Sunday afternoon will be the 2012 home finale for the Philadelphia Eagles, and it may be the last home game of the Andy Reid era. Running back LeSean McCoy will be back as the Eagles will look for their fifth win of the season and play spoiler against the NFC East division-leading Washington Redskins. Here is the positional matchup preview for the game.
Quarterback: Rookie quarterback Nick Foles' first start was against the Redskins just over a month ago. Foles struggled, as he only had eight completions against a five man rush. Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is expected to play after missing last week's game with a knee injury. Griffin III is a threat not only with his arm, but with his legs as well regardless of the injury. Washington gets the advantage.
Running back: LeSean McCoy is playing in his first game in a month after suffering a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys in November. He's averaging only 4.2 yards per carry this year, half a yard below his career average. Alfred Morris is having 4.7 yards per carry this season with over 1,300 yards accumulated in 2012. Head coach Mike Shanahan is a run-first coach, and the Eagles should expect a fair amount of rushes on Sunday afternoon. Because McCoy is always a dangerous running back, there is no advantage for either team.
Receiving: Jeremy Maclin appears to be Foles' go-to receiver thus far, as he has been targeted an average of 11 times per game the past two weeks. Clay Harbor is out for the final two games of the season with a back injury. A health Pierre Garcon gives Griffin III a go-to receiver with an average of nine targets per game over the past four games. Philadelphia is banged up, but Washington is not a heavy passing team. Neither side gets the advantage.
Offensive line: Philadelphia's offensive line played a solid game against the Bengals, but the unit has been very inconsistent if not flat out bad throughout the season. Meanwhile, the middle three for Washington has done a solid job at run blocking for Morris while Trent Williams should be looking at a Pro Bowl trip. Washington gets the advantage.
Defensive line: Since the wide-nine has been removed, the defense has been better at stopping the run. In addition, the pass rush has been better as well. The Redskins average more than four yards per carry against the run and have given up big rushing numbers throughout the season. The Eagles get the advantage.
Linebacker: With Jamar Chaney at SAM and Mychal Kendricks at WILL, the linebackers unit has been more solid, particularly against the run. Washington's run defense was hurt with the injury to Brian Orakpo while they also struggle in sacking the opposing quarterback. Philadelphia's linebacker play is better as of late, and therefore they get the advantage.
Secondary: Colt Anderson has provided some life into the secondary recently for the Eagles, and he will get the start on Sunday. Washington has allowed 28 touchdown passes this season, which is the most in the NFL. In addition, they are 30th in passing yards allowed per game but have accumulated 17 interceptions. The Eagles secondary is playing better recently and gets the advantage.
Special teams: Philadelphia is horrible in punt and kickoff coverage. In addition, kickoff returns are nothing special either. Washington is fifth in the NFL in punt coverage and rank in the middle of the pack in kickoff coverage. The Redskins get the advantage.
Final thoughts: Philadelphia can keep the game close, but a win would surprise a lot of people at this stage of the season. Washington wins the game 31-20.Tags: Football, LeSean McCoy, Mike Shanahan, NFL, Nick Foles, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Eagles, Robert Griffin III
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