PHILADELPHIA, PA –
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football in a critical NFC East showdown. The Redskins are coming off back-to-back losses, while the Eagles defeated the New York Giants in a key divisional rivalry last week. Both teams need to secure a major win to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys in a tight NFC East race. Here are five areas to watch for Monday night:
1 – The Running Game: Josh Adams took a major step forward last week against the Giants. Adams rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and was the main catalyst in the Eagles offense. Getting Adams involved early and often will be a major focus for the Eagles this week. The Redskins will rely on Adrian Peterson to carry the load who has 758 yards rushing on the season and will be relied on heavily with the loss of Alex Smith to injury.
2 – Eagles defensive health: The Eagles defense played extremely well covering wide receivers against the Giants in last week’s second half despite having major injuries across the entire defense. Chandon Sullivan, DeVante Bausby, Rasul Douglas, and Cre’Von Le’Blanc all stepped up in a big way and helped limit the Giants offense. Avonte Maddox and Jalen Mills didn’t practice Friday and may be held out again. The defense may be again without its top players and will need to rely on different players to step up and play a huge role. Two positives, however, are that both Sydney Jones and Rasul Douglass practiced in full Friday and should be ready to go.
3 – Darren Sproles: Will Darren Sproles play? As of Friday, Sproles was limited in practice; however, when asked about his status for Monday, he noted he planned to play. Sproles has not played since week one against the Atlanta Falcons and would be a significant addition in the return and running game. The Eagles would definitely benefit from Sproles being able to take the field Monday night.
4 – Weapons for Wentz: Who will step up Monday night as a major receiver in the passing game? Over the last three games, the Eagles have relied mostly on Zach Ertz who has racked up 251 yards over that span. The numbers significantly drop off after that with Alshon Jeffery collecting 120 yards, Golden Tate accruing 97 yards, Nelson Agholor with 95 yards, Jordan Matthews with 77 yards, and Dallas Goedert with 33 yards. The Eagles need to get at least one of these weapons majorly involved to help alleviate the pressure on both Zach Ertz and Carson Wentz, especially early in games where the team consistently struggles to move the ball.
5 – Playoff implications: The Eagles are not out of playoff contention, however, they need to play much more dominant than they have so far this season. The Cowboys sit atop the NFC East at 7-5 after a big win on Thursday, while the Redskins trail them with a record of 6-5, and the Eagles fall slightly below them at 5-6. The Eagles definitely need a victory here to keep their playoff hopes alive and a prime-time victory here would help propel them forward in a major way. The Redskins also sit in the 6th wildcard spot so it would benefit the Eagles greatly to knock them out of that spot. This is a must-win for both sides. Look for our crew’s predictions for this game on Monday.
Tune in to ESPN at 8:15 for this Monday Night Football Matchup! You can also follow the action and join the conversation as we live tweet on Twitter: @BirdsInformer during the game.