The Philadelphia Eagles have finished the preseason with a 2-2 record. They will play their first regular season game on September 10 against the Redskins in an away game. As usual, they will be playing a total of 16 games this season, not including playoffs/postseason. This article will give an in-depth view on the first game, player comparisons, and many other things that may determine an outcome.
Week 1: @ Washington
In Week 1, the new Eagles’ squad will travel to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Redskins. In the offseason, the Redskins lost their two star wide receivers, DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. However, they managed to sign former Cleveland Brown star Terrelle Pryor Sr. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will have Pryor, Jamison Crowder, and star tight end Jordan Reed, a Pro Bowler last season. The Redskins’ running game is not the best but second-year Rob Kelley shows promise. Their offensive line is great, with Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, and Trent Williams and will be a great match for the Eagles’ number one defensive line (yes, they are number one, in my opinion. Sure the other teams have the superstars, but the Eagles are the only team that have a defensive line composed of ALL good players and not just one or two extremely good ones).
The Redskins’ defense is improving but has a solid team. They have Josh Norman, one of the top corners in the league. The also have a strong safety (strong as in the adjective, opposite of weak, not the position of strong safety) tandem of Su’a Cravens and DJ Swearinger. More defensive players include linebacker Will Compton and Ryan Kerrigan.
Boldface signifies player who has advantage in Week 1
QB: Kirk Cousins Carson Wentz
There’s no denying that Cousins is a better quarterback than Wentz and even though the defensive line is tough, Cousins still has the slight advantage over Wentz. Wentz does not have any of his receivers from last year to throw to (unless Agholor starts, which I doubt) other than Zach Ertz. I don’t think chemistry is a problem, but you never know until game day.
RB: Rob Kelley LeGarette Blount
Blount is a trucking machine leading the NFL in touchdowns, while Rob Kelley was still warming the bench. The thing is Fat Rob is good and had a (late) breakout but he can’t beat Blount, who’s established himself as a great running back that can break tackle and get the extra yard.
WR 1: Terrelle Pryor Sr. Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery is a better receiver than Terrelle Pryor, so why is Pryor boldfaced? The Eagles may have improved their secondary, but it is still not solid. Pryor may not be better than Jeffery, but he is still an explosive and good receiver, most likely needing double coverage. Ronald Darby is up to the job, the question is whether the other cornerbacks are. Although Jeffery is better, Pryor gets the edge because of the Eagles’ sucky secondary.
WR 2: Jamison Crowder Torrey Smith
Torrey Smith is extremely underrated. After being a part of bring the 2012 Ravens’ to the Super Bowl (and winning), Smith had another great season before flying under the radar after going to the San Francisco 49ers. With the 49ers quarterback drama (*cough* Colin Kaepernick *cough*) going on, the team was constantly switching and Smith was never really able to show any of his talent there. The Eagles are taking a risk in signing Smith, as he hasn’t shown good seasons for the past two years. Smith has looked great in practice, though and I will give him the advantage over Crowder, who is talented, but mostly a special teams player.
WR 3 (slot): Josh Doctson Mack Hollins
We’re going to assume that Mack Hollins is going to be in the slot. Agholor provided a lot of hype during practice and training camp, but didn’t live up to it in the games. Hollins, however, did live up to his (not) hype (??? Is it still hype if you never got any ???) catching a touchdown pass in his very first preseason game. Doctson has not proven anything yet, so he’s not much to be worried about…although he IS only in his second year.
TE: Jordan Reed Zach Ertz
Man, I love Zach Ertz and everything but there’s also no denying that Jordan Reed is better. Reed is 243 lbs and moves that he’s half that. Hell, he could pass for a wide receiver. The only disadvantage Reed has are his injuries. He’s gotten so many concussions that Sports Illustrated wrote an entire 4 or 5 page article about it. But if healthy, Reed definitely has Ertz beat.
OT: Trent Williams/Morgan Moses Lane Johnson/Jason Peters
Lane and Jason Peters are one of the (if not, the) best offensive tackle duos in the league. They are both on a higher level than Williams and Moses. A big factor in Carson Wentz doing poorly last season was the absence of Lane Johnson due to a suspension. Wentz drastically changed when Lane was playing.
OG: Brandon Scherff/Shawn Lauvao Isaac Seumalo/Brandon Brooks
Brandon Scherff is young and on the rise, making a Pro Bowl last year, in only his second year. Sorry, but the Redskins get the edge on this one.
C: Spencer Long Jason Kelce
Jason Kelce is one of the elite centers in the league today. Spencer Long had been fluctuating from guard to tackle and then to center. And then there’s the deal with the defensive line.
Defensive Line: Redskins Eagles
The Eagles have one of the best front sevens in the league and a huge part of it is their defensive line. They have Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox and former Raven Timmy Jernigan at defensive tackle. At the end, they have Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry, a great duo. With huge names like Chris Long, Derek Barnett, and Beau Allen. Their defensive line is virtually unstoppable. The Redskins have only three defensive linemen, as a result of their 3-4 defense, but no matter what, the Eagles still have the advantage. The ‘Skins have some decent talent as well as a very talented rookie in Jonathan Allen, but you can’t call any of them elite, which is the opposite of what you can say for the Eagles.
Linebackers: Redskins Eagles
The Redskins have the better linebackers with rising second-year Preston Smith; Mason Foster, who accumulated 124 tackles last season; Zach Brown, a free agent pickup who was a Pro Bowler last season; and star Ryan Kerrigan, who has had 2 Pro Bowl appearances. They have a decent backup squad led by Will Compton. The Eagles have stars Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks, who only really started showing up this preseason. They also have a solid, hard-working Nigel Bradham. The trio is improving this offseason but does not have an edge over the Redskins.
Cornerbacks: Redskins Eagles
It’s a well-known fact across the NFL that the Eagles have terrible cornerbacks. A trade that landed Ronald Darby in Philly may have improved the position, but the other corners still need to play well. Darby’s counterpart, Jalen Mills, is steadily improving but still cannot be relied on fully. The Eagles also have rookie Rasul Douglas and Patrick Robinson. The Redskins have star Josh Norman, one of the elite cornerbacks, who was a big part of the Carolina Panthers’ 15-1 season defense. His sidekick, Bashaud Breeland, is heading into his third season and already has 7 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles.
Safeties: Redskins Eagles
The Eagles have Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod compared to the Redskins’ DJ Swearinger and Deshazor Everett. Jenkins is an elite safety and is considered as a “hybrid”, one who can effectively make tackles while at the same time stick tight coverage and defend passes. McLeod is an average safety and can play effectively if called upon. On the Redskins, Swearinger is also a top notch safety and could be compared to Jenkins, as they are on similar levels. Everett is the weak link in the Redskins’ safety tandem. He has not proven anything of worth yet, only having 27 tackles in 2 years.
Kicker: Dustin Hopkins Caleb Sturgis
In the 2016 season, Sturgis made 35 field goals out of 41 attempts, giving him an 85.4% accuracy, while Hopkins only had 81%, with 34 made out of 42 attempts. Sturgis had a long of 55 yards compared to Hopkins’ 53 yards. The former also converted 11/17 40+ yarders with 4/6 of those being 50+. Hopkins, however, went 10/16 in 40+ yarders with only 3/7 of those being 50+. Sturgis also had a 96.8% extra point percentage (30/31), also better, compared to Hopkins’ 92.3% (36/39). Sturgis leads Hopkins in almost every stats necessary for a kicker.
Punter: Tress Way Donnie Jones
In total, Donnie Jones punted 64 times while Tress Way only 49 times. Jones had an average of 45.8 yards per punt while Way had an average of 45.1 yards per punt. That may not seem like a big difference but if you look at the net punting average. Net punting average is pretty confusing, but basically, it is the average amount of yards a punt goes with the return factored in. It the most accurate way to measure how effective a punt was in changing the field position. Anyways, Jones had a net punting average of 42.6 yards while Way only had 40.6 yards. Jones had 21 punts that landed inside the 20 yard line, while Way only 15, the least in the entire league. Jones also had 6 punts that resulted in touchbacks; Way had only 4. Jones is obviously better in every statistical aspect, so he will get the edge.
Prediction for Week 1: Philadelphia Eagles defeat Washington Redskins
Eagles Leaders: Redskins Leaders:
Passing: Carson Wentz Passing: Kirk Cousins
Rushing: LeGarette Blount Rushing: Rob Kelley
Receiving: Alshon Jeffery Receiving: Jordan Reed
Thank you for reading this article on the prediction for the Week 1 game between the Eagles and the Redskins. The game will kickoff on Sunday, September 10 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. It will take place in Washington D.C. at FedEx Field. You can watch the game live on FOX (29 in Philly; 5 in DC). There will be a kickoff show 30 minutes prior to the game starting. Be sure the catch it. I will give my next analysis in Week 2, when the Eagles play against the Chiefs. Until then, I’m Jacky Chen and thank you for reading, Eagles Nation!