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Rescouting the Eagles | 3 things to know ahead of Washington's home finale

Holcombs
Linebacker Cole Holcomb puts pressure on Jalen Hurts during the Washington Football Team's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)

The Washington Football Team will take on the Philadelphia Eagles for the second time in 12 days in its final home game of the season. The Eagles held on to defeat Washington, 27-17, in Week 15, for its fourth win in five weeks.

Here's a second look at Philadelphia ahead of Washington's fourth straight division matchup.

1. No Miles Sanders for Round 2.

Over the past three weeks, there are few running backs who have run as well as Miles Sanders. He tore through the New York Jets' defense with 120 yards as the Eagles ran away with the score in a 33-18 win, and then he did the same thing against Washington to the tune of 131 yards on 18 carries.

Now, the league's best rushing offense will be without one of its best weapons.

Sanders broke his hand during the Eagles' 34-10 win over the New York Giants after rushing for 45 yards. He was not placed on Injured Reserve, but head coach Nick Siriani ruled him out for the week. It's surely another frustrating setback for Sanders, who has dealt with a sprained ankle and a quad injury this season. Over the past two games, he's rushed for the second-most yards in the NFC behind Sony Michel.

With Sanders out, the Eagles will need to depend on players like Boston Scott and Jordan Howard. The duo have 148 carries between them -- for reference, Sanders has 137 for the season -- but Howard and Scott still average 5.1 and 4.5 yards per carry, respectively. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is another option for the Eagles; not only is he the team's leader in rushing touchdowns (10), but he has the second-most rushing yards for a quarterback behind Lamar Jackson.

The Eagles have rushed for at least 125 yards in nine straight games, so while they will be without a key weapon, don't expect their philosophy to change.

2. A chance at redemption against Jalen Hurts.

There were no shortage of questions surrounding Hurts when the 2021 season began, and those questions have percolated at different points throughout the year, but against Washington two weeks ago, Hurts could do no wrong.

Hurts wasn't as much of a threat on the ground in the Eagles win, as he finished with 38 yards. Instead, he took care of Washington's defense in the pocket as a more traditional passer, and he picked apart the Burgundy & Gold with 296 yards while completing 20-of-26 passes -- his second-highest completion rate of the season.

It's worth mentioning that Hurts was going against a heavily depleted defense. Both Kamren Curl and Kendall Fuller were out on the COVID-19 list, leaving Washington to put backups and practice squad players on the field. Now, Washington's defense is more intact with most players returning to the active roster.

After struggling mightily over the last two games, the defense should be anxious to get back on track.

3. The Eagles' defense is flying high.

There aren't many teams with a defense playing better than the Eagles, who have given up an average of 236 yards per game over the past three weeks. In fact, there's only been one: the Miami Dolphins, who are on a tear of their own having won their last seven games.

The Eagles already possessed an exceptional defense (they're currently fifth in yards per game), but the last three contests -- all wins -- have featured a unit that has been tough against the pass (4th) and even more so against the run (2nd). The Eagles don't generate much pressure, but players like Darius Slay and his three interceptions have made life difficult for quarterbacks.

While the Eagles have run over teams for weeks, the same cannot be said for their opponents. The unit has allowed 100 yards just once in the past nine weeks. Washington, which had rushed for at least 100 yards in its previous three games before its first matchup with the Eagles, can attest to that. The team was held to 63 yards -- its lowest total of the year.

It seemed like there was potential for Antonio Gibson and the rushing attack to have a rebound game against the Cowboys, but the surging Dallas offense meant those plans had to largely be abandoned. Any hopes of getting Washington's offense out of its current slump will rest upon figuring out a way around linebacker Alex Singleton and the Eagles' front.

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