Eagles

Your In-Depth Eagles vs. Redskins Week 7 Preview

Alex Brandon | AP

If the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Washington Redskins on Monday night and complete the season sweep they’ll have a stranglehold atop the NFC East, but a loss gets the Redskins right back in the race.

A victory by the Birds would put them 2 1/2 games in front of their competition in the division.

I’d like that!

EAGLES PASSING GAME VS. REDSKINS PASS DEFENSE
PHI- 99.6 PASSER RATING (5/32), 251 YPG (9/32)
WAS- 81.8 PASSER RATING ALLOWED (25/32), 228 YPG ALLOWED (18/32)

The Carson Wentz hype train is real, he’s now Bovada’s favorite to win the NFL MVP.

Wentz has thrown seven touchdowns in his last two games, four and three against the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers, respectively. This has come after never having a three-touchdown game prior. He still leads the league in everything third down after being 28th in passer rating on the down last year, is currently tied for second in the NFL with 13 TD passes and on pace to throw 35 in all.

Wentz and Alshon Jeffery are still trying to figure things out with their chemistry, but we can’t understate the impact his presence has made for others in the offense like Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz. Jeffery hasn’t recorded more than 100 yards receiving all season and I thought he would eclipse that mark against Carolina, but ended up with four receptions for 71 yards going against James Bradberry, who was by far the least talented corner Jeffery has gone against. Jeffery had faced Josh Norman, Marcus Peters, Janoris Jenkins, Casey Hayward and Patrick Peterson in his first five games, but Norman will miss Sunday’s game with a rib injury and Washington’s No. 2 corner Beshaud Breeland might be out with an MCL injury.

Maybe this will be Jeffery’s 100-yard performance.

The rapport between Jeffery and Wentz will improve if he figures out how to throw the back-shoulder ball. It’s Jeffery’s best route in his arsenal, but Wentz has yet to connect with him on it. This was a poorly thrown attempt against the Chargers.

Jeffery leads the NFL with 21 contested targets, but has only come down with eight of them.

I believe this is more on the lack of chemistry than Jeffery’s talent level. Wentz overthrew Jeffery on a few occasions earlier in the season on the deep ball, but hit his No. 1 target perfectly in stride on a toss along the left sideline against the Panthers (pass is after 3rd-and-16 conversion below). The back-shoulder throw will come with time.

The Redskins killer Ertz, who caught eight passes for 93 yards against Washington in the opener, has totaled 54 receptions for 531 yards in nine career games against the Redskins. I don’t think Washington’s safeties, D.J. Swearinger or Deshazor Everett, are good enough to handle Ertz and believe its linebackers are athletic enough. I expect another big game from him.

The Eagles should be able to throw the ball effectively with Norman out, but only if their pass protection holds up. The Redskins sacked Wentz twice in Week 1 and nine times in two games last year. Lane Johnson, who missed last Thursday’s game due to a concussion and expected to play Monday, missed both meetings against Washington last year. The backs have to be better in pass blocking as well.

EAGLES RUNNING GAME VS. REDSKINS RUN DEFENSE
PHI- 4.4 YPC (9/32), 122.8 YPG (10/32)
WAS- 4.0 YPC ALLOWED (15/32), 88.0 YPG ALLOWED (8/32)

Just when the Redskins’ defensive line began to look dominant, they suffered a huge blow when Jonathan Allen was lost for the season with a Lisfranc injury.

Now Washington has to combat with an Eagles rushing attack which has been completely rejuvenated since the two teams met during the opening weekend. Philadelphia had just 24 carries for 58 yards in that contest, but have eclipsed the 100-yard in each game since as Eagles head coach Doug Pederson’s play-calling now showcases more balance.

The left guard experiment is over between Stefen Wisniewski and Chance Warmack. Wiz saw 100 percent of the snaps last week against Carolina, about damn time that’s over! The two had been rotating at the position ever since Pederson benched Isaac Seumalo in favor for them following Week 2’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Wendell Smallwood looks like he is going to play after missing the last two games with a knee injury. Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich talked about what he brings to the table.

He’s a thrashing, downhill runner. He’s got some explosiveness. He’s a three-down back. He’s good out of the backfield. He’s really good in protections. So yeah, it brings all those things.

 

REDSKINS PASSING GAME VS. EAGLES PASS DEFENSE
PHI- 85.6 PASSER RATING ALLOWED (13/32), 274 YPG ALLOWED (29/32)
WAS- 106.4 PASSER RATING (3/32), 251 YPG (8/32)

I spoke about the continued growing chemistry between Wentz and Jeffery earlier, the same can be said about Kirk Cousins and Terrelle Pryor, who signed a one-year deal with the Redskins during the offseason. Pryor talked about spending time with Cousins recently to work on that rapport during an interview with ESPN.

Statistically, Pryor’s best game came against the Eagles in Week 1 when he caught six passes for 66 yards, but he hasn’t caught more than three balls in a game since.

Cousins has played a lot better in recent weeks. He’s topped the 100 quarterback rating mark in each of his last three games and has thrown seven touchdowns as opposed to one interception. As for his history against the Eagles, he’s been pretty successful. He’s registered a 4-2 mark with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions against the Birds. Cousins gets the ball out quick and that’s been the Kryptonite for Philadelphia’s defense.

It’ll be important that Fletcher Cox and company get to Cousins, which they did on four occasions in Week 1. Cox returned from a two-game absence following a calf injury against Carolina and caused major disruptions. Carolina elected to leave left guard Trai Turner on an island against Cox for most of the night and it didn’t turn out too well.

Cox also sealed the Week 1 outcome against the Redskins earlier this season.

 

REDSKINS RUNNING GAME VS. EAGLES RUN DEFENSE
PHI- 3.8 YPC ALLOWED (10/32), 65.7 YPG ALLOWED (1/32)
WAS- 4.1 YPC (16/32), 122.8 YPG (10/32)

In the Week 1 showdown between the teams, the Redskins ran the ball just 17 times for 64 yards. Like Pederson in Philly, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has stressed running the football more and the proof has been in the pudding. Washington has carried the ball on average 33 times for 137.5 yards per game since the opener. The Eagles on the other hand haven’t allowed a back to run for more than 35 yards since Kareem Hunt went for 81 against them in Week 2.

I’m not really worried too much about Washington’s rushing attack despite its success lately, I’m more concerned with Chris Thompson catching passes out of the backfield. He hauled in this 29-yard touchdown against the Birds in September.

 

PREDICTION:
I’m really curious how this Eagles team comes out on Monday night because the narrative has changed, they are no longer seen as an underdog but the favorite to win the NFC and Carson Wentz is the favorite to win MVP. It’s 11 days between games and the Birds have certainly generated a lot of buzz lately. I don’t see a letdown, however, because this is a game the Eagles have to win so I don’t think they take the Redskins lightly. The Eagles will win this game because, on paper, Washington has too many injuries on defense to keep pace with their explosive offense. I think Cousins will have a big game for the ‘Skins, but Wentz will out-duel him and the Birds win a shootout.

34-30 Eagles

 


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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