The Eagles and Redskins have a lengthy history as they’ll meet for the 163rd time on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, FOX). The Redskins have won three straight against the Eagles, but they enter this game as underdogs, and Carson Wentz is a big reason for that.
The rookie has played lights out through four games, committing just one turnover while posting one of the best passer ratings in the league. Will he continue to play well in hostile territory when the Eagles visit FedEx Field? It will certainly be a tough test but one that he’s shown he can handle.
The Eagles will try to remain close to the first-place Cowboys, and will do so with a win over the rival Redskins.
USA TODAY SportsBill Streicher
Washington’s pass defense isn't great
The Redskins do have Josh Norman, but the rest of their secondary is underwhelming. Bashaud Breeland is confident he’ll play on Sunday, but even if he’s able to go, he won’t be able to cover Philadelphia’s receivers. The Eagles don’t have a true No. 1 threat, but the combination of Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor are dynamic enough to make it difficult to cover all of them. With Norman being Washington’s only reliable corner, it will be a challenge for the Redskins to limit the Eagles’ aerial attack.
The defense as a whole has been fairly inconsistent for the Redskins. They allowed 20 points to Cody Kessler and the Browns, which is no accomplishment in the slightest. The Redskins are 27th in yards allowed and that will likely get worse with Carson Wentz coming to town. He doesn’t turn the ball over (one interception this season) and does have the arm to push the ball downfield. It’ll take a strong game from Washington’s supporting cast to limit Philadelphia through the air.
Philadelphia's defensive line will wreak havoc
The Eagles have played just four games, but they’re still fifth in the league with 14 sacks. Their pass rush and defensive line are among the NFL's best, and it will cause serious problems for the Redskins. Washington has protected Kirk Cousins well, allowing just eight sacks, but it hasn’t faced a defensive front like the Eagles’. The Steelers aren’t nearly as good in that department, nor are the Cowboys, Giants, Browns or Ravens.
Cousins could be in for a long day with Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham bearing down on him on just about every play. And when the Redskins choose to run the ball, which they’ve done fewer than just six other teams, they’ll have trouble moving the chains. The Eagles have allowed 293 rushing yards this season, which is second in the NFL. Only a handful of teams stop the rush the way Philadelphia does, and this factor will likely force the Redskins to throw the ball more often than they’d like to.
Getty ImagesRich Schultz
Carson Wentz is better than Kirk Cousins
It’s only been four games, but the Eagles clearly have the better quarterback in Carson Wentz. He’s playing as well as any at his position this season, owning the fifth-best passer rating (103.5) in the league. By comparison, Cousins is 15th (90.5) despite having several more years of experience under his belt. Wentz has proved he can command Philadelphia’s offense and make all the throws asked – from deep outs to posts over the middle. Simply put, there aren’t any plays this kid can’t make.
Cousins, on the other hand, is turnover-prone and has struggled greatly in the red zone. He’s completed just 36.7 percent of his passes in the red zone, which is the worst in the league. Inside the 10-yard line, his completion percentage gets even worse, dropping to 25.5.
This troubling trend is going to hurt the Redskins when they do finally reach the 20-yard line, particularly considering he has three interceptions in the red zone. Wentz has zero, to go along with five touchdown passes. Games are often won and lost between the 20 and the goal line, and Wentz gives the Eagles the edge in that department.