Eagles At Redskins
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Eagles fans didn't enjoy the emergence of Kirk Cousins as Washington's quarterback in 2015. Jay Gruden named Cousins the starting quarterback and he rewarded his head coach's faith by posting the best completion percentage in the league (69.8), the fifth-best passer rating (101.6) and eighth-best average in yards per attempt (7.67).
Washington was 5-7 at one point in the season, but Cousins rallied the Redskins down the stretch by winning the final four games including three on the road. The Redskins scored 34 or more points in each of the final three games. The biggest key for Washington is that it swept the season series with Philadelphia after defeating the Eagles 38-24 the day after Christmas.
The Redskins won the NFC East for the first time since 2012, but came back to earth in the Wild Card matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Cousins threw for 329 yards and a touchdown, but the Packers dominated in the second half scoring the final 18 points of the game to win 35-18.
Cousins hit free agency at the perfect time and was given the franchise tag by Washington. It should be noted that Washington was able to capture the division title without beating a team that finished with a winning record last season.
This Week 6 matchup on the road opens the Eagles' NFC East slate and offers a chance to square off against the defending division champions. Remember, no team has repeated in the NFC East since the Eagles in 2004.
- Chris McPherson
Vikings At Eagles
For the first time since 2010, the Green Bay Packers were not crowned NFC North champions following the 2015 regular season. Instead, it was the Minnesota Vikings who finished on top in their division and they will look to continue that success this year.
The Vikings began their 2015 campaign with a rocky start, dropping their first game to San Francisco and their fourth game to the Broncos. At 2-2 during the Week 5 bye, Minnesota turned things around and strung together five consecutive wins, ultimately finishing with an 11-5 record. The team was No. 4 in the league with 138.2 rushing yards per game thanks to Adrian Peterson, who won the league rushing title. The running back picked up an astounding 1,485 yards on the ground and scored 11 rushing touchdowns.
The team's defense was also a big part of its success though, as the group allowed just 18.9 points per game, the fifth-lowest total in the NFL. Only Seattle, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Denver posted better numbers.
The last two times the Eagles and Vikings met, Minnesota had the upper hand. In 2013, the Eagles hit the road and dropped a 48-30 decision in Week 15. The story was much the same back in 2010 when the Vikings defeated the Birds at Lincoln Financial Field, 24-14, in Week 16.
This time around the teams will go to battle much earlier in the season, playing one another at Lincoln Financial Field at 1 PM in Week 7.
Eagles At Cowboys
The Eagles head to AT&T Stadium with hopes of repeating what they were able to do there last season.
On the Eagles' first drive of overtime, Sam Bradford connected with Jordan Matthews over the middle, and Matthews did the rest, streaking down the field and into the end zone to give the Eagles the win. After scoring, Matthews threw the ball as far as he could into the stands. It's uncertain as to whether or not it ever landed.
The Eagles are 5-3 all time at "Jerry World" and have won three straight contests at Dallas' home stadium. In those three games, the Eagles have had some very strong offensive showings, scoring an average of 30 points, including 33 points in each of the last two wins.
Things will be a little bit different for the Eagles this time around. Last year's road matchup with Dallas featured DeMarco Murray's first return to Big D as a member of the visiting team. Murray racked up 161 total yards and a touchdown in that meeting, but fellow running back Ryan Mathews also had a very nice game for the Eagles, averaging over 6.1 yards per carry and scoring a touchdown of his own. Murray is now in Tennessee and Mathews currently projects to get the bulk of the carries this time around.
Last year's meeting in Dallas also provided the biggest moment of Jordan Hicks' rookie season, as he stepped in front of a pass and ran it back 67 yards for a touchdown, even further endearing himself to the Philadelphia fans.
What will be the defining moment of this year's road matchup? We'll have to wait until Week 8, the day before Halloween, under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football to find out.
- Alex Smith
Eagles At Giants
The Eagles haven't lost a game to the Giants since the 2013 season, posting a 5-1 record against them over the last three years. In 2014 and 2015, the Eagles swept their NFC East rival and they'll look to continue that trend this season.
In 2016, both teams will be under first-year head coaches, the Eagles with Doug Pederson and the Giants with their former offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. The Giants finished out last season with a 6-10 record, dropping six of their final seven games. On the offensive side of the ball, the team put up the sixth-most points per game (26.3) and eighth-most yards per game (372.0). Quarterback Eli Manning had yet another successful season, throwing for 4,432 yards and a 93.6 rating.
The team's defense on the other hand allowed the most yards per game of all teams (420.3 per game), was ranked 30th in points allowed per game (27.6) and had the third-fewest sacks in the league (23). For that reason, the Giants were very active during free agency, adding cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive end Olivier Vernon. New York also re-signed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who was able to rejoin the team in Week 9 last year following his hand injury during the 2015 offseason. Only time will tell if these moves were the right ones, but the Giants have certainly worked toward strengthening their defense.
The Eagles have scored at least 27 points in its last four meetings with the Giants, but how many will they score in their first matchup of the season? The two teams will meet in Week 9 at 1 PM at MetLife Stadium. The rivalry will continue then.
- Julie Bacanskas
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