Sep 15, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running backDarren Sproles
(43) runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Philadelphia defeats Indianapolis 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Redskins Haven’t Faced This Eagles Team Before
The build-up in the week before the game with the Redskins at the Eagles has been impressive. None more-so than the ranking of team stats. Redskins are impressive when you look at the box scores so far. They lead the nation in team defense, in sacks, fourth in rushing yards allowed and second in passing yards allowed.
The story is the same on offense, where they are tenth on offense and fifth on rushing offense and seventh in passing offense. In short, they are a statistical nightmare of a match-up for the Eagles team who are banged up and coming down from a very impressive win against the Indianapolis Colts.
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Even moreso, the Redskins enter the game as a seven point underdog. Something isn’t adding up, or is it?
When you begin to go into the ranking of teams statistically, you have to ask yourself what is “in there”? So let’s look at a two game season from the Eagles and Redskins perspective.
The Eagles are 2-0, having faced the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts. The Redskins are 1-1, having faced the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Why does that matter?
The NFL places parity into the schedule, and as the Eagles finished first place, they face the first place teams. The Redskins finished last, and the same parity works for them too, they face the last place teams. So tossing out the Jacksonville game as a “push”, we are faced with two road games- one to Indianapolis and one to Houston.
The Redskins arrival in Houston was a poor showing. Despite out-gaining the Texans, the Redskin offense could only manufacture a single touchdown but could not even score the extra point. Meanwhile, the Redskins defense allowed Ryan Fitzpatrick plenty of time, not generating a single sack and merely 3 quarterback hits. Robert Griffin III? He was sacked 3 times but was hit a total of 14 times.
The opposite played out for the Eagles in Indianapolis. While the Eagles had difficulty getting to Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, the patched up offensive line was equally stodgy in their protection of quarterback Nick Foles. The key was the fact that the Eagles Nick Foles passed for nearly twice the passing yards as Andrew Luck. Yes, that’s right. 331 yards to 172 yards. Whoda Thunk?
And while the Colts had early success at the running game, they become overly confident with it, and failed with the run in the closing moments of the game when so many expected Luck to pass.
So while folks will talk at length about the surprising success of the Washington Redskins, its not as much success as it is they have beaten one of the worst teams in the NFL handily. A team projected to win 6 games can and should be able to do that.
They’ve lost to Ryan Fitzpatrick and beaten Chad Henne. The have scored 6 and 41. They have surrendered 17 and 10. Averaging two completely opposite games can place a team in a statistical lead after two games. But no team finds success in the NFL with that inconsistency. And that is the dilemma facing these Redskins. Yes, Kirk Cousins had a great win coming off the bench. Now he starts for the Redskins. He started five games for the Redskins with virtually the same personnel in 2013. Yes, the addition of a banged up DeSean Jackson this year could prove to be part of their offense, but the Redskins have a pocket passer in Cousins, and that means defenses do not need to focus as heavily on a “spy” or lane assignments.
Defenses that knew they had to face Kirk Cousins in 2013 never lost to him.
” We’re from Philly and we fight.” – Chip Kelly
And this is a new Eagles team. No longer is the offense DeSean Jackson deep. Now the Eagles have wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back Darren Sproles, and tight end Zach Ertz all capable of changing the game. How odd is it that running back LeSean McCoy is seemingly corralled so far? As the season progresses, his stature grows larger and larger. This could be the game that brings him to the front of rushing lead. The dispatcher to this fleet of offensive cross country big rigs is none other than quarterback Nick Foles. In the first two games, everyone has noticed he’s hesitated and missed noticing wide open receivers on the field. Still, the Eagles offense averages over 30 points a a game. What happens when Nick Foles finds his range and locates the open man?
The special teams for the Birds has been impressive. From a game winner off the foot of Cody Parkey, to the coffin corner kicks of superman Donnie Jones, to blocked field goals, the special teams of the Philadelphia Eagles has been earning respect in 2014. In games where other parts of the team falter, the special teams could still make enough plays to win the game for us.
The most special part of the Eagles in 2014 has been their defense. When you toss out the early gift points awarded to the Jacksonvile Jaguars by just showing up, this defense has been better than expected. While they are allowing some teams to run on them, the pass defense is rated 11th in the NFL with only three sacks. And that is AFTER the eagles faced NFL darling quarterback Andrew Luck.
Yes, the Eagles did not bring in safety Jairus Byrd (who sits on the 0-2 New Orleans Saints), but the combination of safeties Malcolm Jenkins, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, and Chris Maragos, and cornerbacks Nolan Carroll, Brandon Fletcher, Cary Williams, and 2013 star Brandon Boykin, have been doing quite well. Now they get to face of the Redskins organization in
Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins.
So the game this weekend will be decided on the ground. It’s a gut check. LeSean McCoy versus Alfred Morris. McCoy can catch and run. Morris has been pretty much just a runner. McCoy is complimented by Darren Sproles. Morris has been complimented by RGIII, who is not playing.
In a battle of gut check, I tip my hat to the guy who makes it part of the team mantra. “We’re from Philly and we fight” means more than a headline this week. Where do you see the final score? Check out our predictions at https://insidetheiggles.com/2014/09/20/nfl-week-3-predictions-redskins-eagles/ and see if you agree.
Now… stock pile your favorite tail gate foods. You will want to have plenty. When the Eagles go 3-0, you may find you have a huge appetite.