Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 14 Preview: Skins look for Fifth Straight win over Eagles

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With four games remaining, the push for the postseason begins now for the Redskins.

With four games remaining the Washington Redskins have a decent chance of making the postseason for the second consecutive season. Washington is a half-game out of the last playoff spot with four games remaining. On Sunday, they head to Philadelphia to face an Eagles team that they have defeated in four straight meetings.

Head coach Jay Gruden banned the word “playoffs” after Washington’s 31-23 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Redskins dropped to 6-5-1 as they fell a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the sixth and final seed in the playoffs.

“There’s no talk of playoffs over here,” Gruden said after Sunday’s loss. “We’re trying to win the next game. We’re not even close to thinking about the playoffs right now.”

Gruden wasn’t the only coach chastising his team after a tough loss. Earlier in the week, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson questioned the effort of his ream after a 32-14 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals. Several players on defense voiced their opinions about Pederson’s comments but players maintain their belief in Pederson.

This game is a critical contest for Washington. Losers of their past two games to the Cardinals and Cowboys, the Redskins desperately need a win to keep their postseason hopes alive. Fortunately for Washington, they’re playing an Eagles team that has struggled as of late. After starting the season 3-0, Philly has dropped three in a row and are 2-6 in their last eight games.

The secondary for the Eagles has been an issue all season and the offense lacks playmakers to keep pace with most offenses within the NFL. The Redskins were able to control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense in their first matchup. Washington recorded five sacks and 239 rushing yards.

Keys to Victory for Washington

If the Redskins want to make the postseason, they need to become more balanced on offense. Kirk Cousins is posting solid numbers but the Redskins offense is at its best when they have balance on offense. In 2014, the Redskins were 4-5 when they ran the ball more than 25 times. The following season, Washington was 8-0 when they ran the ball more than 25 times. This year the Redskins are 5-0-1 when they run the ball more than 25 times. If the Redskins want to make the postseason there has to be more emphasis on being more balanced on offense as Washington are a pass-run ratio percentage of 63/37

Defensively, Washington has to get better at “situational football. For example, the defense of the Oakland Raiders is statistically worse than the Redskins defense in just about every major statistical category. However, Oakland’s defense is 18th in the league in redzone defense (56 percent) and ninth in third down defense. Washington ranks dead last in third down defense and 30th in redzone defense (67.5)

The offense has to do a better job down the stretch of scoring touchdowns in the redzone. Teams that make the postseason find a way to overcome their insufficiency. Jay Gruden and his staff should get back to the basics and just run the football once the team is in striking distance.

Game Prediction

On paper, the Redskins seem poised to win their fifth straight over Philadelphia. Kirk Cousins has owned the Eagles secondary as he is 3-1 against the Eagles. Washington is looking to sweep the Eagles for the second year in a row. Washington is dealing with issues along the offensive line and the Eagles have players on defense that can wreak havoc on the interior. If the Eagles are unable to pressure Cousins, the secondary for the Eagles could be in for a long day.

Washington 28 Philadelphia 17