Game Preview – Do or Die vs WAS

Posted: December 26th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 19 Comments »

2015 has not gone as the Eagles had hoped. Expectations were sky high back in the summer, but the harsh reality is that the team is 6-8 and fighting for their playoff lives. Tonight’s game against the Skins is essentially a playoff game. If the Eagles win, they keep going. Lose and it is time to start talking about offseason changes.

Chip Kelly and his players aren’t ready for this season to end so they will be fired up to host Washington. The Skins come in with the better record (7-7) and as the hotter team (winning three of their last four games), but this will be a major challenge for them. The Skins have been awful on the road, posting just a 1-5 record so far. They have had at least two turnovers in each of those losses. The defense has also had their share of struggles away from home.

The Eagles can win this game. Sam Bradford is coming off his best performance of the year. There will be chances to make plays in this game. Bradford threw three touchdown passes in the first meeting. One was a bomb to Riley Cooper and another was a deep ball to Miles Austin. Put on last week’s Skins tape and you will see open receivers running around downfield. Sammie Watkins had touchdowns of 20 and 48 yards. He was open for another big play. Chris Hogan was open for a deep ball. Receivers can get behind Washington defensive backs. Other times receivers will get lost in coverage and be wide open on broken plays.

Bradford is not a great deep passer, but he has improved during the season. He and the receivers have to make Washington pay when there is a chance for a big play. Those can be game-changing moments.

If you think back to the first meeting, the big issue was dropped passes. Jordan Matthews and Darren Sproles each dropped passes at key moments. Both came on drives in the fourth quarter and in Skins territory. Both came on third downs and killed drives. There are no guarantees that either drive would have resulted in points, but they might have. They also could have burned off a bit more time, which could have been important at the end of the game.

One of the other problems in the first meeting was Caleb Sturgis. He missed an extra point and a field goal. The Eagles lost 23-20. Obviously those four points would have made a tremendous difference. When the Eagles beat the Patriots and Bills, they got big contributions from STs. The Eagles need to win this phase of the game.

The big challenge will be the Eagles defense taking on the Skins offense. Kirk CousinsĀ is playing the best football of his career. He has good weapons at his disposal. DeSean Jackson is healthy and delivering big plays. The Eagles have to keep a Safety to his side. You don’t want Jackson 1-on-1 vs any of the CBs on a deep ball.

Maybe more important will be dealing with TE Jordan Reed. He is a unique player. Reed is a great route runner and has a gift for getting open. He has the size of a TE, but the movement skills of a WR. Put the ball near him and he can go get it. Reed is red hot. In the last 2 games he has 16 catches for 204 yards and 3 TDs. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles use a LB on him or a S or a CB. Reed is especially dangerous in the Red Zone.

CB Eric Rowe will play and should be fine. Byron Maxwell is still a mystery.

The Eagles run defense will also have a tough test. NT Bennie Logan is out. The Skins don’t have explosive runners, but they are tough and methodical. The Eagles struggled with tackling last week. That has to change or powerful runners like Alfred Morris and Matt Jones will give them fits.

Washington does a lot with misdirection plays. The Eagles defense has to play with discipline.

So, in short, a group that is banged up and struggling needs to cover well, tackle well and play with discipline. That is keeping me from being overly confident. The Eagles offense and STs need to play well if they are going to win this game. I don’t see the defense holding the Skins to 16 points or some low total. The Eagles better find a way to put at least 24 points on the board.

The one X-factor is what goes on up front. If Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin or some of the other guys can play at a very high level, that changes things. I don’t anticipate the Eagles dominating the line of scrimmage, but it is possible and that would be a game-changer.

I have very mixed feelings heading into this game. The Skins have won 3 of their last 4 games, but the loss was to Dallas and Matt Cassel. The Skins have talent. They are playing solid football. But this isn’t a team that has fully turned the corner and become someone to be feared.

The Eagles got embarrassed last Sunday night. That should have this team focused and ready to play. That said, I just don’t know what to make of the 2015 Eagles.

Saturday night will help me to figure that out.


19 Comments on “Game Preview – Do or Die vs WAS”

  1. 1 BobSmith77 said at 2:44 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    Interesting what if:

    – this team had signed Gore and used him with Mathews
    – been able to sign McCourty
    – signed another veteran CB instead of maxwell or even gone with Carroll and Rowe instead.

    It was something didinger went through this afternoon and argued this team not only would have better this year but better off next year too.

    Still thought Marlin was going to leave because Kelly had a dollar figure they had in mind,made a competitive offer, and Maclin just took the largest offer. Also added it was a mistake to simply cut Mathis too.

    Interesting discussion and Macnow/didinger is one of the few times I can listen to wip for more than a few minutes.

  2. 2 RobNE said at 2:50 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    We weren’t able to sign mccourtney bc he wasn’t leaving. So this is just a wish. Gore said no. I’m not sure the point of the exercise. What if sixers had number one pick last two years. They would be better off too.

  3. 3 BobSmith77 said at 2:53 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    Eagles offered him more money and it was centered on what would have happened if things had played out after what Kelly initially wanted to. Instead he got pushed secondary or tertiary options with less than desirable results.

  4. 4 levdog said at 5:07 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    It sounds like another pointless discussion on Philly sports radio.

  5. 5 FairOaks said at 4:13 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    If we weren’t going to keep Maclin we sure weren’t going to get mccourty. Didn’t we offer him more? The interesting one to me is if we had managed to keep Maclin. That would have meant no Murray, and probably no agholor in the draft either meaning we could have gone a different direction with that pick. Not signing maxwell could have been disastrous though. Starting Rowe or Watkins or Biggers? And getting worse from there with injuries?

  6. 6 truehaynes said at 7:31 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    This would have been ideal for me. Could have used our first on damarious Randall and our second on Jake fisher

  7. 7 Jasonwithajay said at 2:54 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    This team hasn’t responded well to losses. I doubt they’re suddenly embarrassed/shamed enough to turn it around. I don’t know that we’re going to lose. This will either be a tight game, or Washington will blow us out. There is no way Eagles are winning this comfortably. There’s almost no chance they win anyway.

  8. 8 FairOaks said at 4:02 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    The only way it’s a blowout either way is a big turnover differential which could go either way. Eagles were close to the cardinals without them. We don’t beat the patriots without them either. Redskins are not as good as either of those teams.

  9. 9 daveH said at 3:19 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    DeMeco Ryans to me is a hufe key.. can he keep RB abd TE in front of him and nit force othets..most notably ksndrokd to coverbhis shortcomings. . Go birds O msjebit easier on the D .. FoR ONCE !!!

  10. 10 b3nz0z said at 3:30 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    can’t even think about the playoffs right now. i just need to watch the skins lose. fletcher cox needs to have a career game.

  11. 11 oreofestar said at 4:44 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    I’ve got the Skins 28-17 Bradford throws one pick, Kirk goes for 300 and 3 TDs including one to DJAX, Murray has under 20 yards and Agholor scores

  12. 12 JoeBlow said at 5:30 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    im going total nightmare scenario since i feel i have been kicked in the groin by these guys all season, i’ll say they win tonight, but lose next week to the giants and the skins beat the boys on the road…..washington wins the east

  13. 13 oreofestar said at 5:31 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    A very possible scenario

  14. 14 Aaron said at 6:16 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    thats actually a pretty good prediction

  15. 15 Corry said at 5:47 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    I want to watch the game…but I don’t want to watch the game. I’m not sure I can handle the disappointment.

  16. 16 bdbd20 said at 5:50 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    Just enjoy football. It’ll be gone in 6 weeks.

  17. 17 Tumtum said at 7:11 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    Exactly. We all expect the worst. I for one am going to cheer hard all game. Have a friendly wager with a buddy who is a huge skin fan at work. Should be fun

  18. 18 Dragon_Eagle said at 7:03 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    Should of saved the all blacks for tonight.

    Punish Washington for being Washington.

  19. 19 A_T_G said at 8:57 PM on December 26th, 2015:

    The Redskins vs. the blacks might have raised a few eyebrows.