Things to Watch in Eagles-Redskins
Carson Wentz completed 26-of-39 passes for 307 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in the Eagles' 30-17, Week 1 win over the Redskins. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Image)
The Eagles face the Washington Redskins at an interesting time, in a rematch from Week where the Eagles picked up a 30-17 win on the road, after losing five in a row to Washington, including their last three at FedEx Field.
The Eagles handed the Redskins in Week 1, but both teams are different from the teams that clashed in the opening week of the season. Still, the Eagles are 5-1 and the Redskins are 3-2, an Eagles win can really distance themselves from the pack, including the Redskins who they would have swept.
The NFC East race can really be impacted with this game tonight, the Redskins can’t afford to stumble in this road game if they want any shot of winning the division this season.
Here are some things to look for in tonight's game against the Redskins.
Don't give up the big play.
The Eagles held the Redskins running game in check in Week 1, holding Rob Kelly to 30 yards on 10 carries. The Eagles defense gave up three big plays, of 28, 29 and 34-yards in the game and the Redskins are a much more cohesive union on with Kirk Cousins playing some good football since that loss.
"The screen game for the redskins is working really well," said ESPN national NFL corespondent Sal Paolantonio on the Sports Bash.
"The Eagles are a very poor screen defensive team. So this is one of your games you know where Kirk Cousins has a really good passer rating on first down and Chris Thompson has been terrific on third down and the eagles have had trouble you know against good pass offenses and right now the redskins have evolved into a much better pass offense than they had first game of the year."
Stopping Redskins running back Chris Thompson will be a challenge.
Thompson, the Redskins diminutive running back has been a star. Even though he’s a 5-8, 191 pound third-down back, he is wide-receiver fast and has been excellent in the screen game, and catching the ball out-of-the-backfield. He had a 29-yard catch in the first week and with his speed provides a match-up problem for the Eagles.
"You gotta find Chris Thompson because he will kill you," Paolantonio. "Find him, and eliminate him from the game. Especially in the screen game when they run Brandon Schreff out there, it’s been a killer all year long."
This could be another good game for Zach Ertz vs Redskins
With a banged up Washington secondary, including Josh Normal missing tonight's game, the Redskins are going to have their hands full with the Eagles receiving core, meaning Zach Ertz could have more room to roam this week.
The Redskins defense surrendered eight catches for 93 yards in the opener to Ertz and have been the team Ertz has had the most success against during his five year career.
"Washington's done a horrible job verse tights ends this year," ESPN NFL Insider KC Joyner said today on the Sports Bash.
In nine games against the Redskins, Ertz has hauled in 54 catches for 531 yards, but has yet to score a touchdown, tonight could be the night.
Protect Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz has been 43 times, second most in the NFL, which isn't good, and has been sacked 16 times, which isn’t bad. Since the Eagles have tweaked their offensive line after Week 2, the Eagles run game has been much better, but Wentz is still taking hits.
"The coaches I was told were all over Carson Wentz about driving his head and shoulder into the teeth of the defense," Paolantonio said. "About sliding instead of going head first. But the biggest thing they were all over him about was holding onto the ball in the pocket."
"The coaches I was told were all over Carson Wentz about driving his head & shoulder into the teeth of the defense. About sliding instead of going head first. But the biggest thing they were all over him about was holding onto the ball in the pocket."
The Pick: Eagles 34, Redskins 24