By Kevin McGuire

What better way for the Philadelphia Eagles to follow-up a Monday night victory on the road than by returning home for a good, old-fashioned NFC East rivalry game. The Washington Redskins come to Philadelphia for a key early season NFC East match-up that could easily set the Eagles to runaway with the division, or show just how much of a battle the Eagles could be in for this fall. Here is a look at the Eagles’ week three opponent.

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 Season Record

Washington got off to a rough start to the season by taking a loss on the road against the Houston Texans, 17-6. Despite losing quarterback Robert Griffin III and former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson to injuries during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington found a way to even their season record at 1-1 with a blowout of the Jaguars.

Washington leads the all-time series between the historic rivals, 80-73-6. The teams have not split a season series since the 2010 season, with the Eagles sweeping the 2011 and 2013 season sets and Washington taking both games during the 2012 season. Last year the Eagles opened the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia with a road win at Washington in primetime, 33-27 (the score did not do the game justice). Since 2000, the Eagles are 7-7 against Washington in games played in Philadelphia.

 Redskins on Offense

It is also unknown if former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson will get a chance to play this weekend against his old team after suffering a shoulder sprain. The Redskins have shown signs of life without those two players though and with Cousins under center. Washington has a good running game with Alfred Morris carrying the bulk of the running game in his hands. Cousins will be more of a drop-back passer and will play it safe most of the time with his accurate eye. In week two Cousins passed for two touchdowns. 

Redskins on Defense

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After just two weeks of games, Washington finds itself bringing the NFL’s top-ranked defense to Philadelphia in Week 3. The Redskins have allowed just 234.5 yards per game. Washington has only allowed a third-down conversion for a first down 37.0 percent of the time and has allowed just 13.5 points per game early on as well. It would seem Washington has a defense that could continue to force the Eagles to get off to another slow start, so look for Philadelphia to try and open things up early and loosen the offense up.

Redskins Players to Watch

Quarterback, Kirk Cousins: Everybody loves the backup quarterback, and Cousins may be the most popular back-up around the NFL. When Cousins gets a chance to lead the offense, he does so with a good amount of confidence and perhaps with a small chip on his shoulder. That stems back to his days at Michigan State when few would give him respect as a game-changing quarterback. As long as he moves the football, that respect will be there.

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan: One of the primary contributors on defense for Washington in the first two games has been outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan leads the team with four sacks and he has forced a fumble. His good tackling skills have allowed him to record six solo tackles through the first two games.

Outlook

Division battles in the NFC East are rarely easy, and this one has potential to be another gut-wrenching game for the Eagles. The Redskins seemed to have an easier time with putting away Jacksonville than the Eagles did the previous week, but it is difficult to get a firm grasp on either team after just two games. The Redskins should have a defense capable of slowing down the Eagles early and often, but it is unknown if Washington will have the stamina to keep up in the second half, which is when the Eagles seem to come alive.

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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.