Week 16: Washington Redskins At Philadelphia Eagles
- QuarterbackThe Redskins have had a very good season and they are still in the hunt for the playoffs. Robert Griffin III should be at his best against this division opponent. RGIII escaped serious injury after taking a big hit in the fourth quarter of the Redskins’ Week 14 game against the Ravens. If he is in top form for the final two weeks of the season, the Redskins will be tough to beat.Nick Foles has the arm strength to make most of the throws he needs, but he makes a lot of mistakes and is most likely not the team’s quarterback of the future. Foles has been given a very difficult situation since the Eagles are almost certainly going to clean house at the end of the season and he may not be the new coaching staff’s quarterback of choice.
- OffenseThe Redskins have a powerful running attack thanks to rookie Alfred Morris. In addition to taking pressure off of RGIII with his ability to pick up key yards, he also weakens opposing defenses in the second half. The Redskins have the top-ranked running attack in the league. Wideouts Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson can get open and have worked well with RGIII.The Eagles have been done in by turnovers and poor play from the offensive line throughout the season. That’s a huge problem for any team to overcome and they have not been able to do it. Running back Bryce Brown has run with speed and explosiveness but he has also put the ball on the ground repeatedly. Jeremy Maclin has caught 57 of the 99 passes that have been thrown his way.
- DefenseThe Redskins have been particularly vulnerable to the opponents’ passing game this season, ranking 31st in that category. While they make a lot of mistakes and are not always in the proper position, Washington’s defense hustles for 60 minutes and has improved this season. Linebackers London Fletcher and Perry Riley are both solid tacklers, but the Redskin secondary is somewhat slow.The Eagles have played well defensively from a statistical perspective, but they have not been good enough to make up for the team’s struggling offense. The Eagles rank 11th against the pass and 13th in overall team defense. Free safety Kurt Coleman has played with effort and effectiveness. He has 77 tackles and 13 passes defensed. The pass rush has not been consistent.
- Special TeamsThe kicking game has turned around for the Redskins since they cut Billy Cundiff early in the season and brought on Kai Forbath. Punter Sav Rocca gets good height on his kicks, but he has struggled with his distance. Brandon Banks is somewhat explosive as a returner.The Eagles have not done a good job of keeping opponents from tilting the field on special teams play. They tend to lose containment and they have gotten the worst of it on punt and kickoff returns. Alex Henery has made 25-of-28 FG attempts, including 11-of-12 from 40-to-49 yards.
The Redskins are still fighting for a playoff spot while the Eagles are in disarray. In their Week 15 loss to Cincinnati, the Eagles played well in the first half before falling apart in the second half. That kind of scenario is likely to repeat against a hard-trying, tough-minded team like the Redskins.