It was the beginning of the 2011 season when the Eagles were deemed to be the dream team. A collection of talent that couldn’t possibly miss out on the Super Bowl, but the Super Bowl winner was NFC East rival the Giants, and now the Eagles share the bottom of the division with the 3-6 Redskins. It is hard to say which team is more of a mess. Both look to have a coach on the way out and issues with personnel, but the Eagles are benching Michael Vick this week in favor of rookie Nick Foles while the Redskins personnel problems are less with key skill position players and more in the secondary.
The Redskins issues with their secondary makes this a good week for the Eagles to start a rookie quarterback. The Redskins are third worst in the NFL in passing yards allowed a game with 301.7 and their 20 passing touchdowns allowed is the worst in all the NFL. The Redskins secondary can’t stop anyone and even worse with Orakpo and Carriker missing since week two the Redskins have struggled to get any sort of pass rush. The Redskins 3.8% sack percent is third worse in the NFL as are their 14 overall sacks.
Secondary play was an issue last season for the Redskins when they had players at the safety position, but the pass rush was able to keep it from being overexposed. With barely any pass rush to speak of the Redskins have made playing defense look like a seven on seven drill. The Eagles have picked a good week to make a quarterback change.
As bad as the secondary has been it is hard to tell if the Redskins rushing defense is ranked seventh in yards per game because no one is running on them or if they are able to stop the run. The Redskins have allowed 96.2 yards a game, but 4.2 rushing yards a play which is tied for eighth in the NFL. The Redskins don’t have a bad rush defense but they don’t have a good one either. Their mark of 4.2 rushing yards per attempt is right at the league average. Combine a league average rushing defense with a terrible passing defense and the Redskins defense is just bad.
Helping to keep some of the pressure off of Foles will be Eagles running back LeSean McCoy who is tenth in the NFL at yards a game at 78.3 and has averaged 4.4 yards an attempt. The Eagles offense should be able to move the ball on the Redskins and Nick Foles could have an easy transition to a starting role when considering that the Redskins can’t get to the quarterback or cover a receiver, and if Foles isn’t up to the challenge the Eagles will have LeSean McCoy to fall back on.
The Redskins offense isn’t bad. They have scored the thirteenth most points in the NFL and their 164.6 rushing yards a game is second in the NFL. If anything the 2012 Redskins have been a good offensive team with a bad defense. RGIII has played as advertised and it will be exciting to watch him work after the bye week. RGIII went into the bye having what some called a disappointing game, but while over 200 yards passing with no turnovers is a disappointing game for RGIII it was a good game for Jason Campbell and a great one for Rex Grossman.
This is a battle of two 3-6 teams resting at the bottom of the NFC East. Both teams want to and feel they need to win this game which is enough to make it interesting. The real joy will be watching RGIII and Alfred Morris get back on the field after the bye. This game could go either way and neither should be surprising considering how the Redskins and the Eagles have played this season.