September 08, 2017
Year One of the Doug Pederson Era was bookended by a pair of wins – the first, a Week 1 win over the lowly Browns; the second, a meaningless victory over a Cowboys team that was resting its starters ahead of the playoffs.
The one thing those two games had in common, aside from the result, was that both took place at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles were dominant in 2016, going 6-2. On the road, which is where they'll open the 2017 season, they were just 1-7.
One of their two home losses came against the Washington Redskins in Week 14. It was the third of four-straight losses for the Birds last season, a run that all but ended their playoff hopes.
Now, they'll get a shot at returning the favor when they travel to Washington to face Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, who have won five straight over the Eagles dating back to 2014.
Can the Eagles take the next step in Pederson's second season? We'll get our first look in less than 48 hours. Here's what you need to know – and how we see the game playing out...
TV: FOX | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Eagles (-1) | TOTAL: 48.0 (via Bovada)
It feels a lot like the Eagles got better this offseason, while the Redskins got worse. As we noted in our five things to watch, major matchup advantages that the Redskins had previously no longer exist to the degree they once did.
Additionally, Washington will be without a number of players who would have been defensive starters this season, such as Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens, and Phil Taylor, while the Eagles are 100 percent healthy (with the lone exception of Sidney Jones).
The losing streak ends at five.
I think the Eagles open their home schedule (Week 3 vs. the Giants) with a 1-1 record, no matter how Sunday's game plays out. If they beat the Redskins, I could easily see them losing to a Kansas City team that upset the Patriots on Thursday night. If they lose, I could easily see them bouncing back with a win against a Chiefs team that is probably feeling pretty good about itself right now.
That being said, I think the Eagles will take care of business on Sunday. They've been very good in season openers in recent years and I believe that continues in 2017.
As Jimmy noted, the Redskins will be without some starters on the defensive side of the ball – and that's a big deal considering the Eagles' offense didn't have a great showing at FedEx Field in Week 6 last year. But the bigger deal for the Birds will be shutting down Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense, who put up over 800 yards in their two meetings last season. Will the loss of DeSean Jackson hurt their ability to spread the field on the Eagles? You bet.
I suspect a close game but think the Eagles come out of Week 1 with a 1-0 record, and a (very) early lead in the NFC East.
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