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Redskins-Eagles preview

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Keys to victory

1 Turnover battle » A big reason Washington's coaches remained confident at 3-6 was because of the turnover differential (now tied for fourth in the NFL at plus-13). And during the five-game winning streak, the Redskins have caused six more turnovers than the opposition. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has been horrendous in this category. The Eagles are minus-22 for the season (tied for worst in the NFL), having turned the ball over 34 times. Few stats help explain the Eagles' downfall more than this one.

2 Confuse the kid » The Redskins have done a good job of late confusing young quarterbacks. They did so to Nick Foles in the first game, baiting him into throws he shouldn't have made. They've caused confusion in other quarterbacks of late, both in the secondary and in the front seven. Foles is making just his fifth start, but in the past four games he has thrown four touchdown passes and just one pick. He will be helped by the return of running back LeSean McCoy.

3 Big plays on special teams » The Redskins' special teams units have been solid in the second half of the season. But this is a chance to be even better, facing a group that has struggled. The Eagles have looked disorganized, too many times having problems getting all 11 players on the field. That could stem from having so many new faces because of injuries. Regardless, it leads to issues: fumbles, blocked punts. The Eagles rank 30th in yards allowed per punt return and 23rd in yards allowed per kick return.

Key matchups

RT Tyler Polumbus

If he's not cleared after his concussion, Maurice Hurt will step in.

vs.

DE Brandon Graham

He has recorded four sacks since becoming a starter four games ago.

WR Pierre Garcon

He caught three passes for 5 yards in the first game but is healthier now.

vs.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha

He helped limit Garcon in the first game but was not always on him.

NT Barry Cofield

He was inconsistent early in the season, but Cofield has played exceptionally during the streak.

vs.

C Dallas Reynolds

He struggled to handle Cofield in the first game; his guards didn't provide much help.

State of the teams

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia was once fancied as a potential Super Bowl contender. But all the Eagles are contending for now is a high draft choice -- and likely a new coach. The 4-10 Eagles are playing their home finale, which would mean the final game in Philadelphia for coach Andy Reid, who is expected to be fired. Little has gone right for the Eagles this season. They're welcoming the end.

Washington Redskins

It's simple: If the Redskins win their next two games, they make the playoffs. They can clinch at least a wild-card spot by beating the Eagles and then having Chicago, Minnesota and New York all lose. After winning five straight to put themselves in a great spot, the Redskins are determined to stay in control of their fate.

Examiner predicts

Let's not make this complicated. The Redskins have been the superior team and continue to build confidence and momentum. That continues Sunday.

Redskins 28, Eagles 14

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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