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Keys to the Week 1 Eagles-Washington showdown

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The Kist & Solak Show #114!

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Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Are you ready for the NFL season? Are you growing tumescent with anticipation? If you didn’t get the reference, my apologies, but needless to say we should all be excited for the beginning of real, meaningful football.

On The Kist & Solak Show #114, we document some of the keys to the week 1 game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington... football team. Here were five of my points of focus:

  • In their weekly OL vs. DL matchup chart, Pro Football Focus has the Eagles with the most advantageous offensive matchup in run blocking and the second most favorable in pass blocking. This is despite Washington boasting some studs along their defensive line. Perhaps it has something to do with PFF ranking the Eagles line as the best unit in the league?
  • How will Washington matchup with the Eagles wide receivers? Doug Pederson expects Josh Norman to travel with Alshon Jeffery, leaving Quinton Dunbar tasked with containing DeSean Jackson. The Eagles may flip Jeffery from left-to-right within the first drive to force a reaction and make it clear if Norman plans to shadow. I’d also expect Norman to play more press with Dunbar playing more off coverage against Jackson.
  • Washington has a linebacker problem. Jon Bostic is a car chaser that consistently bites on misdirection and play-action. Shaun Dion Hamilton has promise, but has been banged up in the preseason and hasn’t proven much yet. Converted safety Josh-Harvey Clemons may be their dime package answer, but the Eagles should be able to toy with Washington’s second level defenders with ease.
  • Stud left tackle Trent Williams appears to be holding out, leaving the left side of the line with the aging, street free agent Donald Penn and the woeful Ereck Flowers. It’s feeding time for the Eagles’ defensive line and to say Case Keenum struggles against pressure would be an understatement.
  • Unless Washington can surprise with a vertical element, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz should be happy to squat on intermediate routes. This is an area, despite a rash of injuries, where the Eagles thrived last year. They ranked first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA at defending both dig and deep crossers. Washington’s pass protection woes could force them to be strictly horizontal west coast passing team and Schwartz will be more than happy to rally up and tackle. Keenum’s consistency issues will be key here as he attempts to lead long drives without making costly errors.

You can hear more of our thoughts on the game on The Kist & Solak Show #114! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!