The Washington Redskins will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for what could very well be the division this year in Philly on Saturday. Brandon Lee Gowton from BGN was kind enough to stop by and answer a few of our questions.
1. Surely most of the folks in the Eagles organization watched the 'Skins beat the Bills on Sunday prior to their match-up with the Cardinals... yet the Eagles got smoked by the Cardinals. Can you explain why they played so poorly at such a critical juncture in the season? Do you think they were perhaps looking past the Cardinals to the Redskins? How do the fans feel about that big of a loss and what's the confidence level like coming into this week?
I don't think the Eagles were looking ahead to this week's game. I think the Arizona game was just about the Cardinals being the better team. It also didn't hurt that Arizona had extra time to prepare for the Eagles since they played on Thursday Night Football the week before. The Cardinals are really good. They've won eight in a row now. They didn't turn the ball over. They only committed one penalty. They have a lot of talented players. The Eagles clearly aren't on the same level.
The loss obviously has people feeling down. Even if the Eagles win this week's game and win the NFC East, it's clear they won't last long in the playoffs. The offense still isn't good and the once-reliable defense is now shaky.
2. There's some news going around about DeMarco Murray having a "melt-down" after the Cardinal game on Sunday. Is he becoming a distraction for the team? What's the status at the RB situation right now and what's Murray's future as an Eagle (or not) look like?
Murray is essentially Philadelphia's third string running back right now. Darren Sproles played the most snaps of any rusher against the Cardinals and Ryan Mathews was right behind him. Murray only had two carries and he rushed for a combined three yards on those attempts. The Eagles are also keeping Kenjon Barner active on game day but they haven't given him the ball since he fumbled late in the Eagles-Patriots game back in Week 13.
Murray's future with the Eagles is unclear. Cutting him would mean the Eagles have to take on $13 million in dead money. It's hard to justify keeping him around, however, if he's going to be ineffective on the field and a distraction in the locker room.
3. The Redskins offense has really been heating up lately with stellar performances from guys like Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, and DeSean Jackson. At the same time, the Eagles defense looked out-matched last week. What will the Eagles defense try to do to slow down the Redskins offensive attack on Saturday and how would the Redskins be best served attacking the Eagles defense?
Washington should come out throwing against this Eagles defense. Starting cornerbacks Byron Maxwell (shoulder) and Eric Rowe (concussion) might not be able to play in this game. Rowe seems to have a better shot than Maxwell, but it's no guarantee. The Eagles could be forced to use the likes of Jaylen Watkins and/or former Washington defensive back E.J. Biggers against DeSean. That's obviously a big mismatch. Kirk Cousins could have another big day if the Eagles aren't able to generate pressure on a consistent basis. The Birds really need Fletcher Cox to have a big game in this one.
4. Take a stab at predicting the Eagles QB situation next year. Bradford again? Could RGIII be an option? What do the fans want?
I think Chip Kelly wants to keep Sam Bradford. He told reporters the Eagles wouldn't have traded for Bradford if the team expected to only have him for one season. It remains to be seen if Bradford wants to re-sign in Philly, but the Eagles could always franchise him. In an ideal world, the Eagles should give Bradford a short-term deal so they can see how he performs in his second year in the system. It might not be that easy, though.
Whether Bradford is back or not, the Eagles need to explore multiple avenues at quarterback. There's no need for them to put their eggs in one nest. Signing a guy like Robert Griffin III would make sense if they're taking a flyer on him. He's the exact kind of player the Eagles should be taking shots on until they find their franchise quarterback.
5. Prediction time. Who wins, what's the score, and why?
I think the Eagles are going to lose. DeSean Jackson will have a huge game and Washington will win this one by a final score of 30 to 16