It’s finally here Philly. The Birds are kicking their season off against the Washington Redskins at the Linc at 1 p.m., and I for one am absolutely stoked.
On paper, this is the most talented roster Doug Pederson has had to work with since becoming the head coach in 2016. If Doug and Co. can put it all together, we could be in for another Super Bowl run here in Philly. But, it all starts with getting off on the right foot against our divisional rival Redskins.
The Eagles are currently 10 point favorites over Washington, the biggest spread in the NFL for opening week. Sure, the Redskins have some talented players on their roster, but does anyone truly believe we’re going to squander this game away? It seems almost unfathomable.
But as we know, there’s no such thing as a guarantee in the NFL. The Birds are going to need to come out and smack the Redskins in the mouth from the opening snap. Start off hot, exploit the favorable matchups, finish strong in the second half, and our Eagles should walk away 1-0 after this weekend. It’s not rocket science, the Eagles just need to come out and play up to their potential.
Here’s a quick overview of how both sides of the ball should fair on Sunday.
Washington doesn’t have much to hang their hat on on the offensive side of the ball. Case Keenum will be under center and he doesn’t exactly have a plethora of weapons at his disposal. The one thing he will be able to count on though is his backfield.
The Redskins have three backs that they plan to utilize heading into the season: Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson. I would suspect that Guice ends up getting the bulk of the carries this week, especially after the stellar preseason he just had. AP and Thompson will still get involved for sure, but expect Guice to get the majority of the snaps.
The strength of the Eagles defense is clearly their front-7, more specifically their defensive line, so relying on the run game may not be the best plan of action for Washington.
If the Birds can jump on the Redskins early and force Keenum to beat them with his arm, we’ll be in good shape.
While the Redskins lack fire power on the offensive side of the ball, they do have solid talent on their defense.
Ryan Kerrigan has given the Eagles offensive line trouble for years, and now he’ll be paired with one of the best rookie pass rushers in Montez Sweat. On the back end, Washington’s secondary is no joke either. They finished 2018 ranked 15th against the pass, allowing 237.1 yards per game. Starting CB Quinton Dunbar missed nine games due to injury and they dealt with problems at safety all season.
With Dunbar now fully healthy and the acquisition of All-Pro safety Landon Collins this offseason, the Redskins pass defense should be vastly improved in 2019. Not to mention they also added Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to their CB room and still have Josh Norman playing opposite of Dunbar.
But the Eagles also head into this matchup with an improved set of weapons to work with, and they’ll have their franchise QB Carson Wentz to ensure each new toy is utilized properly.
I would suspect Doug opts to run the ball early in this ball game to help soften the pass coverage, before taking the top off the Redskins defense with a deep shot to DeSean Jackson. Just like old times.
A balanced attack is a pivotal component to Pederson’s offense, and I fully expect them to attack the Redskins in a plethora of different ways.