The Eagles' offensive problems have been pronounced during a three-game losing streak in which they've averaged only 14 points. They will need to find solutions against a Washington defense that limited the Eagles to a season-low 239 yards when the two teams played in Week 6. The Eagles also had a season-low 54 plays that day, which contributed to the offensive problems. It is the only game this season in which the Eagles did not score a touchdown. The offensive line will be more stable on Sunday even with a jumbled line that includes Allen Barbre at right tackle for the third consecutive week and Stefen Wisniewski at left guard. They'll need to do a better job protecting Carson Wentz, who was sacked five times against Washington in October. Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had two of those sacks, and Barbre gets the assignment this week instead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
Wentz attempted 60 passes last week, and the Eagles are hoping for a more balanced offense on Sunday. Washington has allowed 4.6 yards per carry, which is near the bottom of the NFL. Running back Ryan Mathews is expected to return after missing two weeks. Three of Washington's defensive ends are on the injury report, including starters Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois. Both are questionable. The Eagles have attempted only 45 rushes the last two weeks.
The passing game will benefit from the expected return of receiver Jordan Matthews, who is questionable with an ankle injury that kept him sidelined last Sunday. Dorial Green-Beckham is also questionable with an abdominal/oblique injury that sidelined him for practice throughout the week. Washington allows 255.2 passing yards per game, which ranks No. 14 in the NFL. Star cornerback Josh Norman plays on the left side, but the Eagles' wide receivers have not been worrisome for opponents this season. Matthews will be covered by rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller in the slot. Rookie Su'a Cravens, a linebacker/safety hybrid, could be used against tight end Zach Ertz and running back Darren Sproles in the passing game. Kerrigan leads Washington with 10 sacks, and Trent Murphy is second with eight. Starting safety Will Blackmon is out with a concussion and thumb injury.
The strength of the Eagles defense is supposed to be its pass rush, but it has just one sack in the last two games. The Eagles will try to fix that against a Redskins offense that has allowed only 16 sacks this season - the second-fewest in the NFL. Washington's offensive line also gets star left tackle Trent Williams back from suspension. He could make it a tough day for Connor Barwin. Left guard Brandon Scherff played well against Fletcher Cox in the first meeting, but he'll need to play with a new center because Spencer Long is out with a concussion/stinger.
Tight end Jordan Reed is questionable with a shoulder injury. Reed missed the first meeting against the Eagles, but he's one of the elite tight ends in the NFL and presents matchup problems. Reed is dangerous in the middle of the field with slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who is Washington's leading receiver with 58 catches for 767 yards and seven touchdowns. The Eagles have used safety Malcolm Jenkins in the slot this season, but they might need to use him on Reed. That could mean a cornerback plays inside, with Jalen Mills a possibility. The Eagles also need to worry about outside receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Garcon has converted a first down on 38 of his 59 catches. Jackson remains one of the NFL's best deep threats and averages 16.5 yards per catch. He always gets excited for a return to Philadelphia, too. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz admitted the cornerbacks are not playing well in recent weeks, and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will target that group. Cousins could top 4,000 yards for the season on Sunday - he's only 189 yards away. His quarterback rating of 99.6 ranks sixth in the NFL.
Washington hurt the Eagles on the ground in the first meeting, gaining 230 rushing yards. That's the most the Eagles have allowed all year. The Redskins have turned to rookie Robert Kelley as their lead rusher. He averages 4.7 yards per carry. It will help that the Eagles have Bennie Logan at defensive tackle after Logan left that Week 6 game in the second quarter. The Eagles will also need a strong game from their linebackers, with Jordan Hicks leading that group.
30: That's the combined win total of the four NFC East teams - the second best of any division in after 12 games. Only the AFC West has more wins than the NFC East, which is as strong as it's been since 2008. The Eagles are in last place with a 5-7 record through 12 games, but they were in a three-way tie with that record last season. The NFC East had 19 wins at this point last year, according to Pro Football Reference; 23 wins in 2014; 22 wins in 2013 and 2012; 21 wins in 2011; 25 wins in 2010; and 26 wins in 2009. In 2008, there were 32 wins at this point.
Zach Berman: Redskins 23, Eagles 20