Welcome home Desean Jackson, hope the shoulder is feeling better and that you can suit up on Sunday. Personally, I have no issues with D-Jax, he was a nice player and a weapon that helped us win games, but Chip Kelly felt we were better without him, and so we move on.
As for the game itself; RG3 will not be the man under center, it’s Kirk Cousins who will lead the charge. Kirk gets his first start for new head coach Jay Gruden after looking good in relief duty last week against the Jaguars. He has a solid running back in Alfred Morris to help take some of the pressure off, and veteran receivers Garcon, Roberts and Jackson as receiving targets. Second year tight-end Jordan Reed is still injured; and likely will not dress for the game.
Defensively, the Redskins have a few players, but overall they can be exposed. Kerrigan and Orakpo bring consistent pressure from the outside, Hatcher is solid both against the run and can collect a sack, while the ageless wonder DeAngelo Hall still commands respect.
The Eagles look to start the game the same way they have finished the last two. They must avoid getting down by double digits, two weeks is plenty to demonstrate they are relentless and will fight until the final seconds tick away.
On the offensive side, Foles must be better than his C+ play so far this season. This includes everything from his pocket presence, trusting his reads, leading receivers and minimizing turnovers. The receivers must get involved in the passing attack. It’s been great to see how Sproles can spark the offense and the improvement of Ertz, but Cooper has looked like a WR#5 out there, Jordan Matthews appears to be overthinking, and Maclin looks average. I get the offensive line is missing some key starters in Johnson and Mathis, but Celek has been absent from the passing game, he should release from his block and provide the same safety outlet for Foles as he proved last season.
Defensively, get some pressure on the quarterback, and do not allow opposing running backs to steam roll you. The Colts on multiple occasions ran off-tackle or change of direction plays and the Eagles sold out to one side of the field, leaving huge lanes for both Bradshaw and Richardson to run through. They did a nice job not giving up the big play in the pass game, but the Colts helped the Eagles by not throwing the deep ball.
I think Gruden is going to test the defense, a lot of play-action and misdirection to allow the speed of the receivers to find open space. The Eagles pass rush has been inconsistent like last season, and if it remains this way, teams are going to start exposing this average secondary.
I don’t believe this game is going to be easier with RG3 out of the line-up, D-Jax banged up and Jordan Reed dressed in street clothes. It’s still an NFC East matchup, and although we are 2-0, we have started slow and you simply can’t scratch and claw your way back in every game.
The Eagles will continue their winning streak on Sunday; and find a way not to fall behind by double digits for the first time this season. Foles will avoid turning the football over, and I like the Eagles to score a special teams or defensive touchdown.
Eagles 31 Redskins 23