Michael Vick, 33, is charged with leading the Eagles offense against the defending NFC East division champions. In ten games last season, Vick completed 204 of his 351 passes (58.1%) for 2,362 yards with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Thanks to a myriad of injuries, Vick did not appear in either game against the Redskins last season. In 2011 he completed 42 of his 70 passes (60%) for 572 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in two games against Washington. Vick has won his last three matchups with the Redskins.
A major player in the Eagles offense is going to be running back LeSean McCoy. Last year McCoy rushed 200 times for 840 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. He was limited later in the year thanks to a concussion suffered against the Redskins in November. The 25 year old former All-Pro is expected to be featured heavily in Kelly's offense.
The return of a healthy Jason Peters, the addition of first-round pick Lane Johnson, a healthy Jason Kelce and moving Todd Herremans back inside to guard should help keep Vick upright tonight. The offensive line was awful last year but it should be significantly better when they take the field tonight. Their primary concern will be to keep the Redskins' outside linebackers, in particular Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, out of the backfield.
The Redskins defense will receive a boost when they get two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Orakpo back from a torn pectoral muscle after he missed 14 games last season. The Redskins struggled without Orakpo despite winning the final seven games of the season. Kerrigan led the Redskins last season with 8.5 sacks. The defense ranked 28th overall and allowed 16 or more points in every game except the 31-6 victory over the Eagles in November.
That is not good for Philadelphia as Washington features two potent runners in quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris. Morris is coming off a rookie year in which he rushed for a Washington franchise-record 1,613 yards which was second to only MVP Adrian Peterson. The Redskin' 1-2 punch will look to capitalize on an Eagles defense that allowed more points than every other team in the NFL last season except the Titans and Saints.
The running game helps Washington match up well against the Eagles. Philadelphia's secondary is a major concern entering the season and the Redskins will look to exploit it. Morris and Griffin's ability to impact the game on the ground allows the Redskins to set-up the play-action pass.
Davis said that he is "very anxious" for the Redskins to play against his defense so he can evaluate where they are as a unit. He understands that there will be a learning curve with the defense which explains why he is looking forward to seeing what his defense can do in game situations.
The Eagles defense is going to look to keep Griffin uncomfortable but, while keeping him uncomfortable, the Eagles cannot allow Griffin to escape the pocket. One position that is going to be key is slowing down the Redskins is the safety position. Starters Nate Allen and Patrick Chung are charged with the task of aiding in the run game but not bite on the play-action and give up big plays over the top.
Griffin, 23, enters his second year in the NFL looking to improve upon his rookie season in which he was named to the Pro Bowl and named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. RG3 threw for 3,200 yards completing 65.6% of his passes for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Griffin also rushed 120 times for 815 yards. He will likely look to attack the Eagles in their weakest spot - the secondary. Last season, Griffin went 30-for-39 (76.9%) for 398 yards and six touchdowns in two games against the Eagles.
Williams, 28, enters his first season in Philadelphia with a lot to prove. After his interesting off-season choices, including skipping OTAs to pick out sconces and attend his daughter's recital, the former Raven is looking to play at the high level that earned him the $17 million contract he signed in March. Williams picked off four passes last season and returned one for a touchdown. He also has 35 passes defended over the last two seasons.
Remember, it was ESPN: The Magazine that predicted the Eagles will lose 41-0 to the Redskins in this game.
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