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Week 4 preview: Eagles at Redskins

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Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) at Washington Redskins (1-2)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at FedExField, Landover, Md. – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Dick Stockton, David Diehl, Kristina Pink

*Keys to the game: RBs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles lit the fire in the Philadelphia running game last week without $40 million starter DeMarco Murray (hamstring), who is questionable again this week. The Eagles are spinning their wheels with a 24.3 third-down conversion rate and average just 2.7 yards per rush. Offensive line issues are a culprit and with six turnovers, QB Sam Bradford needs a better recipe to win on the road. There are matchups outside favoring the Eagles, and TE Zach Ertz gutted the Washington secondary in his last visit to FedExField with 15 reception for 115 yards (Dec. 20, 2014).

Washington’s defense has been a mild surprise under coordinator Joe Barry with little flash involved – four sacks, one takeaway – because of outstanding third-down defense. It helps to have a running attack averaging 4.6 yards per carry. That also eases some of the worry about QB Kirk Cousins captaining the offense from the line of scrimmage. Cousins has been passable with four interceptions in 107 attempts with the expected risk-averse approach. He can get TE Jordan Reed and WR Pierre Garcon behind the Eagles’ snug perimeter coverage if he dares take those shots.

*Matchup to watch – Redskins OG Spencer Long vs. Eagles DE Fletcher Cox: Cox said the Eagles are prepared for a power-running approach from the Redskins. Long will have help on the left side where he steps in for injured Shawn Lauvao, but he’s raw and largely untested.

*Player spotlight – Eagles C Jason Kelce: He has apologized publicly and to coach Chip Kelly for poor play, becoming a target for attacking defensive line schemes, and the Redskins ’30’ front brings plenty of lightning, starting with NT Terrance Knighton.

*Fast facts: The Eagles failed to gain a first down on 17 of their first 40 possessions this season. … Washington’s defense seeks to hold a fourth consecutive opponent below 85 rushing yards for the first time since 1989.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Neither team can brag about a great margin for error, but the Eagles have more talent and appear primed for a breakthrough.

*Our pick: Eagles 24-20


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