Monday Night Football opens with the second NFC East clash of Week 1, as the Philadelphia Eagles, with a new head coach and a familiar quarterback take on the Washington Redskins, finally clearing their star QB to start the season.
There was some sort of quarterback controversy for the Philadelphia Eagles going into the new season, but eventually Chip Kelly made the obvious choice – sticking with Michael Vick. Nick Foles will wait for his chance, but if Vick fits the new offensive system Kelly is bringing with him as well as he looked in preseason, he’s going to have to wait for a very long time.
The Eagles are coming off a 4-12 season in which their offense was a mess, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, with a decimated offensive line and a defense that started out well but collapsed also after Andy Reid fired the defensive coordinator.
One of the questions on offense will be how Kelly uses LeSean McCoy, who got only 200 carries in 12 games last season for the Eagles, but will probably be featured more prominently this time around. The Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin to a season-ending injury, meaning Vick will be targeting DeSean Jackson more than before, not to mention hoping to look better in the running game than he has over the last couple of seasons, scoring only one rushing touchdown in 2011 and 2012 each.
For the Redskins, the 2013 offseason has been about keeping Robert Griffin III off the field, and making sure he’s 100% for the season. He was limited at practice and got into arguments about it with head coach Mike Shanahan, but Griffin showed last year that he is the present and future of this franchise, so letting him rest for the preseason and maybe even some regular season games seems to be the right choice if it means having him healthy for a long time afterwards.
Alfred Morris is the more reliable option in the backfield for the Redskins, running for over 1600 yards on his rookie season, and is expected to carry a heavy load early on, as Griffin’s running plays will be reduced to the bare minimum until he proves that he’s completely healthy.
The Eagles lost both of their games to the Redskins last season, but it was Foles starting at that point. Vick himself has won his last three starts against Washington, throwing for 905 yards and eight touchdowns.
Prediction – The Eagles will look better than last season on offense, there’s no doubt about it. But if their defense can’t get physical with Robert Griffin III, his passing will be enough to carry the Redskins to victory.