The Eagles (6-7) head to Washington to face the Redskins (3-10) on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field.
Here are five matchups to watch:
Dwayne Haskins vs. Jim Schwartz
Case Keenum was still starting in the opener, so this will be the Eagles’ first shot at the rookie first-round pick. Haskins has played in seven games this year with five starts and is 2-3. He has completed just 55 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Since Jim Schwartz became defensive coordinator, the Eagles are 4-1 against rookie starting quarterbacks: Dak Prescott x2, C.J. Bethard, Mitchell Trubisky and Luke Falk (the only loss came to Prescott in 2016). In those five games, those quarterback have three touchdowns and seven interceptions.
And those four quarterbacks in five games have combined for a passer rating of 53.8.
Schwartz on Wednesday was asked how playing young quarterbacks benefits his defense.
“I don't know, I've never really thought about it that way,” he said. “We have a job to do every Sunday and we try our best to accomplish that. Every game plan is different, every experienced quarterback is different and every rookie quarterback is different. So, I don't know if there would be a whole lot of carry-over from week-to-week. I don't have a folder somewhere that says, ‘Rookie Quarterback’ and you pull that out and that's the game plan. It depends on a million different other considerations going into it.”
Terry McLaurin vs. Eagles corners
In his first NFL game, McLaurin had five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles in the opener. That included a 69-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
The Eagles have been susceptible to big plays before. And McLaurin has the ability to make big plays. He has averaged 15.3 yards per catch this season.
Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills will have to be ready for the speedy rookie.
Adrian Peterson vs. Eagles linebackers
The future Hall of Famer isn’t playing like he’s still in his prime, but he’s still one of Washington’s biggest weapons. And he still ranks tied for fifth in the NFL in average yards after contact per attempt at 2.7. If you miss tackles against him, he’ll make you pay.
“He's strong, still has great vision and is a very productive runner,” Schwartz said. “We're going to have our work cut out for us. We saw it last year. He's one of those guys that if you fit a run wrong, he can make you pay by taking it to the house. He did it against us in that first game last year.”
Miles Sanders vs. Washington run defense
Washington is bad in several key areas. One of them is rushing defense, where they’re giving up 134.8 yards per game. But it’s important to note that they’re giving up just 4.4 yards per attempt. So they’re not really as bad as they appear.
In that opener, the Skins really bottled up Sanders, who had 11 carries for 25 yards and one catch for two yards. But since then, Sanders has really come around and is having one of the better seasons we’ve ever seen from a rookie in Eagles history.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Sanders has 948 yards from scrimmage this season. With three games to go, he is just 60 behind DeSean Jackson for the Eagles’ rookie record.
Brandon Brooks vs. Matt Ioannidis
The former fifth-round pick out of Temple leads Washington in sacks with 8 1/2 and has four in his last three games. Even without Ryan Kerrigan, who will miss this game, that’s still a relatively solid defensive line and Ioannidis has arguably been their best player. He primarily lines up on the left side of the defensive line, so we get to watch him go against Brandon Brooks, who has been playing like one of the best guards in the league this season.
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