They say that behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law. Well, behind every successful division-leading pro football team in Washington is a surprised group of bloggers and the fans to whom we cater. Washington Redskins fans expected six or seven wins and hoped for better. What a difference four games make...when the team is 3-1 and gains ground on the competition just by sitting home.
Will Redskins Hog Heaven change its season projection of seven wins for the 'Skins? We will if they beat the Philadelphia today. Otherwise, not yet. The football stat houses are even more skeptical
We expected the wins that Washington achieved. (Check it out here.) We mused that you can't buy a championship as the Eagles did in preseason and tweeted that very thought on the day Philly signed CB Nnamdi Asomugha. But, we bought the Dream Team hype and both RHH writers expected a loss to the Iggles today. Greg Trippiedi projected a win over the Eagles on New Year's Day, while I expected the birds to sweep our 'Skins.
The Eagles are vulnerable. This game is winnable. The problem is that two other teams on the schedule I thought to be beatable, San Francisco and Buffalo, look to be anything but. Future games do not concern us now. The football universe in Washington revolves around the Philadelphia Eagles.
AccuScore votes for the Eagles
AccuScore rates NFL teams and players and runs game simulations to project winners and losers. Their recent simulations show the Redskins chances to make the postseason improved four points to 27.9 percent and now a 14.9 percent chance to take the division title. The Dallas Cowboys win the division in 42.1 percent of Accuscore's sims. The New York Giants win the divisions in 30.4 percent of the simulations. The Giants suffered the greatest fall in projections of any team in the B-East.
Oddly, though the Eagles are less likely to win the division than the Eagles, Accuscore projects them as the likely winner of today's game. Here's what they have to say --
"The Philadelphia Eagles are a solid favorite with a 60% chance to beat the Washington Redskins. LeSean McCoy is projected for 78 rushing yards and a 47% chance of having at least 1 rushing TD. In the 40% of simulations where Washington Redskins wins, Rex Grossman averages 1.71 TD passes vs 0.86 interceptions, while in losses he has a ratio of 1.2 TDs to 1.54 interceptions. Ryan Torain averages 70 rushing yards and 0.66 rushing TDs when Washington Redskins wins and 44 yards and 0.33 TDs in losses. The Philadelphia Eagles has a 53% chance of forcing more turnovers than they commit. Positive turnover margin helps them win 80% of the time. SPREADS / TOTALS: Current Point Spread is WAS +1 --- Over/Under line is 47.5"
We beg to differ
What do you think when I say Redskins v2006 and Redskins v2010? The 2006 Redskins loaded up on talent in an "it's our year" mentality. They expected instant results--that never happens in football. Snyder, Gibbs and Cerrato selected talent poorly, more so than the Eagles. And, Gibbs signed Al Saunders to update Washington's offense. Too much change in too little time. Too many poor fits and injuries on defense.
Mike Shanahan brought the 3-4 defensive alignment to the Redskins v2010. You remember the calls. Poor talent fit. Ineffective defensive scheme. Roll back to the 4-3 defense--in mid-stream, mind you. Fire the defensive coordinator. Make Brian Orakpo a defensive end, his "natural" position.
That is the Eagles' year in a nutshell. Too many new pieces learning a new defense led by a new coordinator and a new offensive line coach coping with O-line issues--without benefit of an offseason to perfect everything.
The Eagles are not a bad team. Andy Reid made better choices in accumulating talent than Joe Gibbs did in '06. The 3-4 defense is exactly right for the Redskins. It just takes a season for this stuff to jell. The wide-9 defense will work for the Eagles, when it jells. The Eagles show every sign of players thinking too much before making a play.
Michael Vick makes me sick
Michael Vick is having a fabulous season. Michael Vick has too many turnovers. Michael Vick keeps his team in games and loses them by failing to deliver more points than his confused defense allows. That's not actually on Vick is it?
The Redskins have never beaten Vick, when Vick plays a full game. FedEx Field is friendly to Vick, not just because he wins here, but because it's in Vick country. Vick's native Virginia tidewater region is nearby. He is still a local hero there. There is an army of Virginia Tech fans in the DC area.
Opposing defenses pressured Vick into turnovers. Washington's front seven should defeat the Eagles O-line. The league still does not know how good those guys are. (Just wait until Jarvis Jenkins returns.)
The win will come if Washington's offense defeats the Eagles' front seven that allowed opposing quarterbacks a 104.3 passer rating. Offenses attack opposing linebackers with tight ends and total offense by running backs. Look for a big day for Fred Davis and the Ryan Torain/Tim Hightower/Roy Helu combo.
Rex Grossman will have a big day. He has to. Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin call him the best QB in the division. Meh. Nobody jumps a bandwagon better than those guys.
Labor Karma works for the Redskins
Washington won Super Bowls in the 1982 and 1987 strike years. Maybe lockouts have the same effect. Cosmic forces seem in play. Washington catches another opponent when they are down. If the Redskins win, it will be time to bring that superstition back to life.
UPDATE: One of my readers pointed out that AccuScore had the Redskins as 1-1 at home. They are 2-0 at home with their only loss coming in Dallas. That may or may not have played in AccuScore's simulation of the Redskins-Eagles game.
I'm calling it Redskins by 3.
AccuScore is a sports predictions and forecasting service that calculates the precise probability teams have of winning each game, their division, and making the playoffs. Visit AccuScore for expert predictions, picks, and odds for every NFL game.