5 Off-Field Factors That Could Affect Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins Outcome
Eagles vs. Redskins: 5 Off-Field Factors That Could Affect Outcome
When the Washington Redskins come to town on Sunday, the outcome of the game will have great meaning about the state of the Philadelphia Eagles. The game signifies another chance to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East and to really make something out of Chip Kelly’s inaugural season at the helm. Neither is something that was probably on the radar for the team at the beginning of the year, but now expectations may be higher than ever.
Overcoming some outside factors in the game will truly determine if the Eagles are ready to make a climb into playoff contention or if their short-lived success was due to matchups and fortune.
The offense will obviously look much different than it appeared in Week 1 when the teams last met. Philadelphia will be led onto the field by Nick Foles rather than Michael Vick, leaving Washington with a little less to worry about on the ground. However, the change compounds other problems for the Washington defense of the ball being spread around to multiple players on offense. The Eagles have become much less predictable with Foles behind center, and it makes them more dangerous as a whole.
On the defensive side of the ball, although the numbers don’t necessarily show it, the Eagles are much improved. Philadelphia has not surrendered more than 21 points in six weeks of football, and anytime they can produce that it gives them a good chance to win. Regardless of how much they bend, giving up large chunks of yards at times, they have seemed always able to contain the damage.
In order for the Eagles to win they’ll not only have to positively affect factors on the field, but also win the mental battles concerning the things they can’t control.
Recent injuries to key pieces for the Philadelphia Eagles on both sides of the ball may have a great effect on their chances. Earl Wolff, who has started six games as a rookie, will definitely be unavailable. He has become a key piece of the secondary and will be missed. The bigger question marks are what the Eagles will be able to do about Mychal Kendricks and Jason Peters. Peters would probably be the biggest loss based on lack of depth at his position. Kendricks has really stepped up this season, and although Najee Goode showed well against the Green Bay Packers, the total field coverage will look different. Counting on backups to carry the load will become big in determining the outcome of Sunday’s matchup.
4. Philadelphia's Player/Fan Relationship
Much of the week leading up to Sunday’s clash with the Washington Redskins has been dampered by addressing the support of the Philadelphia fans from the players’ perspective. DeSean Jackson was most vocal about saying negativity is not welcome or necessary from the crowd. However, support from other players for the fan base did exist showing that there is understanding about the frustration felt when the team has not won a home game in over a year. The production on the field early in the game may have a larger effect on the involvement of the crowd as the game progresses, and the atmosphere may end up changing drastically based on the Eagles’ success.
3. Washington Coming Off Bye Week
Philadelphia is currently dealing with some injury issues incurred while the team has been climbing back into contention for the NFC East lead. On the other hand, Washington is well rested coming off the bye week and has surely spent the better part of two weeks getting healthy and preparing for an inter-division rivalry. If the health of the teams has any effect on the outcome of the game, Washington may have the upper hand being more well rested and having plenty of time for recovery since their last game. From another perspective, with the way the Eagles have been playing they probably aren’t looking for any breaks in the schedule and would rather keep things moving ahead.
2. Expectations of Nick Foles' Greatness
After dealing with the aftermath of his last home performance, one in which the Eagles dropped a chance at the NFC East lead to the Dallas Cowboys, Nick Foles has really looked unstoppable. He has tied two NFL records for touchdowns in a game and touchdowns without an interception, but handling the pressures that come along with expectations of such greatness may end up being too much. Foles is continually being looked upon to prove himself as a player and starter, but having to answer critics week after week could prove to put unneeded stress on the standout accomplishments he’s been able to produce up until now. Foles pulling another rabbit from the hat may mean the difference in the Eagles taking over first place.
1. Eagles' Winless Streak At The Linc
The stress of more than a year’s time and 10 consecutive home losses is surely weighing on the minds of many in Philadelphia. Overcoming the pressures related with any home game, let alone that of one for top of the division, would be plenty to deal with on a normal week. But the Eagles will also deal with the task of surmounting the expectations of a city that is starved for a football victory. Popping the bubble on the winless streak would do wonders for bridging the gap between the players and fans and lead the Eagles toward an end of the season run at the playoffs. However, anything less than a victory will create more criticism that will last long into the bye week and could spell disaster for the Eagles’ season.