Dec 31, 2005, 11:56 AM EDT
Let’s first dispense with this “on any given Sunday” stuff. It is true that any NFL team is capable of beating any other NFL team “on any given Sunday”.
A wounded Eagles team could win against the rolling Washington Redskins on Sunday. I could also have dinner with the Pope next Friday night. Democrats and Republicans in Washington could put partisan politics aside for the good of the country. Len Pasquarelli, in theory, could write an article that takes a fair and balanced view of the Redskins.
The chances of the Redskins dropping this one are somewhere in between me breaking bread in the Vatican (what would I wear?) and Nancy Pelosi and Bill Frist leading a group hug on the steps of the Capitol.
OK, all kidding aside, there is a way that the Redskins could lose this game. It could be the Oakland game again. The Redskins get a quick, easy score in the early going and expect the Eagles to quit after such a punch in the mouth. They let the Eagles hang around and all of a sudden they look up and David Akers is kicking a 42-yard field goal as time runs out to beat them.
Given all of that, if these teams played this game 10 times the Redskins would win nine of them. I’ll take the 90% chance.
Still, folks out there in Redskins Nation are finding reasons to be nervous. Some out there are petrified that the Skins won’t win—make that can’t win—because they have never, no, not ever, never swept the Eagles and Cowboys in the same season. While I’m not exactly sure what the battles among Sonny Jurgensen, Norm Snead and Don Meredith back in the ‘60’s have to do with anything, here’s one reassuring fact:
The Redskins have swept the Eagles 20 times since 1936.
Again, what Eddie LeBaron vs. Norv Van Brocklin duels in the snow at Franklin Field and Griffith Stadium has to do with anything, I’m not sure. But perhaps this will offer some comfort to those who believe that such things have relevance.
I’ve also heard that the Eagles are well coached and will give you a battle. If they’re so well coached, why is it that the Eagles have racked up more than 100 yards in penalties in each of their last three games and have been flagged for 90 or more penalty yards in five of their last seven games. (Last season, on their way to the Super Bowl, the Eagles had just one 100-yard penalty game and two 90-yard games.) And I didn’t see much fight in them the last time they were on Monday night football. I think the Seahawks just returned another interception for a touchdown.
Certainly, one stat and one game don’t tell the whole story. For the sake of the argument, I’ll concede that Philly is well coached and will put up a fight. It won’t matter because they have no weapons. The Eagles are taking a knife into a gunfight. With Mike McMahon at quarterback, Ryan Moats at running back and nobody at wide receiver they aren’t going to be able to move the ball against the Redskins defense. Despite the urging of Andy Reid and company, this bunch won’t be able to put up double-digit points if they can score at all.
(On a side note here, the Eagles are quite proud of being about $12 million under the 2005 salary cap. When you’re winning, that’s smart cap management. When you’re losing such practices expose a lack of depth. Twelve million can buy a lot of backup offensive linemen, perhaps another quality receiver or two. Instead of putting the money on the field, owner Robert Lurie has chosen to put it in his pocket)
In terms of yards allowed, the Eagles are 27th in the league and that is the healthy side of the ball for them. Last year all four members of their secondary went to the Pro Bowl; none will be making a return trip. They may be good enough to take away Santana Moss or Chris Cooley or Clinton Portis. But if they stop one, the other two will kill them. Who knows, Taylor Jacobs might even come up with a big catch. Washington will get a couple of takeaways as well and all of this will add up to four or five touchdowns scored.
Don’t worry, you’ll be happy.
Redskins 31, Eagles 3
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