For the third time in four seasons the Eagles will take on Washington in the season opener. This year’s game is at FedExField on Sunday afternoon.
To the predictions:
Reuben Frank (0-0)
On the one hand, yeah, nobody knows exactly what it’s going to look like Sunday when the Eagles open the 2020 season in Washington. On the other hand, whether the stadium is empty or full, whether there were preseason games or not, whether Jalen Reagor plays or sits, the Eagles are the better team. Washington has a new coach, a quarterback with two career wins and a richly deserved streak of 14 straight seasons without a playoff win. Washington’s D-line, with Chase Young making his NFL debut, is formidable enough to make sure nothing comes easy for the Eagles, but when all is said and done the Eagles will leave Landover with their seventh straight win over Washington. We’ll go Eagles 23, Washington 14 and the Eagles improve to 5-0 on opening day under Doug Pederson.
Eagles 23, Washington 14
Dave Zangaro (0-0)
Part of me is super worried about that Washington defensive line. After all, it’s the strength of its team and that defensive line will be going against an Eagles’ offensive line that has already lost two starters and has shuffled around some pieces.
OK, enough of the worries. Because after you get past that one potential mismatch, the Eagles are just clearly the better team. Washington is in rebuilding mode with a new head coach and although they might play the Eagles tough, I just can’t see a scenario where they win this game. The Eagles got off to a slow start against Washington in last year’s opener and then remembered they were the better team. They should do that from the jump this year. It might be a relatively low-scoring affair but I still don’t think Washington has the guns to outshoot the Birds.
Eagles 20, Washington 13
Ray Didinger (0-0)
They are a team with no name playing its home opener in a stadium with no fans. Welcome to the 2020 NFL season in Washington, D.C. The franchise was forced to abandon its nickname and the front office was rocked with accusations of sexual harassment that led to the firing of several top executives. Now head coach Ron Rivera, the man in charge of cleaning up this mess, is battling cancer.
No team had to deal with as many different issues on as many different fronts as the team in Washington, the Eagles' opponent on Sunday. The Eagles have owned this series for awhile now, winning the last six meetings. They have their own concerns, including a number of key players that missed valuable practice time, but compared to Washington, they are in great shape.
Washington has some talent, especially on the defensive front, but their offense is anemic. They were the lowest-scoring team in the NFL last season and that doesn't figure to change.
Eagles 20, Washington 7
Barrett Brooks (0-0)
Week 1 in NFL for the past five years has been sloppy football. With no OTAs, minicamps, and preseason games, there’s a good chance we’ll see some bad football in the first quarter of the season. It usually takes a team four games to gain their identity. That will be determined by what they are successful at calling.
Week 1 for both the Eagles and the Washington Football Team will be a defensive battle. The game will be won in the trenches. Both defensive lines are very good. Washington has five 1st-rounders on the defensive line. The Eagles have three 1st-rounders on the DL.
Both offensive lines have new players in the lineup. The defensive line is where the game will be won. The Eagles hold the edge, even against the (DC) Jack Del Rio lead defense. Jason Peters’ moving back to LT gives the Eagles 4/5ths of their starters from last year. Matt Pryor moving to the RG gives them the best possible lineup going into the season with Brandon Brooks being on IR.
I don’t think Washington’s OL can hold up against the Eagles defensive line. Their left side has some inexperienced players, and the interior DL is the strength of the Birds’ defense. Both Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson can collapse the middle of the pocket around the young QB Dwayne Haskins. Haskins is not the most athletic QB, so he will be in the pocket most of the day. Carson Wentz should be moving around more, hopefully running play-action and RPOs to give the pass rush a moving target.
Eagles 24, Washington 12
Mike Mulhern (0-0)
Until proven otherwise, I see no reason to pick against the Eagles in this one. They’ve beaten Washington six straight times over the past three seasons. While the Birds are banged up, they’re not nearly as ravaged by injuries as they were in week 15 a season ago when they went down to FedExField and won a wild one on a last-minute touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Greg Ward. Now that Wentz has other NFL-caliber weapons at his disposal, I see the offense being able to move the ball and put up points, despite the endless array of first round picks Washington has on defense. On the flip side, I think the Eagles pass rush shows up. Darius Slay will keep Terry McLaurin from going off and Dwayne Haskins will turn it over a couple times. Better days are ahead for the Washington Football Team now that Ron Rivera is in charge, but it’s not going to be an overnight success.
Eagles 31, Washington 17