The Eagles best chances of making the playoffs this season, is for the Cowboys to lose to the Colts on Sunday. The Birds best way of keeping the pressure on Dallas for their Sunday battle against Andrew Luck and Indy, is to beat the Redskins on Saturday.
Despite the fact that the Skins are sporting a 3-11 record, this is a battle between NFC rivals and anything can happen. Washington would like nothing better than to ruin the Eagles season.
The Eagles must get out to a quick lead against Washington and get the Skins fighting each other. They can’t let RGIII regain his confidence against the defense and find a way to get the Redskins fans back on his side.
Running the football will be a challenge against the Washington defense which does a good job against the run, but they must try. The Skins defense is 7th in the league against the run and they held LeSean McCoy to a season-low, 22 yards on 17 carries earlier in the season. This time around McCoy will have his number one offensive line blocking for him, but there’s still no guarantee that he will have a big day.
I’m sure you know by now that Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez can’t carry this offense by himself without a running game. If the Birds can’t run, usually that means Sanchez is asked to throw the football too much and turnovers occur. Chip Kelly must find a way to get both McCoy and Darren Sproles going. That opens up the play-action pass and the Birds offense seems to flourish in that situation.
The Skins defense can’t defend the pass. Sanchez and the Birds receivers must take advantage of it, by executing the Chip Kelly’s offense properly by running the right routes, throwing the football accurately and catching the ball when it arrives. We need to get some production out of Jordan Matthews, who must become a better route-runner to get open against good cornerbacks.
I want to see them get the ball to tight end Zach Ertz on a regular basis. He’s got to start living in the weightroom and get stronger in order make himself a better blocker.
I expect a big day from Jeremy Maclin against the mediocre Redskins secondary. Sanchez has got to do a good job of reading the coverages and delivering the football accurately.
I’ve given up on wide receiver Riley Cooper, who is one of the least productive starting, wide receivers in the NFL. Yes, he’s a good blocker, but he shouldn’t be a starter with a big contract as a NFL wideout because of your ability to block. It’s one of the reasons they’re trying to get talented rookie Josh Huff on the field, but the youngster has got to start playing smart and being consistent. In the few times he’s been on the field, Huff has caused turnovers by dropping passes and fumbling.
The entire Delaware Valley is well aware that the Eagles defense is strongest against the run and vulnerable to the pass. The Skins know that but they haven’t had a passing game effective enough to take advantage of it. The problem has been at the quarterback position with Griffin, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. The Eagles defensive line will be able to put plenty of pressure on Griffin, but they must keep contain and not let him escape outside and don’t give him the chance to make the big play.
The Eagles pass rush which includes, Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry can’t try to kill Griffin when they approach him. They must come in with their weight down and make a good fundamental tackle by wrapping him up with their arms. They are likely to get plenty of pressure on Griffin because Redskins offensive line is pathetic and their best player, Skins offensive tackle Trent Williams, will either miss the game or play hurt.
Eagles safety Nate Allen must not let Redskins wide receiver and former Philadelphia Eagle, DeSean Jackson get anywhere near him when he’s running a go route. Jackson victimized Allen in the first game and I’m sure the Skins are going to take another shot at him on Saturday. RGIII isn’t a polished NFL passer, but he does have a big-time arm and he can get the ball to Jackson on the deep route.
It isn’t an accident that Jackson leads the league with 10 catches of over 40 yards. Therefore Nate Allen needs to back up and not get caught being nosy and looking into the backfield while falling for run fakes!
I think the Eagles will win this football game, 31-17. The offense will help the Birds get on top of the Skins and they won’t look back.