We don’t need to check the bus station this afternoon to see if either Taylor Heincke or Kyle Allen is catching one out of Washington and to Philadelphia to start tonight’s game for Washington against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The chances of them being cleared off the COVID protocol was slight, and when the point spread climbed to Philadelphia by 9½ points this afternoon, we can deduce that Garrett Gilbert is going to be behind center for Washington tonight.
Garrett Gilbert. He is the son of one time NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert and was drafted in the sixth round by the St. Louis Rams in 2015. He has had enough skill to be signed by eight different teams, and not enough talent to stick with any of them. Mostly on practice squads with the Rams, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, he did get one NFL start before tonight. That was last season in a Week Nine matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was forced into duty last year when COVID and injuries eliminated the Cowboys first, second and third choices for their game against Ben Roethlisberger and company. He did a pretty good job, throwing one touchdown and one interception while keeping Dallas competitive in a 24-19 loss.
This week, Ron Rivera was desperate for someone to lead his offense to keep Washington’s flickering playoff hopes alive. Four days ago, the Football Team signed Gilbert off the Patriots practice squad.
On the other side of the ball, Jalen Hurts is back for Philadelphia and they too are looking to improve their playoff possibilities with a win. They should get it, but chasing a spread like this one is just not something I can do with confidence of visiting the payout window after the game.
The other contest tonight, another game originally scheduled for Saturday and moved because of COVID depleting team rosters, is the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Seattle Seahawks.
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks are in the unfamiliar position of playing spoiler instead of in the hunt for a first round playoff bye. This year, they will definitely get a first round bye, as they will miss the playoffs and get 34 more bye weeks on the other side of the regular season completion.
The Rams are in the thick of the playoff hunt with a Wild Card spot likely and the chance of a division title again in the cards following Arizona’s, the NFC West Division leaders, back-to-back losses. The Rams downed the Cardinals last week in a Monday night game, or is that two weeks ago now, and then Arizona was upset in Detroit last Sunday by the Lions.
Those Cardinals setbacks open the door for Los Angeles to move into a first place tie with a win tonight.
I think they’ll get it.
Problem is, the Seahawks are not a team likely to miss the opportunity of playing spoiler. Two weeks ago they beat the other NFC West squad in search of a playoff berth, the San Francisco 49ers, and with Russell Wilson directing the offense no lead, and certainly no bloated point spread, is out of reach for the Seahawks.
The Rams are currently a touchdown favorite on the spread.
I don’t like either number tonight, and I’ve learned a long time ago you can’t make a good pick with a bad line.