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Season Preview: Saturday Night Football


What's with the Eagles-Washington games in the unusual primetime slots?

For years, fans could always bank on a Monday night at some point between the two rivals. For the second year in a row, the Eagles and Washington will battle on the Saturday of Week 16.

The difference, and it could be a big one, is that this year the matchup will take place in Philadelphia. With the season on the line last year in Washington, the Eagles stumbled to a 27-24 loss that eliminated them from playoff contention one day later.

Would it have made a difference if that game was in Philadelphia? It doesn't matter now.

The 2015 schedule for the Philadelphia Eagles has been announced. The schedule features six nationally televised games and a second consecutive Thanksgiving Day game ...

These two teams will initially square off to open the month of October. How will they look when the end of December rolls around? Last year, the early-season quarterback battle was between Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins. It was Mark Sanchez and Robert Griffin III in Week 16.

The Eagles will have a short week coming off what looks to be a grudge match against Arizona, but they do have the benefit of the fact that this will be the third straight home game. The Eagles certainly can't complain about getting three consecutive home games in the month of December. In fact, it is the first time in franchise history that this scheduling quirk has occurred.

Under the guidance of new general manager Scot McCloughan, Washington has fortified a defense that allowed 27.4 points per game (tied for 29th in the NFL) last season with the additions of defensive linemen Ricky Jean-Francois, Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea and defensive backs Chris Culliver and Dashon Goldson.

For Washington to take the next step in head coach Jay Gruden's second season, it will need better efficiency on offense. There are pieces at running back (Alfred Morris, Matt Jones) and wide receiver (Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson), but the offensive line was in need of an upgrade so Washington used the fifth overall pick on right tackle Brandon Scherff. Philadelphia might have led the league in turnovers with 36, but Washington was right there with 31, tied for third most in the league.

Kermit the Frog might be sipping on some tea in April, but will Washington be in the mix when this Week 16 showdown takes place? !

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