I know what you're going to say.
Is that YOU Boone?
Yes â€“ it's me, and I can't predict a big Redskins win on Monday night. I just can't.
Now, it's an â€˜any given Sunday' kind of a league, and our 2017 Burgundy and Gold are no shrinking violets. We're good enough to compete with and even beat any team in the league on a good night. But this time around, the tarot cards aren't in our favor.
We all know what we're facing in the Eagles. Impressive 2nd year and likely future star QB in Carson Wentz and what appears to be a very capable Head Coach in Doug Pederson. OC Frank Reich has the Eagles offense humming, ranking 3rd in offensive yards, showing balance with the 5th ranked unit in both passing AND rushing. That's impressive.
Compare those #'s to ours and it's not pretty. Redskins are ranked 19th in overall offensive yards and passing, only doing a little better on the ground with the 14th best ground game.
Of course, the game isn't just about offense, nor does a great offense equate to automatic wins (just ask the #1 offense in the NFL, the New England Patriots). On D, we're looking at nearly a mirror image, with the Redskins in the dominant position. The Skins rank 5th in overall yards, 10th against the pass, and 5th against the run. The Eagles by comparison are 23rd in overall yards, and 30th against the pass. Their saving grace is their stout run D, ranking 2nd best in the NFL, holding teams to under 66 yards/game.
One factor in the Redskins favor? Prior to the 2017 opening loss, they've owned the Eagles in recent years â€“ including plenty of wins at Philadelphia. Beyond some mild concerns about flying beer bottles, the good guys have never been skeered to head into Philly.
Overall, the #'s really look fairly even â€“ it's the Eagles highly touted offense vs. the Redskins stingy defense. So why the pessimism?
Couple of factors. Firstly, we're obviously banged up beyond belief on D. Our secondary is, at best, shaky. Could that change if Josh Norman returns to the field? Maybe. Could Bashaud Breeland have a career day and look like the #1 corner we all once thought he was? It's possible. To be fair, the secondary held last week against the 49ers and the 2nd and 3rd stringers did a creditable job. But they weren't facing Wentz, and half the DBs who played last week are currently â€˜limited'. I actually think our defense will show up again this week against the Eagles despite the DBs being banged up. I know that some are already writing off the Skins D due to the loss of Jonathan Allen. But the pistons that have driven the improved Skins D to success this year have mostly been Preston Smith, Matt Ionnadis, the always reliable Ryan Kerrigan, and of course Norman and Swearinger in the backfield.
It's offense where I'm concerned that the good guys just won't be able to keep up with this year's Eagles on the scoreboard. My concern is based on 3 factors:
1) The OL is beaten up. If Trent or Ty or both can't go on Monday, that puts extreme pressure on this line. I'm not sure we can plug that hole effectively.
2) The loss of Dustin Hopkins is a bigger deal than most want to admit. While not perfect Hopkins was almost a guaranteed touchback every time. Do we really want to see more of our return coverage team on kickoffs? And Hopkins was 9-9 on FGs under 50 yards this season. This game may well come down to a FG.
3) Monday night will feature an, at best, middling Skins running game vs. one of the best rushing D's in the league. Unless Fat Rob returns and has a big night, the Redskins could be forced into a 1 dimensional offense.
A win is not impossible. Wentz is having a great season. On the other hand, he's due for a bad game. When Cousins is â€˜on', he can be almost unstoppable. He's had some big games in Philadelphia. In the 2014 and 2015 contests in Philly, Cousins threw for nearly 800 yards and 7 TDs with just one INT. In 2016, Cousins looked more human. Looking at the Redskins beat up D, questionable rushing attack, and unknown kicker, it would seem that it will take a big, if not huge, Cousins performance for the Redskins to prevail.
The Redskins need this win. Lose and keeping pace with the surging Eagles becomes very challenging. Win and the Redskins are right there with them. It's not an exaggeration to say that the 2017 NFL season for the Redskins may very well hinge on this game's outcome.
What does logic tell me?
There are just too many factors working against our Redskins to pick them to win this week.
New kicker, whats-his-name, misses a 53 yarder as regulation expires.
â€¦Pssstâ€¦ but if Kirk Cousins throws for 400 yards and 3 TDs â€“ forget everything I just said - the Redskins shock those idiots in Philadelphia and steal one