Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 22, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins walks onto the field against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles both cap off the 2012 NFL season with two games against divisional opponents, starting with Sunday's matchup between the two.

The Redskins can clinch the tiebreaker over the Giants with a win, placing them one victory short of their first division title since 1999. 

Can the Eagles spoil it all? Here's a final preview of the matchup, along with a prediction.

What Washington must do to win, offensive edition: Make Alfred Morris the centerpiece and keep the ball on the ground, avoiding turnovers.

What Washington must do to win, defensive edition: Dial up the blitz against Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles, forcing Philadelphia to make the classic mistakes that have become habitual.


What Philly must do to win, offensive edition: Hit on some deep balls against a mediocre secondary and limit turnovers, although it won't be easy. The backs have to be good too.

What Philly must do to win, defensive edition: Actually get some takeaways for once, although it won't be easy. Brandon Graham and Trent Cole have to make plays. 

Five most important non-quarterbacks, Redskins edition: Alfred Morris, Trent Williams, Pierre Garcon, Rob Jackson, Josh Wilson

Morris and Williams have to support Robert Griffin III by helping balance the offense and protecting the less-than-100-percent quarterback. Garcon is RG3's top weapon through the air. Jackson will be the key blitzer for Jim Haslett's D, while Wilson will have to control Jeremy Maclin.

Five most important non-quarterbacks, Eagles edition: King Dunlap, Dennis Kelly, LeSean McCoy, Brandon Graham, Trent Cole

You could also include Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as DeMeco Ryans. But I'm going with the two key pass protectors, the two key pass rushers and McCoy in his return. 

Injury analysis, Redskins edition

Questionable: Stephen Bowen (biceps), Tyler Polumbus (head)

Probable: Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder), London Fletcher (ankle), Pierre Garcon (foot), Robert Griffin (knee), Rob Jackson (not injury related), Ryan Kerrigan (ankle), Will Montgomery (knee), Trent Williams (thigh)

Polumbus' injury doesn't kill them because he's struggled anyway. Going to Maurice Hurt or Tom Compton isn't ideal, but it shouldn't be a back-breaker. The line's already in some trouble with Montgomery and Williams hobbled.

Injury analysis, Eagles edition

Out: Stanley Havili (hamstring)

Doubtful: Chris Polk (toe)

Probable: Jason Avant (hamstring), Brent Celek (concussion), Kurt Coleman (chest), Riley Cooper (knee), Brandon Hughes (lung contusion), Jeremy Maclin (back), Evan Mathis (ankle), LeSean McCoy (concussion), Michael Vick (concussion)

McCoy returns, which could help a lot considering how much Bryce Brown has struggled. Aside from that and all of the injuries that hit the offensive line earlier, the Eagles are in pretty good shape. That's kind of sad, actually. 

B/R NFC East Blog prediction: Philadelphia isn't playing inspired football right now, but the Eagles could surprise in Andy Reid's final home game. I'm still not picking them, but they could hang around a little longer than expected. Ultimately, Mike Shanahan's team won't slip up in this spot.

Redskins 30, Eagles 16