The Eagles will open the 2019 season at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. Carson Wentz is back and healthy, Case Keenum is the new man under center for Washington, and expectations for these teams are very different.
The Inquirer’s Eagles beat writers predict the outcome:
I am not a fan of double-digit opening-game spreads. As the line crept up this past week, I really considered taking Washington to cover. Ten points, as of Thursday, is the largest spread in the NFL this week. The Redskins were a pretty decent team last season before Alex Smith went down.
In the end, my feeling that the Eagles are primed and ready won out. Along with the fact that they are at home. Also, Doug Pederson is 3-0 in openers as a head coach. And Trent Williams will not be Washington’s left tackle. And DeSean Jackson loves to stick it to his former teams.
Given how little work the starters on both sides of the ball got in the preseason, the Eagles could trip all over themselves Sunday, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Next week in Atlanta might be different, but for now I’m going to ride the wave of expectations.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Redskins 17
While the Eagles are going to be cursing the NFL schedule-maker next month when they have to play three straight games on the road, he did tee up their Week 1 game rather nicely.
At home against the awful Redskins, who are the early favorites to finish in the NFC East basement. Yes, below the Giants.
The Eagles are loaded for bear. This could be the most talented roster of the Lurie era. Doug Pederson kept most of his key players under wraps during the preseason, so they have avoided any crushing injuries. That could change by halftime Sunday, but at least they’re going in healthy.
The Redskins are a wreck. Their Pro Bowl left tackle, Trent Williams, still is holding out. Ereck Flowers, a first-round bust with the Giants at tackle, is their starting left guard. They lost valuable slot receiver Jamison Crowder in free agency, and tight end Jordan Reed spent the last week in concussion protocol. Their starting quarterback, Case Keenum, is a glorified backup who threw two interceptions the last time he faced the Eagles.
Beyond cornerback Josh Norman and safety Landon Collins, the Redskins secondary is bereft of talent. They’d have an easier time turning water into wine than covering all of Carson Wentz’s receiving options. If they can’t get pressure on him, it’s going to be a long day for them. It’s going to be a long day for them.
I’m going to be kind with this call.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Redskins 13
All signs seem to point out to a blowout. The Eagles are a talented team capable of winning the Super Bowl, while the Redskins could be vying for the No. 1 overall pick next draft. As Les and Domo mentioned, left tackle Trent Williams is still holding out for a new contract. He’s not only Washington’s best player, but he plays a premium position. Donald Penn is a competent replacement, but the Eagles should have the advantage in that matchup, except that Derek Barnett (shoulder) might not be ready or 100 percent. The same could be said of defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Nigel Bradham.
Jim Schwartz might normally be concerned, but we’re talking about a Redskins offense that has Case Keenum at quarterback and not much at receiver. Tight end Jordan Reed is talented, but he’s coming off something like his 32nd concussion. Running back Derrius Guice has potential, but he will be making his NFL debut after missing all of last season.
If the Eagles are to struggle -- and this is why I’m picking the Redskins to cover -- it will likely be because of Washington’s defensive front seven. The Eagles’ O-line is obviously very good, but some of the matchups aren’t ideal for certain guys. If center Jason Kelce has problems, it’s typically with 3-4 nose tackles, and Da’Ron Payne is legit. Edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan usually gives right tackle Lane Johnson all he can handle. And Jonathan Allen could exploit both Eagles guards, especially if Halapoulivaati Vaitai has to play for Brandon Brooks (Achilles tendon).
All that being said, I think the Eagles will score close to a handful of touchdowns, maybe more. Carson Wentz is primed to return to his 2017 form and he has better weapons than two years ago. He could put on a show at the Linc.