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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington looks to make NFC East moves

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington looks to make NFC East moves

Sure it's only mid-October, but for the Redskins, Sunday's matchup against the Eagles marks a pivotal game in the run for the NFC East title.

Dallas is a win ahead of both Washington and Philadelphia, but the victor between the 'Skins and Eagles will be in the thick of the race.

The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at FedEx Field, but the coverage starts on CSN at noon. The forecast calls for clear skies and pleasant temperatures, perfect weather for tailgating.

LIVE BLOG: WEEK 6 REDSKINS VS. EAGLES

Here are five storylines to watch:

  1. The read on Reed - Redskins tight end Jordan Reed is arguably the best player on the team, and certainly the centerpiece of the offense. QB Kirk Cousins has targeted Reed on nearly 25 percent of his throws this season, but Washington will be without the tight end against the Eagles as he deals with a concussion sustained last week. Reed leads the team in catches and receiving yards. It's hard to overstate his importance to this team, and in his absence, what the offense will look like. 
  2. More for DeSean? - With Reed out, Cousins must throw the ball elsewhere. While veteran Vernon Davis is an able fill in, and perhaps more, expect more passes to DeSean Jackson. Jay Gruden joked this week of Jackson,"When I wake up at 5:30 in the morning or 4:00 and he is standing outside my garage with a baseball bat, I think I better get him the ball." While that's a joke, Gruden admitted Jackson deserves the ball more, and though his personal vendetta against the Eagles has dimmed with Chip Kelly gone from Philly, it's highly likely Jackson would still enjoy scoring against his former team.
  3. The gang in green - Newsflash: The Eagles are pretty good. Counted out before the season began with a rookie quarterback, Carson Wentz has looked strong for Philly through four games, and head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich are playing to the QB's strengths. Wentz is completing 67 percent of his passes, has thrown seven TDs to just one interception. Washington's defense better be ready, and defensive coordinator Joe Barry knows it, "[Wentz's] got all the tools, he’s got the skillset, and they’re doing a great job coaching him and calling plays for him."
  4. Bring him down - In just four games, Wentz has been sacked seven times, and this week against the 'Skins, the Eagles will be without a top offensive lineman. Right tackle Lane Johnson begins a 10-game suspension this week, and starting in his place will be fifth-round rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has never been active for an NFL game. Washington's group of pass rushers, starting with Trent Murphy but including Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Chris Baker, must get to Wentz, and the weakness on the right side is something the 'Skins must try to exploit. 
  5. Kirk Likes That - Kirk Cousins has started 30 games in his NFL career, and there is no team he's performed better against than the Eagles. In three games against Philadelphia, Cousins is averaging 360 yards per game to go along with eight touchdowns and just one interception. Last season, Cousins and the 'Skins swept the Eagles, including an NFC East clinching win on the road at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins offense is yet to fully click, though if history is any guide, Sunday against Philly might be the breakout.

Numbers & Notes

  • The Redskins rank first in the NFC and third in the NFL in total pass completions with 130.
  • The Redskins rank first in the NFC and are tied for first in the NFL with 13 field goals made, and 14 field goals attempted. 
  • The Redskins defense ranks first in the NFC and are tied for first in the NFL with eight forced fumbles.
  • Trent Murphy is tied for third in the NFC and tied for seventh in the NFL with 4.5 sacks.
  • Josh Norman ranks second in the NFC and tied for third in the NFL with eight passes defensed.
  • If Pierre Garçon catches a touchdown pass on Sunday he will become the 15th player in Redskins history to post 20 touchdown receptions with the team.

Want more? ​Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below.

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Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

Adrian Peterson continues surprising run in Redskins' win over Cowboys

LANDOVER, Md. -- With 22 starters comprising offensive and defensive players, plus another faction handling special teams, football is the ultimate team sport.

Now imagine where the 2018 Washington Redskins find themselves if the front office never brings in Adrian Peterson for that mid-preseason workout. Even Jamie Lee Curtis finds that frightening.

Peterson’s return to football glory continued with 99 rushing yards on 24 carries in Washington’s 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday evening.

“I won’t say we wouldn’t be as good in the run game, but, yeah,” left tackle Trent Williams said of his former University of Oklahoma teammate.

“Obviously having [Adrian], I won’t say it’s everything, but it’s almost everything,” Williams continued. His eyes widened as the Pro Bowl lineman pondered the potential downside of this offense without the future Hall of Famer. That’s a dark timeline.

Peterson’s Redskins career now spans six regular-season games. Sunday’s display of power in tight spaces and speed when daylight exists wasn’t a one-off. In those six games, Peterson rushed for at least 96 yards four times including the last two games despite playing with a painful shoulder.

“I’m feeling good, man, we just got a W,” the smiling running back said from behind the podium inside the media room at his newish home stadium. “That makes everything feel a lot better. I feel better than I did last week, I’ll say that.”

Washington felt concerned enough about its running attack following the second preseason game to scour the free agent market. Peterson arriving at Redskins Park in August generated the expected “Whoa” from the casual NFL fans, who picture the player hammering silly defenders daring to tackle him. That player no longer existed. At least that’s what many assumed.

Peterson last topped 1,000 yards or 4.0 yards per rush in 2015. Injuries and inefficiency headlined his 2017 stops in New Orleans and Arizona. Running backs capable of carrying an offense aren’t just lying around for the taking like a rogue penny on a sidewalk. Yet, there was Peterson, waiting for a team to show interest. After losing Derrius Guice with a season-ending knee injury and recognizing the in-house options were not enough, the Redskins called.

 “We didn’t have many expectations,” Jay Gruden said after the Redskins improved to 4-2 and took a 1 ½ game lead in the NFC East. “We weren’t expecting him to be on our football team until we had a couple of injuries. Then we got him. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know he looked great in that workout.”

That workout led to a signing and almost simultaneously, the starting gig. Now it’s hard contemplating anyone else in those early down and short yardage scenarios. Peterson had runs of 23 and 20 yards against the Cowboys. The latter help set up one of two Dustin Hopkins field goals. His overall production helped move the chains in yet another game where the Alex Smith-led passing game lacked oomph.

This random road to Redskins Park is why Peterson’s renaissance feels shocking to many with one significant exception.

“No, not at all. I think everyone else around is surprised. I’m not,” Peterson said. “I expect greatness from myself. That’s why I put the work in. God has blessed with me this talent. A lot of people see, and a lot of people don’t. … Just keep confidence in myself. When I’m presented with my opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of it every Sunday.”

Peterson is taking advantage of this opportunity with the Redskins because necessity is the mother of invention. It turns out Washington’s running attack needed a reboot more than the running back required a makeover.

“There are not many guys like [Adrian] walking around the street,” Williams said, “and luckily, we found a diamond in the rough.”

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Josh Norman rocks Bobby Boucher jersey following Redskins' win over Cowboys

Josh Norman rocks Bobby Boucher jersey following Redskins' win over Cowboys

Josh Norman just took the jersey game to a whole new level.

Prior to the Redskins' gutsy 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Norman showed up to FedEx Field repping a Bobby Boucher Bourbon Bowl jersey from the iconic Adam Sandler movie "The Waterboy." 

He also repped the jersey following the win in the locker room with the media.

Many believed it was a shot at Giants' Odell Beckham Jr., who made comments this week about disliking water. But according to Norman, he just really likes the South Central Louisiana Mud Dogs.

Norman is known for repping a soccer jersey or two following a game, but he has everyone else beat this week.

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