Monday night at the Eagles starts an important – and dangerous – stretch of games for the Redskins. The Eagles announced themselves as official contenders in a week 1 dismantling of the Redskins – a game that left many in the media questioning how long Jay Gruden would last as the head coach. After picking themselves up off the mat and battling to an impressive 3-2 start with wins over the Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, the Redskins are now widely considered the only legitimate threat to the Eagles in the NFC East this year. This game could decide the fate of the division, and more importantly, it could propel Washington into a playoff run.
In week 1, Kirk Cousins struggled to find his rhythm and ended the game with a 72.9 passer rating while completing only 57% of his passes for 240 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. In three wins this season, Cousins has completed over 65%. In the two losses, it was under 60%.
Probably more telling though was the 4 total turnovers for the Redskins in that game. Cousins had 2 fumbles and an interception – almost half of his total for the season so far. It was by far the most disjointed thing for the offense in that game. It’s hard enough to beat a solid Eagles team without shooting themselves in the foot constantly.
To win this game, and hopefully get on a run that carries them through this stretch, the Redskins need to play clean and execute the offense the way they have been during this 4-game stretch. Peeking at the schedule ahead, the Redskins are only favored to win 1 of the next 5 games by ESPN’s Football Power Index. The next stretch is going to be tough, and the early bye has helped the Skins to regain a breath in the middle of a wild first half of the season. But with the injuries along the defense piling up more and more, they will have to rely on Cousins and this offense to out-perform their opponents.
The faltering of Dallas and New York leave Washington in the desirable position of controlling their destiny in the division, but that destiny will be made Monday night under the bright lights in Philadelphia. Can the Skins recover some of the swagger that they showed off in the gritty win against the Oakland Raiders, and walk into Rocky’s house to pull off a late round knockout of the Eagles? Only time will tell if this Redskins team has the attitude they displayed in week 3, but either way, it should be a heck of a game, and the division is probably on the line come Monday.
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