NFL Week 3 Predictions: Redskins @ Eagles

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Sep 15, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) passes the ball during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Takacs, Staff Writer

Coming off two back-to-back recovery wins, the Philadelphia Eagles look to start strong this time around. These two teams opened the season last year, with the Eagles warp-speed offense running all over the Redskins. This time around, I expect to see a more balanced football game, given a year of Eagles game film, and Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins getting his first start instead of quarterback Robert Griffin III. While the Eagles defense should play well, I still expect some holes to open for running back Alfred Morris, and I would expect at least one big play from former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson.

However, as the Eagles have shown, they own the second quarter, and should clamp down across the board, limited yards and points for their opponent. Quarterback Nick Foles should have another good but not great game, and his receivers should start catching more passes. This is the time to showcase the passing game, and the Skins will no doubt target the Eagles’ running game, trying to box up on LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. Overall, the Eagles pull out a win.

Eagles 28, Redskins 21

Matt Thornton, Staff Writer

It’s going to be a great matchup this sunday when the best offense in this young NFL season led by Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly takes on the Washington Redskins and head coach Jay Gruden’s top ranked defense.  I believe this game is going to be closer than people realize because while the loss of quarterback Robert Griffin III and an ailing wide receiver Desean Jackson are going to hurt the Redskins, the true strength of Washington is in its defense and rushing attack.

The Eagles have not faced a defense as good as the Redskins yet this season.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are an offensive player fantasy football owner’s dream, and the Colts are heavily dependent upon their offense racking up substantial points to win, which hasn’t worked out as they’ve not won a game yet.  Washington’s defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is a master at creating pressure schemes against opposing quarterbacks, and he’s proven this year that he can deploy his two primary pass rushers, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, with deadly effectiveness.  The Eagles offensive line will have their hands full.

On the flip side, the Redskins have not faced an opponent with the offensive firepower the Eagles can deliver.  Kelly’s hurry-up spread offense is a matchup nightmare for teams.  As the Colts experienced last week, if you stop RB LeSean McCoy, you still have to account for running back Darren Sproles.  If you contain tight end Brent Celek, defenses still have to worry about TE Zach Ertz.  It’s pick-your-poison with the Eagles offense, and it will be a huge test for the Redskins defense.

Regardless of who wins Sunday’s contest, fans will know for sure after the game if the Eagles offense is as good as many think or if the Redskins defense is the real deal.  I believe this will be an old school “five yards and a cloud of dust” type game where the team that is most effective rushing the ball, dominates the time of possession, and generates the most turnovers will come out as the victor.  In the end, the Eagles defense will be too much for an undermanned Redskins offense, and while I think Philadelphia’s Oline will give up quite a few sacks, the Eagles come out on top.

Eagles 21, Redskins 7