The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins will open their seasons on Monday Night Football on ESPN. It's an important contest to get the momentum swinging one way in the NFC East, though the Redskins are favored at this point. Washington is considered the team on the rise with sights set on long-term NFC East domination, while the Eagles are the wildcard that could go either way.
Last season, the Redskins took down the Eagles in both games, on their way to the playoffs. Washington used a 7-0 streak to end their season, and both games against Philadelphia came in that stretch. Game one in Washington was 31-6, while they struggled slightly on the road, but ultimately won 27-20.
Let's take a look at both teams.
Meet the Redskins
The Redskins had some question marks at the quarterback position throughout most of the offseason, but it's not due to poor play or anything like that. Robert Griffin III tore his ACL last season and being ready in time for the opener was in question until recently. He didn't play in the preseason at all, but he's been confirmed as the starter for Week 1.
And that's the most important thing for Washington. The Redskins were at the basement of the NFC East before Griffin came to town. He's rejuvenated that offense and assisted by a competent defense, should be targeting the playoffs once again this year. If the offensive side of the ball is clicking, then it's all gravy for the Redskins.
Meet the Eagles
Philadelphia had its own questions on the offensive side of the ball, as Michael Vick and Nick Foles were engaged in a quarterback battle this offseason. Vick ended up winning the battle, and now everyone is curious to see how the offense runs. Not because they haven't seen Vick before, but because there's a new man in charge of the offense: head coach Chip Kelly.
Vick was never a great fit for Andy Reid's offense, but he's a much better fit for Kelly's. Vick will get the opportunity to run a lot more than he did with Reid, which means he'll be plenty comfortable. The big question mark is whether he can withstand the punishment that he'll surely take in that role over the course of a season. But he's got plenty of weapons to work with as well, with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. This one could be an offensive firefight.
Local Takes: Redskins
UkRedskin over at Hogs Haven believes that the Eagles will struggle to maintain their new defensive scheme:
Mike Shanahan also moved from a 4-3 to a 3-4 when he was hired as the Redskins Head Coach, and it took the Redskins roughly three years to make the switch. That's not to say definitely that the Eagles will also take three years, but from what we saw in preseason, they will struggle to defend the run as they adjust. We saw how bad a 3-4 defense can be without the correct personnel, and the Eagles look set to have the same struggles. Their defensive line have really struggled to hold their positions at the point of attack in preseason.
Local Takes: Eagles
We can only speculate as to why the Eagles picked Allen over Wolff, but on paper, the move makes sense. While Allen has had a tough time against the run, his pass coverage is above average to the point that you feel comfortable having him out there with an enforcer like Chung. He is also experienced and played for three different coordinators, so he understands the NFL game. There is also the room for error created by starting a veteran over a rookie. If Allen falters, the team can easily put in Wolff. If the scenario was reversed, you risk the chance of destroying Allen's confidence as well as the locker room's trust in the three-year starter.
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Comparing the Eagles 2013 Opening Day Roster to 2012 http://t.co/Z9oFFVH7Fk— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) September 7, 2013
Ryan Van Bibber released his Week 1 picks, and has Washington winning this one:
Finally, the NFL world gets a first look at Chip Kelly's offense. Most writers will be thoroughly confused and upset when it won't fit underneath an easy label. They will probably label it "read option," whether Kelly runs that particular offense or not. Meanwhile, RGIII will probably decimate Philadelphia's defense with the read option, pocket passing, bootlegs and a heavy dose of Alfred Morris.
The Redskins opened as 6.5-point favorites to start the week, but the line narrowed as it went along, with them hovering around the 3-point mark, according to OddsShark.
The Eagles will return home to take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Sept. 15. The Redskins will hit the road to take on the Green Bay Packers on the same day.