Preview & Keys to the Game for Redskins vs. the Eagles
December 21, 2012 in Washington Redskins Keys to the Game
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
Previewing the Redskins @ the Eagles this Sunday with keys to the game and what to watch for.
1 – First Meeting vs. This Game:
Based on the first meeting between the Redskins and Eagles, as well as the Eagles losses at home versus the Bengals and Panthers, I would normally not be that concerned with this game. The only thing that concerns me is that this will be Andy Reid's final home game as coach of the Eagles.
How will his players react? I would hope they would show respect and come to play if I was an Eagles fan. A lot of the Reid mainstays like Michael Vick are either gone or injured, but you have to think Reid is popular still with most of his players and they don't want to send him off with another embarrassing loss.
The Eagles fans have given up on the team and Reid, but could step up this week and give them a home field advantage they haven't had in over a month. I have been in Philly a lot lately though and listened to WIP and not so sure that will happen.
I think last week’s game showed major strides for this team coached by Mike Shanahan. Even though it was against an opponent that was overall not that good, it was still the kind of game the Redskins teams of the recent past would have no problem dropping. The Redskins coming back in Cleveland from some early issues to dominate the second half reassured me that this team is not the same we saw in October.
I think the coaching staff deserves a lot credit as do the veteran team leaders like London Fletcher for the fast turnaround. Fletcher in the end may not rank up there with former Skins like Green, Jurgenson, Riggins, and Monk, but what he meant the past five years to a franchise with little success until now should put him in the conversation.
3- Defense & Adjustments:
I have made it to #3 and have yet to mention Robert Griffin or Kirk Cousins. I think I have one more important point before I get to them. The offense has been there all season with the ability to run the ball and turn that into big plays in the passing game.
The defense has not been there all season. I find it very weird that the defense led by Jim Haslett has quickly transformed from playing two bad halves down to one bad half which has allowed the Redskins to win games in the second half.
A lot was made in the glory days of Joe Gibbs and his staff's ability to access what was going on in the game and make adjustments at the half. We are seeing that once again. Add to that the ability to force turnovers in key points in the game and we now have a defense we can have some confidence in.
4- Griffin's Return:
As for who is behind center Sunday I expect it to be Robert Griffin III. Griffin looks to be on his way to returning to action of missing last week. If he is cleared to play I completely agree if the team decides for him to be out there.
Kirk Cousins was great last week but RG3 is the one who needs to be out there in another must win. Griffin had a solid effort on the field in the first meeting and a spectacular one in the stat book. I would expect him and the offense to be able to move the ball on the Eagles defense.
Injuries to both Will Montgomery and Tyler Polumbus up front worry me even though both should be able to go. Jordan Black is suspended and is a major blow if Polumbus can't go. The Eagles even without Jason Babin have guys who can get to the quarterback and that should be the Redskins biggest concern Sunday.
Sunday's game could go down as a battle with the worst collection of safeties on one field in NFL history. Both teams have been marred by horrible play at safety all season and it could be a main factor.
Nick Foles was unimpressive a few weeks back at FedEx but I have to believe he will be better this time around. Although I feel he is way overrated as a wide receiver not having DeSean Jackson will help the Skins. I still have bad memories of him flying by Dirty 30 on the first play of that Monday night game after Dirty did his share of talking pregame. Unlike my buddy Kingston, who still is mad that Laron Landry is gone and even though our secondary has struggled, I still agree with the decision to let him walk.
As for the game. The Philadelphia Eagles should be up for Andy Reid's final home game but I think this is a different Washington team than year's past. I am confident that the better team will win and that the Redskins can not only move the ball as normal, but also force Foles and company into turnovers just like the Bengals did last week. I see this game as a Redskins victory, 30-17.