Five on the Redskins
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles need to stop a lot of losing when they finish up the season series with the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
Doug Pederson’s team has dropped three straight games to fall to 5-7 on the season and have also lost four consecutive to the ‘Skins, including a 27-20 setback earlier this season in Landover.
The Eagles are on the brink when it comes to the postseason obviously and will likely need to win out and garner help elsewhere in order to reach the playoffs.
Here’s five things you should know about a 6-5-1 Redskins team, also in the win-now mode, heading into the game:
JORDAN REED WATCH
The talented Washington tight end said he is “optimistic” he will be able to play Sunday after injuring the AC joint in his shoulder on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys.
Reed missed last week’s loss at Arizona and has said the shoulder remains painful but believed he can play through it.
“It’s painful but something I can deal with,” Reed said.
One of the tougher matchups in football, Reed streaking down the middle of the field will make things much tougher for a Philadelphia defense trying to regain its mojo.
NO KISSING COUSINS
In his four career games against the Eagles, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has been lights out, completing 110-of-174 passes for 1,345 yards with 10 touchdowns against just two interceptions. That’s an imposing average of 336.3 passing yards per game against Philadelphia, the top mark for any QB in history against the Eagles.
Considering the recent struggles Jim Schwartz’s cornerbacks have been enduring this is not exactly the best matchup in the world for Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll and Jalen Mills.
Cousins has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 16 road games he’s played since assuming the Redskins’ starting role prior to the 2015 season. That streak of success away from the Beltway is the second-longest in franchise history, trailing only Joe Theismann's 18-game run dating back over 30 years (1982-85 seasons).
The Redskins have a litany of playmakers and haved moved the football with ease for the most part, averaging 418.6 yards-per-game, second in the NFL. If they continue at that pace this will be the first time ever that Washington averages over 400 yards-per-game.
The team has also been very consistent, piling up at least 300 yards in 16 consecutive games, dating back to Week 14 of the 2015 season. The key seems to be effectiveness on third down. In Washington’s 126 offensive possessions this season, it has only 12 three-and-outs (9.5 percent), best in all of football.
Left tackle Trent Williams dominated the Eagles during the first meeting this season as Washington excelled on the ground with the All-Pro often caving in the right side with tremendous seal blocks. Williams returned to practice Wednesday after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Connor Barwin has been struggling recently and his worst game of the season came when trying to deal with the powerful Williams earlier this season so the calendar was not kind to the veteran defensive end.
973espn.com Prediction: Although mathematically alive the Eagles are really reduced to playing spoler with three home division games in the final four weeks. The potential returns of Jordan Matthews and Ryan Mathews (who are both questionable) is key because Washington will be able to score some points. If the Eagles lose this one, it might foreshadow a continued freefall for the rest of the campaign. For now, figure on Philadelphia getting it done. Eagles 24, Redskins 23
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen