PHILADELPHIA. EAGLES. FOOTBALL. IS. BACK.
It’s game day, baby. Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season has finally arrived.
The Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to kick off the 2017 season.
Wait, what? The Washington Redskins? The team that’s 5-0 against the Eagles since September 2014.
In my mind, there’s no better time to end this streak than today. It’s time for the Eagles to get the monkey off their back. It’s time for Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson to step up set the tone for the 2017 season.
There’s no way the Eagles haven’t had this game circled on their calendars ever since the schedule came out. They know they haven’t been able to beat this team. That needs to change today.
There’s reason to believe it could happen. I have a good feeling about this one.
Wentz looked very good in training camp and preseason overall. He’s poised to take the next step this season. He’ll have some extra help now in the form of actual NFL wide rceivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Look for Jeffery to get a lot of targets despite being shadowed by Josh Norman. As for Smith, no one will mistake him for a volume target, but he’s still a big-play threat.
On defense, getting to Kirk Cousins will be key. Obviously you always want to pressure the quarterback. But Cousins has played especially well against the Eagles. Washington’s offensive line, one of the more underrated units in the league, has done a great job of protecting him.
But Cousins is suspectible to mistakes if the Eagles can get pressure on him. Look no further than the pick-six he threw to Malcolm Jenkins last season. Marcus Smith (!) got all up in his face on a naked boot and Washington’s quarterback made a bone-headed decision to throw it into coverage.
Washington’s offensive line will be tough for the Eagles to crack. But if anyone can do it, Philadelphia’s defensive linemen are up to the challenge. Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Derek Barnett, and Chris Long is a strong group of edge rushing talent. The Eagles should be able to keep fresh at this spot give the quality depth. At defensive tackle, I’m really excited to see the first extensive look of Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan working together. I think we can expect to see Cousins get harassed a lot more than he has in past Eagles-Washington matchups. That potential interior pressure could really make life tough on him.
On the flip side, the Eagles need to do a much better job of protecting Wentz than they did in the Washington games last season. The fact that Lane Johnson, instead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai or Matt Tobin, will be at right tackle should help. He’ll have his hands full trying to keep Ryan Kerrigan out of Wentz’s way.
This is an important game for the Eagles. How the Eagles come out in this one will reflect on Pederson. His guys need to be ready to play and get off to a fast start. Too often did the Eagles struggle out of the gate on the road last year. Such failures contributed to a 1-7 away game record in 2016.
But this is a new season. The Eagles have the chance to turn the page and put the past behind them with a strong start in Washington.
I believe the Eagles can do it. I’m predicting a win today.
Eagles gonna get that W.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 10, 2017
I also predict Washington fans will find me insufferable after the Eagles win.
You like that?
Score prediction: Eagles win, 28-27.
Bold prediction: Ronald Darby pick six on Kurt Coupons’ first pass attempt. Alshon Jeffery scores three touchdowns.
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Will the Eagles beat Washington?
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