Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 19, 2017 at 4:48 PM
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WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-2) AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-1)

KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, Lincoln Financial Field. TV: ESPN, Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters (field reporter).

SERIES HISTORY: 165th regular-season meeting. Redskins lead series, 85-74-5. The Eagles snapped a five-game losing streak to the Redskins with a 30-17 win at FedEx Field on Sept. 10 in the season opener.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Eagles will attempt to take a commanding three-game lead in the NFC East, looking for a sweep of the Redskins.

Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz continued his stellar play against Carolina last week and improved his season numbers -- 126 of 207 for 1,584 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Those statistics have vaulted him into the early conversation for the MVP award.

The Eagles could receive a boost against Washington with the potential return of right tackle Lane Johnson and running back Wendell Smallwood.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins has been quite efficient this season while completing 105 of 158 passes for 1,334 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Redskins need more balance than they had in the first game against Philadelphia. They managed just 64 rushing yards on 17 carries -- and 30 came from Cousins.

Rob Kelley (ankle) might not play again so rookie Samaje Perine will see more time than in Week 1, when he didn't get a carry. Chris Thompson did torch the Eagles for 52 yards on four catches out of the backfield, including a touchdown. Expect more of that.

The Redskins have to do a better job of bringing down Wentz, who far too often escaped trouble and made them pay by buying time in the pocket.

The injury bug could be a problem for the Redskins. Starting cornerbacks Bashaud Breeland (knee) and Josh Norman (rib) are both questionable as is running back Rob Kelley (ankle). Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is out with a Lisfranc injury.

In addition, the Redskins will feature newly signed kicker Nick Rose, who has never competed in an NFL game. Dustin Hopkins was placed on injured reserve.

Look out for Philadelphia's tight ends. Zach Ertz had eight catches for 93 yards against Washington and Brent Celek added another. Expect Wentz to target those players at least 10 times, especially with the Redskins struggling with injuries at safety, too.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

--Eagles TE Zach Ertz vs. Redskins S D.J. Swearinger. Ertz is the most productive pass-catching tight end in the league this season. He caught eight passes for 93 yards in the first game vs. the Redskins.

--Redskins LT Trent Williams vs. Eagles DE Vinny Curry. Curry has been solid vs. the run and the pass. Williams is one of the top left tackles in the game. He hasn't given up a sack or hit yet this season but is nursing a knee injury that could impact his effectiveness.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Eagles RB Wendell Smallwood. Smallwood has missed the last two games with a knee injury. His return strengthens a ground game that has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in the last four games, all wins.

FAST FACTS: Washington QB Kirk Cousins passed for 330 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing TD last week. He has 1,026 passing yards (342 per game), nine TDs and two interceptions in three career games at Philadelphia. In his past 13 road games, he has averaged 290.7 yards and thrown 24 TD passes vs. five INTs. ... RB Chris Thompson led Washington with 105 receiving yards in Week 6. He has hit 100 scrimmage yards in three of the past four games and leads NFL RBs with 340 receiving yards. He has scored five 5 TDs in his past four road games. ... Redskins TE Jordan Reed has 10 catches for 139 yards and two TDs in his past two games at Philadelphia. ... LB Ryan Kerrigan has four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception in the past four meetings. Since 2014, he is tied for the NFC lead with 37.5 sacks. ... LB Preston Smith had a sack in last meeting. He has 4.5 sacks in his past five games and three sacks in his past three road games. ... The Eagles have scored at least 20 points in 10 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL. ... QB Carson Wentz passed for 222 yards, three TDs and no INTs last week. In his past three home games, he has 725 passing yards, seven TDs and one INT. ... WR Nelson Agholor aims for a third straight game with a TD catch. He caught six passes for 86 yards and a TD in the last meeting. ... TE Zach Ertz caught two TD passes in Week 6 and is looking for a third straight home game vs. Washington with at least 10 catches and 100 yards. He leads NFL tight ends with 34 catches and 405 yards and is tied for the lead with four TDs. ... DT Fletcher Cox has 3.5 sacks in the past two home meetings. He has 8.5 sacks and a forced fumble in his past 12 home games.

PREDICTION: The Redskins had enough trouble with the Eagles in the first game. Since then, they have lost more guys and the Eagles have gotten better.

OUR PICK: Eagles, 34-24.

--Chris Cluff

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