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Redskins-Eagles: Five keys and a prediction

Redskins-Eagles: Five keys and a prediction

Here are my five keys to Sunday’s Redskins-Eagles game plus a prediction:

1. The Redskins need to contain LeSean McCoy. The other four keys here and all of the other keys and matchups and other analysis you’ll see around the web between now and game time will be rendered useless if McCoy runs wild on the Redskins again. Although it’s not easy to hold him down, it can be done. McCoy has three games this year where he has run for 155 yards or more. But in five games he has 55 rushing yards or fewer. The key is gang tackling, as almost every Redskins defender said this week. An attempt to tackle McCoy one on one usually ends up with the defender grasping air.

2. The Eagles have played one more game than the Redskins and they have two fewer sacks so their pass rush isn’t anything to fear. Defensive end Vinny Curry, who has played about 20 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps this year, leads the team with four sacks. He will line up on either side so the Redskins will have to be ready for him.

3. The Eagles were a disaster in the turnover ratio department in 2012. They were bad on both elements of the formula with just 13 takeaways, tied for last in the NFL, and 37 giveaways, also tied for the worst performance in the league. If you do the math you get a minus-24. They are doing much better this year. Through 10 games they already have more takeaways, 17, than they did all of last year. The Eagles have thrown seven interceptions (none by Nick Foles) and lost eight fumbles. It adds up a plus-2. The Redskins are at zero with 16 takeaways and 16 giveaways. Neither team is good enough to survive a deficit of two or more in the turnover battle on Sunday.

4. It will be interesting to see how Kyle Shanahan goes after the Eagles defense. They want to run the ball but the Philly defense averages giving up a very respectable 4.0 yards per carry. Their pass defense is 31st in the league. This will not be popular with the “pound the rock” crowd but the way to go may be to try to build a lead with the passing game and then preserve it with Alfred Morris.

5. It’s legitimate to point out that the Eagles’ five wins have come over four teams who are currently at least 3 games under .500 plus the Scott Tolzien-led Packers. It also would be fair to say that two of the Redskins three wins, those over the Bears and Chargers, are better “quality” wins than the Eagles have had. That will not matter much on Sunday. The fact is that both the Redskins and Eagles are in the mass of NFL teams that aren’t great but aren’t awful.

Prediction--After presenting five tangible keys here I’m going to stray away from logic in making my predictions. The skid of 10 straight home losses suffered by the Eagles has the same feeling as that streak we saw earlier this year, the one where the Lions had never won in Washington. The Lions were due. Even though each game is a separate event and what happened against the Bengals last year at Lincoln Financial Field or this year against the Chargers there has no logical connection with Sunday’s game, I just think the Eagles are due.

Eagles 31, Redskins 28

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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus.