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Washington Vs. Eagles Preview: Win Or Go Home

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Win, and the Washington Football Team will make its first playoff appearance since 2015. Lose, and it will end the season 6-10. Here's everything you need to know about Washington's Week 17 matchup in Philadelphia.

GAMEDAY INFORMATION:

Date: Jan. 3

Time 8:20 p.m.

Location: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

WATCH: NBC

  • Al Michaels (play-by-play)
  • Cris Collinsworth (analyst)
  • Michele Tafoya (reporter)

LISTEN: The Team 980, ESPN 630 and WMAL 105.9

  • Julie Donaldson (host)
  • Bram Weinstein (play-by-play)
  • DeAngelo Hall (analyst)

A stream of the radio broadcast will also be available at WashingtonFootball.com and on select Washington Football Team social media platforms.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Washington leads the all-time series, 86-80-6.
  • Washington has played Philadelphia 172 times, second only to the New York Giants (176).
  • Washington has beaten Philadelphia more times than any other NFC East opponent, followed by New York (68) and Dallas (45).
  • Washington has met Philadelphia in the playoffs one time (1991), when it defeated the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, 20-6.
  • The most points Washington has scored against Philadelphia was 42, which has happened twice: once in 1947, which came during a loss, and once in 1957, resulting in a win.
  • Washington currently holds the longest win streak in the series (11), which occurred from 1937-42.
  • Washington overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Eagles, 27-17, in Week 1 of the 2020 season.

COACHING STAFF

Washington:

  • Head coach Ron Rivera (1st season in Washington)
  • Offensive coordinator Scott Turner (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor (2nd)

Philadelphia:

  • Head coach Doug Pederson (5th season in Philadelphia)
  • Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (5th)
  • Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp (8th)
  • Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland (8th)
  • Passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Press Taylor (8th)

BIGGEST STORYLINES

-- Jalen Hurts vs. Washington's pass rush: The biggest reasons Washington secured a Week 1 win over the Eagles were because they harassed quarterback Carson Wentz (eight sacks) and forced multiple turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) -- both of which helped give the offense short fields in a 27-17 victory. Rookie Jalen Hurts has since replaced Wentz, but Washington's defensive line should still have a massive advantage on Sunday night.

For one, Philadelphia has given up 62 sacks this season, by far the most in the NFL. (The Cincinnati Bengals are next closest with 48). And according to Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro, the Eagles will be running out their 13th offensive line combination of the year for Week 17. Meanwhile, Washington ranks sixth in the league with 44.0 sacks and has brought down the quarterback at least four times in four of the past six games.

Hurts is certainly capable of using his legs to beat defenses -- he averaged 79.3 rushing yards per game over his first three starts -- but he is also susceptible to taking sacks and turning the ball over. He has thrown three interceptions this season and has fumbled nine times, though he has only lost two. Washington will look to limit his strengths and take advantage of his weaknesses in the regular season finale.

"Well, you do see that he's a good decision maker," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He's got a good arm. They seem to rally around him as a team. He's got the intangibles you look for as a quarterback. He's a guy who, coming out, we liked because he's a veteran, savvy guy. He played a lot of football in college, and he played it successfully. He had some big games that he handled very well. I think he's a guy that has an opportunity to develop and grow."

-- The health of Washington's offensive playmakers: Out of quarterback Alex Smith (calf), wide receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle) and running back Antonio Gibson (toe), Smith was the only one to practice in any capacity this week. But in his press conference Thursday, Rivera expressed optimism about all three of the team's offensive playmakers. All three of them are listed as questionable for the win-and-in game Sunday night.

On Gibson: "Antonio's fine. The play, the way he did and as much as he did with that toe, it's tough. What happens is you try to be smart with it and try to keep him off of it as much as possible. He gets a lot of reps in the walk-throughs and stuff like that. That's the important part."

On McLaurin: "It's better. It really is. You guys didn't get a chance to see it because we didn't want you to see it. He looked good. He did. He moved around. It was a positive step. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. Again, that's the one thing about when they're working out to the side or something or get a little more work. You always have to see what happens the next day, the next morning and see how they respond to that much work. That was another positive step, so that was good to see."

On Smith: "[He] did continue [to make progress], and that was good to see. I thought he handled it well. I thought he had a good day. Again, I always say with a little trepidation, we'll see how he is tomorrow morning. But I think it was a step in the right direction. I do agree with you and what you said initially that this is the most we've seen from him early on. Again, it was a plus. It was a positive sign today."

-- Can Washington respond in another must-win situation? With Washington sitting at 2-7 to start the season, Rivera viewed every game as a must win to climb back into the NFC East race. The team responded by winning four straight games to take control of the division.

The past two weeks, though, Rivera said the team "kind of just floated along," which led to back-to-back losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. Now, Washington is one defeat away from wasting a prime opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. It's win or go home in primetime.

"It will be very interesting and important to see how our guys handle this game," Rivera said.

INDIVIDUAL STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Alex Smith (1,420)
  • Passing TDs -- QBs Kyle Allen and Alex Smith (4)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Antonio Gibson (720)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Antonio Gibson (11)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Terry McLaurin (1,078)
  • Receiving TDs -- TE Logan Thomas (5)
  • Tackles -- LB Jon Bostic (110)
  • Sacks -- DE Montez Sweat (8.0)
  • Interceptions -- CB Kendall Fuller (4)

Philadelphia:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Carson Wentz (2,620)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Carson Wentz (16)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Miles Sanders (867)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Miles Sanders (6)
  • Receiving Yards -- TE Dallas Goedert and WR Travis Fulgham (524)
  • Receiving TDs -- WR Greg Ward (6)
  • Tackles -- LB Alex Singleton (106)
  • Sacks -- DE Brandon Graham (8.0)
  • Interceptions -- Six players (1)

TEAM STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Total offense -- 30th (321.9 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 26th (21.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 26th (221.3 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- 29th (47)
  • Rushing offense -- 26th (100.5 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 25th (39.1%)
  • Total defense -- 4th (310.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 5th (21.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 3rd (198.0 YPG)
  • Sacks -- 6th (44.0)
  • Rushing defense -- T-12th (112.5 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 7th (37.6%)
  • Time of possession -- 19th (29:51)
  • Turnover differential -- 23rd (-5)

Philadelphia:

  • Total offense -- 22nd (342.7 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 25th (21.3 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 27th (215.3 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- 32nd (62)
  • Rushing offense -- 9th (127.5 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 29th (37.4%)
  • Total defense -- 21st (370.8 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- T-21st (26.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- T-20th (243.5 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-4th (46)
  • Rushing defense -- 24th (127.3 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 8th (37.8%)
  • Time of possession -- 12th (28:56)
  • Turnover differential -- T-29th (-9)

INJURY REPORT:

Check out the injury report for Washington's game against the Eagles, HERE.

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