Both teams have a lot of questions coming into this game with Robert Griffin III and his surgically repaired right knee being the biggest one this past offseason. How will he look, and how will Shanny and Son use him this season has been another hot topic among fans.
The Eagles will be starting a new era with rookie head coach Chip Kelly taking over after the team parted ways with longtime coach Andy Reid after a dismal 4-12 season in 2012. It’s going to be a little strange not seeing Andy Reid standing on the sideline each week, but that’s life in the National Football League.
How will Kelly’s uptempo offense translate at the NFL level? Could he be the second coming of Steve Spurrier who also arrived with a lot of hype as an offensive guru, but left two years later with his tail between his legs looking like a beat rat. That question will start to be answered in this game, but no matter what happens, you can’t judge a coach after just one game.
The Redskins swept the season series last year on their way to winning the NFC East for the first time in 12 years, but they didn’t have to face Eagles QB Michael Vick who missed both games due to an injury. He’s won his last three starts vs the ‘Skins and looked pretty good during the preseason running the new look offense. But that means nothing now that the regular season has arrived because the real test begins now.
The Eagles struggled with stopping the run last season allowing 126.3 yards per game on the ground and that plays right into what the Redskins do best, running the football with young workhorse RB Alfred Morris leading the way.
Another thing of note, the Eagles are in the process of switching their defense into a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Bill Davis. So there will be some bumpy moments this season without all the necessary pieces in place.
The Eagles lost WR Jeremy Maclin during training camp for the season, but they will arrive in the nation’s capital with WR DeSean Jackson and shifty RB LeSean McCoy ready to roll. They do have some offensive firepower and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The Redskins went 9-1 last season when WR Pierre Garcon played and he’s back healthy after dealing with a nagging foot injury for most of the season. I look for Garcon and Griffin to become one of the top QB/WR combos if they both stay healthy this season.
The Redskins defensive unit did a good job against the run last season, but struggled against the pass without a consistent pass rush and several key guys out injured. SS Brandon Meriweather’s back after missing almost all of last season. A couple of rookies will also get significant playing time with FS Bacarri Rambo and CB David Amerson both slated to start.
With LB Brian Orakpo back and Ryan Kerrigan’s continued development, I think a much improved pass rush will help take some of the pressure of the secondary.
Prediction: Redskins 31 Eagles 23