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How the Eagles and Redskins have changed since their first meeting

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How the Eagles and Redskins have changed since their first meeting

Back in Week 1, the Eagles and Redskins looked like two evenly matched teams, and they wound up playing a very evenly matched game. It took Brandon Graham's stripping the ball from Kirk Cousins and Fletcher Cox's returning it 20 yards with 1:29 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 30-17 lead. Otherwise, the game was close.

But this is Week 7. A lot can change in the NFL in 43 days — and it has. The Eagles are on a four-game winning streak and their confidence only appears to be growing. And while Washington has won three of its last four, the injury report reads like a short story these days. These teams are not remotely the same, the Redskins in particular.

It’s worth looking at position-by-position because the differences are rather striking in several cases.

QUARTERBACKS
Do we still think Cousins is a better quarterback than Carson Wentz? If nothing else, Wentz is closing any perceived gap between the two. Cousins is completing a higher percentage of his passes for more yards per attempt, and it’s not particularly close — 66.5 percent and an 8.4 average, compared to 60.9 percent and 7.7 for Wentz. But Wentz has also led the Eagles to a 5-1 record, while Washington enters this week at 3-2. I know who I’d take, and it’s certainly close regardless — although, technically, Cousins is still the more efficient and prolific passer of the two.

Marginal edge: Washington

RUNNING BACKS
It’s almost as if Darren Sproles switched uniforms. Sproles is out for the year, depriving the Eagles of one of the most unique weapons in the NFL. Or so we thought, anyway, because Chris Thompson is doing a lot of Sproles-like things in Washington. Thompson has become the focal point of that offense, leading the team in rushing (175 yards), receiving (340 yards) and touchdowns (4). Conversely, the Eagles have shifted to a power running game led by LeGarrette Blount, who entered the week ranked third in the NFL with 5.57 yards per carry. With the statuses of Robert Kelley and Wendell Smallwood up in the air, both backfields could be incomplete.

Edge: Even

WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS
Zach Ertz has 405 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Nelson Agholor has 321 yards and four scores, while Alshon Jeffery has 317 with two trips to the end zone. After Thompson, Washington’s leading receiver is Vernon Davis with 225 and one touchdown. Even Torrey Smith has 210 and a score. The Eagles have played one more game than the Redskins, but still. Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have proven unable to replace the production left behind by DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon when the duo chose to leave as free agents. Jamison Crowder has oddly gone missing as well, and Jordan Reed just looks like a shell of his former self.

Distinct edge: Eagles

OFFENSIVE LINES
For my money, the Eagles have the best offensive line in the NFL right now. They replaced Isaac Seumalo at left guard, mostly with Stefen Wisniewski, and the rest of the unit has been playing at or above expectations ever since. Washington’s O-line is pretty good, too, when everybody is healthy — but that won’t be the case on Monday night. Left tackle Trent Williams is delaying knee surgery, so he won’t be 100 percent if he suits up at all. Meanwhile, Williams’ backup, Ty Neskhe, was already ruled out for this game. This situation has the potential to take a turn for disastrous for the Redskins.

Edge: Eagles

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN
First-round draft pick Jonathan Allen landed on injured reserve for Washington this week, joining outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who also missed the opener. Those are some of the more disruptive players up front for Washington, though defensive tackle Matthew Ioannidis has emerged as an interior pass-rusher and is tied with Ryan Kerrigan for second on the team with 3½ sacks. The Eagles have remained pretty much the same up front, boasting the No. 1 run defense in the NFL so far this season. Cox and company have been as advertised.

Slight edge: Eagles

DEFENSIVE BACKS
The Redskins’ offensive line could devolve into a mess but their secondary already looks like a disaster. All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman is out, and the other half of that tandem, Bashaud Breeland, is hobbled by a knee injury and is questionable to play. Starting safety Deshazor Everett is questionable, too, so that’s three-quarters of the secondary that either isn’t playing or won’t be 100 percent. The Eagles, on the other hand, are only getting healthier. Rodney McLeod and Corey Graham have been back after missing some time, and Ronald Darby could return to the lineup on Monday. Plus, Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Malcolm Jenkins are all playing at a high level.

Very distinct edge: Eagles

SPECIAL TEAMS
Both teams suffered key losses this week, with kicker Dustin Hopkins going on IR for Washington and Chris Maragos down for the Eagles. The Eagles were also hit with the losses of Caleb Sturgis and Sproles, but Jake Elliott has since nailed down the kicking duties, while Kenjon Barner is a capable fill-in returning punts. The Redskins didn’t have great special teams before losing Hopkins and they surely aren’t going to be better off now.

Edge: Eagles

OVERALL
The last time these two teams met, the Eagles looked slightly superior on paper and wound up winning a game that was determined in the final two minutes. This time, the Eagles appear to have a rather sizable advantage, not to mention they're playing at home, so you would think the margin of victory would be greater. Granted, this is a game between two NFC East opponents and division games are usually tough, so it might not turn out that way. But given the state the Redskins are in entering this contest, there’s a reason the expectations are a convincing win for the Eagles this time around.

Edge: Eagles

Report shows how disgusting stadium food really is

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USA Today Images

Report shows how disgusting stadium food really is

Here’s a great reason to make your own food at home. ESPN’s Outside the Lines collected data from more than 16,000 food-safety inspection reports from 111 venues in America and the results are kinda gross. 

Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field and the Wells Fargo Center were right in the middle in terms of what the study found.

According to the report (see full report), which was done from 2016-17, Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., home to the Charlotte Hornets was the worst in terms of health department violations and Oracle Arena, home to the Golden State Warriors, was the best among the 107 stadiums ranked. The Wells Fargo Center was ranked 48th, Lincoln Financial Field was ranked 54th and Citizens Bank Park was 64th.

Despite all of the violations found, 73 of the 107 stadiums were actually as good as or better compared to eateries in the surrounding community, so there's that.

So, what did the health inspectors find?

At the Wells Fargo Center, 51 outlets were inspected with 16 high-level violations that included finding fruit flies in the front serving prep area, mouse droppings in a concession storage area and raw animal food stored above ready-to-eat food in a cooler.

At Lincoln Financial Field, 96 outlets were inspected with 32 high-level violations found. Among them, the violations include having dairy products in the owner’s suite measured at 12-degrees too hot, mouse feces were found on the floor in a dry storage area and additional mouse droppings were found behind a beer cooler and behind an ice machine at a concession.

At Citizens Bank Park, 101 outlets were inspected with 43 high-level violations found. The violations include food being prepared on top of a trash receptacle, employee food, beverages and belongings mingling with food items at a concession stand, presenting a possibility for contamination and pink slime found in the ice maker and hair in the ice bin, as well as mouse droppings on the floor where pizzas were stored.

Gross.

If you’ve ever worked in the food industry, you know that some nasty things happen in the back, but when the issues are put right in front of you, it just feels that much more gross.

That being said, I’m still down to grab a cheesesteak or some fries at a game if I’m hungry, no shame.

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Around the NFC East: Dallas earns right to lose home playoff game

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Around the NFC East: Dallas earns right to lose home playoff game

The Eagles just weren’t good enough.

Sure, they were good enough to beat the injury-wrecked Washington squad and the suddenly-hot Giants. Alas, they weren’t good enough this season to beat Dallas AND the refs combined, and as a result, the division will almost certainly have a new leader for the fourteenth consecutive year.

Just a friendly reminder: the last time Dallas won the NFC East, the Eagles won the Super Bowl the very next season. These are facts.

Here’s what’s happened, and what’s happening, in the NFC East:

New York Giants (5-8)

ICYMI: This was the vision every ill-informed Jersey resident had in August; a high-powered offense beating teams into submission. Tragically, despite a 40-16 victory over their rivals (leading 40-0 in the third quarter), the Giants were officially eliminated from NFC East contention when the Iggles fell in overtime.

Spin: Four wins in their last five games would be noteworthy if they hadn’t gone 1-7 to start the year. It’s like if Blackberry came out with a touchscreen in 2018, or trying to schedule a meeting through John Kelly; too-little, too-late is putting it mildly.

How bad is this organization? They’re even bad at TANKING. They’re making that Hinkie-lifestyle look tricky. With five victories on the year, the Giants aren’t even in contention for the top pick. They’re the NFL’s Washington Wizards.

Also, winning so easily without Odell Beckham Jr. will almost certainly empower AM-radio callers blabbering about the Ewing Theory. 

What’s Next: A few more useless victories to damage their draft capital. 


Washington (6-7)

ICYMI: As if having Mark Sanchez as your starting QB wasn’t mortifying enough, the Washington Football Team got humiliated at home by an over-the-hill quarterback missing one of the top offensive weapons in the game.

Spin: This season ended the second The Sanchize stepped on the field. That doesn’t make Sundays result any less shameful. Getting dismantled at home to a basement-dwelling division rival is an embarrassment of the highest level for a franchise that could teach a Masters course on embarrassing itself. Even if Jay Gruden runs the table the rest of the way, it’s impossible to imagine the 5th-year head coach with one playoff appearance and zero victories keeping his job.

What’s Next: The Josh Johnson Era.


Dallas Cowboys (8-5)

ICYMI: Powered by referee-incompetence and 45 minutes of general-malaise from the Iggles offense, Dallas won in overtime to (essentially) clinch the NFC East despite three awful turnovers from Dak Prescott, whose play is about as inspiring as a baked potato.

Spin: Anyone who owns a Dallas Starter jacket will tell you this season was proof of Jason Garrett’s brilliance, Jerry Jones incomparable leadership, and the reality that Ezekiel Elliots suspension was the only thing stopping them a year ago.

That seems a stretch. 

Despite the Birds replacement-level secondary, a short-week/long-week advantage, and the fact that the Iggles QB is still LESS THAN A YEAR REMOVED FROM ACL SURGERY, the Cowboys needed overtime to knock-out their division rivals. Their vaunted O-line has crumbled, the mediocre quarterback did just enough to lock himself in long-term, and the organization is still run by a GM-for-life with two playoff victories the last twenty years. Good luck with that.

They did, however, win the Amari Cooper / Golden Tate trades. There’s little argument made against that.

What’s Next: A first-round knockout at the hands of Seattle, then four More Years of Dak and Garrett.

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