When Washington takes Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night, they will be hoping to enact their revenge on the Eagles after falling 30-17, during week one. With so much on the line in this one, Kirk Cousins should come out as focused as ever. Offensively, expect the Redskins to take some shots to their big wide-outs, and expect a heavy dose of running back, Chris Thompson.
With Philadelphia being the best run defense in the league, don’t assume the Redskins will get much going on the ground. If that holds true, Washington will be forced to go to the air early and often, putting a large chunk of responsibility on the offensive line to protect Cousins:
Like the Eagles, the Redskins, too, boast an impressive bunch up front. They very well could have the second best tackle combo in the league behind the Eagles – Trent Williams and Morgan Moses – and even more, RG Brandon Scherff has been playing out of his mind as of late:
Although Philly managed to give Kirk Cousins fits in week one, it shouldn’t be surprising to see a better performance from Washington’s o-line in this contest. This game, like all games, will depend on the Eagles being able to get pressure on Kirk Cousins.
The Eagles, like they’ve shown they can this year, have to be able to shut down the run early, and force Cousins to make plays from the pocket.
One of the pleasant surprises for Washington this year has been the emergence of running back Chris Thompson. Last week, Thompson only rushed for 33 yards, but turned four receptions into 105 yards. Over the last few seasons, one of Philly’s biggest defensive weaknesses has been their ability to cover running backs out of the backfield. With Thompson’s role increasing as more than just a third-down back, it is vital the Eagles’ linebackers stay disciplined in coverage on him.
After another great receiving performance last week, it’s clear Cousins has shown that he is prepared to look in Chris Thompson’s direction. The Eagles have to be ready for that throughout the entirety of Monday night’s game.
Like the Panthers, the Redskins also have great size in the passing game. The Eagles struggled a little against Carolina’s size on the outside, giving up a few big catches to the Panther wide-outs. This comes as a little bit of concern against Washington.
Quite honestly, Pryor and Doctson are yet to do much this season, but that doesn’t diminish the presence their size brings to the field. It seems as though the Redskins are ready to expand Josh Doctson’s role, as, he has certainly shown glimpses of his potential. Even then, Doctson has played in less than 50% of the team’s snaps this season. Expect the Redskins to get Doctson involved both vertically, and across the middle against the Eagles.
While the thought of getting Darby back for Monday night would definitely ease some concern, the coaching staff needs to make sure he’s 100%. Robinson, Mills and Douglas have played well enough this year to remain out on the field while Darby regains strength in his ankle. Having faced more cover-snaps than any other team in the league this year, one more game without the Eagles’ top corner shouldn’t be too tall of a task for the young secondary to handle.
It’s hard to have a good play-action attack when the running game isn’t working, and that’s exactly what the Eagles need to focus on stopping first and foremost. Cousins, this season and throughout his career, has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league when using play action. If Philly can shut down the run game early, it will doom the play-action game of the Redskins from the start.
If the Eagles can force Kirk Cousins to beat them from the pocket, and possibly force him into a couple of crucial mistakes, they could very well walk away from this game at 6-1, and 3-0 in the NFC East. However, Cousins and the Redskins have looked much better since their week one debacle against Philly, and will look to prove that the race for the NFC East crown isn’t over just yet.
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