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Is it that time that all of Eagles Nation has been waiting for the past nine months as the 2013 NFL regular season officially kicksoff for the Birds on Monday night football in our Nation's Capital against their NFC East rivals, the Washington Redskins.
This game is also significant because for the fact that it's the first time in over a decade we see a new face on the sideline. It's the offiical start of the Chip Kelly regime in the City of Brotherly Love. It's going to be an exciting football game but can the Eagles over come so much to pull off the upset week 1?
-Line: Redskins -3.5
-Eagles: OUT: T Dennis Kelly
-Redskins: QUEST: S Brandon Meriweather; PROB: NT Barry Coefield, QB Kirk Cousins
Overall Series: Washington leads 81-71-6
Streak: Washington won last 2 straight.
Last Meeting: Dec 23rd 2012, Redskins 27-Eagles 20
-This is the first time since 2005 the Eagles are opening the season on Monday Night Football when they faced the Falcons.
-Since 2004, the Eagles are 6-3 in season openers including winning four of last 5.
-The Eagles have opened the season on the road for the 3rd consectuive year and the fourth time in five seasons. Philly are 3-0 in those games and have won four straight road openers.
-The Eagles are 27-25 all time on Monday Night Footballl
Keys to the Game
-Control Redskins' Rushing Attack: This new revamp Eagles 3-4 scheme has shown this preseason that they completely vulnerable against the running game which doesn't spell well for the Eagles. They are going up against one of the top rushing offenses in the NFL last season. Not only do they have to worry about QB Robert Griffin III ability to make plays not only through the air but on the ground as well, they face one of the up and coming star backs in the NFL in RB Alfred Morris. The 2nd year man went off last year for over 1600 yards and 13 scores as he looks to continue where he left off a year ago against this Eagles D that has issues across the board. With RGIII injury concerns to take the pressure of him and limit the punishment, expect a heavy dose of the Redskins rushing attack.
-Wear Down Redskins Defense: Im excited to see this offense at work and Chip Kelly's up tempo fast pace scheme and what it does to their opponent's defense. Kelly has drilled it into this team about being well conditioned by changing the locker room eating habits. We will finally see the payoff and with the speed of QB Michael Vick, WR Desean Jackson, RB Lesean McCoy, etc that this offense has and the potential, this defense is going to be gasping for air by the end of this one. Kelly said flat out he cares about the amount of plays over the the time of possession. With this no huddle, they are going to continue this up tempo no huddle offense and wear them down to expose mismatches. Hopefully it ends with points on the baord.
-Rattle Robert Griffin III: This defense has too many holes to really keep this team in contention throughout the season. I expect some progress as the weeks go on but overall they are going to be a mess. The only real positive this unit has going for them is the pass rush. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III hasn't played a lick of game action in over nine months. He is going to be rusty and they can't allow him to get comfortable in the pocket. Billy Davis composes an aggressive defense gameplan with a various style of blitzes and they need to rattle Griffin. Even if it doesn't result on the stat sheet in sacks, if they can still disrupt his rhythm, they only have to primarly focus on the ground game. Get a consistent pass rush, it covers up the holes in the secondary.
-Hang Onto The Football: Last season the Eagles had the worst turnover ratio in football. QB Michael Vick has been a turnover machine. Since 2010 he has turned the ball over 43 times! You are going to win football games if constantly on the bad end of the turnover battle. This offense has to learn to take better care of the football because it could be critical to the team on the scoreboard and with momentum.
-WR Desean Jackson: One man everyone needs to keep an eye on is WR Desean Jackson. He is a player who hasn't lived up to expectations over the past couple of seasons but with the breath of fresh air and new scenery we have seen a new side of Jackson. D-Jack talked about making a statement this season and an easy way to do that is by getting off to a quick start which there is no better opponent then facing the Washington Redskins. Jackson has 6 career TDS against the Redskins, all for 35+ yards with an average of 68yds a touchdown! The Eagles need to get him involved early and often and let him build that confidence and could be the difference maker to lift Philly for the win.
Prediction: Redskins Beat Eagles 31-24…. I see both offenses finding success and moving the football in this one. I see an offensive explosion and many big plays from both squads. It really is going to come down to the defensive side of the football and whose D can make more plays which doesn't favor the Eagles at all. This is a defense that is still trying to make the transition to a 3-4 scheme. They have too many issues across the board and aren't going to keep this team in contention to win games. Only way this team is winning is in shootouts lead by this dynamic offense. They have shown the lack of ability to stop the running game and the big plays. And more importantly this was a defense that didn't record a single takeaway in the preseason. They have no big playmakers on the defensive side. With monsters like Alfred Morris and RGIII even though he is banged up, it's going to be a rough day for the Eagles D and will come down to one big mistake to cost this team the football game.