Washington

5 Matchups to Watch as Eagles Host Redskins in Season Opener

The Eagles have won four straight games against the Redskins and in their two wins against them last season, outscored them 52-13. 

Heck, in those last four wins, the Eagles have outscored the Redskins by an average of 15.5 points per game. So the betting line of 8.5-9 points makes plenty of sense. 

But this is a division game and sometimes crazy things happen. The Eagles should cruise to a win in Week 1, but they definitely can't take Washington lightly. 

These five matchups will be important: 

Donald Penn vs. Derek Barnett 

This Trent Williams saga is bleeding into the regular season, so the Eagles will face Washington in Week 1 and won't have to go against their best player. In Williams' place, Washington is starting 36-year-old former Pro Bowler Donald Penn in his place. Penn was thinking about retirement, but Washington signed him this summer and will start him Sunday. On the flip side, there are huge expectations for Derek Barnett this season as he comes back from a torn rotator cuff in 2018. Without Michael Bennett and Chris Long, the Eagles need their sacks to come from somewhere and a breakout season from Barnett would really help. 

Brandon Scherff vs. Fletcher Cox 

Without Williams, you can argue that Brandon Scherff is Washington's best player. So this could be a battle of the best players from both teams. Cox is returning from a toe surgery after the playoff game in New Orleans and Scherff is back after missing half of last season with a torn pec. 

Lane Johnson vs. Ryan Kerrigan 

In 16 career games against the Eagles, Ryan Kerrigan has 11 1/2 sacks. In fact, he has 11 1/2 sacks against all three NFC East opponents. That's how good and consistent he's been in his career. He's been underrated for a while now. Kerrigan is also 13th all-time in sacks against the Eagles. Eagles OC Mike Groh called Kerrigan a "rolling ball of butcher blades." He'll be facing Lane Johnson, who comes into the season with a knee injury, but is feeling healthy.  

Carson Wentz vs. Landon Collins

Carson Wentz is back and healthy and expectations are extremely high for Wentz as he enters Year 4 after signing a mega extension this offseason. Meanwhile, Washington signed Landon Collins away from the Giants with a six-year, $84 million contract. Collins has been a Pro Bowler in the last three seasons. 

Case Keenum vs. Eagles' defense 

The last time the Eagles faced Keenum, you remember what happened. Keenum's Vikings jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but then Patrick Robinson picked him off and took it to the house as the Eagles scored the next 38 points to advance to Super Bowl LII. It was the craziest I have ever seen the Linc. In that game - the only time Keenum has ever faced the Eagles - he completed 58 percent of his passes for 271 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins, so there's chance the next time these two teams play in Week 15, there could be a new QB.

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