By: Patrick Waring
(Above Photo Courtesy Of Alex Troutwig / Getty Images)
Unless Mother Nature has a change of plans, the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Washington Redskins today. Maybe a little messy, but it will happen.
Both teams will be 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the NFC East when the opening kickoff takes place a little after 1pm. The Redskins are hoping to put their error and mistake filled 32-21 loss to the New York Giants behind them. They will try to regain success on the ground and take care of the football. That’s a task that will be a little tougher after the recent news of LG Shawn Lauvao (ankle) being placed on season ending IR this week. Second year player Spencer Long appears to be taking over Lauvao’s position and will be playing beside LT Trent Williams. The Redskins are hoping Long can come in and help the line open up things for Alfred Morris and Matt Jones. The Giants were able to get off blocks and stop most runs before damage was done.
The Philadelphia Eagles come to town after defeating the New York Jets 24-17 last week. RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring) was a late scratch, but the Eagles were able to get plays by RBs Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews to jump out to a 24-0 lead and hold on for the victory. Sproles scored on a 89 yard punt return and a one yard rush. Mathews picked up 108 yards on the ground and scored on a 23 yard reception from QB Sam Bradford. Having those two, with Murray, is a luxury for Chip Kelly on offense.
Much like the game against the Giants, the key will be the Redskins’ run game vs. the Eagles’ run defense. The Eagles are giving up a little over three yards per rush. Finding holes and space to run will help control the clock and prevent QB Kirk Cousins from having to throw 30 to 40 times. Something that would be a good idea with the possible weather and turnover issues. The Eagles will probably look for much of their offense on the ground and with short passes. Bradford hasn’t thrilled anyone with his numbers and hasn’t been able to get the ball downfield in the first three games of the season. The Redskins will try to add pressure when necessary. They have been able to get to the quarterback at times, but the team only totals four sacks on the season. LB Ryan Kerrigan comes into this contest with just .5 in the three games. Disrupting Bradford will make life easy for the guys in coverage.
In a division that still has a lot of uncertainty, a win today is something that both teams desperately need.
You can follow me on Twitter @WaringPatrick.