Dec 26, 2015, 6:48 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 26, the day the Washington Redskins travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles.
Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles
—Ryan Matthews is the Eagles’ top back and the Redskins will have to keep him under control. He is averaging an impressive 5.3 yards per attempt but only once, in Week 3, has he not carried the ball more than 13 times and his carries have been in single digits seven times in the 11 games in which he has played. Let’s hope that Chip Kelly remains mathematically challenged and can’t figure out that if he gives the ball to a back who averages five yards a carry 20 times, he’ll have a 100-yard rusher.
—Defensive end Fletcher Cox has been heating up lately. In his last two games he has 12 tackles and two sacks. He could be lined up on Trent Williams from time to time but he will mostly be the responsibility of left guard Spencer Long. Per Pro Football Focus Long has not allowed a sack this year although he has allowed a team-high 22 QB hurries. Keep Cox under wraps will be important.
—Does DeSean Jackson go off against his old team? In two games against the Eagles last year Jackson averaged 4.5 receptions for 122 yards. He scored a touchdown on an 81-yard bomb from Kirk Cousins in the first meeting and caught passes for 55 and 51 yards when they played in December. In that game the playoff were on the line for only one of the teams involved. This year both teams’ postseason destiny is up for grabs and there seems to be a good chance that Jackson will be a factor.
—As far as Cousins, the message is just keep doing what you’ve been doing. He has passer ratings of over 100 in each of his last games and four of the last five. NFL Films caught a Cousins sideline conversation with Sean McVay last Sunday. Cousins said that they were now putting the load on his shoulders after taking it easy on him during the early part of the season. “But now that we’re doing that [putting the game in Cousins’ hands], it’s been our best shot,” said Cousins. Indeed that is the case. While it would be nice for them to pile up a buck fifth or so on the ground, whether they win or lose the game will probably come down to Cousins, at least when it comes to the offensive side of the ball.
—The best thing the Redskins could do tonight would be to jump out to a two- or three-score lead right off the bat like they have their last two games. The crowd at Lincoln Financial Field will be inclined to be grumpy anyway and if Washington can come out early and feed the negativity it could be over early. While that would be ideal it would be a tall order. I think it will be a dogfight with a few different changes of momentum during the course of the game. I could be one of those games where the team that commits the last turnover loses. I think the Redskins will win but I would not be at all surprised if the race for the division title goes down to Week 17.
—Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Eagles, 8:30 p.m., NFL Network
—Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 8; start of NFL playoffs 14
In case you missed it
- Five Redskins questionable
- Accumulation of knowledge helps Cousins improve
- Preview: Can Redskins’ Cousins come through in his biggest test yet?
- Jason Hatcher brushes off fighting words from Eagles lineman
- El-Bashir and Zangaro share keys to Redskins-Eagles
- Redskins’ Kirk Cousins goes next level with his daily planner
- The Redskins week that was—Trash talk from Philly, none from DJax
- Jackson wishes the Eagle who will be covering him good luck
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