WASHINGTON REDSKINS (8-6)
at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-10)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Washington -6.5, Total: 45
The sizzling Redskins seek their sixth straight victory (SU and ATS) and to remain tied atop the NFC East when they visit struggling division foe Philadelphia on Sunday.
Washington showed it could win without Robert Griffin III last week, crushing the Browns in Cleveland. Griffin (knee) will likely return to action this week, though rookie back-up Kirk Cousins threw for 329 yards with a 104.4 passer rating in last Sunday's victory in Cleveland. The Eagles took a step back in last Thursday's mistake-filled home loss to the Bengals, losing four fumbles and gaining just 221 yards of offense. The extra three days rest might give them a bit of an edge going into this one, but they were positively destroyed in Washington in Week 11, turning it over three times in a 31-6 loss. They could also be helped by the probable returns of RB LeSean McCoy and TE Brent Celek who have both missed time due to concussions.
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Griffin III was nearly perfect in Week 11 versus the Eagles, completing 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards (13.3 YPA), 4 TD and 0 INT. He has also been unbelievable on the road in his rookie campaign, completing 67% of his passes for 1,588 yards (265 YPG), 10 TD and 3 INT, while rushing for another 286 yards (5.7 YPC) and three scores. But Griffin isn't the only rookie offensive star playing in the nation's capital. RB Alfred Morris ranks third in the NFL with 1,322 rushing yards, averaging 4.7 YPC and scoring nine touchdowns. In his past four contests, he's amassed 453 yards and four scores including two last week. The Philly run defense is subpar (122 YPG, 20th in NFL), allowing more than 100 rushing yards in 10 straight games. Another Washington player coming on strong is WR Pierre Garcon, whose foot problems have cost him the majority of the season. But he's caught 23 passes for 340 yards and 3 TD over his past four games, finding the end zone in each of the three games that Griffin has started. The Eagles are slightly above average in pass defense (220 YPG, 13th in NFL), but have held four of the past six opponents to less than 200 passing yards, including a mere 135 YPG and 4.4 YPA over the past two games. Although Philly forced two Bengals turnovers last week, the team entered that contest with five straight games of zero takeaways. And the Redskins pride themselves on ball protection, committing just four turnovers in the past seven games combined.
With Michael Vick still bothered by concussion symptoms, QB Nick Foles will make his sixth straight start on Sunday. He started off December throwing the football quite well with 632 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT in two games, but Foles was off the mark last week versus Cincinnati, completing only 16-of-33 passes for 180 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Although the Redskins possess the third-worst passing defense in the NFL (285 YPG), Foles struggled mightily against them in Week 11 -- his first career start -- when he completed just 21-of-46 throws for 204 yards (4.4 YPA), 0 TD and 2 INT. One player that performed admirably that day was LeSean McCoy, who had 112 total yards before suffering a concussion in fourth-quarter garbage time. In six career games in this series, McCoy has 687 total yards (115 YPG) with 2 TD. McCoy's return couldn't come at a better time, as his fill-in, RB Bryce Brown, has been horrible in the past two games with just 40 yards on 28 carries (1.4 YPC). The Redskins rank sixth in the NFL in run defense (96 YPG), holding nine of their 14 opponents to less than 95 yards on the ground. Washington's defense also has 10 multi-turnover games in 2012, which is not good news for a careless Philadelphia offense that is tied with Kansas City for the most giveaways in the NFL this year with 34.