The Eagles and Redskins will meet with the eyes of the entire NFL watching Monday Night, an 8:30 p.m. start on ESPN and the second meeting between the NFC East foes in seven weeks.
When the 2017 season kicked off, the Eagles got a forunate call on a questionable strip sack by Fletcher Cox on Kirk Cousins to lift them to their first win of the year. Now at 5-1, the NFL’s best record, the Eagles are coming off one of their most impressive victories in recent memory, besting the Panthers and a ridiculiously one-sided officiating performance.
The momentum seems to be on Philly’s side, as they prepare to win a third NFC East game and really establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFL.
Here are three storylines to be mindful of when the Birds take center stage:
The news couldn’t be better for Carson Wentz and the Eagles heading into the Week 7 tilt. Washington’s top cornerback Josh Norman will be out, opening up one less threat in the Redskins secondary for Wentz to worry about. The potential for a big passing game exists to help continue the sophomore quarterback’s MVP bid.
“He really doesn’t pay attention to that kind of stuff,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “He has a broader picture of the team concept, and he knows that if the team does well, he’s going to do well, and then he can be in that conversation at the end of the season.”
Who’s the man?
The Eagles — from game to game — have been putting up inconsistent numbers from the standpoint of skill players. There seems to be no way of knowing which player will break through, be it a running back, wide receiver or tight end. But if you look at the numbers from a big picture perspective, it’s kind of a nice problem to have.
“It’s just unselfish ball players,” Pederson said. “Alshon [Jeffery] could easily say, ‘Hey, I need more targets,’ or Zach [Ertz] could say, ‘Hey, I need more targets,’ or any of the guys could say that on offense, or LeGarrette [Blount] could say, ‘I need more rushing attempts,’ or whatever. But you know what, when everybody has a piece of the pie, and you look at the end of the day and all our top receivers are getting equal amount of targets during the game and our rushing attempts and passing attempts are almost 50/50 and the bottom line is winning the game, then that’s the exciting part. And then nobody cares.”
It’s really pretty hard to beat a team twice in the same season in any sport, especially the NFL. Both teams have had lots of time to study film and tendencies and it seems like both the Eagles and Redskins have improved since Week 1. For Washington’s offense, a reliance on tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis could cause some match up issues for Philly.
“They’re a talented offense,” defensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “I think any time you lose the number of receivers that they lost, you’re going to have some startup costs that were involved in that, so maybe some of that showed in the opener. But they have a lot of good skill players, and they’re using both of their tight ends, really using all three of their tight ends.”