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Eagles vs. Washington: Why the Eagles will win 24-17

Eliot Shorr-Parks
September 06, 2019 - 8:29 am
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The Eagles couldn’t have asked for a better season opener than the one the NFL handed them. 

After limping their way through training camp, and sitting starting quarterback Carson Wentz throughout the preseason, the Eagles get an opponent in Week 1 that in someways is like a fifth preseason game in the Washington Redskins. 

Yes, division games are tricky and we could see some rust on both sides of the ball, but make no mistake about it — the Eagles have absolutely no excuse to lose to Washington on Sunday. 

Here is why they will beat Washington on Sunday:

Washington Offense: Washington comes into Philadelphia with a unit that offense that should end the season as one of the worst in the league. They have no dominate No. 1 receiver, their offensive line is terrible and they believe in running the ball as opposed to passing it. The Eagles’ defense has gone through training camp extremely banged up, and the 11 players that will likely start on Sunday haven’t taken a single snap together during the preseason. In fact, seven of the 11 projected starters for this season missed considerable amount of time in camp. If the Eagles were playing almost any other team there would be reason to be concerned about the defense heading into Week 1. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz should feel very relieved his team is tasked with playing the Washington offense this Sunday. 

Case Keenum: Eagles fans remember Case Keenum well and he will always have a special place in team history for his role in allowing the Eagles to beatdown the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFC Championship game. Keenum is slightly better than what he showed that game, but not by much, and it is hard to find a worse starting quarterback in the league entering Week 1. Keenum has a career record of 26-28 and has had a losing record in three-of-the-four seasons he has started more than five games. Take away Keenum’s one year of 11-3 football with Minnesota, which is likely a complete anomaly, and he is 15-25 as a starter. The Eagles’ defense isn’t perfect, but they don’t often lose to bad quarterbacks, and Keenum qualifies as just that. 

Eagles receivers vs. Washington secondary: The back end of the Washington defense is very bad even after the pricey addition of safety Landon Collins. Collins is a playmaker, but struggles in coverage — which isn’t ideal in a passing league and going against an extremely quick group of Eagles’ receivers. Cornerback Josh Norman, who is expected to shadow Alshon Jeffery, is not the player he used to be and is no longer capable of shutting down opposing offense’s best receivers. If the Eagles’ offensive line gives Carson Wentz some time in the pocket there is little chance that the Washington secondary will be able to slowdown the Eagles’ elite group of receivers.

DeSean Jackson: Sunday will be receiver DeSean Jackson's first game back in Philadelphia as a member of the home team since 2013. He will be going against his former team, the Washington Redskins. Few things are certain in life, but Jackson scoring a 50-plus yard touchdown seems like one of them. 

Eagles defensive line vs. Washington’s offensive line: Simply put, the Washington offensive line is not good. Assuming Trent Williams doesn’t play for them this season, and he won’t be playing on Sunday, they will roll out on of the worst set of starting tackles in the NFL in Donald Penn and Moses Morgan. They will also start maybe the worst offensive linemen in the entire league, Ereck Flowers, at left guard. Right guard Brendan Scherff is great, but not even he will be able to make up for what is around him. The Eagles’ group of pass rushers is not what it used to be, but they have very favorable matchups this week in Malik Jackson vs. Flowers and Brandon Graham vs. Morgan. If they win both of this matchups it is going to be a very long day for Keenum. 

Season opener: One thing Doug Pederson knows how to do is get his team ready for the beginning of the season. Pederson is 3-0 in season openers throughout his career. He beat the Cleveland Browns in his first game ever as a head coach, went to Washington and won his second season and came away victorious last year in the team’s season-opening game against the Atlanta Falcons. His quarterback, Carson Wentz, is also 3-0 in his three season-opening starters. Another trend in the Eagles’ favor? Wentz has lead the offense down the field for a touchdown on all three of his season-opening drives in his career. 

If Wentz does it again, and the Eagles get an early lead, it is hard to see Washington fighting back. 

Prediction: Eagles 24, Washington 17

Picking Record: 39-13

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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