Washington Redskins (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)- Game Preview, Analysis, Predictions and more

September 17th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Eagles, Football.

(AP Photo)

(Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Current Injuries

Injury Report

Player Status Injury Comment
Tanard Jackson Suspended
Brandon Meriweather Suspended
Stephen Bowen Physically Unable to Perform knee is on the physically-unable-to-perform list
Leonard Hankerson Physically Unable to Perform knee is on the physically-unable-to-perform list
Darryl Sharpton Injured Reserve ankle is on injured reserve
Courtney Bridget Jr. Injured Reserve shoulder is on injured reserve
Barry Cofield Injured Reserve ankle is on injured reserve/designated for return
Jerry Rice Jr. Injured Reserve shoulder is on injured reserve
Chris Neild Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Robert Griffin Out ankle is out indefinitely
Roy Helu Questionable knee is questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia
Akeem Jordan Questionable knee is questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia
Tracy Porter Questionable hamstring is questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia
DeSean Jackson Questionable shoulder is questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia
Kedric Golston Questionable groin is questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia
Jordan Reed Questionable hamstring is questionable for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia

Current Injuries

Player Status Injury Comment
Lane Johnson Suspended
Evan Mathis Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve/designated for return
Travis Long Injured Reserve knee is on injured reserve
Allen Barbre Injured Reserve ankle is on injured reserve
Najee Goode Injured Reserve pectoral is on injured reserve
Mychal Kendricks Questionable calf is questionable for Sunday’s game against Washington
Jaylen Watkins Questionable hamstring is questionable for Sunday’s game against Washington
Matt Tobin Questionable ankle is questionable for Sunday’s game against Washington
Josh Huff Questionable shoulder is questionable for Sunday’s game against Washington

The Eagles come into their Sunday-afternoon match-up vs. Desean Jackson and Washington officially in first place and undefeated to boot, at 2-0.

Washington, on the other hand, is 1-1 and has their starting quarterback, Robert Griffin III, injured. Backup Kirk Cousins will start in place of Griffin III vs. Philadelphia. With the start, this’ll be Cousins’ first career game/start at Philadelphia. He’s only started in nine games, to date, in his career. Griffin III will miss the game, and could miss up to eight weeks, with a dislocated left ankle, which occurred in the Redskins’ 41-10 victory over Jacksonville.

Griffin’s completion percentage, albeit in only two games thus far, is an impressive 77.5. In the last game vs. Jacksonville, he only went 2/3, for 38 yards, before sustaining the aforementioned injury. The previous game, at Houston, he impressively went 29/37 (78%), with 267 passing yards, a 96.7 quarterback rating and a yards/attempt average of 7.2. In his three-year NFL career, Griffin’s started in 30 total games, out of a possible 34. Without Griffin’s mobility to aid them, Washington’ll have to rely even more in Sunday’s game on running back, and star, Alfred Morris, who had 85 rushing yards on Sunday, on 22 attempts (3.9 yards/attempt). This season so far, he has a yards/attempt average of 4.9, and two touchdowns.

Former Eagles’ Pro-Bowl wide receiver, and now arch enemy, Desean Jackson’s had just 81 total yards receiving, through two games. He’s questionable for Sunday’s game, with a shoulder injury, though I believe — regardless of the shoulder problems — he’ll find a way to play vs. his old team. NFL players, or any professional athletes for that matter, love to prove to their old teams what they’re missing out on and what mistakes they made (by trading or releasing them). The good news for Washington is that Jackson’s injury isn’t perceived to be a serious one.

The newest Eagles’ running back, Darren Sproles, had a fabulous, entertaining game at Indianapolis two-nights ago. Sproles had 203 all-purpose yards, 152 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown. His speed, immediately after the ball was snapped to Foles, was incredible, as he avoided linebackers and the Colts’ secondary and made play after play. Thanks to the Saints, Sproles has been the backup prize, and total package, the Eagles have been waiting for.

Although he’s sure to make his mark this season soon, Lesean McCoy only had 79 rushing yards in the game; on 20 attempts and for an average yards/attempt of 3.9. Through the first two games this season, McCoy’s only averaged 76.5 rushing yards/game, with one rushing touchdown and a yards/carry average of just 3.7. In four-career games against Philadelphia, Morris has 305 rushing yards, a rushing yards/game average of 76, four yards/carry and two rushing touchdowns. He’ll look to bounce back after his decent, but not great, performance this past Sunday vs. the Jaguars.

Although we’re only two games into the season, Philadelphia ranks second in passing yards, with 606, only behind Atlanta’s total of 657. Philadelphia ranks first in the league in total net yards, with 878. Atlanta trails them by only one yard in that category. Additionally, Philadelphia ranks first as well in the league in points/game, with 32; ahead of Atlanta again, who has 29/game.

As for Philadelphia’s intelligence this year from a taking-penalties perspective, they unfortunately rank 22nd in fewest penalty yards/game, with 70. In the last game at Indianapolis, they accumulated 11 penalties, whereas the Colts were only penalized in the game on four occasions.  Fortunately for Philadelphia, Washington isn’t any better, but rather worst, in that department this year. The Skins rank just 27th in fewest penalty yards/game, with 84.

Last game, at Indianapolis, the Eagles not only won — in grand fashion, might I add — but set a few records as well. First off, they won an AFC road game vs. a playoff team for the first time in 23 years; since the famous 1991 victory (and the notable “House of Pain” game) at Houston. Secondly, they became the first team to make Andrew Luck lose two consecutive games, in his three-year career thus far. Finally, the Eagles set an all-time NFL record by becoming the first team to go 2-0 while being down 10+ points in the first half of each game. This was also the first time the Eagles won at Indianapolis in 21 years, since their 20-10 victory in 1993. Pretty impressive, huh? Chip Kelly’s pushing all the right buttons thus far, despite some setbacks.

Among all teams this year, the Eagles rank 11th-best in fewest passing yards allowed, with 207/game. Additionally, on defense as well, they rank, however, just 20th in fewest rushing yards allowed/game, with 116.5.  The Colts rushed for 169 yards against the Eagles’ front four, even though they only averaged 4.4 yards/attempt. Former Giants’ half-back Ahmad Bradshaw averaged over five-yards/attempt, with 70 yards on 13 attempts.

Nick Foles, in his career, vs. Washington is 1-2, and 1-1 at home. In those three games, Foles has an average passing yards/game of 282.3, a touchdown/interception ratio of just 1-3, and a completion percentage of 58. Lesean McCoy, in nine career games vs. Washington, has a rushing yards/game average of 77, with only four touchdowns.

Keys to the Game

-Protect Foles

With the Eagles’ offensive line decimated, and Lane Johnson suspended for a few more games, protecting Foles will be important, perhaps more than ever, at least in recent history

-Win the turnover battle

With Washington’s backup in, Cousins isn’t exactly an experienced, nor stable, quarterback. Thus, the Eagles, like they did vs. Luck last week, must apply as much pressure vs. Cousins as possible, to rattle him and cause turnovers/interceptions. If Foles can get rid of the ball faster than he’s been doing thus far this season, that’ll help the Eagles’ chances of winning the turnover battle as well. In the first game, vs. Jacksonville, he fumbled it twice and threw an interception, for three turnovers and one less than he had all of last season.

-Be smart

Penalties were an issue for the Eagles last game. They were penalized on 11 occasions, far too much, and on seven more occasions than Indianapolis was. To make things worst, despite the non-calls and the subsequent win, the Eagles made crucial — albeit lucky — mistakes. For one thing, Malcolm Jenkins’ interception of Andrew Luck in the fourth quarter shouldn’t of been one in the first place, as the Eagles defense illegally knocked down the Colts’ targeted receiver on the play. Surprisingly, no call was made on the knockdown, and thus the Eagles capitalized because of it. A couple other non-calls transpired for the Eagles, mostly on cornerback Brandon Boykin.

Prediction

Eagles will win, 34-21. The injury to Griffin will hamper Washington’s chances of winning, especially since the game’s in Philadelphia. Additionally, I believe Eagles’ running back Lesean McCoy will rebound from a couple below-average games, and Darren Sproles will continue his dominance on the ground. If the Eagles can play smart, and efficient on third downs/in the red zone, they’ll win, even though I think Washington’ll stay in the game until the end whistle. It should be fun, win or lose, in Desean Jackson’s return to Philly. Boos will be continuous too, throughout, towards Jackson.

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