- I will keep this short today, as we are still in pre-game preparations. It’s Monday, and the Redskins have neither won nor lost in this NFL week, which puts us in that hopeful, optimistic frame of mind. I am having that nervy, anxious feeling that always comes before a game that I think we could actually win. And no, I have not yet had my first drink today. It’s coming though.
- There, I said it. We can beat the Eagles. If that is true, then what follows is as true: we should beat the Eagles. I understand the Eagles are a better-looking team to most folks today. I understand the injuries the Redskins are dealing with presents a problem. That is the way the NFL works. If you have been watching the NFL this season, you know that the Redskins and Eagles are rather evenly matched. You know that the difference in the season opener between these two teams was a penalty here, a turnover there. Self-inflicted damage in a game like this seals the outcome, and the Redskins are as guilty as they come in terms of doing that to themselves. Still...if the Redskins can win this game, and it says here they can, than it HAS TO BE a game they should win.
- We are in that part of the season where separation occurs—especially for the teams that honestly have zero chance of making it very far this season. A healthy amount of teams and fans that hit September thinking “anything can happen and my team can go all the way” find themselves in the process of getting chewed up and spit out by the league by the time November arrives. For the Redskins and the Eagles, this game is about separation, but at the opposite end of the spectrum. At the top of the NFC East, and near the top of the NFC, the Redskins and Eagles are playing for the right to be considered the current “favorite.” Whichever team wins tonight will be viewed upon as the team in command...at the moment. I know things change fast, and I prefer not to make sweeping statements, but that is the nature of Monday Night Football sometimes. The result of a game like this played by two teams many consider to be good will get added scrutiny. Proclamations will be made. Dallas will be momentarily forgotten—but just momentarily.
- Does anyone feel compelled to suggest there is a division in the NFC better than the NFC East? How about the best division in football? If so, please expound on your theory in the comments section. I have looked at the standings. I understand the NFC West deserves a thought, and even the NFC South has strength. I don’t know. Before getting to Philadelphia and Washington, I would gladly take my betting chances on the Giants versus every other last-place team, and on the Cowboys against every other third-place team. This is kind of an open thread topic—let’s at least try and be objective here. Can someone please say something nice about the AFC East? Please? They try so hard.
- Let’s talk some keys to this game. The obvious ones are...you know...obvious. Limit penalties in general, but DEFINITELY on third downs. Minimize turnovers in general, but DEFINITELY in the red zone. Hold onto the ball in general, but DEFINITELY don’t muff punts. Beyond that, I am not looking for some magic run/pass ratio. I believe Kirk Cousins is going to have be successful throwing over 45 times this evening. That means he is going to have to have a MINIMUM of 30 completions. Drops have to be minimized in general, but DEFINITELY can’t have drops by Terrelle Pryor—he is out of drops and he needs to get physical around the ball. On defense, Carson Wentz must be brought to the ground. Again...obvious. Without Jonathan Allen, the Redskins defense is going to need to figure out their containment strategy. I have so much respect for Carson Wentz that I won’t trot out things like, “can’t let him improvise or hurt you with his legs.” He will do that to you even if you play great. The only thought I have here is that Manusky can’t wait around to try and get ahead of Wentz mentally. You might try a house blitz the first play of the game. You might try to flood one side with two or three extra rushers right away. The point is, if you don’t make Carson think about you early, he will have no problem at all blocking you out late. I know that means rolling some dice, but that is what men like Manusky do...and when you hit on that dice roll, Monday Night Football turns into the greatest party ever.
- As always, we will be joining you all tomorrow night from the basement to talk about this game, and this latest installment of the greatest television show of all time—Redskins football. Win or lose, The Audible puts Redskins fans in the proper frame of mind each Tuesday. Win or lose, “After the Whistle” is the perfect place to be among like-minded friends to talk sports. Most importantly though—win or lose, we will find ourselves in the heart of Dallas Week. Right now though, it is all Eagles, all the time. Best of luck to all of you tonight!
As the Redskins prepare to take on the Eagles, Washington fans nervously wonder if Kirk Cousins is good enough to win this game himself—if he has to.