Last year when the Washington Redskins were sitting at 3-6 entering the Bye Week, almost no one outside of the DMV predicted they would climb out of the division cellar.
One seven-game winning streak later and those who said such things are now biting their tongues reading about the defending NFC East champs.
With the Philadelphia Eagles on the slate twice in the last two months of the season, the Redskins should have never been counted out. After all, the Redskins have recorded more wins against the Eagles (81) than any other team.
As part of the NFL’s opened weekend extravaganza, the 79th edition of Redskins-Eagles will be on Monday Night Football. Here are just some storylines to follow.
1. Possible Robert Griffin III-Michael Vick matchup
Last week, I wrote about Vick’s confidence in his legs in terms of speed. Not only did the former Virginia Tech gunslinger rave about his acceleration, but he informed the world that No. 10 can’t claim the title of fastest NFL QB.
While we will never see the two on the field at the same time (barring a bizarre position change for either dual-threat) Vick did have a front row seat to watch Griffin III pick apart his defense-well pretty easily. 2013 could be a new story, though, depending on when Griffin III first takes the field. If he takes the field on September 9th, expect the proverbial roof to explode off of FedExField. Ever since Michael Vick made his grand arrival on the NFL stage in 2001, raves of his play-making ability spread like wildfire—but that was well before Griffin III came into the picture.
Keep an eye on the arms and legs of both.
2. Chip Kelly’s offense against a revamped Redskins defense
When Kelly bolted from Oregon in favor of Philly, everyone began to wonder how his spread offense will translate to the professional ranks. In his four years in Eugene Kelly’s Ducks were all the rage, routinely ranking in the top-five in yards per game including an NCAA-high 530.7 in 2010. Now the question will be how successful can Kelly be in the NFL with such an unorthodox offensive playbook especially with guys like Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin at his use. Test one will be a Redskins defense that will look drastically different from the unit that took the field against the Eagles last year.
With Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker returning from injury, Brandon Meriweather expected to play more than a half, and the additions of E.J. Biggers, David Amerson, Phillip Thomas, and Bacarri Rambo to the secondary, Kelly’s adaptation will be under a microscope. Sink or swim game one.
3. Super Bowl run to start against Eagles again?
The Eagles dominated the NFC East for a good chunk of the early 2000’s, winning five division crowns from 2001-2006. While their reign atop the division was fueled by a 9-3 record against the Burgundy and Gold, they failed to emulate the Redskins Super Bowl success—a la bringing home Lombardi Trophies.
From 1982-1991, the Redskins notched 107 regular season victories, 15 of which came against the Eagles—second most over any team during that span (if only the Cardinals could rejoin the East again).
The decade of dominance started out against none other than the Eagles–a 37-34 victory.
Now, the Redskins are looking to claim their first four game winning streak against the Eagles since 1985-1987. The last victory during that stretch came against the Eagles in the ’87 opener, 34-24.
Of course both seasons resulted in an NFC East title and a Super Bowl victory. Will the campaign for Super Bowl number four in our Nation’s Capital start out in similar fashion?
4. The return of Fred Davis
Before the former USC Trojan went down with a season-ending injury last year, he had become one of Griffin III’s favorite targets, snagging 24 catches for 325 yards. While the normally block-heavy Logan Paulsen filled in admirably, including his first touchdown in two years against none other than the Eagles, Davis will be returning to his role as No. 10’s security blanket. When you look at his numbers against the Eagles it’s fair to say Philadelphia is his favorite opponent.
No. 85 record his first and second career touchdowns, his career-high in receptions in a single game (eight), and his career-long of 71 yards against them. His 293 yards against the Eagles is more than other opponent. Santana Moss has built the reputation as a Cowboy killer. It may be time to call Davis the Eagle killer.
Hail to the Redskins!
Tags: bacarri rambo, Brandon Meriweather, Brian Orakpo, David Amerson, EJ Biggers, Fred Davis, logan paulsen, Phillip Thomas, Robert Griffin III, Santana Moss
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