Eagles Offense vs. Redskins Defense

Saturday's game has turned into a must-win, and the Eagles offense needs to find a mistake-free gear after Sunday's devastating loss.

EAGLES OFFENSE

A slow start following a botched kickoff and costly turnovers; the two book-ended an exciting offensive run that had Dallas on the ropes. Factor in Bradley Fletcher playing like the awful corner he's turned out to be, and the Eagles deserved to lose the game. The playoffs look bleak now, but all hope is not lost.

Saturday's game has become a must-win if the Eagles are going to force a playoff run. Dallas is tasked with Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon, so there's a good chance things could break Philadelphia's way. If the Eagles churn out a mistake-laden performance against a sorry Redskins team, they'll deserve to miss out on a run toward Super Bowl 49.

Mark Sanchez

It's gotta be Sanchez with Nick Foles remaining inactive. "The Sanchize" went from safe and comfortable passer to really out of sorts the last two games, rushing throws off the mark and appearing hesitant. The Seattle game was a valid excuse, but against the very Cowboys he blistered on Thanksgiving? There doesn't appear to be a quarterback controversy in town at this point.

KEY STAT: Sanchez has completed just 56.3 percent of his throws (27 of 48) in the last two games.

LeSean McCoy

McCoy only carried 16 times in Sunday's loss, a partial product of the slow start that billowed into a 21-point deficit early in the second quarter. Still, "Shady" maintained four yards a carry, running for 64, but against Dallas' defense, more was expected. Putting the ball in McCoy's hands more in the latter stages could perhaps have made a greater difference.

KEY STAT: After playing 35 of a possible 46 downs against the Seahawks, McCoy played just 35 of a possible 56 vs. the Cowboys.

Jeremy Maclin

Maclin's 72-yard catch-and-run was a major catalyst in the Eagles Herculean comeback, and is another argument for why the Birds (if they're not already) should be preparing a hefty extension for Maclin this offseason. After Riley Cooper's ended up little more than a quality downfield blocker following his extension, maybe the Eagles are skittish. Nonetheless, Maclin's 2014 dwarfs Cooper's 2013, and he's due some cash.

KEY STAT: Maclin has caught for 90+ yards in seven of a possible 14 games this season.

Evan Mathis

It hasn't taken long for Mathis to return to form as one of the league's premier run-blockers. You can't say 'what-if' regarding earlier-season losses, and whether or not Mathis grinding by the goal-line would have beaten San Francisco and Arizona. It became apparent just how much the team missed him with lackluster fill-ins, but Mathis has played strongly in every game since his comeback.

KEY STAT: In six games since return from injury, Mathis has allowed just six pressures, four of which were simply hurries.

REDSKINS DEFENSE

London Fletcher, a longtime Redskin who could probably still play today, opined harshly about former boss, coordinator Jim Haslett. Fletcher called Haslett a back-stabber, as well as clueless, and wondered how he still has a job. With the Redskins allowing 26.4 points per game, it's an arguable stand.

You'd think sweeping changes could be coming for the Redskins this offseason, likely with Robert Griffin III leaving town, but also with defensive refreshening. Haslett is most certainly gone, somehow miraculously surviving into the Jay Gruden era. Until then, there are two games left to play out, both of which have some form of playoff implication at the moment.

Jason Hatcher

Hatcher has been a welcome signing, even at his advanced age of 32. The powerful pass rusher has racked up 5.5 sacks, 17 run stops, and 26 hurries this season, working strongly against left tackles and guards. His run-defense is considerly poorer, but pass-rushing was always his strong-suit anyhow. Mathis and Jason Peters will have themselves a tough task, if he plays with a knee injury.

KEY STAT: Out of a possible 117 snaps in his last two games, Hatcher's only played in 53 of them.

Ryan Kerrigan

A model of pass-rushing consistency, Kerrigan leads the Redskins defense with 12.5 sacks, as well as in run-stops with 42. In every game but one (which happened to be against the Eagles), Kerrigan has made at least two stops in the run. It was feared that after Kerrigan piled up four sacks on the Jaguars in Week 2, that he'd be a menace the following week. Not the case; the Eagles managed to blank him in sacks.

KEY STAT: Of Kerrigan's 12.5 sacks, five have come in the past four games.

Ryan Clark

The 35-year-old is struggling through a major downgrade in football output, losing his potency in pass coverage, as well as his consistency in stopping the run. Clark's managed just one interception on the season, while his role as a blitzing safety diminishes (Clark has three hurries, all in the same game). Multi-receiver sets would draw Clark into having to cover in man, and that's a gaping wound.

KEY STAT: Clark has missed 19 tackles this season.

Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.

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