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    • DATE: December 3, 2013
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Redskins-Eagles: 4 Keys To Victory

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Eagles showdown at FedExField.


Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the key players and matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Eagles showdown at FedExField.

“Redskins-Eagles: 4 Keys To the Game” is presented by Papa John’s.

Every Monday, fans can order a large cheese pizza for only $9.99, plus for each touchdown that the Redskins score, fans get one free topping. And with a Redskins victory, fans get double the toppings.


ROOKIE VS. ROOKIE SHOWDOWN

Since Robert Griffin III was first named an NFL prospect, he has been compared to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.  Griffin III said he is flattered by the comparisons, but doesn't really see the resemblance.

The numbers suggest Griffin III can be a better passer and an equal rusher to Vick, in time. Vick has an NFL quarterback record 5,526 career rushing yards in 120 career games, while Griffin III has 523 in nine career games.  Vick is the only quarterback to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, a number that Griffin III could eclipse this season if he scrambles over the next seven games.

Unfortunately for intrigued NFL fans, the two are unlikely to face-off this weekend as Vick recoveres from a concussion sustained last week against the Cowboys.  If he is unable to go, Griffin III will be pitted against a fellow rookie in Nick Foles, and should have every opportunity to show his dynamic ability.

FEED THE BEAST

Forget any notion of time of possession, balanced offense or old school Redskins football.  The Redskins need to run Alfred Morris because he is one of the best playermakers on the team, and has the ability to sustain drives and win football games.

Against the Carolina Panthers in Week 9, Morris rushed for 56 yards on 10 carries in the first half, despite suffering a shoulder stinger in the first quarter.  When his production should have declined in the second half, he rushed three more times for 18 yards, and finished with a 5.8 yards per carry average.  No matter what the score is, that kind of production keeps offenses in games, and to abandon the run is to abandon the most-consistent offensive asset.

The Eagles enter Sunday's contest as the 15th ranked defense against the run, and a unit in the middle of a transition under new coordinator Todd Bowles.  Look for the Redskins to control the line of scrimmage and open up running lanes to take advantage of Morris's thunderous running ability.

RELEASE THE KRAKEN

The Redskins' pass rush has felt the effects of losing Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season, managing only 14 sacks, good for 28th in the NFL.  Nothing can be done to bring back those key players, but the defense needs to work together to get consistent pressure on Nick Foles as he makes his first NFL start.

The Redskins are winless in the last eight starts against NFL rookies, but history is a poor determinant for future success.  The Redskins need Ryan Kerrigan to key the attack, taking advantage of good penetration by the defensive line at the point of attack.

The Redskins secondary needs to force Foles to make decisions in the pocket, and then take advantage of poorly thrown passes on the back end of the play.  If the defense can put together their best overall performance of the season, they should be able to limit the Eagles' vaunted passing attack.

FIND A SPARK ON SPECIAL TEAMS

While the Redskins have been solid on special teams this season, they have yet to be "special" in comparison to other teams.

Kicker Kai Forbath has yet to miss a field goal for the Redskins, despite kicking three kicks from 45 yards or longer.  Long snapper Nick Sundberg returns from injured reserve this week, and should lend a boost to snap velocity and accuracy.  Punter Sav Rocca is still nursing a sore right knee, but turned in one of his best career performances against the Panthers in Week 9.

The Redskins need to find production out of the kick and punt return coverage, winning the battle of field position and providing the offense with a spark.  Brandon Banks has tremendous potential, but has yet to bust a long return this season, managing only 22.9 yards per return, long of 55.

If Banks and his blockers can break a long return this week, it will inject life into the Redskins' offense and change the way teams defend Redskins' returns. Look for special teams to play a key role in this week's game.

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