NFL Week 7 Preview: Redskins at Eagles
The Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mark Chichester
Matchup: Washington Redskins offense vs. Philadelphia Eagles defense
- QB Kirk Cousins vs. Eagles’ Pressure – Since he took over as the team’s starter in 2015, Kirk Cousins has posted a passer rating of 72.2 on his 399 total pressured attempts, good for 12th among quarterbacks with at least 250 attempts over that time. However, the that figure falls 19.5 points when we look at the 64 passes he has thrown when pressured by the Eagles. This Monday he’ll be looking to improve on that, but it it’s no easy task, as Edge Brandon Graham (88.8 pass rush grade) and DI Fletcher Cox (85.7 pass rush grade) will be looking to add to the 62 pressures the Eagles have produced against the Redskins since 2015. No team has pressured Kirk Cousins more in his three seasons as a starter.
- WR Josh Doctson vs. CB Patrick Robinson – Earlier this week, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden spoke about getting Josh Doctson more involved in the offense, so this could be the week we see the second-year receiver in an expanded role. Through five games, Doctson has hauled in all four of his catchable targets for two touchdowns and 90 receiving yards, and when targeting him, Cousins has posted a passer rating of 120.4. He’ll be eager to build upon his start, but it’ll be hard work against cornerback Patrick Robinson, who has been playing at an elite level for the Eagles this year. Through six games, Robinson has been targeted 36 times in coverage and he’s logged two interceptions, six pass-breakups and is allowing a passer rating of just 70.5.
- TE Jordan Reed vs. LB Jordan Hicks – Reed has been hindered through injury so far this year and it’s resulted in a slower-than-usual start for the fifth-year tight end. At this point last season, Reed had seen 44 targets and put up 365 receiving yards at an average of 1.81 yards per route run. However, this year, Reed has seen just 24 targets, for 142 receiving yards and he currently ranks 15th among tight ends with an average of 1.48 yards per route run. It’s only a matter of time before Reed has a break-out game, and that could very well come against Jordan Hicks, who has allowed a passer rating of 110.4 when covering tight ends this year, and currently ranks 35th among linebackers with an ‘average’ coverage grade of 71.7.
Coverage by: Mike Alessandrini
- T Jason Peters vs. Edge Preston Smith – Age is just a number for Philadelphia’s left tackle. Peters’ 86.9 overall grade is currently the top mark at his position, while his 97.5 pass-blocking efficiency ranks third. The veteran has allowed just three total pressures in his last four games, all of which came in a Week 5 victory over Arizona. This week, Peters will be lined up against Preston Smith on most snaps. Over his last three contests, the Redskins’ young pass-rusher has accumulated 10 total pressures- three sacks, three hits and four hurries. Smith accumulated four pressures in 26 pass-rush snaps in the teams’ Week 1 matchup.
- RB Wendell Smallwood vs. LB Zach Brown – This will be an intriguing matchup on multiple offensive fronts. Smallwood is averaging 3.17 yards after contact on 29 rushing attempts, forcing three missed tackles. With Darren Sproles on IR, he is also the Eagles’ top pass-catching running back. The sophomore is averaging 1.00 yard per route run in 2017. On the other side of the ball, Brown has earned the third highest run-defense grade (87.2) among linebackers. He has also matched up up against opposing rushers on a number of coverage snaps. On the year, Brown has struggled covering running backs, allowing all 14 of his targets to be caught for 124 yards and two touchdowns. This could be a matchup for Philadelphia to exploit.
- WR Nelson Agholor vs. CB Kendall Fuller – Agholor has been a revelation in his third year due in large part to his move into the slot (86.3 percent of routes). The former first-round pick is averaging 2.1 yards per route run from the slot, leading the league with four touchdowns there. Agholor’s 317 slot receiving yards ranks second in the NFL behind Golden Tate’s 319. Fuller has excelled as Washington’s primary slot corner this season. The second-year player earned an 85.8 overall grade last week against San Francisco, allowing just one catch on three targets. When in slot coverage this year, opposing quarterbacks have 57.8 passer rating when targeting Fuller.