Every Game Counts: Sixers Visit DC in Midst of Atlantic Race

Every Game Counts: Sixers Visit DC in Midst of Atlantic Race

Remember when it was safe to just presume that the Sixers were gonna
cruise to the Atlantic Division crown? Yeah. Good times. Certainly is
less than certain these days, with the Celtics joining the Sixers at
28-22 and the Knicks just two and a half games behind both at 26-25. The
good news, for tonight at least, is that the Sixers have by far the
easiest Friday matchup of the three—visiting the 11-39 Wizards in D.C.,
while the Celtics travel to Minnesota to take on the 25-27 Timberwolves,
and the Knicks travel south to the ATL for a match with the 30-22
Hawks. Every win is crucial at this point as the Ballers hope to take
the Atlantic Division and avoid a potential 7th seed and first-round
matchup with the Heat—again.

The Wizards, then. They're a little better and a little tougher than the
first three times three times we saw them this year—which we won all
three of, by an average of over 21 points, so maybe that's not such a
bold statement. But they've traded talented-but-forever-raw prospect
center JaVale McGee for the much more solid, much more proven center
Nene, and since that trade...well, they've still basically sucked,
losing their last five games, but maybe a little less so, since all but
one of those losses were by less than five points, including to playoff
teams such as the Pacers, Hawks and Celtics. The Sixers shouldn't expect
them to be the pushovers they saw in the previous three (five if you
count the pre-season) meetings this year.

As for the Sixers, All-Star Andre Iguodala is again a gametime decision
after missing two games with tendinitis. It's hard to say how much the
Sixers have missed 'Dre in his absence since they've done exactly as
we'd expect they would anyway in those two games without him—they lost
by a lot to the Spurs and then won by a lot against the Cavs. One
undoubted positive about his injury, however, is that it appears to have
allowed Jodie Meeks a chance to get back on track, as he exploded
against Cleveland for a career-high (and team season-high) 31 points,
hitting seven of ten threes and reclaiming the stroke that has eluded
him for much of the season. We could certainly use a hot Jodie down the
stretch.

7:00 tip from the Verizon Center. “We know we’re resilient, we know what we have to do,” Coach Collins
said of the team's final stretch of the season. “We’ve just got to play. That’s all it is. Whether the game is road or
home.” I don't think we know just how resilient this team is yet, but I suppose we're about to find out.

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles (5-7) come into Sunday's game against the Redskins (6-5-1) on a three-game losing streak.

The Redskins exposed the Eagles' defense the last time these two teams met almost two months ago on Oct. 16.

Here are our (cough) expert predictions for this Week 14 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (4-8)
After losing three straight games, I couldn't pick the Eagles against just about any team in the NFL. Maybe Cleveland. Maybe Chicago. 

But against Washington? Nah. Can't do it. 

Sure, I know Washington comes into the Linc on a two-game losing streak, and they're clearly not a top team in the NFC. It just doesn't matter. Kirk Cousins is a decent quarterback and Washington clearly has enough weapons to shred the Eagles like they did for 493 yards in the first meeting. 

For the Eagles' offense, Carson Wentz hasn't looked good in a long time and this week he enters with a few of his skill position players banged up. 

This looks like another loss to me. 

Washington 26, Eagles 20

Derrick Gunn (5-7)
The Eagles are an embarrassed, desperate team, and a win over the Redskins could lift the weight of what has been a downward spiral. Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews returned to practice this week, but can they jolt this offense back to life? Carson Wentz has played like a rookie the last three games, and the once stout defense has crumbled.

So here come the Redskins, losers of two in a row but still very much in the playoff conversation. The Redskins' defense is beat up and could be missing several key players, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Washington's offensive weapons are relatively healthy, except for tight end Jordan Reed, who's listed as questionable with an AC joint sprain. Matt Jones and Robert Kelley pack a punch out of the backfield. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in a zone. Over their last six games, Cousins has averaged 352.6 passing yards, plus he's thrown 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. 

The Eagles remember what Washington did to them back in Week 6, but I feel their revenge motives will fall short.

Redskins 27, Eagles 17

Ray Didinger (5-7) 
With all the talk this week about effort and players dogging it, I fully expect the Eagles to come out focused and fired up at home Sunday. Here's the problem: I just don't know if they are good enough to win the game. Motivation is one thing, but talent is another and right now, the Eagles are lacking in that area.
 
The players have been called out by their coach, by the media and by the fans so if they have any pride at all they will come out and play hard against the Redskins but I look at the matchup of this Eagles' secondary against the Washington receivers — especially a hot DeSean Jackson (25.3 yards per catch the last three games) — and I don't see a happy result.
 
Redskins 24, Eagles 17

Corey Seidman (5-7)
Close game, better performance from Carson Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, over the middle with Jordan Reed and short with Pierre Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Andy Schwartz (5-7)
It's simply come to this. I can't pick the Eagles to win a game the rest of the season until they do.

I want to think the offense will benefit from the return of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews. And I want to think the defense will play with desperation and break out of its "slump" and make some big plays.

But I won't believe it until I see it.

Redskins 24, Eagles 16

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Shayne Gostisbehere suffers bone bruise on right hand in win over Stars

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took a shot off his right hand in the second period Saturday and has a bone bruise. 
 
The Flyers will watch it because sometimes the swelling prevents wearing a glove comfortably the next day.
 
Ghost, who has five points – all assists – over his past six games, was hit with a puck in the second period of a 4-2 win over the Stars. He went to the bench and tried to shake it off, but left for the dressing room shortly after a Flyers power play began in the period’s final three minutes.
 
He participated for part of the power play, then left the ice and did not return until the start of the third period.
 
“It was good by then,” he said. “Obviously, it hurt a bit.”
 
The Flyers play in Detroit on Sunday night. 
 
Ghost has 16 points (four goals) in 29 games this season. X-rays were negative, he said, adding he was not worried about the hand, which was badly swollen after the game.