By Kevin McGuire
The Philadelphia Eagles open a key three-game set at home looking to build off the momentum of what has become the best record in the NFC through six weeks. It begins with a Monday night matchup against the NFC East rival Washington Redskins. The Eagles took the first game of the season series in the season opener with a 30-17 victory. A win on Monday night would put the Eagles in an even more comfortable position atop the division standings with a 3-0 mark against the division and a three-game lead at the minimum in the win column.
But since losing to the Eagles, Washington has been playing some good football. Should the Eagles be concerned? Let’s take a look at the Redskins heading into Monday night’s contest at Lincoln Financial Field.
Since losing to the Eagles in the season opener, the Redskins have gone 3-1. Like the Eagles, the only loss in that run has come against the Kansas City Chiefs. Two of those wins have come in close games with a 27-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams and last week’s 26-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Redskins on Offense
Kirk Cousins has been playing well since the season opener with eight touchdowns and just one interception. Cousins will be playing with an extra chip on his shoulder considering how the last game against the Eagles went. With a chance to drive his team down the field for a game-winning score, Cousins fumbled the football and saw it returned for a touchdown in the final minutes of the game. Washington has the NFL’s 8th-ranked passing offense and 10th-best rushing offense, led by Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine. Thompson is also Washington’s leading receiver while the Redskins continue to hope for a breakout performance by Terrelle Pryor.
Redskins on Defense
The Washington defense will be playing Monday night without rookie defensive end Jonathan Allen. The big man out of Alabama was playing well in pass rush, but will be sidelined with a foot injury and could be gone for a while. It is also unknown whether or not cornerback Bashaud Breeland will be available due to a sprained MCL, and Josh Norman remains in question after missing Sunday’s game against the 49ers with a fractured rib. The secondary is banged up with multiple injuries at the safety position, too, and the Redskins are considering removing DeAngelo Hall from the PUP list. But even if Hall is removed from the PUP list, he would be unavailable for Monday night’s game.
Redskins Players to Watch
Chris Thompson, Running Back – Thompson may have just 175 rushing yards in five games, but he has been used effectively in the passing game. Thompson is on pace for 1,000 receiving yards out of the Washington backfield, so the Eagles will have to be cautious of what he can do on screen and swing passes.
Kyle Fuller, Cornerback – The second-year player from Virginia Tech has recorded two interceptions in the last three games, which already surpassed his rookie season with zero interceptions. Fuller is getting more comfortable in his role in the defense and can get his hands on the football.
Despite the good run the Redskins have been on since losing to the Eagles in the season opener, it is worth noting the only two losses the Redskins have had this season have come against the only 5-1 teams in the league (Philadelphia and Kansas City). The previous meeting in Week 1 was closer than the final score would indicate, although Washington will have to find a way to disrupt the momentum the Eagles offense has developed in recent weeks. With some key injury issues on the defensive side of the football, that may be tricky and the Eagles could wrap up a sweep of their division rivals to further cement themselves atop the NFC East moving forward.