Thanks to their crushing home loss versus the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles are in a position where they need to win this week and next, and then pray for a little bad luck to hit Dallas. To say the Eagles have plenty to play for is an understatement, but I see this game coming down to one thing: the play of the Eagles’ defensive front seven.
Offensively, I have no major concerns in this game. Even though Mark Sanchez is perfectly subpar, I think the Eagles will simply outclass Washington’s defense. If Sanchez and company can scratch together 20 points or so, I think that should be enough to earn them the W.
Thanks to the season-ending injury to Colt McCoy, the Redskins have no choice but to trot out the embattled Robert Griffin III. His poor play this season has been dissected down to the tiniest detail, most famously by ex-Redskin tight end Chris Cooley. Summarizing Cooley’s criticisms down to its major theme, Griffin is simply not grasping the mental aspects of his offense, missing open reads and throwing rushed passes into tight coverage — sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Griffin has been largely ineffective and appears to be playing his last snaps as Washington’s quarterback. Running back Alfred Morris has struggled lately as well, rushing for only 122 yards and zero touchdowns in the past three games combined. Washington’s offense flows much better when Morris is in rhythm, so establishing him early is a priority the Redskins can’t overlook.
All of these things play directly into the Eagles’ front seven, which has been solid all year long and continues to play at a high level. If the Eagles can contain Morris and get consistent pressure on Griffin, Washington’s offense should be effectively shut down. Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed are all dangerous weapons who can give the Eagles fits. But with Griffin’s documented struggles, I can’t believe they’re going to be factors if Griffin is getting hit.
So let’s hope the front seven plays like they have been. If so, it’ll be a good day of football for fans of the midnight green.
Doug Green is a blogger for RantSports.com covering the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @DGreenNFL