coleryan Posts:11963 Followers:19
On 09/02/2013 11:42 AM in NFL

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Preview and Pick

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Preview and Pick

There is no other game that is bigger in the first week of the regular NFL season than the Monday Night Football game. That is why the league decides to always have a double header on the opening night of the year. The first game will feature the rebuilt and reloaded Philadelphia Eagles against the Washington Redskins and one of the most exciting players in the league in Robert Griffin III.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Odds

The latest odds on the first Monday Night football game have the Redskins listed as (-3) point favorites although the line opened up as (-4) in most places. This line will fluctuate and change leading up to the kickoff and the announcement of the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

Although the Redskins have still not made it official, quarterback Robert griffin III is all but guaranteed to be under center for the start of the season. Head coach Mike Shanahan has held out the young superstar all of the NFL preseason as he recovers from a devastating injury. RG3 has been chomping at the bit to play and has even been fined and in hot water for comments he has made about not playing. Since Shanahan has suggested the goal for the Redskins is to win the Super Bowl, there is no need to speculate, RG3 will start this game. Therefore if you want to get this line at a low number and like the Redskins then now is the time to get this number.

A case could be made for the Eagles as they enter this divisional matchup. Chip Kelly is the new coach of this team and he brings in new systems that has been well received by the team and especially quarterback Michael Vick. Vick has looked great in the preseason and has won the starting job. If Vick can stay healthy he can thrive in this system and so could running back LeSean McCoy.

The Eagles may have problems on defense but could score with the Redskins. The NFL betting trends for this prime time affair are stunning. The Eagles are 7-18-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 26 games on grass, 0-5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in September and 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 against the NFC.

The Redskins are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games on grass and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The return of RG3 and the debut of Chip Kelly make this game worth the watch.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:11963 Followers:19
09/03/2013 02:38 PM

Key Matchups

Eagles WR DeSean Jackson vs Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall
No Eagle had a better Training Camp than Jackson. Entering his fifth season in the league, Jackson continues to provide big-play ability at any time. In the preseason, he caught six passes for 124 yards, including a 47-yard bomb from Vick in the preseason opener against New England. DeAngelo Hall will be lined up across from Jackson for the majority of the game. The veteran has picked off 39 passes in his nine-year career, and he will be in charge of preventing any home-run hitting routes from the Eagles speedy receiver – something he was unable to do on the first play from scrimmage in the Eagles' last Monday night trip to FedEx Field.

Eagles Defensive Line vs. Redskins RB Alfred Morris
Though Griffin III will be the center of attention, the Eagles will also see a heavy dose of Morris on Monday night. The Eagles defensive line has given up a few long runs during the preseason and will now be faced with the task of bottling up Morris. Isaac Sopoaga was brought in to plug up the middle of the field, and he along with Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton will need to get good pushes to win the line of scrimmage. Expect Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans to also play a large role in the Eagles run-stopping game.

Players to Watch

Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins, No. 10
As if the focus will be on anyone else. Griffin III's health was a central storyline through the offseason, Training Camp and preseason as the media provided daily updates about his condition and status for the opening game of the regular season. The matchup between the Eagles and Redskins was hand-picked as the Monday Night Football opener and has long been billed as the NFL debut of Chip Kelly versus the return of Griffin III. Despite being medically cleared to play, how much will Griffin be limited, if at all? Or will we see the same player who electrified the league pre-injury?

Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington Redskins, No. 98
Orakpo racked up 28.5 sacks in his first three seasons in the league but missed the last 14 games of the 2012 season with a pectoral tear. Though his return from injury has not received even a fraction of the same attention as Griffin, Orakpo is the Redskins' top pass rusher and remains a vital piece to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 scheme.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles, No. 7
Vick beat out Nick Foles to win the Eagles' starting quarterback competition after a strong offseason of work in the new offense. Though much sharper against the Patriots and Panthers than the Jaguars during the preseason, Vick's overall body of work was encouraging, and he should be greatly aided by an offense that will emphasize balance and rely on a potent run game that features LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. Week 1 against the Redskins will mark the beginning of yet another chapter in Vick's evolutikno as an NFL quarterback. With head coach Chip Kelly, he could flourish the same way he did during his renaissance season of 2010.

Patrick Chung, S, Philadelphia Eagles, No. 23
Chung was signed by the Eagles after spending the first four seasons of his career with the New England Patriots. A tough, physical, hard-hitting presence who makes his impact felt down near the line of scrimmage, he has emerged as a tone-setter on the Eagles defense. Chung had an impressive preseason, in which he made a number of tremendous solo tackles (10 of his 11 total tackles were of the solo variety), and will have to carry over that strong play into the regular season against the unique Redskins offense.

coleryan Posts:11963 Followers:19
09/04/2013 02:32 PM

After a preseason that saw a number of Redskins limited by injury, everything finally appears to have begun coming together at the right time. Barring some practice injury, the Redskins possibly could have all of their projected starters on both offense and defense on the field for the first time.

As the preparation gets underway, we take a look at four areas we’ll be monitoring leading up to the Week 1 kickoff.

1.) Robert Griffin III’s mind-set – On Wednesday we hear from Robert Griffin III for the first time since Dr. Andrews cleared him to play, and for the last time before he makes his return to action after spending the offseason rehabbing from the Jan. 9 right knee reconstruction.

2.) Brandon Meriweather’s health – The strong safety spent the preseason working his way back into form following a season lost to knee injuries. But he came away from his only preseason action with a groin injury, Mike Shanahan said. Meriweather didn’t practice on Monday, and the team doesn’t yet know if he can play against Philadelphia.

3.) Barry Cofield’s availability – The nose tackle will continue to experiment with a number of different casts as he tries to figure out which will allow him to maximize his effectiveness despite having a fracture across the top of his right hand. Cofield hopes to play, but has yet to receive the green light.

4.) Defensive preparations – The Eagles are expected to run a fast-paced offensive attack with Chip Kelly at the helm, and that means the Redskins’ defensive players must make adjustments on the fly and play at a high level despite having less time to substitute players in and out. The unit has worked on this since training camp and will continue to prepare this week.

coleryan Posts:11963 Followers:19
09/05/2013 01:38 PM

As the dawn of the Chip Kelly era draws closer by the day, much of the focus has been on the impact his offense will have on the likes of LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick.

However, not to be lost in the conversation is sixth-year wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who is entering the most pivotal season of his NFL career.

Though Kelly’s offensive schemes are grounded in the run game, the exotic formations and wide open style should benefit Jackson, who is for all intents and purposes entering a contract year with the Philadelphia Eagles. He hopes to make a lasting first impression on his new coach.

“Honestly, always, since I’ve been playing this game, I always wanted to be known as one of the best players that played this position,” Jackson said Wednesday at the Novacare Complex. To do that, he’ll need to return to his 2010 form, which was the last time he posted 1,000 receiving yards or more in a season.

It appears that Kelly has a plan to help his diminutive receiver do just that. “I think you just have to move DeSean around and kind of psych the defense out and not make it predictable as far as what you’re going to do,” Michael Vick said Wednesday.

Throughout training camp and the preseason, Jackson has been one of the more consistently dominant players on the practice fields of the Novacare Complex. Part of that is likely due to a springtime demotion where Kelly lined the 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver up with the third team in practice because he was falling behind in studying his new playbook.

Now that he is back in the top spot of an injury-beleaguered receiving corps, Jackson is hungry to help drive this high octane offense. “Definitely not satisfied, still want to go out there and keep adding to the list.”

coleryan Posts:11963 Followers:19
09/06/2013 01:28 PM

Jim Haslett isn't sure exactly what to expect when new Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly unleashes his wide-open offense in the Monday night opener. But Haslett, the Washington Redskins defensive coordinator, is not lacking in his search for clues.

Kelly's leap to the NFL is wrapped with the anticipation of whether the creative flow that he thrived with at Oregon — including a fast tempo, a vast assortment of formations and an extensive use of no-huddle packages — will work in the pros.

Haslett's first up in trying to devise a gameplan to stop it in a real NFL game.

"You have to have the ability to adjust to what they're doing and be flexible in what you're doing," Haslett said Thursday. "So I can only go off what I've seen. I've watched 23, 24 Oregon films. I watched what they did in preseason.

"If they can do anything else, God bless 'em."

Haslett maintained that his unit, which ranked 28th in the NFL last season, must be prepared to stay in its base schemes for an entire game, given the no-huddle packages that stress defenses. During the preseason, it was apparent that Haslett was gearing up to present his own wrinkles with a six-linebacker "Swift" formation.

Regardless, the challenge has already crystallized. The defense can win by getting off the field quickly without enduring long drives, and it can perhaps dictate the flow by forcing third-and-long situations.

Speed will be essential, too — and not just in trying to contain dual-threat quarterback Michael Vick, running back Shady McCoy and receiver DeSean Jackson.

The effectiveness of the defense could hinge significantly on how efficiently Washington can communicate its defensive calls to get into the right matchups.

For that, Haslett is banking on 16th-year veteran middle linebacker London Fletcher. "London's the best at it, so we don't have to worry about that," Haslett said. "He's well prepared. He'll know exactly what we want in every situation. If something happens, and I can't get the call in, he'll know what calls we're going to have based on what they've got in the game. So that's is not a concern ... London's like having a coach on the field."

Fletcher's watched plenty of Oregon videotape, too. And he's studied the previous Cleveland Browns offense that was directed by the Eagles' new offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur.

"It's really about gathering as much information as possible," Fletcher told USA TODAY Sports, "but knowing that they're going to do some stuff that we haven't seen."

Over the years, Fletcher has been tested in some serious football chess matches. The Todd Haley offense a few years ago with the Kansas City Chiefs had an abundance of gadget plays. Mike Martz's high-powered scheme with the St. Louis Rams was more difficult because it always included new wrinkles. Andy Reid's scheme with Eagles threw defenses for a loop because of its heavy dose of various formations.

As he pondered the next challenge and its hurry-up flavor, Fletcher pondered a foundation for matching up. "Be very well-conditioned," he said.

coleryan Posts:11963 Followers:19
09/09/2013 06:57 AM

Pick:
The Redskins are at home for this prime-time affair and will be excited to have RG3 back in the lineup, but it is concerning that he did not get one snap in live action. The Eagles are playing the first game for Chip Kelly and Vick and the rest of the Eagles are embracing this new offense. The end result will be a high scoring game and taking the point is the only way I can go. Until RG3 shows me he is 100% and that Redskins secondary is getting better I can't back Washington and drop points.

Pick: Eagles +3.5