Eagles (6-8) vs Redskins (7-7) Week 16 – Preview

The last time the Eagles were on national TV (last week) they were thoroughly embarrassed by the Arizona Cardinals.  That game although important didn’t really matter for the Eagles.  Regardless of win or loss the Eagles still hold their destiny in their hands.  A loss tonight vs the Redskins and the Eagles playoff hopes are basically impossible.  A loss tonight means the the Washington Redskins will be celebrating a division title on LFF.  If the Eagles want to win the East they need follow this up with another win next week and they will be NFC East Champions and most likely a date with Seattle in the first round.

Here are the injury reports from philadelphiaeagles.com – The Eagles’ injury report did not change all week leading up to Saturday’s showdown with the Washington Redskins.  The good news for the Eagles’ defense is that starting rookie cornerback Eric Rowe is probable after leaving last Sunday’s game against Arizona with a concussion.  However, Rowe’s position mate Byron Maxwell did not practice all week due to a shoulder injury and is questionable along with starting nose tackle Bennie Logan (calf) and special teams ace Seyi Ajirotutu(ankle).  Either E.J. Biggers or Jaylen Watkins would potentially start in Maxwell’s absence. Second-year nose tackle Beau Allen is in position to start for Logan if he is unable to play.  “You never know whether or not you’re going to get your first start,” Allen said earlier this week. “You never know when it’s going to come. You might not know until gameday. I guess you just have to prepare every day like you’re not a backup. I’ve played in every game too these last two years. I don’t see myself as green by any means. You just work every week and prepare every week like you are the guy and if that time arises, you’re never surprised by it.”  Quarterback Sam Bradford is probable with the shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 10 against Miami.

Click here for the Redskins injury report.

Going into to week 15 the Eagles were healthy.  Health this late in the year is a relative term for NFL standards.  During the Cardinals game they lost both starting corners and stud DT Bennie Logan re-injured his calf and is now listed as questionable.  I don’t expect him to play.  The young guys will need to step up.  Let’s be honest.  Maxwell being out is addition by distraction.  Jaylen Watkins came in last Sunday and really played well.  He played a lot better than Maxwell did.  What’s more impressive was who he was playing against.  The Cardinals have the best WR’s in the league.  The Redskins don’t have those skill players but do have guys who can make plays.  Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are a formidable 1-2 punch that can hurt defenses underneath and over the top.  Eric Rowe really has done a nice job since being thrust into the starting role.  After a baptismal by fire against the Lions he has been solid.

The Eagles OL should be able to control the Redskins up front.  They do have some match-up advantages on the outside the Lane Johnson and Jason Peters.  They will need to hold up over the course of the game.  The “Hogs” for the Redskins have been a much improved unit as this season has progressed.  In my opinion they are the reason Cousins has been so effective.

The Eagles seem to have trouble with “game manager” QB’s.  Guys who can dink and dunk their way down the field.  This is exactly how Cousins’ beat the Eagles the first time around throwing a late TD to Pierre Garçon.  Quick step drops are a great way to neutralize a good pass rush.  When the ball gets out quick and on time there isn’t enough time for the pass rush to get home.  If the Eagles want to win this game all three levels on the defense need to be on the same page.  If I were running the defense – and I should be because Billy Davis is a pathetic excuse for an NFL coordinator I would run more zone than man.  Make those windows a little tighter and if the Eagles can make Cousins hold the ball a bit longer, they have a chance to get home on the pass rush.

Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles need to have a great game tonight if the Eagles want to play a meaningful game next weekend in New York.  A strong ground game will give Sam Bradford and the WR’s a chance to make plays downfield.  Over the last month the Eagles have been able to make some plays downfield through the passing game.  An element that was sorely missed during the first half of the year.  The Redskins defense will give this offense a chance or two to get something going deep.  The OL needs to give Sam the time for this to happen.

Prediction – Let’s call it the way it is.  Despite a have 2 game winning streak the Eagles are still only 2-4 in their last 6 games.  This team has been tough to watch and embarrassing at times.  Every time we as fans think we have these guys figured out, they do something completely unexpected.  This fanbase is split.  From what I see on Twitter and from listening on sports radio half want them to get in the playoffs and “roll the dice” and the other half want to pack it in and rebuild.  One half of this fan base is going to be very happy come tonight around 11:30 PM.  Eagles 20 – Redskins 23

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