The Philadelphia Eagles (7-8) flirted with the chance of going to the playoffs, and despite winning in dominating fashion against the Dallas Cowboys last week, Philly was eliminated with a New York Giants win. In week 17, the Eagles are the lucky hosts of the Washington Redskins (5-10), in a game that holds no actual meaning for either team, other than pride. Washington was eliminated from the playoffs after about the first kickoff of the season, and in the last match-up with the Eagles, Philadelphia won 20-13.
For a brief moment, during the Jets vs. Giants game, I was running through all of the possible situations if the latter New York team would have lost. My mind flashed with hopes of the Eagles steam-rolling Dallas and breezing right by the Redskins, clinching a playoff berth and saving the season. Alas, that never happened and the Jets lost in poor fashion, and the Eagles impressive game against the Cowboys was all for not.
Then I realized, playoffs or no playoffs, the Redskins are still a division rival of the Eagles. They still are the team that had a Philadelphia legend In Donovan McNabb, disrespected him, and then ended up trading him for nothing. The same Redskins that have kept competitive with the Eagles in the past. The exact same Washington team that has eliminated Philadelphia from the playoff before. The NFC East Redskins that Philadelphia despises.
Philadelphia has a vastly talented team, and when they are clicking on all cylinders, they are some of the best in the NFL. Washington, on the other hand, lacks a true quarterback, consistent receiving threats, and has an incredibly young defense. The Skins’ do have good pieces, like Brian Orakpo and Roy Helu, but as a whole, the team is still stuck in rebuilding mode and are a few seasons away from being able to contend.
With that being said, the Redskins should not be able to beat the Eagles this Sunday. However, it does seem that Washington does give Philadelphia a good game whenever the two play, and the Eagles have to be somewhat demoralized after being eliminated from the postseason. This season, the Eagles have looked really good in some games, and really bad in others, and it is a toss-up which team will show up.
If the Eagles can contain Helu and the Redskins running game, it will force them to pass, which is the Eagles defensive strength. Not to mention, whether it be John Beck or Rex Grossman starting, it doesn’t really matter, because both are equally bad, and both are great at making key mistakes. Offensively, it’s likely that the Eagles will be without their best weapon in LeSean McCoy, but the Eagles still have an elite passing attack with Michael Vick.
Keep Helu under control, and spread the field with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and the Eagles could easily finish the season at .500 with an (8-8) record. This game in any other season would likely hold much more weight that it does, but that doesn’t mean the intensity is gone. This is still a heated rivalry, and the players on both teams want to win.
For now, Eagles fans, keep your heads up. We’re a good team, and we may just be one year away from the end goal.
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