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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Eagles—Not a must win but close

Oct 16, 2016, 5:02 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 16, seven days before the Washington Redskins travel to Detroit to play the Lions.


Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Lions 7; Redskins vs. Bengals in London 14; Vikings @ Redskins 28

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—This isn’t a “must win” game for the Redskins but it is very, very important. For one thing, they have a chance to finish the first half of their NFC East schedule with a winning record. They lost to the Cowboys and won at the Giants and holding home field against the Eagles would be a big boost. The game also marks the end of the first half of the Redskins’ home season. Their remaining home games are against the Giants and three teams that made the playoffs last year, the Vikings, Packers, and Panthers. It’s hard to make a playoff run without having a winning record at home. That’s going to be a big ask in any case but it will be almost impossible if they go into that Week 10 Vikings game 1-3 at home.

—Jordan Reed’s absence from the lineup with a concussion is not at all surprising to anyone who has been paying attention. He wasn’t even cleared to practice even with no contact all week and it would have been nearly impossible for him to get through the concussion protocol in time to play. His situation, with this being his fifth diagnosed concussion, certainly bears watching. Su’a Cravens also was downgraded to out with a concussion. That’s a surprise from the perspective of midweek. There was a lot of optimism on Wednesday and Thursday when he was on the field participating in individual drills. But when Friday rolled around and he still wasn’t cleared it began to look more like he’d sit again. He didn’t have a setback, he just never progressed to the point where he could play.

—The last time these teams met with at least four games gone in the season with both of them sporting a winning record was back in November of 2000. Washington, 7-4, hosted the game against the 8-4 Eagles. Of course the game was loaded with playoff implications. Philly won 23-20 as an Eddie Murray field goal try missed in the last two minutes. It was Norv Turner’s next to last game as Redskins coach; he was fired after losing to the Giants the following week. This game has nothing to do with Turner or Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb (well, unless it ends up in a tie) but it does point out that it’s infrequent to see both of these teams doing well in the same season.

Related: Crowder letting instincts take over on punt returns

—Before the Ravens game over half of the Redskins’ offensive possession had ended in a score. That stat took a hit in Baltimore but they are still at a respectable 43.4 percent, sixth in the league. The Eagles are now second in the league, scoring on 51.2 percent of their drives, second to the Falcons (via Pro Football Reference). One reason why is that they have the shortest field to work with. On average, their drives start at their own 33.7 yard line, the best in the league by a comfortable margin.

—I’d actually feel much better about the Redskins’ chances of winning this game if it was in Philadelphia. I think they have that road warrior mentality now, with five straight wins away from FedEx Field. But it’s in Washington so I find myself more dubious of their chances. But I’m still going with the Redskins. I don’t think that the Eagles are quite as good as their record (although they are a quality team) and the Redskins are playing well despite dealing with some injury issues. Get ready for another close one, Redskins fans.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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  1. goonavybeatarmy - Oct 16, 2016 at 5:51 AM

    This is a good analysis. I was unaware that Philadelphia has the best starting field position in the league. It’s hoped that Way will have a nice day of pinning the Eagles deep in their territory, and the Skins’ punt and kickoff units will continue their vastly improved work. It’s hard to believe how far the ST units have come from their historically bad baseline just a few years ago. The coaching staff deserves a lot of credit, and Scott M. does as well for finally identifying depth.

    The Skins are due for a letdown, and missing arguably their top offensive player. This is a game that Cousins, with a big game and a win, can elevate his long-term prospects. Skins fans want to believe in him. He has a great opportunity.

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 16, 2016 at 10:28 AM

      This is not the game for the letdown; with all that’s at stake, there’s no room for a letdown. Reed is one of top four offensive players, but Davis and / or Paul can positively impact game too. Need Jackson / Ross to stretch field. This is a winnable game.

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  2. garg8050 - Oct 16, 2016 at 7:12 AM

    Cravens being out will hurt. Hopefully Foster can play as well as he did last week. The Eagles throw a lot of passes to the RBs, ie screens or check downs. The Skins will need to tackle well. On offense, I think McVay will start with the quick game and see how the o-line is holding up before taking some deeper shots. I’d like to see DJax on a few shallow crossing routed in this game. He’s turned those into big plays. I think Kelley will get an extended look today and he’ll perform well. It’s gonna be another tight game. Skins 26-Eagles 23.

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  3. sidepull - Oct 16, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    Skins 27- Egirls 26. Breeland has a resurgence, looks really good, gets a pick 6. Like to see Fuller do well today.

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    • ET - Oct 16, 2016 at 8:32 AM

      A pick six would be amazing against Philly’s New Golden Boy. Unlikely to happen, but if it does that’s the difference maker right there.

      I think Kerrigan has a big day against the rookie RT, the defense plays repectably once it settles down, and Kelley, DJax, Crowder and Niles Paul have good days.

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  4. redskins12thman - Oct 16, 2016 at 8:37 AM

    If you exclude the most strict definition of must win (you lose and you’re eliminated), this game is a must win in every other way. The Redskins can ill-afford to go 1-2 in the division and at home, 1-3 overall and 0-2 in division games. You’re setting yourself up to lose the most important tie-breakers.

    I’m still perplexed at how the Eagles killed the Steelers because it’s hard to imagine Pittsburgh being so unprepared for Eagles play calling and poor at execution but to be honest, that is what transpired. I think it’s also important that the Redskins want the win and do each of their jobs well.

    On preparedness / execution side:
    1. Continue with few mistakes / penalties from Ravens game (great showing which contributed to win)

    2. Win turnover battle (Last week, we lost two deep in our territory but escaped because the Ravens failed to convert either which was the difference in the game; I don’t expect the Eagles to blow their chances)

    3. The defense needs to tackle well and prevent third down conversions — these were the weaknesses of the team when Bruton, Hall and Phillips played. Can the replacements continue to do better against this tougher opponent?

    4. Stop the run continues to be the most pressing challenge area and it is essential that the Redskins stop the Eagles 4 RBs and QB in every situation — regular runs, draws, sweeps, designed QB runs, screens, 5 yard pass out of the backfield. If Redskins prepared well for the game and can execute, this must be where the Redskins dominate

    5. TEs short to intermediate drops and WRs short routes (screens, slants, end arounds) are much more important than anything long by Eagles; the plays are designed to get the ball out of Wentz’s hands quickly. If Redskins prepared well for the game and can execute, this must be where the Redskins limit effectiveness

    6. Redskins must attack LG and RT early and often; these are the weaknesses of the Eagles line but be careful of delayed screens and draws

    7. The offense must execute effective wide runs because Eagles allow nothing up the middle

    8. Redskins should have a balanced attack — both runs and passes

    9. Redskins must get #22 and another player off the LOS by running deeper routes; the Eagles like to crowd the box and Redskins designed plays must discourage this

    10. Redskins need more formations / motions / shifts in running game; more successful running teams do more

    11. Hope to see better wide open reads, long ball accuracy, extension of plays by moving out of pocket and taking what defense gives you and fewer INTs by Cousins

    12. Redskins must block better on punts; they’ve had two players slip through and touch / block Ways punts but escaped with no bad implications (hopefully they take this more seriously before it impacts the game)

    Joining Doctson, Reed, Cravens and Sudfeld on the inactive list will be Lanier, Phillips and Painter. (We’re all waiting for Lanier to get his chance; it will come before end of season, just don’t know when). It’s too bad Cravens and Reed are scratches

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    • bangkokben - Oct 16, 2016 at 11:56 AM

      Just responding to the “must win” portion. At this moment the Redskins control their own destiny by just winning. Losing changes that. That’s all. Losing and the Redskins would then need help catching Dallas and Philadelphia. That help would be in a division loss for both clubs by a team other than Washington. Hardly a big hole.

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  5. celticsforever - Oct 16, 2016 at 9:29 AM

    Washington will have to play Saturday near perfect game to win. Few penalties, ball possession, no offensive turnovers, rin the ball, red zone TDs, stop the run, and make Wentz uneasy all day. But I just don’t think that will all happen. The D need to prove they can make consistent stops. And they have a knack for letting rookie qbs look like Tom Brady. Let’s face it, if Baltimore did not abandon the run (for some reason) they would have won easily. If Washington doe everything well they win 27-20. If they falter, especially on the D side, they lose 31-19. My thoughts.

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  6. kenlinkins - Oct 16, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    IMHO this game comes down to a Field Goal. The Redskins win 22-21 if they made it or lose 21-19 if they miss it. Anyone else feel like this could become “Body Bag II”!

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