Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Listen to the Beltway Sports Bros latest Podcast with Preview of the PHI @ WAS match up and Top 5 Reasons You Shouldn't Miss Going to Live Sporting Events!
It's finally here! I can't believe I'm saying this, but we are just hours away from an actual Washington Re...uhhh...Washington Football Team game!
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN
Start Time: 1:00pm EST
Location: FedEx Field
Expected Attendance: 0
TV: FOX (Regional Broadcast), NFL Sunday Ticket
TV Announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Radio: ESPN 630, The Team 980 AM, WMAL-FM (105.9), NFL Game Pass
Radio Announcers: Bram Weinstein, Julie Donaldson, DeAngelo Hall
NFL BETTING LINES
Spread: WSH +5.5
Over-Under: 42 Points
Money Line: WSH +205, PHI -245
WSH: INJURY REPORT
OUT: LB Thomas Davis (calf)
DOUBTFUL: CB Kendall Fuller (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Saahdiq Charles (calf)
PHI: INJURY REPORT
OUT: DE Derek Barnett (hamstring), RB Miles Sanders (hamstring), T Lane Johnson (ankle), DT Javone Hargrave (pectoral, hamstring), WR Alshon Jeffrey (foot)
Lets do a quick preview and what to watch for in this pivotal Week 1, NFC East clash!
WSH OFFENSE v. PHI DEFENSE
Strictly looking over the current roster, Washington's offense is young, has very little depth and a litany of question marks at most, if not all positions. The team also has a new, young, and largely unproven Offensive Coordinator in Scott Turner. For most teams, the lack of Preseason Games could work to their detriment. In Washington's case, it could be a blessing in disguise, at least at first.
Even with the lack of depth and talent on Washington's offense, this can be the week that the Eagles defense can be caught with their pants down. Philadelphia has no film on Turner's offense, other than the 6 weeks or so of film he put out in Carolina last year.
The Eagles have to be ready for every situation, in turn, it means less time to study aspects of what the opposing offense does well, but more importantly, being able to exploit their weaknesses. This is even more true with RB Adrian Peterson no longer on the roster. The Eagles, and everyone else, were well aware of how Peterson would be used. Washington has 3 relative unknowns at Running Back in J.D McKissic and Antonio Gibson, and a never was, in Payton Barber. The fear of the unknown will benefit Washington in this game, but will it be long enough to matter?
There is some good news on the injury front, as the Eagles announced that stud defensive lineman, DE Derek Barnett and DT Javone Hargrave are officially OUT of Week 1.
Yes, Barnett and Hargrove are out of the lineup, but Philadelphia's defensive line is still a major strength of their team. The real question is, how will Washington's offensive Line hold up against a deep, talented Eagles D-Line, ranked #2 by Pro Football Focus?
Any knowledgeable Washington fan is concerned about the left side of the O-Line, those players being LT Geron Christian and G Wes Martin. Christian and Martin are 2 unproven players that are going to be thrown into the fire against the likes of 5-time Pro Bowler DT Fletcher Cox and DE Brandon Graham. Washington has a similar situation across the D-Line. with significant talent and depth.
Earlier in Training Camp, the Washington O-Line was getting bullied by the D-Line so consistently, that HC Ron Rivera told them they needed to let up in order to get an educated look at the offense. Things have seemed to leveled out a bit as Training Camp moved along. Christian is forced to go up against 2020 2nd Overall Pick, DE Chase Young, among others, daily in practice.
According to reports, Christian has held his own, which gives some hope that he may be the long-term answer at Left Tackle. Unfortunately, we have only seen Christian come in to a game as a back up, and usually under-performed when he did. This team has seen many practice stars over years, only to disappear when the bright lights are turned on. Let's hope this isn't the case with Christian.
Expect a lot of short passes to Gibson and McKissic out of the backfield to keep QB Dwayne Haskins clean in the pocket. Do not expect Washington to run the ball 20+ times this game. Washington will use their supposed playmakers to make plays, and will do their best not to put a lot on Haskins, at least in Week 1.
The Washington Coaching Staff seems to be confident in their defense's ability. The offense's job is to keep drives alive, not turn the ball over, in turn, keeping their defense off the field, and score just enough points. In short, don't screw up. If the offense does their job, this should allow the defense to be rested enough in the 4th Quarter to put pressure on Eagles QB Carson Wentz late in the game.
WSH Offense Stat Prediction - Week 1: 274 Total Yards, 1 Turnover
QB Dwayne Haskins Stat Prediction - Week 1: 228 Yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
WSH DEFENSE v. PHI OFFENSE
For the Washington defense to be successful in Week 1, it's simple, they need constant pressure Wentz. In prior seasons, the Washington defense has been successful rushing Wentz, but had problems bringing him down when they got there. There's nothing more maddening then watching Wentz move around in the pocket and throw a long pass or touchdown. This can not continue to happen. They MUST finish the job and bring him to the ground and make Wentz as uncomfortable as possible. This may sound obvious, but Wentz is one of the best in the league at avoiding pressure and using it to his advantage.
Truthfully, this D-Line is the only real strength the Washington Football Team has. The Eagles O-Line has been beaten up this off season, and the D-Line needs to the smell blood in the water. In past years, Washington has rarely been able to take advantage of the opposing teams weakness. With new Defensive Coordinator, Jack Del Rio, this defense should be more disciplined, faster to the ball and ready to crack skulls (figuratively speaking of course).
The Washington linebacking core is dangerously thin, and with Rivera favorite, LB Thomas Davis out of this game, it's a serious concern. When he returns, Davis will be used like a coach on the field this year. With a new defensive scheme, and minimal time to learn it, his absence will hurt this young defense.
In past match ups, Washington has had no answer for Eagles TE Zack Ertz. Del Rio has had nothing but great things to say about newcomer, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis. Just a hunch, but look for Del Rio to lean on Pierre-Louis to cover Ertz, mainly because he loves his speed and coverage ability. Also, expect SS Landon Collins to share the load on Ertz, as he kept him somewhat in check covering him 2019, as opposed to prior years.
Some more fortunate news for Washington. Eagles RB, Miles Sanders has been scratched from Sunday's line up. Last year, in Week 15, Sanders went off for 122 yards on 19 carries, and a TD. Coming off the Injured Reserved List in 2019, 4th year pro, Corey Clement will assume the starting role. Clement is not a player that needs to be game planned around, but as we've seen in the past, those can be the one's that hurt Washington the most.
Finally, our old friend, WR Desean Jackson is back from an injury-laden, 2019 season. In the only truly healthy game that Jackson played, he torched Washington's defense in Week 1 for 9 receptions, 154 yards, 2 TD's with a 19.3 YPC. In all likelihood, Washington CB, Kendall Fuller will not play due to a lingering knee injury. It'll be up to former Eagle, CB Ronald Darby and FS Troy Apke to keep the speedster at bay. Apke has a lot to prove and he better be ready.
WSH Defense Stat Prediction - Week 1: 304 Total Yards, 3 Sacks, 0 Turnovers
DE Chase Young Stat Prediction - Week 1: 1 Sack, 3 Tackles
MATCH UP TO WATCH
WSH: WR Terry McLaurin vs PHI: CB Darrius Slay
Terry McLaurin put together 2 great games against the Eagles last year.
Week 1: 5 Rec. 125 yards 1 TD
Week 15: 5 Rec. 130 yards, 1 TD
Philadelphia has 4 new cornerback's on their roster. One of those CB's being 3-time Pro Bowler and 2017 First Team All Pro, Darrius Slay. McLaurin had a solid game against Slay while in Detroit, racking up 72 yards. Something a bit concerning, however, as it was McLaurin's worst game from a catch to target ratio standpoint in 2019. In that contest, McLaurin was targeted 12 times, and only caught 5 of them. A significantly lower catch percentage than McLaugrin had throughout his rookie campaign.
When asked about their match up in Week 12, Slay had rave reviews, "To be honest, that whole year, besides Keenan Allen, he (McLaurin) was my hardest one that I covered that whole year. He probably would have scored on me two times," said Slay.
That is high praise from such an accomplished player. McLaurin had a surprising rookie season and his arrow is pointing up to elite status. Let's hope we see a similar output on Sunday.
Terry McLaurin Stat Prediction - Week 1: 6 Rec. 92 yards. 1 TD
Game Prediction - Week 1: Eagles Win 24-14
I said this on the Podcast, and I'm not going to back down from it now. Washington will keep it close throughout. I think this years Week 1 will be similar to last years Week 1. Washington's offense will surprise the Eagles at first. Washington will take the lead early on, but half time adjustments by Philadelphia will lead to Washington's offensive talent, or lack thereof, shining through. Eventually, Washington's Defense will slowly start to show cracks due to exhaustion, and unfortunately, will not have an answer.