Lost: DT Chris Baker, WR Pierre Garcon, LB Terence Garvin, DT Kedric Golston, S Duke Ihenacho, WR DeSean Jackson, DT Cullen Jenkins, DE Ricky Jean-Francois, C John Sullivan, CB Greg Toler, S Donte Whitner
Drafted: DE Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, CB Fabian Moreau, RB Samaje PErine, S Montae Nicholson, TE Jeremy Sprinkle, C Chase Roullier, WR Robert Davis, S Josh Harvey-Clemons, CB Joshua Holsey
Why they’ll lose to the Eagles
Because the Redskins could be really bad this season. The Redskins have overturned a significant portion of their offense, defense and coaching staff (along with the front office), and have taken a step back in most, but not all, of those areas.
In 2015 and 2016, Kirk Cousins threw for 1182 yards and 9 touchdowns in four games against the Eagles, with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson accounting for 40% of those yards (468) and 45% of those touchdowns (4). Terrelle Pryor should offset some of the loss, and he had a decent game against the Eagles last year, though the corners who covered him are now gone. Josh Doctson has promise, but is unproven after missing virtually his entire rookie season last year.
Not only will the starting offense look very different, but the Redskins lost offensive coordinator Sean McVay to the Rams, so Jay Gruden is back to calling plays after handing over those duties to McVay the last two seasons. With three of the last four games against the Eagles being one score games, including both of last year’s, these changes could be the difference between a win and a loss.
Jay Gruden has won five straight games against the Eagles. It’s easy to see that streak snapping in 2017, whether it be the first game of the season or the rematch in Week 7.
Why they’ll beat the Eagles
For all their steps back, their defense should be better. The Redskins fired coordinator Joe Barry and to replace him promoted Greg Manusky, who with nine years experience as a defensive coordinator with varying success, should bring a level of competence that elevates the entire defense. The addition of Josh Norman brought no clear upgrade to the Redskins defense last year, but it was clear from the start that Barry didn’t know how best to use him.
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Manusky doesn’t have a high bar to clear.
On the ground, the efficient rushing attack that ran for over 220 yards in both games against the Eagles last year adds Samaje Perine, who could be the best of a running back depth chart with no clear cut lead runner.
The usual “divisional games are strange beasts” caveat applies as well.
With the improvements the Eagles have made and the steps back the Redskins have taken, they should at least split, with a sweep not far fetched.