Eagles at Redskins: Our (cough) expert predictions


Eagles at Redskins: Our (cough) expert predictions

After picking up their first win of the season last week, the Eagles head to Landover, Maryland, for an NFC East battle with the Washington Redskins (see scouting report).

Will Sam Bradford finally break out? Will the Eagles get their second win? Our experts give their predictions:

Reuben Frank (0-3)
There are a lot of similarities between these two teams. Shaky quarterback, decent run defense, inconsistent offense. Both are 1-2. The Redskins run the ball better, the Eagles are stronger against the pass. Neither has proven it's very good. So consider this more of a statement against the Eagles than a statement for the Redskins.

Until the Eagles put together a complete game on both sides of the football, I can't pick them to win on the road. If this game were at the Linc, I'd pick the Eagles. Against this Washington secondary, Sam Bradford should have a big game. But until he does actually have a big game, it's all a projection. I think it's a 17-13 game either way, and am going Washington only because the game is in Landover.

Redskins 17, Eagles 13

Derrick Gunn (0-3)
I don't trust Sam Bradford and I certainly don't trust Kirk Cousins. Sloppy field conditions could make for a turnover fest. The Eagles run defense is the best in the league, allowing 3.1 YPC, but the Redskins' run D is not to shabby allowing just 3.6 YPC.

The 'Skins have two bruising backs in Alfred Morris, who averages 4.1 YPC, and rookie Matt Jones with a 5.3 YPC. I'm interested in seeing if Ryan Mathews can find success on the ground similar to what he did in the first half against the Jets. I feel more comfortable about the Birds' secondary than I do the Redskins' because I believe the Eagles' D will force more turnovers than the 'Skins' D. I'm leaning the Eagles' way in this one.

Eagles 20, Redskins 17

Ray Didinger (0-3)
This should follow the same script as last Sunday's game with the Jets. Last Sunday the Eagles shut down the Jets' ground game and forced Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw and throw and throw — 58 times in all. Result: Three interceptions, four turnovers in all and an Eagles victory. If the defense is once again stout against the run — and Washington will definitely try to run it — Kirk Cousins will be chucking the ball around and that's bad news for Jay Gruden. 

Also, Washington is lousy on special teams. It already has allowed a punt return for a touchdown and had another punt blocked. I can see the Eagles making a big play here as well.

Eagles 20, Redskins 13

John Gonzalez (1-2)
It occurs to me that if I pick the Eagles each week, my record can’t be any worse than their record.

Eagles 20, Redskins 10

(Alternate prediction: Hurricane Joaquin 1, East Coast 0)

Corey Seidman (1-2)
I don't see how the Eagles lose this one. The offensive line appears to be gaining steam, and with Chip Kelly adjusting his play-calling for more runs under center, those drive-killing losses should continue to decrease.

The 'Skins have a porous pass defense and a true liability in CB Bashaud Breeland. This feels like the game that either Nelson Agholor or Josh Huff comes up with a deep ball.

Washington doesn't have a downfield passing game without DeSean Jackson and won't be able to rely on the run against the top-ranked rush defense in the NFL.

Eagles 27, Redskins 16

Andrew Kulp (1-2)
It's difficult to predict what the weather will be like, let alone what type of performance we'll get out of the Eagles' offense. However, I tend to believe the players and coaches when they say it's closer to getting in sync. The ground attack was better last week. There were opportunities through the air as well. Eventually, I think it will click — maybe as soon as this week.

The key is to get just enough of a running game going against another tough front to give Sam Bradford a chance. A wet field plays to the receivers' advantage, while Washington's secondary will be shorthanded. If there are high winds, Bradford is probably better equipped to sling the ball in those conditions than Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

It could be another ugly one, but the way the Eagles' defense is playing, they're built to win that way. And should the forecast happen to improve, this might be the week the offense finally opens up.

Eagles 24, Redskins 14

Andy Schwartz (1-2)
For the second straight week, the Eagles face a team with subpar QB. And this time, they don't have to worry about a receiver the caliber of Brandon Marshall. DeSean Jackson is still out with an injured hamstring.

So long as the offense doesn't take a step backward and Caleb Sturgis doesn't miss everything, the Eagles should scratch out another W.

Eagles 20, Redskins 16

Snap counts: Connor Barwin's snaps decrease; filling in for Bennie Logan


Snap counts: Connor Barwin's snaps decrease; filling in for Bennie Logan

During the week, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said he thought defensive end Connor Barwin could benefit from fewer snaps during games. 

That's exactly what happened on Sunday. 

Barwin, who came into the game with the most snaps by an Eagles defensive end, played 49 (64 percent) against the Vikings. He came into the game playing 79 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps. On Sunday, he had a huge strip sack of Sam Bradford. 

Taking away some of Barwin's snaps on Sunday was even more impressive considering Vinny Curry played quite a few snaps inside as a defensive tackle with the absence of Bennie Logan (groin). 

Curry played 41 snaps (54 percent) against the Vikings after playing just 40 percent of the team's defensive snaps before this weekend. 

Beau Allen, who started in place of Logan, played 51 snaps (67 percent), while rookie Destiny Vaeao chipped in a career-high 30. Vaeao has had 58 snaps in the last two weeks. 

Ron Brooks played just seven snaps before going down with a serious leg injury. That meant Jalen Mills played 27 snaps and safety Jaylen Watkins played 46 snaps. 

Malcolm Jenkins continued his impressive streak. He played all 76 snaps on Sunday and the only defensive snap he's missed was that weird fake punt in the opener against Cleveland. 

On offense, Josh Huff saw his role increase some on Sunday and he made the most of it. Huff, who had just nine snaps last week, got 20 against the Vikings and caught four balls for 39 yards. Perhaps Huff's production is why Dorial Green-Beckham's snaps dropped to 28 (48 percent). 

Matt Tobin got some extended playing time (20 snaps) at left tackle thanks to Jason Peters' bicep injury. Peters said that had the game been close, he would have been fine to go back in. 

Zach Ertz got 48 snaps (83 percent) but walked away with one catch for 14 yards. He's been on the field, but can't seem to become a part of the passing offense. 

Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles each got 26 snaps on Sunday. Wendell Smallwood got five and Kenjon Barner 3. On the season, Smallwood has 28 carries on 42 snaps. 

Here's a full look at snap counts from Sunday: 

Allen Barbre, 58 snaps, 100 percent
Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 58, 100
Jason Kelce, 58, 100
Carson Wentz, 58, 100
Brandon Brooks, 53, 91
Zach Ertz, 48, 83
Jordan Matthews, 45, 78
Jason Peters, 43, 74
Nelson Agholor 43, 74
Brent Celek, 28, 48
Dorial Green-Beckham, 28, 48
Darren Sproles, 26, 45
Ryan Mathews, 26, 45
Josh Huff, 20, 34
Matt Tobin, 20, 34
Trey Burton, 13, 22
Wendell Smallwood, 5, 9
Stefen Wisniewski, 5, 9
Kenjon Barner, 3, 5

Malcolm Jenkins, 76 snaps, 100 percent
Nigel Bradham, 76, 100
Jordan Hicks, 76, 100
Nolan Carroll, 75, 99
Rodney McLeod, 75, 99
Brandon Graham, 57, 75
Fletcher Cox, 54, 71
Beau Allen, 51, 67
Connor Barwin, 49, 64
Jaylen Watkins, 46, 61
Leodis McKelvin, 44, 58
Vinny Curry, 41, 54
Destiny Vaeao, 30, 39
Jalen Mills, 27, 36
Mychal Kendricks, 24, 32
Marcus Smith, 18, 24
Ron Brooks, 7, 9
Steven Means, 5, 7
Stephen Tulloch, 5, 7

Fumble recovery a special moment for Eagles' Beau Allen

Fumble recovery a special moment for Eagles' Beau Allen

Beau Allen turned around from a double team just in time to see the football take a perfect bounce on the fleshy part and wind up in his bear paws.

Then the big man started rumbling down the field.

“It was really cool,” said Allen of his first-career fumble recovery during the Eagles' 21-10 win over the previously undefeated Vikings on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field (see Instant Replay). “It just kind of popped right into my hands. I was coming off a little double team. I think I spun around, saw the ball right there, scooped it up. And got a nice chunk of yardage.”

Allen picked up 10 yards on the return while his braided hair with a pink bow bounced in the wind.

While many players wear pink on their cleats or gloves for breast cancer awareness month, Allen sports the pink bow in his hair. His mother, Susie, a breast cancer survivor, was in attendance Sunday afternoon for her son’s third career start.

So was his father and a bunch of cousins and other family members. Allen, who is from Minnetonka, Minnesota, got 15 tickets for his family that flew in from Minnesota for the game. And thanks to Bennie Logan’s injury, Allen got the start.

“It was cool like that,” Allen said of his fumble recovery. “I am from Minnesota. It’s kind of funny how sometimes the ball pops right out in front of you like that. It’s nice. It’s funny how that works out, though.”

Allen’s fumble recovery – on Rodney McLeod’s strip sack – gave the Eagles the ball back with good field position and about three minutes to score. They ended up kicking a field goal to take an 11-3 lead into halftime.

For the game, Allen had three combined tackles, a quarterback hit and the fumble recovery.

“I saw Beau crush [Sam Bradford] on one play,” defensive end Connor Barwin said. “Beau was going against probably their best offensive lineman. So it was good to see Beau play so well against [LG] Alex Boone; stepping up for Bennie [Logan].”

Allen said when he picked up the loose football, he thought about trying to pitch the ball or make a move on the offensive lineman who was about to tackle him. Ultimately, though, he made the wise decision to tuck the ball with two hands and not fumble, knowing receivers like to come from behind and try to strip the ball on those plays.

“Actually, I’m a fullback too,” Allen, who has played a few snaps on offense in goal line situations this season, added quickly. “So I’ve got a lot of training.”