Game Preview: Eagles go for 3rd-straight win against Redskins

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The last time the Eagles were presented with a chance at a 3-0 start was in 2012, the season of the “Dream Team.”

The last time an Eagles team successfully started the season with a 3-0 record, the season ended in February.

It’s been a long time since the Eagles started a season this way, with so much hype and confidence. That hype continues in many ways as the Washington Redskins come to Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to face the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

So far this season, the Redskins have performed like a team that certainly has a fair chance of keeping things interesting. A 1-1 start doesn’t say much, but having one of the best defenses in the league and the third-best rushing offense will certainly garner discussion.

Leading that running game is Alfred Morris, a pro-bowl running back with size and strength to plow through the line. Morris has accounted for two rushing touchdowns for the Redskins this season and has been coupled with Darrel Young at fullback, who has one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown this season.

The real focus of the Redskins is at the wide receiver position. Obviously, it is no secret the Redskins now possess former Eagles deep threat DeSean Jackson, who is hampered by a shoulder injury suffered in Week 2. Joined by Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts, the Redskins have many options to turn to.

Defensively, the Redskins have been among the best teams in the league. The third-best run defense is led on the line by the linebacking core. Ryan Kerrigan leads the team with four sacks of the Redskins NFL-leading 10 sacks. Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson have also made many contributions on defense through two games.

Jason Hatcher joined the Redskins defensive line this season as a free agent. He joins Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins as names on the line.

The secondary is still a weak point for the Redskins, through their pass defense has ranked fourth in the NFL through two weeks. DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson are two players to watch out of that group.

Obviously, another headline is the absence of Robert Griffin III, who is out for at least eight weeks with a dislocated ankle. That means Kirk Cousins returns to the lineup. In just over three quarters of action last week against Jacksonville, he completed 22 of 33 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. At the time of his injury, Griffin had not thrown a touchdown pass yet this season.

The Eagles defense ranks somewhere in the middle, with the pass defense ranking a solid 11th and the run defense ranking a sub-par 19th.

The offense continues to be a force, even with poor results in each first half played. The Eagles pass offense still ranks second, netting 303 yards per game and the run defense ranks ninth averaging 136 yards per game.

Through two games, the Eagles lead the NFL in points scored (64) and total yards (439 yards per game).

Nick Foles matched his interception total from 2013 last week and may pass it on Sunday. That’s something that everyone has to come to terms with in the near future. Despite that, Foles has completed 58.5 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 653 yards and three touchdowns.

Darren Sproles has been the leader out of the backfield. He has two of the Eagles three rushing touchdowns – LeSean McCoy has the other – and leads the receiver group with 166 yards, though tight end Zach Ertz is a close second with 163.

Defensively, the Eagles will still turn to DeMeco Ryans, who leads the team with 15 tackles. Second on that list with 13 tackles is Mychal Kendricks, proving to be a huge loss as he sits out Sunday’s game with an injury.

Malcolm Jenkins and Fletcher Cox have been the clear leaders in the secondary and on the defensive line. Jenkins came up with the critical interception in Week 2. Cox forced a fumble in Indianapolis after recovering a fumble and scoring a touchdown in Week 1. Both have 10 tackles on the season each.

Game Notes

  • The Eagles swept the Redskins in 2013, winning on Sept. 9 by a score of 33-27 in Washington and on Nov. 17 by a score of 24-16 in Philadelphia. The Eagles have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Redskins.
  • At Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles are 6-5 against the Redskins.
  • Following a comeback win on Monday, the Eagles became just the fourth team in NFL history to win back-to-back games when trailing by 14 or more points in the second half.
  • The Eagles have prevented the opponent from scoring on their first possession of the game in each of the last 14 games.
  • In each of the last 15 games, the Eagles have at least one takeaway, matching a franchise record set by the 2004 Eagles.
  • In eight trips to the redzone this season, the Eagles have scored three touchdowns, added four field goals and thrown one interception.
  • In their two wins this season, the Eagles have led for just 11:29 of 120 minutes.
  • Milestone Watch
    • Nick Foles can become just the third quarterback in Eagles history to throw for 300 or more yards on Sunday.
    • LeSean McCoy needs 11 rushing attempt to move into fourth all-time in team history, passing Duce Staley. McCoy can also pass Staley for third all-time in touches with four touches on Sunday.
    • Jeremy Maclin needs one catch to pass Wilbert Montgomery for 16th all-time in Eagles history. He also needs 51 receiving yards to pass Jason Avant for 13th all-time in team history.

Injury Report

Eagles
Out

  • LB Mychal Kendricks (calf)

Doubtful

  • WR Josh Huff (shoulder)

Questionable

  • S Earl Wolff (knee)
  • T Matt Tobin (ankle)

Probable

  • CB Nolan Carroll (elbow)
  • DE Fletcher Cox (back)
  • TE Zach Ertz (knee)
  • G Todd Herremans (hamstring)
  • S Malcolm Jenkins (shoulder)
  • CB Cary Williams (hamstring)
  • CB Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)
  • WR Brad Smith (groin)

Redskins
Out

  • QB Robert Griffin III (ankle)
  • LB Akeem Jordan (knee)
  • CB Tracy Porter (hamstring)
  • TE Jordan Reed (hamstring)

Doubtful

  • DE Kedric Golston (groin)

Questionable

  • K Kai Forbath (groin)
  • WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder)
  • C Kory Lichtensteiger (groin)

Probable

  • S Ryan Clark (foot)
  • RB Roy Helu (quad)
  • G Shawn Lauvao (knee)
  • LB Brian Orakpo (ankle)
  • RB Darrel Young (neck)

Where to Watch

TV: FOX (Broadcasters: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)
Radio: 94 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.

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