Game Preview: Eagles vs. Redskins NFL regular season 2017 week 1

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Dec 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Mychal Kendricks (95) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 32-14. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Football season is back, Eagles fans. It is time for them Eagles to start a hopeful run to the Super Bowl. Eagles kick off at 1:05 EST at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins. The Birds have had a tough time against the Skins as it’s been 3 years since the Eagles won. Add a year on to that for the last Eagles win at FedExField.

Where to Watch the Eagles vs. Redskins Game

The 2017 NFL regular season week 1 match between the Eagles and Redskins kicks off at 1 P.M. on Sunday, Sept. 9. You can watch the game on TV on Fox. Plus, it’s available on ESPN Raio nationally.

It’s available using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna. Or, streaming services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue may offer local channels in select markets. There’s also NFL GamePass for $99.99 for live out-of-market preseason games. But its regular season coverage is limited to next-day streaming. Finally, for viewers outside of DirecTV’s coverage area, NFL Sunday ticket provides game streaming.

The Rivalry

The two division rivals have been beefing with each other over the offseason. Lane Johnson wrote in the Players Tribune, “…This team is going to go down to D.C and whup some ass against the Redskins…”. This sparked up newly acquired linebacker Zach Brown. He tweeted and stated in a press conference mocking Lane about his use of PED’s.

Eagles Offseason

The Redskins were -2.5 favorite way back when but the Eagles have since taken over as -1.5 favorites. That changed with the abundance of moves Eagles general manager, Howie Roseman, has made. He acquired corner Ronald Darby from the Bills exchange for beloved wideout Jordan Matthews. This move has immensely improved the Eagles secondary and makes their defense even scarier. The pass rush also improved with the first round pick, defensive end Derek Barnett. Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan came over from a trade with the Ravens and defensive tackle Chris Long was brought over in free agency.  The Birds also added some weapons on offense. The big one was big free agent acquisition, receiver Alshon Jeffery. They also added the likes of veteran wide receiver Torrey Smith and fourth round selection, Mack Hollins.

Redskins Offseason

Washington, on the other hand, didn’t exactly have a great offseason. They lost veteran’s Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency. Their starting safety Su’a Cravens is mauling retirement and their second best pass rusher, Trent Murphy, tore his ACL. The Redskins also had the whole Scot McCloughan situation. Most importantly, quarterback Kirk Cousins has also come out about being disgruntled with his contract situation and has a weary future in Washington. Now there has been some good with the additions of Terrelle Pryor, Zach Brown, and D.J Swearinger. There was also Jonathan Allen, who would’ve been a bonafide top ten pick if not for a shoulder problem. Redskins are looked at by experts to be in the dweller of the NFC East.

Health

The Eagles are very healthy as no one is injured. The Redskins are also pretty healthy as they only have a couple of people doing limited work. The Eagles seem to have the edge right now regarding health and ability.

Run Game

Both running games are a question mark for their teams. Last year the Eagles were ranked eleventh in running and the Redskins were ranked twenty-first. Both teams have added some new running back via free agency or the draft. The Eagles brought over the unwanted, LeGarrette Blount, from the Super Bowl Champions. Joe Douglas also drafted the FBS leading rusher in the fourth round, Donnel Pumphrey. Corey Clement, undrafted from Wisconsin, has also made the roster after a strong preseason. Doug and company also have Darren Sproles and second-year player Wendell Smallwood to make a crowded backfield. Blount is projected to be the starter but that can change fairly quickly. Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement both had good preseasons and look poised to take over that job. These backs are going to be behind a good offensive line barring an injury to the big guys. Now for the Redskins backfield. Rob Kelley or as some call him “Fat Rob” emerged as a decent starter for the Redskins. The Redskins also have Chris Thompson, Mack Brown, and Samaje Perine. The Redskins line is highlighted by All-Pro LT Trent Williams. The rest of the line is also pretty good as they have one of the best lines in the league.

Pass Game

Carson Wentz will look to improve upon an up-and-down rookie season. With the new additions and a healthy O-line, Wentz should be able to become the NFC East’s best quarterback. Philly is buzzing about the potential of Wentz as he looks like he is the one. Zach Ertz should be able to get the targets that the Eagles lost of Matthews. The Redskins have the current best NFC East quarterback, Kirk Cousins. His last two seasons have been tremendous and looks like he will do the same this year. He lost his top weapons and Philly killers, Desean Jackson, and Pierre Garcon. He still has Jordan Reed, Terrelle Pryor, and Jamison Crowder. They are good players but a player like “DJax” is an absolute game changer.

Rush Defense

The Eagles did lose run stuffer Bennie Logan to former Head Coach Andy Reid. They replaced him with Tim Jernigan via trade with the Ravens. Linebackers Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, and Mychal Kendricks(From the looks of his preseason) look to make a good group. With the strong front seven the Eagles have, they should be able to have a top ten run defense. New defensive Greg Manusky has a little work to do on the Redskins front seven. Rookie Jonathan Allen, the recent pickup of Zach Brown, and longtime Skin, Ryan Kerrigan head this group.

Pass Defense

Ronald Darby is the Eagles new number one corner. The Eagles gave up Matthews and a third to get him. He had an exceptional rookie season but last year was not the same. He became expendable with the Bills with the new regime wanting their guys. Jalen Mills is going to start on the outside and Patrick Robinson in the slot. Those two raise eyebrows among Eagles fans and have to be improved upon this offseason if they don’t step up their game. The starting safeties are former All-Pro Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Those two make a formidable group. The Eagles strongest group is the defensive line. Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, and Derek Barnett look to release hell on opposing quarterbacks.  Josh Norman is the leader of the Redskins secondary. Across from him is Bashaud Breeland and in the slot is Kendall Fuller. With Su’a Cravens possibly retiring, Deshazor Everett will take over his duties. His new partner in crime is D.J. Swearinger. Pass Rushing for the Skins is looked at to be decent this year. Ryan Kerrigan dominated the game last year going up against Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Allen is going to be a good player and should cause some problems for who ever has to block him.

Special Teams

Little has to be said here. The Eagles have had a top three special team unit for the past few years now. That is because of the great coaching of Dave Fipp and he is still here so expect nothing to change. Sturgis is a good kicker, Donnie Jones can punt, and Rick Lovato has to win the love of the fans after Jon Dorenbos’ departure. Sproles is still one of the best returners in the game and the kick coverage is usually great. Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way, and Nate Sundberg are all decent players. Washington’s special teams are nothing to shout about as it is decent at best. Crowder is a decent returner but they don’t have much other than that.

Overview and Prediction

Both teams are going to come into this game hungry, looking to hit someone who wears a different logo than them. Eagles seem like they are a team that is going to take a big step forward this year. Washington is looking like they are taking another step back as they seem to be a mess. Washington does have enough talent to make this a close game though. The Eagles defense should be able to fly high and stuff the run. Cousins is going to have a decent game but it won’t be enough to beat the Eagles. This game is going to be close and decided by special teams. Eagles come out on top 27-23 on a late TD throw by Wentz.

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