Redskins at Eagles
Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
Let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and X factors for the Redskins as they take on the Eagles on Sunday and then I’ll give my prediction.
Here are two factors that work against a Redskins win:
—The Eagles already had arguably the best running back in the game in LeSean McCoy. And then they added another weapon in Darren Sproles. Washington had all kinds of trouble with McCoy last year (51 att., 261 yds., 3 TD), who spent two games leaving defenders who had missed tackles on him in his wake. Sproles killed the Colts on Monday with receptions out of the backfield (7 rec., 152 yds.). The talk around Redskins Park is that the Redskins’ speed at linebacker will help contain them. We’ll see.
—The Redskins are well conditioned enough to handle the Eagles’ pace of play even though the defensive line is likely to be a player short with Kedric Golston seeming likely to miss a second straight game with a groin injury. But what got the Jaguars in trouble in Week 1 in Philadelphia was some defensive signals that got crossed, allowing some big plays. With a new play caller in the middle of the defense in Keenan Robinson the Redskins are going to have to ensure that there are no mix-ups or the Eagles could make them pay immediately.
Here are two factors in favor of a Redskins win:
—I could probably just copy and paste Alfred Morris into this spot each week. He didn’t have a monster game against Jacksonville but only because they didn’t need him too. He had 22 carries for 85 yards but most of it came in the first half and early in the third quarter as Washington built its big lead. He will be a key to controlling the ball and keeping McCoy, Sproles, and company off of the field.
—With starter Lane Johnson suspended and backup Allen Barbre out for the year with an injury, the Eagles are down to their third right tackle. The Redskins defender who will be lining up against Andrew Gardner is Ryan Kerrigan, who is very much a top-shelf player. Kerrigan is coming off of a four-sack performance against Jacksonville and will be looking for more.
And two X factors:
—What’s DeSean Jackson’s deal? The words coming from him and from Jay Gruden indicate that his sprained AC joint will not keep him from playing. But he hasn’t practiced all week, not even on a limited basis, and that’s not a good sign. And if he does play, how effective will he be? Even is his left arm is limited, he could line up as a decoy to take coverage away from Pierre Garçon, Andre Roberts, and Niles Paul.
—Last week the Jaguars were expecting to face Robert Griffin III and they got Kirk Cousins for all but nine snaps. This week the Eagles expect Cousins and they’ll get him. Last year Cousins had a good game in his first start against the Falcons but when he faced the Cowboys the next week he saw precipitous drops in his completion percentage (64% vs. Falcons, 58% vs. Cowboys), yards per pass attempt (8.5 to 5.5), and passer rating (94.8 to 71.2). Will the Eagles have a book on Cousins? Or can he maintain the success he had against the Jags?
So what will happen?
Philly is favored by about a touchdown and that seems about right to me. Until the Redskins show that they can stop Chip Kelly’s attack by tackling McCoy and Sproles and getting some takeaways (they only have two so far this year) it’s hard to see them winning a game like this against a quality opponent on the road.
It’s not that the Redskins don’t have a chance. If they can control the ball with Morris and get the play-action passing game going they can score enough to win. But I see McCoy or Sproles being elusive at just the wrong moment for Washington and the Eagles breaking open a tight game with a late score.
Eagles 31, Redskins 20
(record this year 1-1)