EAGLES-REDSKINS: A Preview of Sunday's Game
PHILADELPHIA – The Washington Redskins nearly beat the Eagles in the season opener, and that was when the Eagles were fully healthy.
The Eagles needed two touchdown catches of more than 50 yards from DeSean Jackson and a pair of touchdowns from Alshon Jeffery to escape with a 32-27 win at home after falling behind 17-0 with less than 10 minutes to go in the second quarter.
Who knew then that game would serve as a theme all season long, with the Eagles falling behind by double digits then trying to come back in eight of their games so far this season?
Who knew then that injuries would reshape their roster in such a way that they will head to Washington for their rematch game against the Redskins on Sunday (1 p.m.) with skill position players that resemble a preseason roster than one trying to scramble into the playoffs by winning the NFC East?
At 6-7, the Eagles can move into sole possession of the NFC East with a win and a Dallas Cowboys (6-7) loss at home against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Redskins, who have won two of three to get to 3-10, also look different too now than they did in Week One, with a new coach and quarterback.
Jay Gruden was fired midseason and replaced with Bill Callahan as the interim coach. Case Keenum is on the bench now behind rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who is completing 55 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Running back Adrian Peterson was inactive in the season opener but has since rejoined the lineup and is playing extremely well with 718 yards while averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
The Eagles have five in a row over Washington dating back to the 2017 season. It is their longest sustained stretch of success since winning seven in a row from Dec. 16, 2001-Dec. 12, 2004.
The Eagles will try to make it six straight without receivers Jackson and Jeffery, both of whom are now on Inured Reserve, and receiver Neslon Agholor, who sas ruled out on Saturday with a lingering knee injury.
Running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) was also ruled out on Saturday and will miss his fifth straight game and may also be headed to the IR to join fellow running backs Darren Sproles and Corey Clement.
Right tackle Lane Johnson won't play due to an ankle injury. His place will be taken by Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
The Eagles will play Washington with four practice squad players and two rookies expected to play a big role on offense. Receiver Robert Davis was added to the roster earlier in the week from the practice squad, joining recent practice squad graduates running back Boston Scott, receiver Greg Ward, and tight end/receiver Josh Perkins.
The Redskins, who have two of three to get to 3-10, will be without pass-rushing linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who suffered a season-ending calf injury last week.
Scott, Ward, and Perkins accounted for 199 yards of offense in Monday night’s come-from-behind win over the New York Giants.
“It’s been obviously tough,” said tight end Zach Ertz. “You have a lot of confidence in those three guys (Jackson, Jeffery and Agholor) at the beginning of year but the young guys bring a lot of juice to practice each day.”
Head coach Doug Pederson talked about keeping things as simple as possible with the new guys. He doesn’t want them thinking too much about where to line up and what their role is on each play. Pederson just wants them to go play.
Simplifying a game plan at this point in a season has done wonders in the past for the Eagles. Pederson did it the past two years when quarterback Carson Wentz’s season ended in early December due to injuries and Nick Foles had to step in.
“We're excited for our young players who have been coached along the way, who we know they've been coached the right way, they're focused on their fundamentals, the details of their job,” said Pederson. “They're hungry, they want to make the most of that opportunity. Again, they're professionals about their business and their craft, and they want to do well.”
PREDICTION: Eagles 20, Redskins 17