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Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Preview and Pick
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Preview and Pick
The Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles will meet in week 11 in a game that all of a sudden becomes a game with playoff implications. After the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football, it opened up the NFC East for any of the teams in the division to step up and take command. That includes these two teams as they face off this week with a chance to step up and make a run for a divisional title.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Odds
The opening NFL point spread for this game has the Eagles listed as (-3) point favorites in this divisional tilt. The early betting action in this game is split as the sports betting consensus shows that just 52 percent of the early wagering is on the Eagles. Despite the split action, the lien has moved and can now be found at (-3.5) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.
The Redskins will have to stop Nick Foles if they want to win this game. Nick Foles was 4 of 6 passing at least 15 yards downfield Sunday including all three of his touchdowns. Foles has seven touchdowns on those passes his past two games. Entering the week, only two other quarterbacks (Drew Brees and Tony Romo) had seven on the season. The Packers have given up 7 TD on passes of that length this season - entering Sunday, no team had allowed more than that. Green Bay has also not picked off a pass on a deep ball this season, joining the Texans as the only teams in the NFL without one.
The latest football betting trends for this game reveal that this could be one of the better games to watch this season. Washington is 4-2 straight up in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia and 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last 6 games when playing Philadelphia. The total has gone under in 5 of Washington's last 7 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia, but the total has gone over in 9 of Philadelphia's last 13 games and over in 6 of Washington's last 8 games on the road. Washington is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 games on the road and 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road. Philadelphia is 0-5 straight up and ATS in its last 5 games at home and are6-16 straight up in its last 22 games.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles 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.
The Washington Redskins studied the offenses that Chip Kelly had coached in college at Oregon. They talked before their Sept. 9 season opener at FedEx Field, Kelly’s NFL coaching debut with the Philadelphia Eagles, about being properly prepared on defense, physically and mentally, to deal with the fast-break offensive approach that Kelly was bringing to the pro game.
And then they promptly went out and seemed to have no answers whatsoever at the outset as the Eagles rolled up big offensive numbers in the first half and coasted to a 33-27 triumph over the Redskins on opening night. The rematch comes Sunday in Philadelphia, and the Redskins know they must be far more successful in slowing down the Eagles’ up-tempo offense if they’re going to begin putting their season back together after a 3-6 start.
"I don’t know if other teams are not prepared for it,” Redskins defensive end Kedric Golston said. “I think some would say we weren’t prepared for it the first game. And obviously looking at the result you could say yeah, we weren’t. I beg to differ. I think that there’s a difference between a pace beating you and just somebody not being in their gap or missing tackles. I think it’s two different things.”
Whatever the reasons, the Eagles ran 53 plays and amassed 21 first downs and 322 yards of total offense in the first half of the opener. Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall scored a touchdown on a bizarre play on which he picked up the ball after an apparent incomplete pass that instead was ruled a lateral and a fumble, then raced to the opposite end zone basically without being pursued. But that was the lone bright spot early on for the Redskins as the Eagles raced to a 33-7 lead early in the third quarter.
“Obviously that was a first game and we didn’t know what to expect completely,” Redskins safety Reed Doughty said. “We prepared for it completely. We prepared all summer for it. I don’t think the coaches could have done anything else conditioning-wise to prepare you for that. I think that we’ve seen what it is on film. We’ve experienced that with Denver, with some other teams [that run fast-paced offenses] as well. So I don’t think the conditioning aspect should be a big issue.”
The Eagles managed only 24 offensive plays, five first downs and 121 yards in the second half of the opener. Even so, they finished the game with 263 rushing yards, 184 of them by tailback LeSean McCoy.
“We’ve got to stop the run better this time,” Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “Yeah, [quarterback] Nick Foles has been playing well these past couple games. But we allowed 200-some rushing yards the last game. That’s gonna be our focus, I know, this week. . . . We knew it was gonna be fast. We had prepped for that. Of course it’s always different when you see it in a live game speed. But we weren’t caught off guard by the pace or anything.”
Said Golston: “I think that it was something that obviously was talked a lot about in college and obviously them saying they wanted to get 90 plays in the game. And they did get a lot of plays in. But I think we were really prepared for it. We practiced it every day in training camp. . . . The pace didn’t surprise anybody. It wasn’t a lack of, you know, not lining up or not being able to get the [defensive play] calls or anything like that. It was just they beat us, bottom line.”
The Eagles are ranked first in the league in rushing offense and fourth in total offense. McCoy is the NFL’s leading rusher. Foles has taken over at quarterback for Michael Vick, who played the opener against the Redskins, and has totaled 10 touchdown passes in the past two games, wins at Oakland and Green Bay that evened the Eagles’ record at 5-5 and moved them into a first-place tie in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys. Foles has thrown 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions this season.
Hall said the Eagles have been “kind of rolling these last couple weeks” but the Redskins will be helped “immensely” by the previous meeting.
“I wasn’t fatigued,” Hall said. “Fatigue didn’t play into anything that happened while I was out there. But just a variety of plays and just not to know what to expect was a little overwhelming at times. So that definitely plays a part in a lot of their success against us. . . . We’ll see Sunday. We’ve got a good dose of what they’re gonna do. They know what we’re gonna do. And we’ll get out there and may the best man win.”
Said Doughty: “I think there’s a lot you learn. It’s the first time anybody had seen their offense. I think we’ve got some tape on them. And we know they’re fast paced. We know they like big strikes. Hopefully we can limit those. . . . Obviously they can run the football and LeSean McCoy is very, very dynamic. We’ll see what the game plan is.”
The Redskins’ offense also must do its part after failing to sustain drives in the early going on opening night, putting even more pressure on the defense.
“They got us on our heels early,” Doughty said. “Once you’re down a few scores, it’s hard to come back on offense like that because it opens up everything and it takes away our ability to run the ball. So we’re definitely gonna have to start on a better foot this time.”
The defense of the Washington Redskins is about to get its second look of the season at the Eagles’ offense but its first look this year at Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles.
Michael Vick was the Eagles’ quarterback when they beat the Redskins on opening night this season at FedEx Field. Now the job belongs to Foles, who has totaled 10 touchdowns passes in the Eagles’ last two games, road victories at Oakland and Green Bay.
“Those guys have been rolling,” Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said this week. “So we’ve definitely got a big task ahead of us.”
Foles started twice against the Redskins last season as a rookie. The Redskins won both games. But that was before Foles was playing in the offensive system of the Eagles’ first-year coach, Chip Kelly. That system certainly seems to suit Foles, who has thrown 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions this season.
“He’s very patient,” Redskins safety Reed Doughty said. “You’ve seen him have some very good success, obviously, with the seven touchdowns [against the Raiders]. He looked poised [Sunday] throwing the ball down the field. It looked like the receivers made some plays as well. I think we’ll have our hands full. We’ve just got to get the game plan together and give it our best shot.”
Said defensive lineman Kedric Golston: “They have a philosophy of things they believe in. And obviously they’re running the ball extremely well and they’ve been throwing the ball deep. We understand they’ve got the big-play capability with the type of personnel they have. It’s gonna be up to us to make them earn everything and to stop them.”
The Eagles lead the NFL in rushing offense and are ranked fourth in total offense.
“I think the big thing is [tailback] LeSean McCoy is still getting a lot of yards on the ground for him,” Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “So when he does go back to throw, teams are geared up for the run and then they have a chance for a big play in the passing game.”
Thanks to a 204-yard performance against the Green Bay Packers, the Eagles running attack has climbed back atop the NFL in terms of yards per game. Through 10 games, the Eagles have averaged an astounding 153.5 yards per game on the ground. They also hold a .01-yard lead as the league's best rushing team on a per-rush basis, with 5.07 yards per rush. The team close behind them? The Washington Redskins. So it's safe to say that the running game figures to play a key role for both sides. Against Green Bay, LeSean McCoy had more rushing yards (155) than he had in his previous three games combined (147). He also received the most carries (25) since his 116-yard performance against Tampa Bay in Week 6. The Eagles are 3-0 this season when McCoy carries the ball at least 25 times. All of that evidence seems to point to the conclusion that getting McCoy the ball provides a winning formula for the Eagles. Factor in that McCoy's best game of the season game against Washington in the Monday night opener, when the Eagles' back ran for 184 yards and a score, and McCoy could be poised for another outstanding game.
McCoy's running numbers from the first time that these two teams met this season may have been helped out by the fact the Redskins had to keep an eye on Michael Vick and his ability to run with the football. It appears that Vick will not be ready to go this Sunday, once again putting the ball in the capable hands of Nick Foles. In short, Foles has been phenomenal this season, throwing for 16 touchdowns without an interception. In the Eagles' last two games, Foles has thrown for 10 scores and has demonstrated the ability to connect on deep passes. The second-year pro has also been able to extend plays by shuffling and stepping up in the pocket, giving his receivers more time to get open. Foles is more athletic than most people give him credit for, and his ability to make plays on the run could be a big part of Sunday's matchup. His back-to-back stretch of 158.3 and 149.3 quarterback ratings stands as the greatest such stretch in NFL history.
The play of the offensive line, meanwhile, has helped greatly in the Eagles' ability to run and throw the football. Touted as one of the league's most athletic offensive lines heading into the season, the Eagles' offensive line was rolling right along until an injury last week to left tackle Jason Peters. But even in Peters' absence, the Eagles offense cruised forward with veteran Allen Barbre at left tackle. So even if Peters ,who is day-to-day with a quad injury, is unable to play this Sunday, the Eagles should remain stout up front. The Eagles did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage in the season opener, and they will need to do that once again to come out with a win on Sunday.
Moving outside, keep an eye on Riley Cooper. The physical wide receiver drew a lot of criticism for his lack of production earlier in the season, and he's responded in a big way. In the last two games alone, Cooper has been on the receiving end of five touchdown passes. Cooper's seven touchdown catches on the season ranks above notable names like A.J. Green, Andre Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald. DeSean Jackson is just 97 yards away from 1,000 on the season, and his numbers from here on out depend on Cooper's ability to draw attention from opposing safeties.
Finally, it will be interesting to watch how the Eagles deploy their tight ends on Sunday. Two weeks ago in Oakland, Brent Celek and Zach Ertz both found their way into the end zone. Last Sunday, Celek had just one catch, while Ertz was never even targeted. James Casey did come up big by taking in a screen pass and rumbling for a first down late in the game, but that was his only catch. Celek scored a touchdown in the first game against Washington, so the Eagles could once again be looking for ways to get their tight ends involved.
Switching sides of the ball, the Redskins defense has been a huge problem for the team this season. Washington has the second worst defense in the league, in terms of points per game, allowing 31.9 points per contest. It's difficult to point to one specific area as being the defense's downfall considering all of the talented players that make up the unit. Pass rushers like Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are still there, providing a constant threat to get to the quarterback, and Barry Cofield is a stout run-stopper in the middle. The middle of the Redskins defense contains the team's two leading tacklers in Perry Riley and London Fletcher, who has been in thorn in the Eagles' side for what seems like decades now. DeAngelo Hall, whose 42 career interceptions rank fifth among active players, provides some veteran leadership and the ability to swing momentum at any time, as he has scored three touchdowns this season (including one against the Eagles in the season opener).Factor in the presence of hard-hitting safety Brandon Meriweather, and it becomes apparent that the Redskins defense, despite the poor numbers, cannot be taken lightly.
The most interesting thing to watch with the Redskins defense will be how they react to the no-huddle from the Eagles. Washington served as the NFL's "guinea pig" when it came to defending the Eagles offense back in Week 1. They were the first team to see it in full-speed, and they were baffled by it, especially during the blitzkrieg first half when the Eagles ran 59 offensive plays. The Redskins were unable to get their substitutions in and looked generally unprepared for the pace of the game. That is unlikely to be the case this week, now that the Redskins have had a chance to see the Eagles offense in action over the first 10 weeks of the season.
The Washington Redskins offense the Eagles see on Sunday is one of the NFL's best and will present a serious challenge. It ranks ninth in the NFL in points per game (25.6), fifth in yards per game at 410.4, third in first downs (23.8) and fourth in third-down efficiency (46.0 percent).
After a shaky start, the Redskins offense has been improving each week and is now clicking as quarterback Robert Griffin III has gained confidence in his surgically repaired knee. He leads a passing attack that ranks 10th in the NFL in yards per game (259.2) and 11th in yards per attempt (6.4). Griffin III's mechanics and throwing power have been much better as he has been able to plant and push off his base with authority, instead of relying just on his upper body. He is also showing an increasing willingness to keep the ball on zone-read options and take off and run once the play breaks down, registering 301 yards on 56 carries (5.4 average) in nine games. Griffin III is much closer to the dynamic player he was in 2012 than the clearly rusty one the Eagles faced in Week 1. For the season, he has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,450 yards, 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a quarterback rating of 83.8. Griffin III is still incredibly dangerous on every snap, and it will require a tremendous collective effort from the Eagles defense to keep him in check.
At receiver, Pierre Garcon is the most recognizable name and remains Griffin III's favorite target. A big-play threat with 10 gains of 20-plus yards, he is having a career-best season so far with 61 catches for 803 yards and three touchdowns. Garcon is a tough, physical runner who looks to inflict pain on would-be tacklers after the catch and is coming off two straight 100-plus-yard performances. He will likely match up primarily against Cary Williams. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who looks like a star in the making, has emerged for the Redskins and quickly earned Griffin III's trust. He is the team's second-leading receiver with 44 catches for 487 yards and three touchdowns. Leonard Hankerson, who also has three touchdown receptions, and grizzled veteran Santana Moss have 29 catches for 370 yards and 21 catches for 249 yards, respectively. If Bradley Fletcher is unable to play again due to his pectoral injury, Roc Carmichael will step in outside as the other starting cornerback for the Eagles, just as he did against Green Bay.
The Eagles pass defense allowed a total of 305 yards through the air against the Packers and now ranks 31st in the NFL at 306.5 yards per allowed per game. They also recorded two interceptions, one in the end zone by Brandon Boykin to thwart a potential Packers touchdown and the other on a diving play by DeMeco Ryans, to bring the unit's season total up to 12, which is just one off the league lead. Speaking of Ryans, the leader of the Eagles defense is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season with 89 total tackles (71 solo, five for loss), two sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups. Connor Barwin had a key pass batted down against the Packers, and Najee Goode, who replaced the injured Mychal Kendricks (knee), was a force as a run blitzer and nearly had a pick-six in coverage. If Kendricks is unable to play on Sunday, Goode will get the first start of his NFL career. At safety, Nate Allen was his solid, dependable self against the Packers, while Patrick Chung took over for the injured Earl Wolff (knee) and will remain in that spot with Wolff expected to miss multiple weeks.
Running back Alfred Morris leads a rushing attack that ranks third in the NFL at 151.2 yards per game, just 2.3 yards behind the first-ranked Eagles. The Eagles shut down Morris and the Redskins' ground game in the first game of the season, holding him to just 45 yards on 12 carries. Since then, Morris has rushed for no fewer than 70 yards in any single game. Over his past five games, Morris has really hit his stride, averaging 105.8 yards per game and 5.1 yards per rush. He is coming off his most productive game, carrying the ball 26 times for 139 yards and touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. For the season, Morris has 159 carries for 825 yards, third in the NFL, and five touchdowns. His 5.2-yards-per-carry average ranks first among all starting running backs. There has been no sophomore slump for this bruising wrecking ball with light feet, and Morris still requires multiple defenders to bring him down. He figures to see a healthy workload against an Eagles defense that swarms to the football, gang tackles, has been stout against the run – ranking 14th at 110.5 yards allowed per game – and is coming off a strong showing in which it shut down Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy. Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton were all fantastic once again in controlling the line of scrimmage. The only 100-yard running back the Eagles have allowed this season is the Oakland Raiders' Rashad Jennings, who passed the century mark in garbage time of the blowout victory. Roy Helu is Morris' backup, but he is a more effective receiver out of the backfield than ball carrier.
The Redskins offensive line features the same starting five from 2012 in Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus. The unit has been effective both in pass protection – 18 sacks allowed, fifth-fewest in the NFL – and run blocking. However, in the second half of the Redskins' recent loss to the Vikings, the offensive line struggled to keep Griffin III upright and allowed four sacks. The Eagles front seven had trouble generating pressure against the Packers and recorded just one sack, thanks to Vinny Curry, of quarterback Scott Tolzien. The Eagles rank 25th in the NFL with just 20 sacks and cannot afford to let Griffin III comfortably sit in the pocket all day. Bill Davis was effective in Week 1 when he dialed up blitzes, leading to two interceptions, and might have to do so again this time around.
Something in particular to focus on when the Redskins offense and Eagles defense are on the field together is what happens in the red zone. The Redskins are fourth in the NFL in touchdown efficiency in the red zone (64.52 percent), while the Eagles – in what has been a staple of a Davis-led defense – have become one of the league's stingiest red-zone defenses, ranking ninth overall in touchdown conversion rate (50 percent), but allowing just a 20 percent touchdown conversion rate in the past three games (tied for first in that span).
The Philadelphia Eagles have a daunting obstacle in their way this week as they try to grab sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
A home game.
The Eagles will try to snap a franchise-worst 10-game home losing streak Sunday against the Washington Redskins and pull ahead of idle Dallas in football's most mediocre division.
They're off to an 0-4 start this year at Lincoln Financial Field, though they've won two in a row after Sunday's 27-13 victory at Green Bay.
"We got to get it going. We got to get back in the swing of things at home," Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. "Our fans deserve it. So, hopefully, we can collect something together, figure out what it is and just win in front of our home fans. But there's got to be support. We can't be coming into the game, first quarter, getting boos and all that type of stuff. (The fans) just got to work with us throughout the game. I think as long as everybody is doing their job and doing what they need to do, we'll be all right."
The Eagles (5-5) are back in a first-place tie with the Cowboys for the first time since Week 6.
Nick Foles will start at quarterback for the third straight week. He has 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last two games with a remarkable rating of 155.3, including a perfect 158.3 on Nov. 3 at Oakland.
His season passer rating of 132.5 would be the highest in the league if he had the requisite 14 passing attempts per team game. His 136 attempts fall four short of the qualifying number.
Foles' 16 touchdown passes are tied for eighth in the league, despite making just four starts. He's yet to throw an interception.
"He has great poise," wide receiver Riley Cooper said. "He's going to sit in the pocket and kind of dissect the defense. He trusts in his guys. If it's man-to-man coverage or something, he's going to throw it up to you."
Foles hasn't enjoyed such success in two career games against the Redskins.
The Eagles opened the season Sept. 9 with a 33-27 win at Washington, but Michael Vick was at quarterback.
Foles started both losses to the Redskins last year, including the last meeting in Philadelphia, a 27-20 defeat Dec. 23, 2012. He threw his last interception in that game.
He's 0-4 as a starter at home and the Eagles have lost all six home games he's played in in his career, in which he's thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions with a passer rating of 73.8. His career road rating is 113.4.
Despite their troubles at home, the Eagles still rank fourth in total offense with 413.4 yards per game. They're rushing for a league-high 153.5 yards behind LeSean McCoy's NFL-best 932 yards.
The Redskins (3-6) fell to 1-4 on the road with a 34-27 loss at Minnesota on Thursday night. They haven't won consecutive games this year, but are still just 1 1-2 games out of first place in the division.
It's familiar territory after starting 3-6 last year and making the playoffs after winning seven straight to end the regular season.
"We can talk about everybody else, but the bottom line is we have to be a lot better," Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "We can't make it to the playoffs and expect to do anything in the playoffs the way we've been playing. It's pointless to even get there."
Team defense has been a significant problem. They're 31st in opponents' points per game (31.9) and 27th in yards allowed (388.6).
Quarterback Robert Griffin III is 2-1 with eight touchdown passes and three interceptions against the Eagles, including a perfect 158.3 passer rating on Nov. 18, 2012.
He's come under some criticism during this years' 3-6 start after earning praise with the same record as a rookie. The difference has been six interceptions. He threw three in his first nine games last year and is averaging one a game this year.
He had arguably his best game of the year against the Vikings with three touchdowns, no turnovers and a season-best 114.8 passer rating..
"When you're expected to be great, you're always going to have disappointments," wide receiver Pierre Garcon said of his quarterback. "You're always going to have tough times that you deal with. You just have to make it through those times to be successful."
That was an early slogan for Under Armour and translates well into all sports.
The Philadelphia Eagles haven't been on board lately as far as taking care of business at home and will try to stop a 10-game losing streak at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday versus the NFC East-rival Washington Redskins.
Philadelphia is 0-4 this season at the Linc and last prevailed as the host more than a year ago on Sept. 30 versus the New York Giants. The Giants were the last team to hand the Eagles another home loss on Oct. 27 in an ugly 15-7 finish and wide receiver DeSean Jackson feels the mood should be different.
"(We need) everybody in the stands really encouraging instead of the opposite," Jackson told CSNPhilly.com. "Trying to get that energy to be on our side. I feel like it's against us sometimes."
Jackson wasn't done there.
"We already have to beat our opponent. Now we're trying to fight our fans," Jackson continued. "That energy to help us go out there and help us (get an) interception, delay of game penalty, whatever it is, we need them on our side, not against us.
"Can't blame anybody but ourselves for losing a game. As long as we have that energy to help us go out there and win, that's all we need."
Chip Kelly's team is an impressive 5-1 on the road and came away with a 27-13 win last weekend against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Quarterback Nick Foles made his second straight start in place of the injured Michael Vick (hamstring) and passed for 228 yards with three touchdowns, one week after lighting up Oakland for an NFL-record seven TDs with 406 yards passing.
Foles will get the nod again, and rightfully so, and has 16 touchdown passes to zero interceptions on the season. Foles needs four more touchdown passes to tie Peyton Manning for the most TDs to start a season without throwing an INT. Manning set the NFL record earlier this season, while Foles has thrown 173 passes without a pick.
Still, the second-year quarterback said he still has room to improve.
"I feel like I've improved a lot, but there's still a lot of improving to do," said Foles, who said he made some "ill-advised decisions" in Green Bay.
Either way the Eagles came out on top for their second straight win and fourth in six weeks. The Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are even atop the NFC East, but the latter has the tie-breaker by virtue of a win back on Oct. 20 and a better record in the division and conference.
The Eagles, who are second in rushing yards (153.1), fourth in total yards (413.4) and ninth in passing yards (260.3), are scheduled to play their next three games at home and have a bye week after the Redskins matchup.
Washington has a 1-4 record on the road and an overall mark of 3-6, which is even with the Giants. It still has an outside shot at making a run for two straight NFC East titles, but put a wrench in those plans with last Thursday's 34-27 loss at Minnesota.
The Redskins had a chance at the end.
Robert Griffin III and the Redskins took over from their own 20 with 3:36 to play. Despite having no timeouts, Washington was able to move the ball down the field. Jordan Reed's 17-yard catch moved the ball to the 8-yard line. Following a run by Roy Helu and two incomplete passes, Griffin lofted a fourth-down pass to Santana Moss, who caught the ball but was out of bounds.
"It felt like we were in control, and when you walk off the field with a loss, it's very disheartening," Griffin said, "but I don't think anyone on this team is going to quit."
RGIII knows first hand what it's like to face a 3-6 hole. That's what occurred last season and the Redskins ripped off seven straight wins to capture a division crown and host a playoff game. Head coach Mike Shanahan lighted a fire under the team, saying it's time to evaluate for next season. It worked in his favor and the players responded.
"When we were 3-6 a year ago, we had one goal and that was to improve and become 4-6, and to do that we have to have a group effort," Shanahan said.
Washington has a potent offense just like Philadelphia and is third in rushing yards (151.2), fifth in total yards (410.4) and ninth in scoring (25.6). Running back Alfred Morris has quietly led the offense and has rushed for 448 yards and two scores in the past four weeks. Morris is third in the NFL with 825 rushing yards to go along with five rushing TDs.
Morris will face an improved Eagles defense and isn't going to back down.
"When I've got the ball in my hands, it's like, 'Get as much as you can.' I refuse to let one person tackle me," Morris told ESPN 980. "It's going to take a gang of you guys to tackle me. That's just my mindset. Each play is my last play and that's the way that I look at it and I try to do as much as I can on that one play.
"If you watch a lot of players who go down pretty fast, watch their legs. First thing (that) stops is their legs. If you don't have your legs (moving), you're not going anywhere."
The Redskins, who have lost three in a row on the road, received 45 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries from Morris in a season-opening 34-27 loss to the Eagles. The Eagles racked up 443 yards of offense and were led by Vick and LeSean McCoy that day. McCoy, the NFL's leading rusher with 932 yards, grinded out 184 yards and a score on 31 yards in that one.
Washington leads the all-time series which started back in 1934 by an 81-72-6 margin, but the Eagles have won four of the past six in this series. The series is five apiece in games played at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Redskins defense can take a page out of the Eagles' stop unit in defending the run. The Eagles were able to slow down Lacy and the 'Skins are faced with a similar obstacle against McCoy. McCoy talked about the matchup and what's different since a Week 1 encounter.
"A lot has changed since game one," McCoy said. "We don't really look at that game and think we're going to have the same results. We're going to watch tape and get the game plan together and be ready to execute on Sunday. A lot of teams are trying to stack the box and want us to win the game by throwing the ball, and we're doing that. I'm curious to see how they play us and what type of different stunts they pull."
While the Redskins want to improve their pass rush and force Foles to beat them, they have to take McCoy out of his game and give him barely any daylight to run. Philadelphia's offensive line could be without All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters Sunday. Peters suffered two different injuries at Green Bay and his quad and pectoral issue has him day-to-day.
Allen Barbre will start in Peters' place and took over last week.
Washington will try to establish a pass rush to get Foles off his game and Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan explained that.
"You want to be able to get pressure with your down four," Kerrigan said. "It's kind of disappointing for all of us up front, not just Brian (Orakpo) and myself.
"I think we have had to rely too much on blitzes to get pressure and you don't want to do that."
Kerrigan said Foles "looks pretty comfortable" in the offense and that the Eagles' run game sets up the big plays down the field. That's where Washington's secondary comes into play with DeAngelo Hall, Reed Doughty, Brandon Meriweather and Josh Wilson.
Hall is aware of the importance of this game.
"It's about executing, getting down to the fundamentals, tackling, doing the little things that we have been doing since we were little kids to be successful in football," Hall said. "That's what we have to get back to, that's what we have to hang our hat on to win football games."
The Eagles could unveil new weapon Brad Smith, a versatile receiver and return specialist who signed on this week, to jump into the mix with Jackson, McCoy and even Riley Cooper, who's contributions the last few weeks have been immense.
Philly's defense has to be wary of what Griffin, Morris and the offense can bring, but has improved over the past month or so. While the offense has racked up at least 400 yards in eight of the first 10 games, the defense has held the opposition to 21 points or less in each of the last six games.
The Eagles' linebackers, especially DeMeco Ryans in the middle, has to be ready for a fist fight Sunday. Ryans could be playing without linebacker Mychal Kendricks alongside him after the second-year player suffered a knee injury against the Packers. Safety Earl Wolff (knee) also went down and both players are day-to-day.
Philadelphia has seven interceptions in four division games this season.