Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins Semi-Coherent Preview

Oct 16, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) rolls out as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry (75) defends during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) rolls out as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry (75) defends during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins matchup

After three straight losses, the Philadelphia Eagles have almost completely fallen out of playoff contention. Can they deliver a blow to the hopes of one their division rivals?

Washington Redskins

Record: 6-5-1 (Third place in NFC East)

Last week: Lost to Arizona Cardinals 23-31

Head coach: Jay Gruden

The last time they met

When the Philadelphia Eagles traveled to FedEx Field in October, their run defense didn’t travel with them. Matt Jones rushed for 135 yards, headlining a 263-yard day for the Redskins. Kirk Cousins threw two touchdowns, and despite a chance to tie the game late, the Eagles fell short.

What’s the deal with the Redskins

More from Philadelphia Eagles

Thanks to a two-game losing streak, the Redskins are half a game out of a playoff spot.

I was surprised to learn that the Redskins are second in the NFL in offensive yards, especially since Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson have both missed a few games due to injury. Contributions from Jamison Crowder and Vernon Davis have helped to compensate for their absence. The rushing game has stalled recently, as they’ve been held under 100 yards on the ground the past two weeks.

On defense, the Redskins rank in the bottom half of the league in both points and yards allowed, but there is some talent. They have a dangerous pass rushing duo in Ryan Kerrigan (who terrorized Halapoulivaati Vaitai in the first meeting) and Trent Murphy. At cornerback, Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland received a fair deal of criticism early in the season, but they’re one of the better tandems in the league.

Featured Redskins player: Kirk Cousins

Philadelphia Eagles
Dec 4, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

It seems likely that Kirk Cousins is going to be the highest paid player in the NFL next season. After the Redskins were unable to come to terms with their quarterback, they applied the franchise tag, meaning Cousins would play for one season at almost $20 million. It was a decent idea, but they may have to do the same this offseason, which will raise the price tag to almost $24 million.

Cousins gambled on himself, and it seems to be paying off. He’s largely cut down on the bad interceptions (although the one he threw in the fourth quarter of last week’s game was ugly) and is a large reason why the Redskins’ passing attack has been so successful. If he reaches free agency, he will be the best option available at the position.

When he eventually cashes in, Cousins should send a thank you to the Eagles, since he seems to save his best performances for when he plays them. In four career games, Cousins has thrown for an average of 336 yards with ten touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Reason to hate the Redskins

The Cousins situation should have blown up in the Redskins’ faces. They should have thrown a mega-contract in his direction, and he should have gone into the tank. Instead, they did the smart move, and it’s working out well for everyone.

I suppose the mega-deal and ensuing tank job could still happen next season, but this is getting annoying.

Super important Eagles storyline: Have they given up?

Last week’s game against the Bengals was pathetic. They failed on offense, defense, and special teams. Those types of games happen sometimes, but when it comes after a similarly dispirited effort against the Packers, it becomes more worrisome.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense looked good earlier in the season, but much like the previous two seasons, they’ve faded badly in the second half. It used to be easy to blame Chip Kelly’s frantic pace and Billy Davis‘ coaching, but those guys are gone.

There is talent on the defense. You don’t look as dominating as they did against the Steelers and Packers if you’re untalented. So is the problem a lack of effort? It’s starting to look that way.

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: Colin Kaepernick enters Chip Kelly’s office

Chip: Hey, Kneely McKneelerson! How’s it going?

Kap: Coach, I’ve asked you not to call me that.

Chip: And I’ve asked you to not get sacked five times in a half. Looks like neither of us is getting their way.

Kap: …

Philadelphia Eagles
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) knocks the ball away from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Chip: Anyway, I’ve decided to make you the starter this week.

Kap: I appreciate the confidence.

Chip: Confidence? Oh no. Please don’t think I have any confidence in you.

Kap: Then why am I the starter?

Chip: You really have to ask? Did you forget that the other option is Blaine f***ing Gabbert? I might think you’re awful, but come on.

(Someone in the room loudly clears his throat. They both turn to look and see Blaine Gabbert sitting in the corner.)

Gabbert: Um, coach, I’m sitting right here.

Chip: How about that? I thought it smelled like an incompletion in here!

Gabbert: Coach, that was really uncalled for.

Chip: No, a play that involves you throwing the ball should be uncalled for. You know how pathetic last week’s effort was? Somehow Matt Barkley was the best quarterback on the field!

Gabbert: I think if you just give me another chance…

Chip: Another chance? Gabbert, you’ve started 40 games in your career and your team has lost 31 of them! Why the hell would anyone give you another chance?

Here’s the deal: Kaepernick’s the starter. Now try not to get sacked on your way to the practice field.

Tweets of unimportance

That’s cute. The Redskins have two consecutive seasons of not being a total laughing stock and they start talking about other teams.

And if the Eagles win this week, the Redskins probably won’t make the playoffs.

South Park character who somehow relates to this week’s game


If the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t played with much energy lately, perhaps they need a leader like Butters to properly motivate them.

The Wentz watch

Apparently, rookie quarterbacks will sometimes struggle. Wentz has definitely regressed from his early-season form, but it’s ridiculous to put all the blame on him. The offensive line had a bad game last week, he’s missing his top running back and receiver, and his tight end won’t throw a block. The playcalling isn’t doing him any favors either. Would any quarterback succeed in these conditions?

The good news is that Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews will both return this week. Wentz might at least have a fighting chance.

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It’s possible that after a few awful games, the Eagles come up with a huge effort this week. But considering how unmotivated they looked last week, I wouldn’t count on it. Cousins will have another huge game, and the Eagles will lose their fourth straight game.

Redskins 28 – Eagles 17