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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles

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

  1. garg8050 - Dec 26, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    Looks like it’s gonna be raining off and on during the game. Will make it even more important to be careful with the ball, i.e. handoffs, center exchanges, ball security, etc. The ‘Skins just played in rainy Chicago so that should help. Don’t let Sproles beat you on special teams and protect the football, and they should win. I see a 27-17 win.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Dec 26, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    My final thoughts… If the Redskins get a strong lead like most of their games, they had better not allow that huge lead be given up, like most of their games. The biggest problem the Redskins have is giving up huge leads. 21-0 with the Bills was almost not enough of a lead, WHICH IS CRAZY! Our beloved skins have a major problem with scoreboard watching and allowing it to impact their play.

    Last game I kept yelling at the screen, “ok it is now a 0-0 game play like you are tied (when we were up 21 points). I largely fault the coaching staff for not installing this mindset within the team. He should have been walking the sideline yelling at his player it is a tied game. If we get a lead, and we choose to allow that lead to erode, I fear we will not be able to hold the Eagles off who consistently come back from being down.

    GRUDEN – focus your team on the process like Kirk says. Focus your team to keep a lead, and you will be a division title holder by midnight…


    • ET - Dec 26, 2015 at 11:41 AM

      “The biggest problem the Redskins have is giving up huge leads. 21-0 with the Bills was almost not enough of a lead, WHICH IS CRAZY! Our beloved skins have a major problem with scoreboard watching and allowing it to impact their play.”

      True. The Skins should’ve been up 28-0 on the Bills before the half. Even 21-0 is nothing to sneeze at. It’s infuriating when the offensive play calling gets too conservative and the defense goes soft. I’d like to see the Skins stay aggressive through all four quarters, regardless of the score. Let’s get DeSean a pair of touchdowns, and tack on some for Reed, Garçon, Crowder, and Jones as well :)

    • brucefan1 - Dec 26, 2015 at 7:50 PM

      Man — been busy making merry during the last 48 and haven’t had time to weigh in on the big, Big, BIG Game!

      It would be great to jump off to another big lead like you say colorofmyskins, but I know the Eagles won’t want anything to do with THAT! They fight that happening like crazy— and will actually wanna turn those tables on the Skins.

      But should the B&G get off to a good lead they might well continue to have a tough time holding it, mainly because they haven’t had the kind of running game that can put up first down after first down and run out the clock like our old Skins teams did. When they HAVE attempted to do that this season, it’s usually been 3 & OUT! Love to see them reverse that trend today.

      And its not just Cuz — as Rich noted –who has to keep doing what he’s been doing, its the ENTIRE team.They can’t let the Eagles knock em off their stride and force them into some old bad habits. Gotta stay confident…stay tough…stay focused.

      One last random thought; I for one am glad to see that Simms is NOT calling tonight’s game — and that Ian Eagle is (with Fouts?). I’ve always like Eagle — despite his UNFORTUNATE surname!! — since “the bird” (as he was affectionately known) was the mid-day host early on at WFAN. He’s a much easier listen than Simms.

      So this one time that I will be very happy that a TV network is giving us The Bird! ;^}


      • bangkokben - Dec 27, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        What a xmas present – no Phil Simms or Jim Nance! Oh and there was a division championship won as well. Spot on about the run game. With 4+ minutes and a short 3rd down, run a screen! If it fails;it fails but running it wasn’t going to be successful. How about Chip Kelly with 4th and 2 giving up on the city, the team, the game down by 21 with 7:42 left sending in the punt team. If it wasn’t for Breeland’s cramps, I suspect Kelly would’ve been tarred and feathered at the 2:00 minute warning. That would’ve been some TV.

        • brucefan1 - Dec 27, 2015 at 10:51 AM

          Hey Happy Championship Morning, ben! Who (besides YOU of course! LOL) woulda thunk it!!

          Man, I thought this team’s confidence was sky high after the last few wins …. its gotta be off the meters today. But hopefully they are still flying under the radar and are being taken lightly by outsiders. I’m envisioning the Seahawks going Apollo Creed on them and blithely ignoring the threat that Rocky was presenting to him … to their peril! Haha

          (Sorry, I saw “Creed” recently, and it’s still stuck on a loop in my head! I was thinking of all the great inspirational themes in it that the Skins could use, but then kept getting hung up on the fact that it was set in Philly. LOL. Whatta relief)

  3. colmac69 - Dec 26, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    First off hope everyone had nice xmas

    If the skins don’t bt themselves on offense I just can’t see eagles defense doing enough to stop redskins….they bn giving up yrds and points over last 6,7 games…..skins got too many weapons and I xpect them to post 27+

    Commit mistakes and it’s different ball game as I expect eagles offense to score some pts vs defense…couple big t/overs b nice…..

    Restrict sproles and u takeaway opportunity for eagles… confident all wk and xpect offense to play well….eagles dwn a corner and nose tackle… well and I look for a 34-20 scoreline

  4. Guy - Dec 26, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    Im an Eagkes fan however I always like to gain the perspective of the opposing team before the start of a game.

    I think the thoughts conveyed in this column are spot on although there’s a lot more to it than just giving the ball to Ryan Matthews 20 times a game. The Eagles don’t sustain drives and have way too many 3 and outs, particularly early on in games when a team is my apt to establish a running game.

    Anyway, the Eagles have demonstrated nothing this season that would indicate they have the talent, desire and fortitude to win a “playoff game”. Their defense is in absolute shambles and the offense is a Jekyll and Hide show from game to game and really quarter to quarter.

    If the Eagles can be the beneficiary of big plays via special teams and turnovers such as the Patriots game then they can pull this out. If not, I don’t see us holding the Skins under 28 points and I certainly see us scoring more than 24.

    • ET - Dec 26, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      Thanks for the insight, Guy!

      It’s always interesting to hear what the opposing side is thinking. Well, not always, but you seem to have a reasoned viewpoint, not just fanboy boosterism. Hope it’s a great game.

    • captblood3000 - Dec 26, 2015 at 3:26 PM

      I have a friend who is an Iggles fan and he’s also pessimistic. But the Iggles have played well at times this year. They played well in the first half last week, then self-destructed in the third quarter.

  5. firesnyder - Dec 26, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    Merry Christmas everyone! Myself and my family are so fired up for this game… we are going to smash Philly!! Big games for Garçon and maybe Crowder. Maybe Santa will even bring a 100+ yard day for Alf. And Baby Jesus, PLEASE let us win the turnover battle! The only thing riding on this is…. the season!!! HTTR!

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 26, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    Be nice to have sustained drives so we can keep our D from getting gassed (The goal of Chip’s plan).

  7. Skulb - Dec 26, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Mathematics is not the only area Chipedidoodah is challenged in. Releasing Jackson for nothing was pretty challenged in its own right. Then only plus I can see in losing tonight’s game is that it might make Lurie think that all is well so we get to enjoy many more years of challenged behavior in Philly.

  8. Agent Smith - Dec 26, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    The big keys for the Redskins as I see them:

    1. Bring the same intensity and physical play that the Redskins brought to the Giants game in Nov.

    2. Limit turnovers.

    3. Defensively, the Redskins need to limit deep strike plays. Skins should keep close tabs on Sproles, Jordan Matthews, Cooper.

    4. Limit Sproles in special teams.

  9. bangkokben - Dec 26, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    It’s time to drop a 50-burger in Philly.

    • colmac69 - Dec 26, 2015 at 6:33 PM

      Reporting matt jones is out tonite….moses and lerib both play

      Big game up for morris….thompson/thomas back up morris

      • brucefan1 - Dec 26, 2015 at 7:55 PM

        Matt Jones out?! Thanks for the heads up, mate.
        (Been watching/listening to ZERO pregame talk)

        Might this be the game “Lucky Pierre” makes a contribution at the RB spot??!!

  10. Kevin - Dec 26, 2015 at 12:21 PM

    I hope Cousin’s comments on the sideline caught by NFL films do not tip off the Eagles. I also hope it doesn’t mean they are abandoning the run game.

  11. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 26, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    Seems like we should have just got some more points, just now?

  12. hail74 - Dec 26, 2015 at 10:32 PM

    Maybe I’m just being sensitive but this one announcer seems way too pro philly.

  13. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 26, 2015 at 10:43 PM

    Well I feel super positive about this game right now, but then special teams gives up a giant return. Come on, guys, keep it together!

  14. JOHNNY B - Dec 26, 2015 at 11:18 PM

    I like d Murry now . He might have scored a td on us but he was so nice to give us 1 also. HTTR THE NFC EAST CHAMPS THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS

  15. YOU LIKE THAT - Dec 26, 2015 at 11:34 PM

    Screw eaglets, game over. Rest our guys against cowgirls. Beat G- Bay or Seattle in first round…. HAIL

  16. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 26, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    Hail to the Redskins!
    Hail Victory!
    Braves on the Warpath!
    Fight for old D.C.!

  17. hail74 - Dec 26, 2015 at 11:50 PM


  18. gasngo14 - Dec 27, 2015 at 12:44 AM

    CAPTAIN KIRK …………………….HAIL YAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. gasngo14 - Dec 27, 2015 at 12:56 AM

    For all the folks who doubted this team and staff ……………………….all i can say is enjoy the ride, we are headed on the right path!!!




    • timwillhide - Dec 27, 2015 at 1:17 AM

      We only liked a guy that won the division with more wins. Can’t hat on people that like better Talent leading the team.

      • hail74 - Dec 27, 2015 at 1:39 AM

        We won 10 games that year but Kirk started one of those and brought us back to win in OT in the other so……

        • timwillhide - Dec 27, 2015 at 12:04 PM

          Ya Cousins has a better Oline Jackson and Reed so

      • gasngo14 - Dec 27, 2015 at 1:59 AM

        TIM…… YOU LIKE THAT?

        HA !!!!

      • brucefan1 - Dec 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM

        Hey Tim…keep fightin’ the good fight!!

        You usually make way more sense (in your own inimitable Shippenburg style, that is!) when yer WRONG than these childish clowns EVER will … even when they guess right!! LOL

  20. skinsgame - Dec 27, 2015 at 1:41 AM

    That is crazy! This team had no shot at anything and has quickly jelled into a solid team. Congrats to all of us and to them. Dominant win on the road, in prime time. Holy cow!!


  21. goback2rfk - Dec 27, 2015 at 4:14 AM

    FFFFUUUCCCCKKKKKK YEEAAAHHH!@!@$!@#!@#!@#!@$!@$% Archives

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