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Eagles-Redskins: What you need to know

jordan hall csnphilly

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

Hall

Eagles-Redskins: What you need to know

November 18, 2012, 7:40 am

JORDAN HALL
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Eagles (3-6) at Washington Redskins (3-6)
1 p.m. on FOX

The Eagles are in danger of making the wrong kind of history.

The Birds, currently in the midst of a five-game plight, have not lost six consecutive games in a season since 1994. That could change Sunday when they play the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Last week, the Eagles fell to the Cowboys, 38-23, but they essentially suffered two losses in one defeat. Michael Vick was forced to leave the game with a concussion in which he’s still in the beginning stages of recovering. With Vick out, in steps Nick Foles, who will make his first career NFL start for the desperate Eagles.

Washington, on the other hand, has been no better. The Redskins currently share the NFC East cellar with the Eagles and have dropped four of their last five games.

A loss for either team may be the final blow to any playoff hopes.

Injuries

Eagles
Out: WR Jason Avant (hamstring), WR Mardy Gilyard (hamstring), RB Chris Polk (toe), QB Michael Vick (concussion).
Questionable: G Danny Watkins (ankle).
Probable: WR Riley Cooper (knee), LB Akeem Jordan (thumb), LB Mychal Kendricks (foot), WR Jeremy Maclin (back).

Redskins
Questionable: WR Pierre Garcon (foot), S Brandon Meriweather (knee).
Probable: CB DeAngelo Hall (groin), WR Santana Moss (head), P Sav Rocca (knee), LS Nick Sundberg (forearm), T Trent Williams (ankle), CB Josh Wilson (shoulder).

Offense

Eagles
Total: 373 yards per game (8th, NFL)
Passing: 247 ypg (14th)
Rushing: 126 ypg (10th)

Vick continued to defy odds by absorbing hit after hit, week after week, while surviving behind an injury-riddled offensive line. Inevitably, No. 7 went down in Week 10 with a concussion and his return date is unknown.

The offense is now placed in the hands of the young Foles. The 6-foot-6 Arizona product will be the sixth rookie quarterback to make his starting NFL debut this season. In spelling Vick versus the Cowboys, Foles went 22 of 32 passing for 219 yards and one touchdown to one interception.

The Eagles’ offense has been a head-scratching unit all season. Marty Mornhinweg’s crew owns a top-10 ranking in total yards and rushing yards, yet scores a paltry 17.3 points per game, 29th-worst in the NFL, ahead of only Kansas City (16.2), Arizona (16) and Jacksonville (14.1).

A battered and bruised offensive line has struggled and turnovers have been the team’s Achilles heel. In seven of their nine games, the Eagles have turned the ball over at least twice and their 21 total giveaways are tied for second-most in the league with Buffalo.

Inside the red zone, the Eagles have scored points at a 76.7 percent clip, good for 30th among NFL teams. Handing the ball off to LeSean McCoy would help. When McCoy notches 20 or more carries in a game, the Eagles are 10-1.

Redskins
Total: 382 yards per game (7th, NFL)
Passing: 217 ypg (23rd)
Rushing: 165 ypg (2nd)

The Redskins are dangerous and multifaceted on the ground, thanks to a pair of rookie standouts. Robert Griffin III leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards (529) and is tied for sixth in the league in running scores (6). His partner in crime, running back Alfred Morris, has five rushing TDs along with 793 rushing yards, seventh-highest among all running backs.

The Redskins are most effective working the ground game. Washington's tallied the third-most rushing attempts in football, compared to the eighth-least amount of attempts through the air.

An aspect in which Griffin, Morris and company are vulnerable is converting on third down. The Redskins rank second-to-last in third down efficiency.

As lethal as Washington is running the ball, its passing attack is subpar. Leonard Hankerson -- the Redskins’ leading receiver -- is the team’s fourth wideout on the depth chart when Pierre Garcon is healthy.

Defense

Eagles
Total: 338 yards per game (12th, NFL)
Passing: 225 ypg (12th)
Rushing: 113 ypg (15th)

Under the direction of Todd Bowles, the Eagles are surrendering 32 points per game. Granite, the three teams the Birds have faced with Bowles manning the defense: Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas -- three top-10 offensive attacks in terms of total yards.

Despite the mid-season change at defensive coordinator, the season-long struggle of pressuring the quarterback has continued. The Eagles have recorded a meager 14 sacks. The only teams with less: Oakland (11) and Jacksonville (10).

And while the Eagles have giveth, they have not taketh. The Eagles’ minus-11 turnover ratio ranks 31st in the league, ahead of only Kansas City (minus-20).

Redskins
Total: 398 yards per game (29th)
Passing: 302 ypg (30th)
Rushing: 96 ypg (7th)

It's mind-boggling to see Washington’s talented youth on offense, yet only a 3-6 record in the win-loss column. A significant reason for the outcome is the defense.

The Redskins allow nearly 400 total yards per contest and quarterbacks have shred defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s schemes through the air.

Also, the Eagles’ D won’t be the only contingent at FedEx Field experiencing problems sacking the quarterback. Washington has registered the same amount of sacks (14) as the Eagles.

A bright spot to the Redskins’ defense is their prowess against the run. Washington’s 96 yards given up on the ground is top-tier among NFL defenses, which may result in the Eagles’ pass-happy offense becoming even more pass-dominant on Sunday.

Series history

Overall meeting: 157th (Redskins lead series, 79-71-6)

Last meeting: Eagles 34, Redskins 10 -- Jan. 1, 2012 at Lincoln Financial Field

In last year’s season finale, the Eagles erupted for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to blow things open. Vick threw for three touchdowns as the Eagles won their fourth straight game to finish the year only 8-8.

Connections
• Bowles played defensive back for the Redskins from 1986-90 and 1992-93.

• Danny Watkins and Griffin were teammates at Baylor from 2009-10.

• Darryl Tapp and DeAngelo Hall were teammates at Virginia Tech from 2002-03.

Recommended reading
In case you missed some of this week’s stories…

Our predictions

NFL scout: Foles 'better than Tannehill'

Vick, still far from return, ruled out for Sunday

Didinger's Eagles-'Skins scouting report

Mornhinweg defends limited use of McCoy

April blames himself for Eagles' special teams gaffes

Maclin defends himself against Aikman's remarks

Bond with Lurie will keep Reid here until the end

E-mail Jordan Hall at jhall@comcastsportsnet.com.