the four games Washington recently won in a row, all as underdogs, to get into the NFC playoff hunt in the first place. After Bates caught one of just two targets in last week’s loss to Dallas, offensive coordinator Scott Turner may feel compelled to make Bates a priority in the passing game here.
Washington TEs at practice: John Bates.
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) December 19, 2021
Philadelphia is certainly the right team to try that against, as the Eagles are the NFL’s worst team in defending opposing tight ends. Nowhere is that more evident than in the fact that the Eagles have allowed 11 touchdowns by tight ends in the team’s last 11 games. And, it’s not even always opponents’ top tight ends doing the damage. If guys like Chris Myarick, Stephen Anderson, Foster Moreau, O. J. Howard, and Jody Fortson can score against this defense, why can’t Bates here?
There was some concern Seals-Jones would not be able to play here due to illness, but he practiced on Monday and should go. Even still, Bates played more snaps and ran more routes than Seals-Jones last week against Dallas. Bates could see that role increase again if Seals-Jones is at less than 100 percent health, especially given that those two are the only healthy tight ends currently on the team’s roster.
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Quez Watkins Anytime Touchdown Scorer
The move to Tuesday night has put a few players back on the field and Quez Watkins is one of them. Watkins, the team’s third leading pass catcher and main deep threat, cleared COVID-19 protocols on Sunday and will surely want to make the most of the opportunity to play a game he was expected to miss.
Watkins will benefit from the absence of Washington’s best cornerback, Kendall Fuller, who is on the COVID-19/Illness list himself. This likely moves William Jackson into coverage on DeVonta Smith, allowing Watkins the opportunity to work against Danny Johnson and Corn Elder.
53-yard play to Quez Watkins leads to a Birds touchdown! pic.twitter.com/QjmcHCV90l
— Barstool Philly (@BarstoolPhilly) October 10, 2021
Washington has already struggled against the pass this season, even when the team’s best secondary members have been available. The Football Team allows the third most passing yards in the league and 73 percent of the touchdowns the team has given up have come via the pass.
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WFT has conceded the most passing touchdowns per game thus far (2.1), a number that spikes to 2.3 per game on the road. Opposing wide receivers have scored 15 touchdowns against Washington already, including at least one in 10 of the team’s 13 outings.
Watkins should have a particularly solid opportunity to find paydirt, too, given his big play abilities. Washington has allowed 10 touchdown receptions of 20 yards or longer this season, with seven of those going to wide receivers. Watkins has the NFL’s 12th best yards per catch average (15.2) with nine of his 31 receptions going for at least 20 yards. He has yet to score this season, but this would be a great spot for him to break through, knowing he wasn’t even supposed to play originally.
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