12.30.2011 / Blog Posts Redskins
WEEK 17: Redskins (5-10) @ Eagles (7-8)
The Redskins finish out the 2011 season on New Year's Day against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.
The Redskins are 2-3 in NFC East play, with their two wins coming against the New York Giants in Week 1 (28-14 at FedExField) and Week 15 (23-10 at MetLife Stadium). The Eagles are 4-1 against NFC East teams. They defeated the Redskins in Week 6 by a 20-13 score at FedExField. The Redskins have won four of the past six contests against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Washington and Philadelphia have met a total of 155 times during their long rivalry, which dates back to 1934. They have played a home-and-home series every year since 1936. The Redskins hold the series edge at 79-70-6. Since 2000, the Eagles have won 15 of 23 games.
The Redskins and Eagles have clashed once in the postseason, with Washington winning 20-6 on Jan. 4, 1991 at Veterans Stadium in the Wild Card playoff round.
REDSKINS-EAGLES KEYS TO THE GAME
Helu and Royster
The Redskins’ future at running back appears set with rookies Roy Helu and Evan Royster both posting 100-yard games in the second half of the season. Helu leads the offense with 635 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 147 carries. Royster has 215 yards on 36 carries. If Helu is at full health, he should get the bulk of carries. Royster was impressive last week vs. Minnesota, though. He rushed for 132 yards on just 19 carries – a 6.9 yards-per-carry average – and seemed to get stronger in the second half. The Eagles’ run defense struggled early in the season, but they were sound in the Week 6 matchup against Washington, yielding just 42 yards on 14 carries. Helu had just two carries in that game and Royster was on the practice squad, so the Redskins’ offense should give the Eagles a new look this Sunday. In the Eagles’ last three games – all wins -- they have yielded 94.7 rushing yards, eighth best in that span. Overall, they are ranked 14th against the run.
The Redskins’ offensive tackles – Willie Smith at left tackle and either Jammal Brown or Tyler Polumbus at right tackle – each draw tough assignments against Philadelphia’s aggressive defensive line. Protection will be key for Rex Grossman, who tossed four interceptions in the first Redskins-Eagles game in Week 6. On Sunday, Smith competes against another elite pass rusher in two-time Pro Bowler Trent Cole. He gets a strong burst off the edge thanks to Philly’s “wide nine” scheme and Smith will need to use his long arms and match his speed. Brown’s status for Sunday’s season finale is uncertain. He was slowed in practice this week due to a hip injury. If he can’t play, then Polumbus would draw the start. They match up against Jason Babin, another high motor pass rusher. He leads the NFL with 18 sacks this season. Overall, the Eagles lead the NFL with 49 sacks this season.
From Cam Newton running wild to Tony Romo sidestepping the pass rush, mobile quarterbacks have given the Redskins fits this season. Last Sunday, Minnesota quarterback Joe Webb used his arm to throw for 84 yards and his legs to rush for 34 yards as he led the Vikings to a 33-26 win. It’s always a tough challenge facing off against Eagles QB Michael Vick. The Redskins’ front seven must try to force him into a pocket so that his mobility is minimized. The secondary must stay with receivers longer because Vick’s mobility can extend plays outside of the pocket. In the Redskins’ 20-13 loss to the Eagles in Week 6, Vick rushed for 54 yards on seven carries, including a 25-yard run and a 31-yard run. For the season, Vick has 586 rushing yards and one touchdown on 75 carries.
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