Week 11 offers Washington a chance for revenge, as the team seeks to rectify the embarrassing defeat suffered to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. However, there are certain individual battles that must be won in order for it to do so.
At 5-5, the Eagles look to be on something of a roll, while Mike Shanahan and his team have slipped to 3-6—an identical record to last year's start.
In 2012, Robert Griffin III—with a little help from Kirk Cousins and a vastly improved defense—marshaled Washington to a seven-game win streak and took the division at 10-6. This started with a win against Philadelphia.
The schedule this year seems to say otherwise, but any chance at climbing out of the NFC East cellar has to start at Lincoln Financial Field.
The last time the Eagles won at home was Week 4 of 2012. That’s a statistic that should give Washington fans some hope as they make the trip to The City of Brotherly Love.
Below are three matchups that could decide the game.
QB Nick Foles vs. CB DeAngelo Hall
Of all the players on the defensive side of the ball, DeAngelo Hall has been the one to consistently do his job and remain—penalties aside—relatively error-free in his performances each week.
Nike Foles may be the hottest quarterback in the league right now, with 10 touchdown passes in the last two games, but he’s also 0-4 at home.
Hall grabbed one of two Foles interceptions in the Week 11 battle last year and has three for this year so far. He will be confident in his ability to pick off Foles again this time around.
Of course, the Eagles QB has yet to throw a pick this year, so it will be an interesting battle. This is a defense that made Christian Ponder look good but also produced a goal-line stand to take the Chargers to overtime.
There’s no real way of knowing which group will show up. Except on special teams, which will obviously be uniformly awful and put the game in jeopardy from the outset.
Hall has been limited in practice with a foot injury, but John Keim of ESPN quoted Shanahan as saying that neither Hall nor defensive end Stephen Bowen “should be any problem, or at least that’s what we think.”
OLB Brian Orakpo/Ryan Kerrigan vs. LT Allen Barbre
As reported by Nick Fierro at The Morning Call, Jason Peters remains out of the Eagles lineup. Allen Barbre will continue his stint at left tackle after stepping in last Sunday.
Barbre played well in relief of Peters in Philadelphia’s win over the Packers, but he hasn’t started a game since 2009, when Lambeau Field was the stadium he called home.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will need to dial up the pressure on Peters in order to force Foles into mistakes. He has found success by rotating Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan in the past, so it makes sense to bring back this tactic and make Peters uncomfortable.
Of the two players, Kerrigan has been the more impressive this season, with 6.5 sacks and consistent pressure from his side.
Orakpo has shown flashes of his ability but has over-pursued at times and left holes for the offense to exploit. He will feel that four sacks, one interception and one forced fumble isn’t good enough.
TE Jordan Reed vs. FS Patrick Chung
Jordan Reed leads all rookies with 44 receptions and has emerged as a favorite target of Griffin. Along with Pierre Garcon, Reed is the player who consistently shows up with safe hands and toughness in the middle of the field.
Griffin’s accuracy has been off this year, so the receivers have had to work harder to catch passes. Unfortunately, this group has continued its erratic play from last year and dropped a lot of catchable throws, too.
According to SportingCharts.com, Washington currently ranks sixth in the league with 21 drops at a percentage of 6.2, with Santana Moss—who was so dependable last year—contributing five to that total.
Nevertheless, when with the Patriots, Patrick Chung showed himself to be vulnerable in coverage when the ball is in the air.
In contrast, Reed has run excellent routes all year.
Chung had previously lost his starting spot, so he would seem to be the weak link here, and the loss of Mychal Kendricks will only weaken him further.
Griffin had his most consistent game of the year in the loss to the Vikings last week, so he will be looking to build on that. Reed is central to that concern, and Kyle Shanahan should look to exploit the mismatch with Chung to keep the chains moving.