The Redskins-Eagles rivalry dates back to 1934 and the two franchises have met 172 times in their storied history. Philadelphia has won the last four straight games in the NFC East rivalry as they get set for Sunday’s season opener.
The verbals jabs have been few and far between, non-existent really. The closest thing was a throwaway line from Wendall Smallwood about “whooping on” his old teammates. The former Eagles running back quickly backtracked by saying he wasn’t going to divulge any secrets about the playbook to the Redskins.
If someone wanted to make bulletin board material out of something, they could pull Josh Norman’s comments out of context. The Redskins cornerback indicated that Washington should be prepared to lay the wood and “plaster” the Eagles skilled wide receivers with a mobile quarterback like Carson Wentz running around.
“He’s one of the most-elusive, mobile quarterbacks in the league, so we have to be prepared every turn, every angle to plaster our guys,” Norman said, via Redskins.com. “The play is not over until the guy is down and we got to understand that and be well aware of all the elements that are imposed against us with a mobile quarterback like him.”
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Eagles-Redskins: Key Matchups to Watch
1. Josh Norman vs. Alshon Jeffery
The Situation: Jeffery is a full-go despite an injured bicep muscle and he’s bringing a restructured contract to the fight. The Eagles’ No. 1 receiver has 13 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown in four meetings with Washington, mostly lined up against Norman. Since Norman is the Redskins’ best cornerback — not quite the shutdown player he was a few years ago — he’ll probably draw Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz for spells. But his main assignment is Jeffery and he’ll shadow him — like Billy Penn watches over the Philly skyline.
2. Ryan Kerrigan vs. Lane Johnson
The Situation: The hyperbole thrown out about Kerrigan from Eagles players was borderline nauseating. Johnson called said “it sucks” going one-on-one with him while offensive coordinator Mike Groh referred to Kerrigan as a “rolling ball of blades.” They aren’t wrong. Kerrigan has 58 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 20 quarterback hits and 11.5 sacks in 16 career games versus Philadelphia. He also has six forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown. But Johnson is an All-Pro right tackle who just posed nude for ESPN The Magazine.
3. Donald Penn vs. Derek Barnett
The Situation: The Redskins are severely overmatched at the line of scrimmage without All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams. He’s holding out for a new contract and won’t play. Instead, they are starting the 36-year-old Penn who went undrafted in 2006. Washington signed him off the street, but he does have 174 career starts. Penn could be in for a very long day against Barnett who has 7.5 sacks in 21 games. The third-year defensive end is coming off offseason shoulder surgery. He’ll be aided by pass-rushers Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry — and maybe Daeshon Hall.
4. Landon Collins vs. Zach Ertz
The Situation: The Redskins spent big money to lure Collins away from the Giants, to the tune of six years and $84 million. He had been one of the top safeties in the league before a slight drop-off last season. The strong safety is a prolific run stopper who can hold his own in coverage. He’ll draw the unenviable task of shutting down arguably the best tight end in football. Ertz has five catches for 80 yards in four of his past five games against the Redskins.
5. Terry McLaurin vs. Sidney Jones
The Situation: The Redskins are throwing out a rookie wide receiver in the season opener after cutting veteran Josh Doctson after the preseason. Obviously, the team is high on the third-round pick out of Ohio State who ran a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash. McLaurin will be thrown right into the fire versus one of the Eagles breakout stars from training camp. Jones beat out both Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas for the starting outside corner spot. This should be a very favorable matchup for him — and a good barometer to see where he’s at in his NFL development.
Eagles-Redskins: How to Watch
- When: Sunday at 1 p.m.
- Where: Lincoln Financial Field
- TV: FOX
- Radio: 94.1 WIP
- Online streaming: fuboTV (free trial)
- Eagles app (now streaming live games)
- Betting line: Eagles -10
- Series history: Eagles have won four straight over the Redskins, including a 24-0 shutout last season on December 30, 2018