Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins Semi-Coherent Preview

Dec 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) makes a reception past the defense of Washington Redskins free safety Dashon Goldson (38) during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins won 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) makes a reception past the defense of Washington Redskins free safety Dashon Goldson (38) during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins won 38-24. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Washington Redskins

So much for the Philadelphia Eagles‘ undefeated season. Despite a facing a seemingly beatable opponent, thanks to several self-inflicted mistakes and some questionable officiating, the Eagles dropped their first game of the season to the Detroit Lions last week.

The Eagles can’t afford to let the loss linger as they will face their first NFC East opponent of the season this week.

Washington Redskins

Record: 3-2 (3rd place in NFC East)

Last week: Defeated Baltimore Ravens

Head coach: Jay Gruden

The last time they met

The Eagles’ playoff hopes were still alive in week 16 of the 2015 season. If they beat the Redskins and Giants, they would be NFC East champions.

The Eagles came out hot and scored a touchdown on their first drive, but they were unable to sustain that success. Thanks to Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed, the Redskins rallied, and came away with a victory and a division title.

It was especially galling considering this is how the first half ended:

Cousins takes a knee

This was also the last game coached by Chip Kelly. A combination of missing the playoffs two straight years and forcing Jeffrey Lurie to re-schedule the team Christmas party was apparently enough for him to lose his job.

What’s the deal with the Redskins

The Redskins started off the season 0-2, and it looked like they were headed for another dreadful season. Thanks to a dramatic victory over the Giants and an easing of the schedule, things have turned around in DC. Now, they’re on a three-game winning streak.

Offensively, the Redskins may be without tight end Jordan Reed. That’s a huge break for the Eagles as Reed is one of the best tight ends in football and usually has big games against the Eagles. The Redskins may try to rely more on the receiver group of Pierre Garcon and ex-Eagle DeSean Jackson. (Who by the way, would TOTALLY return to the Eagles – if they paid him enough.)

The Redskins have improved defensively after some trouble in the early going. They allowed an average of 30 points in their first three games, but have only allowed a total of 24 over the past two weeks. Despite some questions about how he’s been used, pricey free agent cornerback Josh Norman has played well and greatly helped the pass defense.

Featured Redskins player: Kirk Cousins

Thanks to some late-game heroics, a fun catch phrase, and the fact that he is not Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins became the darling of Redskins fans last year.


I was going to say that Redskins fans were stupid for getting too excited by a catch phrase, but then I remembered that this existed.

It seemed obvious what was going to happen: The Redskins were going to sign Cousins to a huge extension, and he would go on to play poorly for a few seasons. Surprisingly, the Redskins didn’t act rashly. Instead, they ended up placing the franchise tag on Cousins as a way to see if he could replicate his success.

Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 9, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Through five games, Cousins’ future still seems uncertain. He’s played decently, but certainly not well enough to convince people that he’s the man to lead the Redskins for the next few years. It seems like he might just be an average quarterback.

What do you do with a guy like that? (If you’re the Eagles, you re-sign him, draft his replacement at #2, and then trade him for a first round pick.)

Cousins’ increased fame makes me think that Carson Wentz needs a catch phrase of his own. Here are a few ideas:




Reason to hate the Redskins

As far as I’m concerned, the only redeeming aspect of the Redskins organization is that they’re probably going to move to Virginia soon. They can go gouge that state’s residents for a new publicly-paid-for stadium that will only serve to make Dan Snyder richer.

Key Eagles storyline

Philadelphia Eagles
Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Leodis McKelvin (21) during warmups before game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Buccaneers, 17-9. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The Eagles’ defense has played well this season, and after a bad first half, they rebounded to play well in the second half against the Lions. However, through four games, one disturbing trend has emerged: The Eagles secondary seems to struggle if the pass rush isn’t generating enough pressure.

In the first half, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a lot of time to throw, and the result was three touchdowns. In the second half, the defensive line applied more pressure and the Lions weren’t able to do much. While none of the Eagles’ corners are Bradley Fletcher-level bad, nobody is going to confuse Nolan Carroll or Leodis McKelvin for an elite corner either. They can be beaten if a quarterback has enough time to find them.

The Wentz Watch

Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws the ball during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

We all knew that Carson Wentz was going to throw an interception at some point. Unfortunately, it happened at an inopportune time, and essentially ended the Eagles’ hopes at a comeback. (In case you’re wondering what would have been an opportune time, I would have said any time in the fourth quarter of the Steelers game.)

The interception wasn’t the worst decision in the world. He had a receiver in one-on-one coverage, and it feels like in the modern NFL, if it isn’t a catch, half the time those types of plays result in a pass interference penalty. (The refs certainly owed the Eagles a call.) It didn’t feel like a Brett Favre-style “gunslinger” play where he just threw it up and hoped for the best.

The interception overshadowed the fact that Wentz played pretty well last week. Once again, the game plan called for a lot of safer passes, but he completed most of them, with a few highlight reel throws mixed in.

Tweets of unimportance

Each week, I’ll survey Twitter to find some of the best (by which I mean worst) tweets from fans of the opposing team

A realistic Redskins fan? That’s a rare breed.

Now this is more what I expect out of Redskins fans.

Catching up with the Chipper

Every so often, I take a look to see how former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is doing now that he’s moved on to San Francisco.

The scene: Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick enter Chip Kelly’s office.

Gabbert: You said you wanted to see us.

Chip: I sure did. It seems like we need to re-think the quarterback position a bit.

Gabbert: I know we’ve had some troubles the past few weeks, but I think we’re improving.

Chip: We’re improving? Can I ask what the heck are you basing that on? I’ve seen the games. And you know what I do after the games? I watch film of the games. I watch the games from every angle known to man. And none of those angles indicates that you are in any way improving.

Gabbert: It just feels-

Chip: You want to know why Bill Belichick has had such success in this league?

Gabbert: He always-

Chip: Blaine, I’m going to give you an assignment for next week. It’s “learn what a rhetorical question is.”

Anyway, the reason Belichick is so successful, it’s because every time he’s faced with a quarterback controversy, one of his choices is Tom Brady.

Kap: Coach, it seems unfair to-

Chip: Unfair? Unfair is the Titans refusing to trade the #2 pick in the draft so that you can draft a quarterback who can actually play in your system! Instead I’ve got a quarterback competition more messed up than the presidential race!

Over here (points to Kaepernick) I’ve got a guy who’s actually accomplished something in the league. On paper, he should be an easy choice. But you’ve messed up enough times that people have too many doubts. Oh, and just about half the country hates you and thinks you’re a criminal.

(Turns to Gabbert) And then there’s you. You’re clearly unfit for the job and embarrass yourself every time you appear on national television. Even worse, if I choose you, black people accuse me of being racist!

Gabbert: Coach, I don’t think you’re racist.

Chip: Aw, that’s sweet. Now get out of my office. I’m going to watch college film, and maybe find a quarterback we can draft next year, assuming you two haven’t gotten me fired already.


If the Eagles had won last week, I’d be really worried about this game. My hope is that last week served as a bit of a wake-up call, and Eagles players have realized that they aren’t good enough to make that many mistakes and still win a game.

For whatever reason, Cousins always plays well against the Eagles, so I think this one will be close. But I think this week serves as Zach Ertz‘s breakout game of the season, with 100+ yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, the defense catches a huge break with Reed out, and will do just enough to secure a victory.

Eagles 30 – Redskins 26