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Previewing The Redskins

With a three-way tie atop the NFC East, the final two weeks of the regular season are set up to be as interesting a close to the season for the division as there has been in recent memory. Though the Eagles are the odd team out of the playoff hunt, they will be very much in the thick of the chaos that decides the division champion with a pair of closing games against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants. It begins this Sunday in the final 2012 game at Lincoln Financial Field, as the Eagles welcome in the Redskins, who are one of two teams, along with the Cowboys, who control their own division title destiny. The red-hot Redskins have won five games in a row behind a pair of rookie quarterbacks after fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins replaced an injured Robert Griffin III two weeks ago and led the team to victory before backing that performance up with a superlative effort in a win over the Cleveland Browns last weekend. Griffin, who is waiting to return from a knee injury, is expected to be back in the lineup this Sunday to face an Eagles team against whom he had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating back in Week 11.

The Eagles, meanwhile, are coming off a few extra days of rest following their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last Thursday night. They too will be following a rookie quarterback, as Nick Foles prepares to face the team against whom he made his first NFL start. Foles has come a long way since that matchup and his progress is one of the most important storylines of these final two games for the Eagles. Fellow quarterback Michael Vick has returned to practice from the concussion he suffered over a month ago, but head coach Andy Reid has not yet declared whether Vick will be the primary backup or not. Also facing an uncertain role upon his return from a concussion is Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who rejoins a backfield featuring rookie Bryce Brown, who flashed his promise, along with some ball security issues, in McCoy's absence. Defensively, the Eagles have taken a step forward over the past two games, especially when it comes to pass rushing, where the Eagles have eight sacks over the last two games, more than they had in any three-game span prior. With the role of spoiler thrust upon them, the Eagles have every intention of throwing a wrench into the NFC East proceedings, and it begins on Sunday.

Last Time They Met:
November 18, 2012 – Redskins 31, Eagles 6
In Nick Foles' first NFL start, the offense failed to get much going early before being faced by an uphill come-from-behind proposition. The Redskins offense took advantage of a litany of defensive miscues as Robert Griffin went 14-of-15 for 200 yards and four touchdowns, including bombs of 49 and 61 yards. Griffin added 85 yards rushing in his introduction to the Eagles.

Tale Of The Tape (2012 Stats)
Redskins Eagles
Record 8-6 4-10
Points Scored Per Game 27.2 (5th in NFL) 18.1 (29)
Total Yards Per Game 389.8 (4) 352.8 (15)
Rushing Yards Per Game 164.8 (1) 119.6 (t-12)
Passing Yards Per Game 225 (19) 233.2 (16)
Points Allowed Per Game 25 (23) 26.8 (26)
Total Yards Allowed Per Game 381.1 (29) 341.5 (16)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game 95.9 (6) 122 (20)
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game 285.3 (30) 219.5 (13)
Turnover Ratio +13 (t-4) -22 (t-31)

Players To Watch

DE Brandon Graham

Since Brandon Graham reclaimed the starting role in Week 12, Graham has shown the ability that made the Eagles move up in the first round to select him three years ago. In his four starts this season, Graham has 24 combined tackles, four sacks, seven hurries and a forced fumble. And last Thursday against the Bengals, he had the best game of his career, notching 10 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

This week's matchup could prove to be a good one for Graham. Redskins starting right tackle Tyler Polumbus could be out after suffering a concussion in last week's win over the Browns. And with reserve tackle Jordan Black suspended, the Redskins will have to scramble to fill that spot. Look for Graham to continue his recent success again this Sunday.

CB DeAngelo Hall

A former first-round pick of the Falcons in 2004, cornerback DeAngelo Hall is tied for the team lead with four interceptions. One of them came against the Eagles in Nick Foles' first career start. Hall finished with eight tackles in that contest.

The Redskins, however, sport the league's 30th-best pass defense. While these two teams' first meeting didn't go the Eagles' way, Hall and the defense present a matchup that quarterback Nick Foles will look to take advantage of with more experience under his belt.

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