Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 6 Preview: Battle for First Place

Philadelphia Eagles Loss Keith Allison


For the past three weeks, the Washington Redskins have been finding ways to win. Despite their deficiencies on offense and defense the Redskins are learning how to win ugly in the NFL. The Redskins play their third divisional opponent on Sunday as they face the Philadelphia Eagles.

After starting the season 0-2, the Redskins can tie for first place within the NFC East on Sunday with a win. Washington plays host to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins have owned their division rival as of late, winning the past three games against the Eagles.

Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the biggest surprises in the early stages in the NFL season. Led by rookie head coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles are one of the more improved teams in all of football. First year defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has also improved the defense with his “wide-9” scheme.

Wentz has played exceptionally well considering that a year ago, he was facing FCS caliber defenses. In the preseason, Wentz only played 38 total snaps on offense. Carson Wentz the majority of training camp and preseason. Despite that the Eagles brass loved his development enough that they traded Sam Bradford to the quarterback hungry Minnesota Vikings prior to the start of the season.

Keys to Victory (Offense)

This is the week that the Redskins should look to get running back Robert Kelley more touches. Kelly looked solid against Baltimore in limited action. Although Washington had a tough time running the ball against the Ravens last week, running against the aggressive Eagles front will be necessary for the Redskins to be successful. Philadelphia has the second ranked defense in the NFL. (266.8 ypg) The Eagles are third in rushing defense with (73.2 ypg)

Kirk Cousins has been successful against the Eagles throughout his career. He threw for a career high 427 yards against the Eagles in 2014. Last year he enjoyed two of his finest moments of his career. In week four, he led the Redskins to a 23-20 victory over the Eagles.

Cousins engineered a game winning 15-play,90 yard drive capped by a four-yard Pierre Garcon receiving touchdown. In the NFC East title game in week 16, Cousins was 31/46 for 365 passing yards and four touchdowns. Cousins averaged a passer rating of 166.2 against the Eagles in 2015.

The switch to the 4-3 defense has revitalized the Eagles defense. Anchored by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, the Eagles have compiled 14 sacks. (t-5th in the NFL) Philadelphia will lean heavily on it’s pass rush to disrupt Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense. Morgan Moses will have his hands full with Brandon Graham. Pro Football Focus has Graham ranked as the second highest graded edge rusher in the NFL.

With Jordan Reed out due to a concussion, the Redskins should lean more heavily on former Eagle DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder. Philadelphia is solid at safety with the duo of Malcom Jenkins and Rashad Mcleod but are susceptible at defensive back.

Keys to Victory (Defense)

The loss of Lane Johnson will be huge for the Eagles. Johnson is the Philadelphia’s best offensive lineman. He will be replaced by rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai. The fifth-round pick out of TCU will be tasked with stopping Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy. Preston Smith has yet to register a sack but that could change with Jason Peters coming to town. In the week 16 game against the Eagles in 2015, Smith recorded three sacks against Peters.

The Redskins desperately need Bashaud Breeland to bounce back. Breeland had a rough start to the season and provided little impact against the Giants as he left the game due to injury. Breeland missed the Redskins last two games. With Josh Norman patrolling the left side of the field, the Redskins need a strong game from Breeland as he’ll see a lot of Jordan Matthews.

Another key will be limiting tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz went for 13 catches and 122 yards in his last game against Washington. The Redskins also need to wrap up Eagle ball carriers. The Eagles aren’t explosive on the ground but Doug Pederson has shown a commitment to the running game. Philly ranks 10th in the NFL with 118.2 rushing yards per game.

Who Wins and Why

On paper, the Eagles may appear to be the better team. Most pundits and analysts would agree. However, the Redskins are finding ways to win. If Cousins can get into a rhythm early on and the offense can stay ahead of the chains, Cousins will have no problem duplicating his success against the Philadelphia Eagles.

On defense, the Redskins need to rattle Carson Wentz. Although Wentz has been playing exceptionally well, he’s still a rookie making his second road start of his young career. That inexperience will prove to be costly for the Philadelphia EaglesWashington 28 Philadelphia 24.