Two teams with very different expectations coming into 2012. While the Eagles expected a big playoff push under Michael Vick, the Redskins were just planning on getting RG3’s feet wet and comfortable in the league. As it turns out, the Redskins are the ones that are making a big playoff push, and the Eagles have become a team worthy of being irrelevant. It is always an interesting affair when these two inter-division rivals clash, however. The Eagles would want nothing more than to push the Redskins out of the playoff picture. They have nothing to lose at this point with rookie Nick Foles under center. The Redskins enter this one at 8-6, good enough for first in the NFC East. The Eagles will welcome the Redskins to their own backyard sporting a lackluster 4-8 record. The Eagles look forward to the offseason, and for the Redskins, this may be their most critical game of the season.
The Redskins are powered by the ultra talented Robert Griffin. While many people thought his skills were going to decline, all he has done is led his team into playoff contention. RG3 did sit out last week’s game against the Browns, with rookie backup Kirk Cousins taking care of business, 38-21. Griffin appears to be ready for Sunday’s start, as he is listed as probable for this all important week 15 matchup. Impressive is an understatement of what RG3 has accomplished in just under a year, and now is ready to take the ‘Skins to a place they haven’t been in a while, the playoffs. Griffin currently has an outstanding 104.2 QB rating to go along with 18 touchdowns passing and 6 on the ground. He also has 2902 yards throwing the rock and 748 with his legs. What has been most impressive is the fact that he hasn’t regressed, he has made improvements as the year has progressed. This isn’t the first time Griffin and the Redskins have played the Eagles this season, dropping them decisively by a score of 31-6 in week 11. It was RG3’s best game of his career, finishing with a flawless 158.3, 14-15 passing, 4 touchdowns, with 200 yards through the air and 84 rushing. The Redskins offense ranks 4th in the NFL, getting solid production from the running game as well, which is 1st in the league under rookie runner Alfred Morris.
The Eagles were expecting big things out of a revamped defense, but all that ended up happening is Juan Castillo, defensive coordinator, getting fired. Since his firing, the defense has only gotten worse. They rank 16th in terms of total team defense, allowing 26.8 points a game. They do anything particularly well, as they are 13th against the run and 20th against the pass. However, of late, the Eagles look like a bottom of the barrel defense, allowing 38 points to the Cowboys in week 13 and 34 last week against the Bengals. They should have their hands full at the hands of RG3 and the ‘Skins offense.
The Eagles offense has had to rely on quarterback Nick Foles since the concussion to Michael Vick. Foles has been a mixed bag thus far. He has showed flashes of why the Eagles drafted him in the first place, and other times he looks to be a career backup in the NFL. Last week against the Bengals he looked like he shouldn’t even belong in the league, passing for only 182 yards and a touchdown with an interception and fumble. Foles has 1354 yards and 5 touchdowns since taking over for Vick. Talented runner, LeSean McCoy has been battling concussion symptoms as well, which has ultimated led to a down year for McCoy, rushing for only 750 yards with 2 touchdowns. The Eagles will have the opportunity to feast off of a bad Redskins defense, however. The Redskins are near the back of the pack, surrendering 381 yards a game, 29th in the NFL.
Redskins vs. Eagles Spread and Betting Odds:
Washington Redskins -6.5 (-115)
@ Philadelphia Eagles +6.5 (-115)
Over 45.5 (-110)
Under 45.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Redskins vs. Eagles Pick:
With the status of RG3 technically still up in there (as I write this article), many books including Bovada, are keeping this game off the board. While his status is technically unclear all signs point to him starting as he is currently listed as probable. This pick and article is written with the intention of Griffin starting on Sunday afternoon. With that said, I love the Redskins to bolster their claim to clinching a playoff spot. I simply can’t see RG3 letting a dysfunctional Eagles team with issues all over the football field keeping this one within a touchdown. The offense has fallen apart, and the defense is beginning to lose its wheels as well. Without a doubt, the team is starting to give up on head coach Andy Reid. The Eagles at home catching this many points looks awfully attractive, but not with the current state of this team.
The moral of the Redskins is at an all time high, while the Eagles are making plans for winter vacation. Earlier in the week there was concern with the Redskins offensive line, but center Will Montgomery looks ready to go after a knee injury last week. I like the hungry, hot Redskins to roll over the hapless Eagles en route to a potential playoff berth in RG3’s rookie season. Foles won’t be good enough Sunday afternoon to take advantage of a bad Redskins’ defense.
PICK = Redskins -6.5