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Washington vs. Eagles 2015 preview: Kirk Cousins and Co. look to clinch NFC East

And the battle for the NFC East continues ...

In a special Saturday edition of Thursday Night Football, Washington and the Philadelphia Eagles will do battle with the NFC East title on the line. Washington will clinch a playoff berth with a win in Week 16, while the Eagles need a win this week and again next week against the New York Giants to clinch the division.

Washington got its first back-to-back win last Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, playing a well-rounded game behind DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris. The offense found the end zone on each of its first three drives, and the defense shut out the Bills through halftime.

The defense came out of the locker room to start the third quarter with a lack of motivation. It let the Bills bounce back with 17 points in the third quarter and eight points in the fourth. Fortunately for Washington, the offense also scored 14 in the second half to finish with a 35-25 win.

The Eagles are coming off a primetime whooping from the Arizona Cardinals that can best be described as "Philadelphia and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." The Eagles maintained a close race in the first half, but the Cardinals ran away in the second, finishing 40-17 in Philly.

Quarterback Sam Bradford had his best game with the Eagles on Sunday, despite the loss, putting up a season-high 361 yards for two touchdowns. Bradford found a good rhythm with tight end Zach Ertz, who had eight catches for 78 yards and touchdown, Though Ertz had two drops, he was able to get some points on the board for the team.

Not long after the Eagles lost to the Cardinals, linebacker Mychal Kendricks had some choice words for the Washington team. This matchup is always a fierce rivalry, and with playoff implications on the line, it's sure to be a hard-hitting game.


This is the second time these teams will meet this season, the first being in early October when Washington won, 23-20, on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Pierre Garcon with 26 seconds left in the game. The win helped put Washington one game ahead of the Eagles in the NFC East standings.

Cousins is coming off his most successful outing of the season, going 22 of 28 with five total touchdowns (one rushing) against the Bills. Cousins recorded 319 passing yards on the day, his sixth 300-plus yard game of the season. He has started twice against the Eagles, recording 717 passing yards (358.5 per game) and four passing touchdowns in those meetings.

Philadelphia's offense has had its share of head-scratching problems this season. There's the weird case of rookie wideout Nelson Agholor, who lined up for 57 snaps Sunday but only had one target and zero catches. Equally perplexing is DeMarco Murray, who ran for 3 yards on two carries despite his $40 million paycheck and threw yet another tantrum after the loss to the Cardinals.

The Eagles have won three of the last five games against Washington. Things have been especially rocky between the two teams since Kelly released Jackson back in 2014. Jackson has nine catches for 243 yards and a touchdown in the past two meetings with his former team.

Who to Watch

Tight end Jordan Reed has been barreling past defenders and has been a big contributor to Washington's offensive success. Reed has started six games this season, and set career highs along the way in catches (74), receiving yards (778) and touchdowns (nine). Last Sunday's game against the Bills was Reed's third game with two touchdowns this season, and he's on his way to becoming one of the franchise's most successful tight ends should he finish the last two games strong.

The Eagles' secondary took a beating last Sunday night, with Eric Rowe sidelined with a concussion and Byron Maxwell suffering a sprain in the SC joint in the collarbone area. The team will have to rely more on E.J. Biggers and Jaylen Watkins. Walter Thurmond could also be used at outside cornerback, which could lead to more snaps at safety for Ed Reynolds. The young backfield had a hard time containing Arizona, and could have equal trouble with the new-found success of Kirk Cousins.

How to Watch

When: 8:25 p.m. ET

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

TV: NFL Network

Announcers: Ian Eagle, Trent Green and Evan Washburn

OnlineNFL Game Pass

Preliminary Judgment

After an embarrassing loss in primetime less than a week ago, the majority of experts at both ESPN and CBS Sports are leaning toward a Washington victory in Week 16. Here at SB Nation, things look a little different, with five of eight experts picking the Eagles to come away with the win on Saturday night and get one step closer to the postseason.


Washington is a 3-point favorite and the over/under is 47.5, according to

Further Reading

For more on Washington, head over to Hogs Haven. Your source for everything Eagles is at Bleeding Green Nation.