By: Ryan Cooley
The Redskins season kicks off on Sunday in Philadelphia. Many are writing the Skins off this season. Numerous power rankings have them near dead last. Sunday is a chance for Washington to re-write the script.
The Eagles are a challenging opponent to start the season, but despite what many say, I believe they can manage a win.
How can they win?
The game plan for this matchup is simple. Run the ball to dominate time of possession and play defense. Luckily, the Skins are in a great position to do this. Guice looked sharp in his game against the Falcons. Being able to run the ball and avoid third and long will be key.
This defense will have a great chance to show people how good they can be. I expect big things from the defensive front. They will need to make Wentz uncomfortable early. The secondary needs to prove that they can stick with their man. Wentz feeds off of extending plays and will kill the Redskins if they cannot stay with their man.
Players to watch on offense
Terry McLaurin: Despite not playing much in the preseason, reports said McLaurin was one of the best receivers at camp. It will be interesting to see how involved he is in the offense. He already has chemistry with Haskins since they played together at Ohio State. However, Haskins will not be throwing him the ball.
Derrius Guice: This is the player I am most excited about. Jay Gruden said earlier this week that the offense would run through Guice. I think giving Guice the majority of touches is the right move. Many wanted to see Guice and Peterson split carries. However, the former LSU RB was drafted to be the bell cow back, and Gruden is looking to utilize him as such.
Donald Penn: This may be the most crucial takeaway from the game. Can Penn manage to hold down the left side of the line? Watching Keenum play in the pre-season, he seemed to be running for his life almost every pass.
DeAngelo Hall said earlier this week that Williams may come back sooner rather than later. This is a pleasant surprise since Williams said he never wants to play for Washington again. Nevertheless, Penn is the starting LT and will need to perform well if this offense wants to succeed.
Players to watch on defense
Landon Collins: Collins looked good in his outing at Atlanta. He was all over the ball, and the Redskins need someone who isn’t afraid of contact in the secondary. I want to see how he does in coverage against the Eagles strong passing game.
Jonathan Allen: I am paying more attention to Allen’s leadership ability than his play. We already know that Allen will dominate, but I hope he steps up from a leadership perspective. Since cutting Swearinger, they have not had a player to step up and take the reins of this defense
Jimmy Moreland: I am not sure how much playtime Moreland will have on Sunday. He was, without a doubt the standout player of the pre-season. Norman and Dunbar will start outside, and I expect Moreland to get playtime at nickel. The secondary will need to step up big time if they want to beat the Eagles.
Prediction: Eagles win 24-17
This will be a challenging game for the Redskins to win, especially since it is in Philadelphia. Under Jay Gruden, the Skins have only won 1 of their last 5 season openers. Since so many players are putting on a Redskins uniform for the first time and the lack of success Gruden has had in season openers, I think the Eagles will walk away victorious.