Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins: Preview and Prediction
According to the latest report regarding Robert Griffin III and his infamous right knee, Griffin isn't even thinking about the state of said knee ahead of Monday night's season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Washington Redskins' franchise quarterback tore his ACL and LCL 246 days ago, giving him one week less for recovery than Adrian Peterson had one year prior. Peterson went on to win the MVP in 2012, so the bar has been raised for superstar knee rehab.
The good (I believe it's good) news is that Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reports via a source that the knee isn't factoring in:
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Griffin is “wired” for the game. Anxious to play, the source said Griffin has no concerns about the injury.
While I don't think Griffin should take the kinds of risks he took last season, I also think it's dangerous to come back from an injury and play with that injury in the back of your mind. Playing scared can be more risky than simply removing the elephant from the room.
Regardless of where Griffin's mind is, the entire football world will be watching that knee from the get-go Monday night. Here, with that in mind, is our final preview of the matchup along with a prediction.
What Philly Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition
Hit on some deep balls. Vick is healthy and DeSean Jackson is back. You're an underdog, and you're on the road against a bad pass defense. Time to take some chances. That's not really Chip Kelly's style, but he has to show that he's adapting to the NFL.
What Philly Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition
Stop the run. The 'Skins were one of only three teams to run more often than they passed last season, and Griffin and Alfred Morris will likely try to beat a bad run defense using their legs. The Eagles can't give up too many big plays, of course, but they really have to find a way to tighten things up inside the box.
What Washington Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition
Control the pace. That's something Kelly will want to do offensively. You want to keep your secondary off the field and keep Kelly's offense on the sideline. Alfred Morris has to be a huge factor and the 'Skins need to find a way to eat clock and frustrate Philly's offense. Plus, keeping it on the ground could be advantageous against a weak run defense.
What Washington Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition
Don't let Vick get over the top. Vick is still Vick, with one hell of an arm, and this is still a secondary that gave up 58 20-plus-yard passes in 2012. With rookies David Amerson and Bacarri Rambo playing large roles, a busted coverage or two could change the entire game.
Five Most Important Non-Quarterbacks, Eagles Edition
Jason Peters: Back from an Achilles injury, the left tackle will have his hands full with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.
Lane Johnson: He'll make his NFL debut on the opposite side and will be dealing with one of those two superb pass-rushers. Vick really needs both tackles to hold up.
LeSean McCoy: It's all about supporting Vick.
Trent Cole and Connor Barwin: They simply have to apply pressure on RG3 consistently.
Five Most Important Non-Quarterbacks, Redskins Edition
Orakpo: Will it be a triumphant return? That secondary really needs his help up front.
Morris: Nobody can take the pressure off of RG3 like Morris.
DeAngelo Hall: It's tough to tell if Hall or Josh Wilson will spend more time on DeSean Jackson. Whoever it is, they'll need to have a big game.
Trent Williams: Griffin's blind-side protector has to hold up against a mysterious front seven that features three pretty good pass-rushers.
Fred Davis: Another guy returning from a long-term absence. Davis has to once again be Griffin's security blanket.
Injury Analysis, Eagles Edition
They lost Jeremy Maclin during training camp, but the Eagles are actually pretty damn healthy aside from that. Backup offensive lineman Dennis Kelly (back) is out, but nobody else is listed on the injury report.
Injury Analysis, Redskins Edition
Who will win Monday's game?
Griffin's debut is the injury story of the year. His backup, Kirk Cousins, is probable with a foot injury. Same applies to Barry Cofield (hand). The major question for the 'Skins now is whether Brandon Meriweather will play. The oft-injured safety is questionable with a groin injury. Using Reed Doughty in his place wouldn't be a disaster, but they'd become extremely thin at safety.
B/R NFC East Blog Prediction: Redskins 31, Eagles 27
I wouldn't be surprised to see the 'Skins blow Philly out as the Eagles adjust to so much newness (that's actually a word, apparently), but I can see that new-look offense surprising a defense that still has some real question marks. Maybe throw in a garbage-time touchdown and you have yourself a one-score game.
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