Eagles-Redskins: 5 things you need to know

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Eagles-Redskins: 5 things you need to know

September 9, 2013, 1:15 pm
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In seven career games vs. Washington, LeSean McCoy has averaged 115.6 total yards but scored just two touchdowns. (USA Today Images)

Monday, Sept. 9 has finally arrived. After an offseason full of intrigue and retooling, the Eagles open their season at 6:55 p.m. at FedEx Field against the Washington Redskins and returning QB Robert Griffin III.

Here are five things you need to know to get ready for Monday Night Football:

1. The all-important first game

The Eagles have opened the season with a win 33 times in franchise history. When starting 1-0, they’ve finished a season .500 or better 70 percent of the time (23 winning seasons).

When starting a season 0-1, they've finished .500 or better just 33 percent of the time (15 winning seasons in 45 tries).

That didn’t apply the last two seasons, when the Birds started 1-0 but finished under .500 each year. But historically speaking, the first game goes a long way in determining the season.

2. Vick vs. RG3

For the first time, Michael Vick will face off against RG3 in a battle of mobile, playmaking quarterbacks.

No quarterback in NFL history has a higher QB rating vs. the Redskins than Vick. In seven career starts against the Redskins, he is 76-for-123 passing (62 percent) for 1,081 yards, with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for a 110.5 passer rating. He also has 226 rushing yards on 34 carries, a 6.7-yard average.

In two starts against the Eagles last season, Griffin was 30-for-39 (77 percent) for 398 yards, with six TDs and one INT. His 137.6 passer rating is the highest ever against the Eagles. He was 14-for-88 rushing in those two games.

In other words, expect as much, if not more scoring in this NFC East showdown as you saw Sunday night in Dallas.

3. Returning ‘Skins

Washington has 21 of 22 starters back from last season’s roster, the highest percentage in the NFL. The lone exception is safety Madieu Williams.

The Redskins will also see the return of their best defensive player, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. The 6-foot-4, 257-pound pass rusher had 28½ sacks in his first three seasons, but played just two games last year before tearing a pectoral muscle.

Washington also will have full use of top wideout Pierre Garcon, who was RG3’s favorite target last year in limited duty. Garcon missed six games, but was on a 16-game pace for 70 catches, 1,012 yards and 6.4 touchdowns.

4. Returning Birds

The Eagles will return plenty of key players, too. Left tackle Jason Peters, the best in the business when healthy, will start. So will center Jason Kelce and right guard Todd Herremans.

That trio missed 38 of 48 man games for the Eagles last season.

The Eagles were also without DeSean Jackson for the final five games last season, and LeSean McCoy had just 90 total rushing yards in the last two games after missing four weeks with a concussion.

5. Cornerback watch

As a member of the Ravens last season, cornerback Cary Williams had one of his best games vs. the Redskins. He was targeted five times, and allowed only two catches for 32 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

Bradley Fletcher also faced RG3 last year, and allowed three catches for just 17 yards.

Those two make their Eagles debuts Monday night.

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