Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins: Preview and Prediction
It's the survival bowl in Washington this week. Whoever wins is two games back of the division-leading Giants. Whoever loses will be mired in a long slump with no light left at the end of their football tunnel. The Philadelphia Eagles have more talent, but the Washington Redskins have their quarterback. Plus, the 'Skins are at least at home and coming off their bye.
Is that enough for us to pick the Redskins to beat Philly? You'll have to read our final preview (or just scroll past it) before getting our prediction for Sunday's game.
What Philly must do to win, offensive edition: Work a depleted and generally terrible Redskins defense by having Nick Foles approach his first career start conservatively, and make sure to feature LeSean McCoy from start to finish.
What Philly must do to win, defensive edition: Don't let Robert Griffin III make game-changing plays with his legs or his arm. Considering how poorly the Eagles tackle, as well as the fact Pierre Garcon could return for the 'Skins, that's a danger.
What Washington must do to win, offensive edition: Take some chances and let RG3 do his thing against a defense that has been awful under Todd Bowles.
What Washington must do to win, defensive edition: Sell out to rough Foles up and force McCoy to be the difference. Does anyone believe Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will properly utilize their star back?
Five most important non-quarterbacks, Eagles edition: LeSean McCoy, Brent Celek, Dennis Kelly, King Dunlap, Brandon Graham
I'm going with Brandon Graham over Trent Cole and DeMeco Ryans, but all three will have to come up big in the effort to control Griffin. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha will have a lot of pressure on them too, but more so if Garcon plays.
McCoy has to run the show on offense, and Celek has to get his act together to be Foles' safety valve. Finally, Kelly and Dunlap will be Foles' key protectors. So they're kind of a big deal.
Five most important non-quarterbacks, Redskins edition: Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, London Fletcher, Pierre Garcon, Logan Paulsen
If Garcon doesn't play, sub in Trent Williams against a still-fierce Philadelphia defensive front. Kerrigan has to reemerge and get some pressure on the rookie, while Riley and Fletcher will need to handle McCoy. Paulsen is becoming Griffin's most reliable target.
Injury analysis, Eagles edition: Foles is starting in place of the concussed Michael Vick, so obviously that changes everything a fair bit. The rest of the team is actually really healthy, aside from the banged-up joke of an offensive line. But at least the team should get Danny Watkins back, sending King Dunlap to the bench.
However, there's still a good chance the pass protection struggles. Can the 'Skins take advantage?
Who will win Sunday?
Injury analysis, Redskins edition: Garcon looks as though he's finally going to return, and the same goes for safety Brandon Meriweather. Those guys could both make a difference, which means the bye was big for Washington. They've gotten used to life without Brian Orakpo and Paulsen's done well in Fred Davis' stead.
B/R NFC East Blog prediction
The Redskins are in the right place (home), facing the right team (disaster-case Philadelphia) at the right time (coming off their bye week). They might not win a lot of games between now and the end of the year, but they should be able to get by the mess that is the Eagles, regardless of who starts at quarterback for Philly.
Redskins 27, Eagles 23
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