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The Read-Option: Prep For Washington


Good afternoon, Eagles fans! It's hard to believe but we're only a few short days away from Saturday's big matchup against Washington. The must-win game is the team's only focus right now. Find out more  about it and check out all the latest Eagles content in the December 22nd edition of the Read-Option ...

Preparing For An Eagles Must-Win Moment - Dave Spadaro

"The goal is right there to be had: Win two games against NFC East rivals Washington and New York and the Eagles win the division. That's it. That's how we all thought it would play out this season, right? Win in December and get to the playoffs.

It hasn't gone according to the script, for sure. But it's here. It's real. And whether it's pretty or ugly, well, that doesn't matter. The Eagles must regroup on a short week and prepare for a Washington team coming to Lincoln Financial Field that has won two consecutive games and that believes in itself and that is one victory away from clinching the NFC East.

Can the Eagles salvage this season? As much of a roller coaster as it's been, can the Eagles right the ship and beat Washington on Saturday night and keep their playoff hopes alive?

Sure, they can. They have shown they are capable of playing winning football. What happened on Sunday night in a 40-17 loss to Arizona, a team that played at a different level than did the Eagles, is in the past. The Eagles have moved on.

We'll evaluate the big picture of the team at the appropriate time, when the season is completed and we have the benefit of a full season to digest. Now, the focus is on the micro-season. The Eagles have been talking about a "one-game season" all year and now they are truly here: It's win on Saturday or the playoff hopes are over.

'We've been in this situation before,' tight end Zach Ertz said. 'The playoffs start now and that's the bottom line. We knew that this (Arizona) game was big but at the same time, we know the next two are huge. That's honestly all we can focus on now.'"

Tweet Of The Day

Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham visited Wesley House on Monday morning to donate coats and celebrate the holiday season ...

Eagle Eye: Bradford's Best Performance - Fran Duffy

"If you're going to take away anything positive from Sunday night's loss to Arizona, other than the fact that the Eagles are very much in control of whether they make it into the postseason or not, you had to be impressed with the play of quarterback Sam Bradford. The first-year Eagle had arguably his best performance of 2015. He stood tall in the pocket and delivered some big-time throws under serious heat against a pressure-packed Arizona defense.

On the very first series of the game, the Eagles faced third-and-13 in Arizona territory. Bradford dropped back. He knew he had wide receiver Jordan Matthews on an out-breaking route right at the sticks. The Cardinals sent an overload pressure to that side. Bradford takes a hit just as he releases this pass, and keeps the ball low where only Matthews can get it as he approaches the sideline with a defender on his backside hip. That's a great opposite-hash throw from Bradford, who put his poise and arm strength on display with that toss.

In the second quarter, the Eagles faced a third-down situation. The Cardinals, the most blitz-happy team in the league, sent a five-man pressure at Bradford. The Eagles called a Four Verticals pass concept. Bradford sees the defender over tight end Brent Celek turn his back to him, pulls the trigger and places a perfect pass right on the back shoulder of his veteran tight end, again, where only his receiver can get it."

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Three Things On Washington - Tim McManus, Birds 24/7

"1) Kirk Cousins is coming on.

Starting with a mid-November game against New Orleans, Cousins has thrown 12 TDs to just two interceptions while completing 75 percent of his passes. He also scored three times on the ground over that stretch.

Cousins has already established a new franchise record for completions (336) in a season and is on pace to top Jay Schroeder's single-season franchise passing record of 4,109, the Washington Post notes. He ranks first among all quarterbacks in completion rate (69.7 percent) and is eighth in QB rating (97.2) and yards (3,625). On Sunday, he posted five touchdowns (4 throwing, 1 rushing) in a win over Buffalo.

2) Not surprisingly, Cousins' spike in production has coincided with DeSean Jackson's return to the lineup. Jackson, who missed close to two months (including the first game against the Eagles) with a hamstring injury, has scored a touchdown in four of the last five games and is coming off his best performance of the season (six catches, 153 yards) this past Sunday against Buffalo.

3) Washington's defense ranks 25th in yards allowed/game (370) and 28th against the run (130/gm.). Defensive coordinator Joe Barry's group is middle of the pack in point allowed (23.7), though, thanks in part to a red zone defense that ranks eighth in the NFL with an opponent TD scoring percentage of 51 percent."

Elimination Season Begins Now - Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice

"The Philadelphia Eagles may or may not make the actual NFL playoffs this season, but if they lose next week to the Washington Redskins, their season is over.

Let's take a look at the Eagles' playoff scenarios the rest of the way:

• If the Eagles beat the Redskins Week 16 and the Giants Week 17, they will win the NFC East. The Eagles still 'control their own destiny,' in that they don't need any outside help from other teams as long as they win their final two.

• If they lose to the Redskins Week 16, they will be eliminated and can begin thinking about the draft.

• If they beat the Redskins Week 16, but lose Week 17 to the Giants, they will need the Redskins to lose their finale against the Cowboys, and the Giants will have had to have lost their Week 16 game against the Vikings."

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