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Blognostications

2016 Week 6 - Eagles @ Redskins

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Blognosticator - Kel Varnsen

What is it about seeing your favorite football team win a game that makes Monday feel so good? I’ve wondered that for many years and I still can’t figure it out. No matter what it is, there is no denying that Redskins fans have enjoyed the last three Mondays. After five games, I still can’t figure out how good this team really is. I’m not sure if the players on the team know either. On one hand, they are one bad interception from being 4-1 and in first place. On the other hand, they could easily be 0-5. So many fans like to dwell on one of those two extremes, realizing that you are just a handful of plays away from being great or really terrible.

For me, I try my best to keep an even keel most of the time. As one former coach of the “maroon and black” said, I like to stay medium. Are the Redskins lucky to have won these three games? Perhaps they are. But good teams make their own luck and take advantage of every break they get. I for one am glad to see things going in the Redskins favor. Too many years it seems like everything has gone against the Redskins. When you are bad team that’s usually how it works. You don’t make plays, you don’t get breaks, the ball never bounces your way, and even the refs won’t give you calls. Things seem to be breaking the Redskins way this year and more importantly they are taking advantage of it. When Cousins’ threw the interception this week, I thought for sure the game had turned. But the Ravens gave it right back on the same play. The response from the team was the key to winning the game. The Redskins went on an almost 6 minute drive that ended with a FG. They retook the momentum and rode it to victory.

This week’s opponent has been one of the biggest surprises of the year so far. They were picked by most “experts” to finish 4th in the division. Even the most optimistic Eagles fan couldn’t see a 4-1 start behind a new coach and a rookie QB. On the surface, anyone could think the Eagles fast start is just smoke and mirrors. But their dismantling of Pittsburgh in week 3 was impressive. New coaches can often get the jump on the league as no one knows what to expect. The aforementioned Jim Zorn started 4-1 and then 6-2 in his first year before crashing and burning. The other advantage is having a rookie QB teams haven’t had time to study and game plan against. You can expect some regression soon enough from Wentz. The defense of the Eagles has been solid as well. They have been solid the past few years, but they would often wear down under the Chip Kelly system. That has not been a problem this year as the Eagles have given up the 2nd fewest yards per game.

So what should we expect to see this week? From the Redskins, I expect to see a lot of passing. The Eagles run defense has been good so far this year and the Redskins run game has not. I expect at least one long catch by DeSean Jackson against his former team. Perhaps he will even run into the endzone backwards. Jordan Reed is uncoverable and is still the best weapon the team. I’d also like to see the ball in the hands of Jamison Crowder a little more. Good things happen when he gets the ball. For the Eagles, I expect to see a lot of Ryan Mathews against the Redskins putrid run defense. However, the guy I fear the most on that team is Darren Sproles. He’s that guy who gives me nightmares. I’ve seen too many of those guys take a screen pass against the Redskins for a long way. I think Norman shuts down Jordan Matthews who is the only dangerous receiving threat. So I expect Sproles to be the guy who can do the most damage.

I do expect a high scoring affair where turnovers will be key. And yes, I know turnovers are always key, but I expect this particular game to have a turnover play an integral part in the outcome. I like the Redskins to pull it out this week at home and potentially move into a three way tie for first.

The defense is sub-par in pretty much all areas. The running game showed some signs of life, but is unable to pick up the yards when they need it the most. But football is a team game. All parts and pieces work together to get a win. Coaches coaching and players making plays, picking up their teammates. One of the results of that is getting turnovers at the right time. This team has a knack of getting that turnover just when they need it.
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