The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Redskins

THE BIG PICTURE

The Eagles got a break not having to face Aaron Rodgers last week, but they took care of business and came away with a decisive 14-point victory. The run game was on-point, Nick Foles continued his hot streak, and the defense continued to make strides. The Eagles now find themselves in a first-place tie with the Cowboys at 5-5 in the NFC East. The last time they were above .500 was Week 2 after defeating the Redskins in the opener. They’ll look for a repeat performance going into the bye week.

After starting the season 0-3, the Redskins have gone win-loss-win-loss-win-loss in the last six weeks. They blew a 13-point third-quarter lead against the Vikings on Thursday Night Football, but will look to improve to 4-6 and stay in the hunt for the NFC East title.

Here is how the Eagles’ offense matches up with the Redskins’ defense:

 
Yards Per Play
Points Per Game
DVOA (FB Outsiders)
Eagles Offense6.3 (4th)25.2 (11th)16.7% (5th)
Redskins Defense6.1 (29th)31.9 (31st)8.1% (24th)

And the Eagles’ defense against the Redskins’ offense:

 
Yards Per Play
Points Per Game
DVOA (FB Outsiders)
Redskins Offense5.8 (5th)25.6 (9th)0.9% (15th)
Eagles Defense5.6 (22nd)24.4 (20th)10.3% (28th)

Note: Click here for an explanation of DVOA.

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EAGLES RUSHING OFFENSE

 
YPC
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Eagles Rushing Offense5.0 (2nd)20.3% (1st)
Redskins Rushing Defense4.3 (22nd)2.0% (25th)

McCoy is the only back in the league with two games this year of  150+ yards and 6.0 yards per carry. Last week was vintage McCoy as he controlled the game in the second half and totaled 155 yards on 25 attempts.

The run blocking has been good for the most part all season long. The Eagles could be without Jason Peters (quadriceps). If that is the case, Allen Barbre is expected to play left tackle. He performed well last week against Green Bay.

The Redskins have Barry Cofield (NT), Stephen Bowen and Jarvis Jenkins up front in their 3-4. The inside linebackers are Fletcher and Perry Riley. Last week, Washington limited Adrian Peterson to 75 yards on 20 carries.

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EAGLES PASSING OFFENSE

 
Completion Percentage
YPA
20+
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Nick Foles63.2% (11th)9.2 (1st)*50 (1st)*23.4% (7th)
Redskins Passing Defense66.5% (29th)8.3 (30th)37 (28th)12.7% (22nd)

* Team stat, not individual stat.

Foles is completing 63.2 percent of his passes and averaging a league-high 9.24 yards per attempt. He’s thrown 16 touchdowns without an interception. Foles’ fumble last week was not due to carelessness. He just got crushed by multiple Packers defenders after a breakdown up front.

Asked to describe the difference between Foles as a rookie and Foles now, Fletcher said: “He probably stared down stuff a lot more last year. …He probably didn’t go through his progressions as well as he’s going through now. He’s doing a good job of really going through his progressions, knowing what his reads are based on the defense.”

Jackson is third in the NFL with 903 receiving yards, behind only A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson. He leads the league with 17 grabs of 20+ yards and needs three touchdowns in the final six games to set a new career high.

Cooper has been on fire with 462 yards and six touchdowns in his last five games. He’s second in the NFL, averaging 19.8 yards per catch.

The Redskins are shaky in the secondary with DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson at corner. The safeties are Reed Doughty and Brandon Meriweather. Washington is 28th in the league at covering opposing running backs (per Football Outsiders), meaning this could be a game to get McCoy involved in the passing game.

The Eagles were OK, but not great, in pass protection last week. Kelce had some issues. And Todd Herremans has been inconsistent in that aspect all season long. Johnson didn’t take a step forward after playing his best game of the season against Oakland.

The Redskins are 12th in adjusted sack rate. The two edge rushers are the guys to watch. Ryan Kerrigan leads the Redskins with 6.5 sacks, and Brian Orakpo has four. Cofield (2.5 sacks) can present problems along the interior. The Eagles’ offensive line will be tested in pass pro.

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EAGLES RUSHING DEFENSE

 
YPC
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Redskins Rushing Offense5.1 (1st)12.2% (3rd)
Eagles Rushing Defense4.0 (13th)-5.4% (18th)

Strength meets strength here. Alfred Morris is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, which is tops in the league among running backs. He had just 45 yards on 12 carries in the first meeting, but has been productive since that game.

The Redskins have a creative rushing attack that takes advantage of Griffin’s mobility on the read option. The Eagles have been good against the run and shut down Eddie Lacy last week. According to team stats, Ryans has a team-high 125 tackles, 27 more than any other Eagle. According to NFL stats, he has 89, tied for fourth-most in the league. No Eagles player has finished in the top-five in tackles since the stat was tracked officially in 2001.

The Eagles could be without Mychal Kendricks. If that’s the case, Najee Goode will start alongside Ryans.

Up front, Bennie Logan has been an upgrade at nose tackle over Isaac Sopoaga. Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox are playing well also.

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EAGLES PASSING DEFENSE

 
Completion Percentage
YPA
20+
FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Robert Griffin III60.8% (17th)7.27 (12th)*24 (26th)*-1.4% (24th)
Eagles Passing Defense62.1% (20th)7.1 (15th)38 (29th)20.7% (28th)

* Team stat, not individual stat.

This is the area where the defensive is most vulnerable. The Redskins like to use play-action to set up their passing game. And the Eagles have not been able to generate a consistent pass-rush.

The same five offensive linemen have played every snap for the Redskins this year. Pass protection has been OK. According to ESPN.com’s John Keim, Griffin took 18 hits against the Vikings. Part of that was on the line, part was on the receivers, and part was on Griffin.

Per Keim, the Redskins could be vulnerable on the interior with center Will Montgomery and right guard Chris Chester. Davis likes to bring A-Gap pressure, and Thornton and Cox will have to create havoc.

Pierre Garcon is Griffin’s favorite target. He has 14 catches for 291 yards in the past two games. On the season, Garcon has 61 catches for 803 yards.

Cary Williams did not play well last week. Bradley Fletcher is still nursing a pectoral injury. If he can’t go, it’ll be Roc Carmichael. Carmichael played well vs. Green Bay. Patrick Chung was shaky in Week 10. He’ll start in place of an injured Earl Wolff.

The other player to watch is rookie tight end Jordan Reed. He’s been targeted 28 times in the last three games and can line up in a variety of places, presenting matchup problems. The Eagles are 21st in the league at covering opposing tight ends, per Football Outsiders.

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THE ESSENTIALS

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST on FOX. Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch will have the call with Erin Andrews on the sideline. The Eagles are 3-point favorites, according to Sports Insights. As of this writing, 52 percent of the money is on the Redskins.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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