Week 16 Matchups: Eagles Defense vs. Redskins Offense

For the third time this season the Eagles inconsistent defense allowed 40 points or more in a game.  While Arizona had seven of those points from a pick six they also had plenty of missed opportunities and drops which could’ve led to more points.  John Brown in particular had multiple drops which took points off the board for the Cards.  Both starting corners Eric Rowe and Byron Maxwell went down with injuries not returning to the game.  The status for Rowe and Maxwell is up in the air for this week’s NFC East showdown against Washington.  Honestly I would rather see Rowe play he has the speed to keep up with the Redskins wide receivers.  I’ve seen plenty of Maxwell this season.  Bill Davis yet again was outcoached even before the corners went down.  This team used to be hardnosed and pressure oriented.  Now they rush three guys and like to do line twists as a form of creating pressure instead of blitzing the quarterback.  It’s obviously not working to this point as the Eagles are 6-8 and the defense led by Davis has taken a drastic turn for the worse in the past month or so.  Kirk Cousins is playing well for the Redskins and he’ll have his full complement of skill players this week specifically Desean Jackson.

 

Player to Watch: Mychal Kendricks

Kendricks was vocal after the embarrassing loss to Arizona claiming the Redskins were going to get a pissed off Eagles defense, I’m paraphrasing.  The fourth year linebacker out of Cal has been wildly inconsistent his whole NFL career and this season is no exception.  He’ll make flash plays in the backfield and is an above average blitzer, but then disappear for periods of time.  The Eagles extended Kendricks in the offseason after his name was floated frequently in trade rumors leading up to and after the draft.  He has not lived up to that contract this season in my estimation.  Alongside Demeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso they’ve combined for one of the more disappointing position groups in recent Eagles history.  The health of Ryans and Alonso certainly is a factor as well regardless of what the coaches claim.  Kendricks needs to back up his words and become an every down linebacker for this defense to flourish down the stretch.  He’s the guy who can make the plays from that position with rookie Jordan Hicks on IR.

 

Matchup to Watch: Jaylen Watkins vs. Desean Jackson

You can bet Desean will be extra amped up after missing the Week 4 game against the Eagles in Landover.  He’s battled leg injuries all season, but has still managed to be a consistent deep threat when in the lineup for Washington.  Jackson exploded last week against Buffalo for 6 catches, 153 yards and a 77 yard touchdown from Cousins.  On the season he only has 26 catches and 4 touchdowns playing in only 8 games.  Jaccpot had 5 catches for 117 yards including an 81 yard touchdown in his return to the Linc last September.  The game which put the nail in the Eagles 2014 season at Washington, Jackson  had 4 catches for 126 yards.  Watkins played relatively well on the outside filling in for Maxwell after he went down last week.  He had good coverage on Michael Floyd who just made a great catch down the sideline in the 3rd quarter.  Overall, I like the way Watkins played and would not be as worried with him in the lineup as I was last year at any time.  The prevention of the deep ball will be a key for Watkins having another nice showing in Week 16.

 

Player to Watch: Jordan Reed

Finally healthy after battling leg injuries in 2014, Reed has clicked with signal caller Kirk Cousins in 2015.  The past two weeks against Chicago and Buffalo respectively Reed has 16 catches, 204 yards and 3 scores.  For the season Reed has 74 catches, 778 yards and 9 touchdowns which is pretty impressive.  I’m really not sure who will cover Reed this Saturday with the banged up state of the Eagles secondary.  Normally I would assume Malcolm Jenkins would draw the assignment, but he may be forced to cover another receiver like Pierre Garcon with the injuries.  Either way the Eagles defense has never been great covering the tight end and a skilled player like Reed can give them problems.  The Washington offense is really underrated in terms of the skilled position players and Cousins seems to be the guy moving forward in DC.  Reed and Desean Jackson may ultimately lift the Skins to an NFC East title facing backup players in the Eagles secondary.

 

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