It feels like quite some time ago that the Eagles soared to a 30-17 win over Washington in week one. That the Eagles had ended a five game losing streak and found much needed momentum in a. tightly contested division. While the Defense ran rampant, it was a 307 yard, 2TD game from Carson Wentz that stole the show. The Eagles were on the road and of course suffered a tough injury during the bout. If Washington struggled to contain the Birds’ before, then Monday Night will be a completely new level of strain.
A lot has changed since week one. Most importantly for the Eagles, there has been a complete offensive explosion. Wentz was forced to throw 39 times in the season opener, while the running backs tallied 20 carries for 52 yards. It wasn’t good enough. LeGarrette Blount struggled early on and Washington was able to completely smother the rushing attack. Since then, the Redskins have slowly began to leak. big runs. Facing two (arguably three with San Francisco) who rely on pounding the rock and creating a flurry of backfield looks to hurt the linebackers with explosiveness, Washington has began to tire. They’ve allowed a total of 382 yards and 4 touchdowns in their last 4 games. They may not be the leakiest run defense in the league, but there’s certainly a window for the Eagles backfield…
Vs Los AngelesRams: 97 yards. 1 TD
Vs Oakland Raiders: 32 yards
Vs Kansas City Chiefs: 168 yards 1 TD
Vs San Francisco 49ers 85 yards. 2TD
…who have conversely only become stronger as the year has progressed. The Eagles have accounted for a total of 795 rushing yards this season and 3 touchdowns. LeGarrette Blount is now averaging a stunning 5.6 yards per carry after being Pigeon Hole’d against the Redskins. Now, with a roaring home crowd behind them and the potential return of Lane Johnson and Wendell Smallwood, the Eagles will be searching for their SIXTH consecutive game of 100 rushing yards or more.
The Redskins now have to account for the run. Even without Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood over the last few weeks, this offensive line has been clicking like never before. Jason Kelce and Jason Peters may be playing their finest Football to date and the LG battle has finally been decided. After a spluttering start, the o-line is finally living up to its potential as one of the most dominant in football…and that poses another problem for Washington.
Redskins pass rush:
Vs Eagles 9 hits 2 sacks
Vs Rams 5 hits 2 sacks
Vs Raiders 6 hits 4 sacks
Vs Chiefs 9 hits. 4 sacks
Vs Niners 10 hits 3 sacks
The Redskins pass-rush has long been underrated. This season, huge games from Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan have helped create consistent pressure. The Redskins now face a much more fortified offensive line, one of the best third-down quarterbacks in the league and one who thrives under pressure.
Carson Wentz is officially the most blitzed QB in the NFL coming into this weekend, having been rushed on on 39.3% of his dropbacks. Wentz has thrown 5 TDs & 0 INTs in those instances. One huge reason for this aside from the obvious development of Carson Wentz, is having such an open offense.
Alshon Jeffery doesn’t have to be the number one guy every game…and he likely won’t become that all too often. Teams pile too much pressure from their finest corner in order for that to happen. Instead, the Eagles are operating in the vein of Golden State. If Steph Curry is being blanketed, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green (or even Zaza) can sting you.
Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor have both been having eccentric years, with the latter now recording 4 touchdowns on 20 targets. Torrey Smith has shown his ability to take the top off a defense and did so very dangerously against Washington…only then, it went unpunished. Now, Wentz is more lethal with a deep ball than ever.
“I think it makes us hard to defend.” Offensive coordinator Frank Reich told reporters. “I think the analogy that I was using with someone the other day is if you were using a basketball analogy, we don’t have anybody averaging 30 points a game, but we’ve got five guys who can score. And so you don’t know who it’s going to be week to week, who can beat you, and I think right now that’s what we’re doing well. We have to play to that strength. We’ve certainly got some guys that we want to score a lot of points and that we look to try to feed and get the ball, but I think we’re in a good position that we’ve got a lot of confidence in all our players, that they can all make that shot, make the winning shot that we need them to make.”
The Eagles are dangerous. With cornerback concerns for Washington and improvements across the board for the Eagles, one has to wonder if this Offense may finally, after years of ups and downs, tough losses and dirty play from the opposition, have a leg up on their divisional rival.
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports