Week One Primer: The Redskins travel to Philadelphia

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The Washington Redskins take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 of the NFL Season (Credit: NFL.com)

Need to Know:

All Time Record: Redskins Lead the Series 86-78-6

First Meeting: 10/21/1934  Boston Redskins 6, Philadelphia Eagles 0

Last Meeting: 12/30/2018  Washington Redskins 0, Philadelphia Eagles 24

Playoff Record: (Redskins 1-0)  1990 Wild-Card Game Redskins 20, Eagles 6

Current Streak: Eagles four consecutive wins

Total Points Scored: Eagles 3,524   Redskins 3,328

Eagles

Key Additions: JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR, Miles Sanders RB, Andre Dillard T, Malik Jackson DT, Jordan Howard RB, Zach Brown LB, Johnathan Cyrprien S, Andrew Senejo S, DeSean Jackson WR

Key Losses: QB Nick Foles,  DE Michael Bennett, DE Chris Long, LB Jordan Hicks, WR Golden Tate, DT Haloti Ngata, WR Jordan Matthews  

Redskins

Key Additions: OLB Montez Sweat, WR Terry McLaurin, S Landon Collins, LB Jon Bostic, G Ereck Flowers, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, QB Case Keenum, T Donald Penn, RB Wendell Smallwood, DL Treyvon Hester    

Key Losses:  LB Zach Brown, DL Stacy McGee, G Tyler Catalina, WR Josh Doctson

Game Preview

Fletcher Cox is one of the premier defensive tackles in the NFL. He looks to showcase his talents in a juicy week one match-up (Credit: NBCSports.Com).

The Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles renew their rivalry at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday at 1pm. On the surface, it appears to be a mismatch as the Eagles and ‘Skins have very different expectations for the upcoming season.

The Eagles, which many expect to be a Super Bowl contender, begin the 2019 campaign as the fifth best team according to ESPN’s Preseason Power Rankings.  They are Projected to win 10.5 games this year (oddshark.com), and are heavy favorites to win the NFC East. They are viewed as the class of the NFC, in a tier only occupied by the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints.  

Conversely, the Redskins are simply trying to find themselves. With a projected win total of 6.5 games, (oddshark.com) the team is trying to find continuity and prove the doubters wrong. Many analysts have the team competing for a top-5 pick as opposed to anything of significance. 

The two teams clash tomorrow to kickoff the season, and fans from both cities can’t wait.  

What to Expect from the Eagles?  

Carson Wentz hopes to regain his 2018 form as he starts the 2019 NFL Season (Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The team should be buoyed by the return of Carson Wentz, who takes the keys to a Doug Pederson offense which ranked second in the league in 2017, with 28.6 points per game. Although the team took a step back in 2018 (22.9 PPG, 18th overall), a healthy Wentz and the addition of Desean Jackson should add plenty of sizzle and big-play ability. 

On defense, the Eagles are known for having a dynamic defense front, and this will likely cause the ‘Skins fitz in tomorrow’s game. The front line consisting of Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham held opposing offenses to the fewest rush attempts in the league last year. And when teams did decide to run, they weren’t successful.  Opposing teams compiled only 1551 yards against the Eagles, slotting their rush defense as 7th in the league. 

If the Redskins anticipate any success on Sunday, they may have to air the ball out. The Eagles had the 30th ranked passing defense last year. They allowed opponents to throw the ball for 4,308 yards. And they weren’t intercepting the ball either. They only had 10 interceptions on the year (25th overall). 

However, the defensive back room has a new look, and may be much improved in 2019. This off-season the Eagles added Safeties Jonathan Cyprien and Andrew Senejo. Cyprien was a former second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and has had over 100 tackles in four of his five seasons. Senejo was a key cog in the Vikings revival on defense.

Both of these additions should provide a challenge for the ‘Skins.

What to Expect from the ‘Skins? 

Derrius Guice will make his long-awaited NFL debut tomorrow against Philadelphia. (Credit: Mike Stewart./Associated Press)

The ‘Skins look to replicate the formula that led the team to a 6-3 start in 2018, which comprised of a stout rushing attack, ball-control offense, and limited turnovers. They also are anticipating an elevation in defensive play with the additions of Montez Sweat and Landon Collins. 

Fan favorite Derrius Guice will take the field in his professional debut, and the weight of the Redskins offense is on his shoulders. Much is expected out of the dynamic back as questions loom over the quality of quarterback play. Can Guice take over the game? He may have to with holes in the offensive line and spotty QB play.

It is fair to assume that the team will have trouble scoring on offense. Without Trent Williams at the left tackle position, and Ereck Flowers starting at left guard, the team will be undermanned as they attempt to run into the teeth of the Eagles’ defense. As noted above, the Eagles shine against the run and Fletcher Cox is a premier pass rusher. It should be no surprise to hear his name called tomorrow. 

In terms of a passing attack, the Redskins will be trotting out a receiving corps consisting of only one veteran of significance; Paul Richardson. Rookie Terry McLaurin, and second-year Trey Quinn look to make an impact against Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox. On paper the advantage goes to the Birds.

The ‘Skins would be wise to out-scheme the Eagles with screen passes and play-action to slowdown their vaunted pass rush. If not, it will be a long day for Case Keenum. 

Prediction

This game comes off as a tough one for Washington. Where the Redskins thrive, the Eagles counter with an area of strength. The Redskins want to run the ball? The Eagles have one of the leagues best defensive fronts. The Redskins have a significant pass rush? The Eagles have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines.

On the other end, the Eagles have an intricate passing offense which will test our largely unproven defensive backs. The Eagles will score a couple early touchdowns, and make the Redskins deviate from their game-plan. Keenum will struggle to keep up, and the Eagles D-Line will be set loose. The Redskins lose this one 24-10. 

 

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