COMMENTARY | On Sunday, the Washington Redskins will head to Philadelphia to try to avenge their opening night loss to the Eagles. Back in Week 1, the Eagles took it to the Redskins and won by a score of 33-27.
Since then, both teams have changed and not necessarily for the better. Washington's season has gone downhill fast and Philadelphia was in disarray before Nick Foles took the reins. It's hard to truly predict the outcome of this game since both teams have had such up and down seasons.
If the Redskins want to leave the City of Brotherly Love with a victory on Sunday night, here are their five keys they need to take care of.
Key Number 1: Pressuring the Quarterback
Nick Foles has really grown into his own at quarterback for the Eagles and is doing quite well. Despite playing in only seven of the team's ten games, Foles has 1,256 yards passing and 16 touchdowns. He's got a remarkable passer rating with 132.5 and has done a solid job of protecting the football as he has yet to throw a pick.
Philadelphia's offense is fast and thrives on speed and timing. The best way to disrupt that timing is to get to the quarterback early and often. The Redskins' secondary is very poor and leaving them one-on-one on islands could prove disastrous. The front four of the defense will need to get pressure and keep Nick Foles on his heels all game long.
Key Number 2: Press Coverage in the Secondary
To piggy back on the duties of the defensive line, the secondary will also have to bring pressure but on the wide receivers, not the quarterback. Much like getting to the quarterback, pressing the receivers and knocking them off their routes will throw off the timing. In doing so, they'll give the defensive line more time to get to Foles and it will also force him to throw errant passes that can be intercepted.
Key Number 3: Give the Ball to Alfred Morris
While it's no question that Robert Griffin III is a good player, he is no longer the team's difference maker. Instead, that title has fallen into the arms of running back Alfred Morris. The more Morris get's the football, the better the offense plays and the better chances the Redskins have of winning.
Twice this season has Morris carried the football more than 20 times in a single game and both times did he go over the century mark. On the season, Morris has 825 yards and five touchdowns on just 159 carries for an impressive 5.2 yards per carry average. He moves the chains, kills the clock and will lead Washington to victory.
Key Number 4: Can London Fletcher Keep Up?
I never thought I would ever question the ability of London Fletcher, but after being in the league for 16 years, it's come to this. Fletcher has lost some considerable speed and against an offense that thrives off of speed, that doesn't bode well. His legs aren't young enough to go sideline-to-sideline anymore.
This isn't a knock on his hustle or effort, he's aging and this happens to all players. Maybe Washington should give Rob Jackson and Nick Barnett a few more snaps on defense just to keep Fletcher's legs fresh.
Key Number 5: This is a Must-Win
Losing in Philadelphia and falling to 3-7 while letting the Eagles move to 6-5 would be crushing to Washington's division championship hopes and their playoff chances. In the final seven games of the season, the Redskins will play four games against the NFC East and being able to open up that stretch with a win over the Eagles will put them in great position to control their own destiny.
The Washington Redskins have a tough challenge this weekend as they try give the Eagles their fifth home-loss of the season. However, Philadelphia seems to be revitalized under the leadership of Nick Foles and after the way this season has unfolded for both of these teams, you never know what you're going to see on Sunday afternoon.
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Washington Redskins
- Nick Foles
- the Eagles
- Alfred Morris