Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 15, 2013

Sep 9, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) scores a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles haven't won a home game since Sept. 30, 2012, going 0-10 in that span. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the only other NFL team that has won fewer than four home games since the start of the 2012 season. 

But the Eagles are playing better football right now than they have during that entire span. In back-to-back victories, they've outscored half-decent opponents 66-33. Nick Foles is the hottest quarterback in the league, the running game is ranked second overall and the defense hasn't surrendered more than 21 points in a game since September.

This could be the game. This is where the Lincoln Financial Field curse could finally be lifted. And if indeed that's the case, the Eagles will find themselves in sole possession of first place in the NFC East beyond the month of September for the first time since November of 2010. 

It won't be easy, though, because their Week 11 opponent, the Washington Redskins, was in this exact same 3-6 hole last year before the team won its final seven games of the regular season. The Redskins are good when desperate, so this could be another classic NFC East battle Sunday in Philly.

Here's a final preview of the matchup, along with a prediction.


What Washington must do to win, offensive edition

Keep running to ease pressure off Robert Griffin III. This Philly defense still has some tackling issues, but it has been opportunistic. Fletcher Cox and Co. can bring some heat, and that 3-4 front knows Griffin well. If the Redskins expose their quarterback too often, he'll pay the price. Washington can't afford to lose the turnover battle.  


What Washington must do to win, defensive edition

Get to Foles early. That weak secondary could be in big trouble if Foles, DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper are connecting. But the Dallas Cowboys proved a few weeks ago that the key to keeping Foles down is to rough him up. The Redskins have to take some chances and bring some early heat from all levels of the defense.  


What Philly must do to win, offensive edition

Run to set up the pass. Such a cliche, right? But I don't think it would be smart for the Eagles to become overly reliant on Foles and the passing game, especially early. This Washington defense leads the league with five touchdowns in only nine games.

The Eagles should win this game as long as they're careful. Lean on LeSean McCoy against a run defense that also hasn't been very good.  


What Philly must do to win, defensive edition

Focus on three weapons and three weapons only. If the Eagles can limit the damage from Morris, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, Griffin and the 'Skins won't win this game. There's nobody else who's trustworthy. Easier said than done with those guys. The biggest challenge might actually be Reed, considering the state of the Eagles' safeties. 


Five most important non-quarterbacks, Redskins edition

Morris: Morris leads all NFL running backs with 5.2 yards per carry. He'll have to be a lot better than he did in the opener against Philly, or RGIII and the rest of the offense will be in trouble. 

Trent Williams: Griffin's blind-side protector, of course. 

Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan: If the plan is to throw Foles off, they'll need big days from their top two pass-rushers. 

London Fletcher: They need better efforts from both Fletcher and Perry Riley if they're going to slow McCoy down. 


Five most important non-quarterbacks, Eagles edition

McCoy: Again, Cooper and Jackson sort of cancel each other out as far as their importance goes, but the Eagles stand little chance without a decent outing from the league's leading rusher.

Jason Peters and Lane Johnson: If the 'Skins are going to dial up, those bookend offensive tackles have to be ready. Peters isn't completely healthy, so that's something to keep an eye on.

Cox: He's become the best player on this defense, and the Eagles will need him to have another big, disruptive performance Sunday. 

DeMeco Ryans: He'll be the lead man responsible for Morris and Griffin in the second level. 

NFL's rushing leaders
1LeSean McCoy (932)Alfred Morris (5.2)
2Marshawn Lynch (871)DeMarco Murray (4.9)
3Alfred Morris (825)LeSean McCoy (4.8)
Pro Football Reference

Injury analysis, Redskins edition

Stephen Bowen (knee) and DeAngelo Hall (foot) were limited in practice this week but should be good to go. Hall is essential for the 'Skins, especially if they're in need of a game-changing play. Outside of that, this team is very healthy.  


Injury analysis, Eagles edition

Peters and Mychal Kendricks are both banged up, but both practiced fully on Friday, per Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News, and should be in the lineup despite being listed as questionable. Even if Peters has a setback, the drop-off to backup Allen Barbre might not be so bad at all. 


B/R NFC East blog prediction: Eagles 35, Redskins 17

Foles might eventually come back to earth, but there's little reason to believe that'll happen against a Washington defense that has been horrendous, especially against the pass. Philly crushed the 'Skins on the road to open the season. Now, the Eagles will end that home losing streak with another convincing victory to kill Washington's playoff hopes.