The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys faced off in the first Sunday Night Football game of the 2013 NFL season. Monday Night Football is set to debut with another NFC East matchup, as the Washington Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s the first game of a doubleheader, which will be followed by the Houston Texans - San Diego Chargers game from Qualcomm Stadium.
The Redskins are coming off their best season in almost a decade. Washington won the division after finishing in last place for five out of the last six years. Despite their success, the Redskins were only picked to finish in third place by Las Vegas oddsmakers.
The defending NFC champs will begin their quest to prove the bookmakers wrong and repeat, as Robert Griffin III makes his return to the field. The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year hasn’t suited up in a Redskins uniform since he tore the ACL and LCL in his right knee. After sitting out the whole preseason, RGIII is ready to go.
Last year, Griffin wasn’t just the best rookie quarterback. He was one of the top signal callers in the entire NFL. Only Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers had better passer ratings. In 15 games, he was picked off just five times and threw for 20 scores. Only 19 rushers accumulated more than his 815 yards on the ground, and he ran into the end zone seven times.
The only question surrounding Washington’s starting quarterback is Griffin’s health. Philadelphia, on the other hand, didn’t name a starter until a few weeks into the preseason. Michael Vick was named the starter by Chip Kelly, beating out Nick Foles for the job.
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Vick, like Griffin, has proven to be injury prone. His performance, though, has been shaky when he’s been able to stay on the field. This season, he hopes to play like he did when he first joined the club, behind an improved offensive line.
The Redskins won six more games than the Eagles in 2012. They are barely favored, though, giving the visiting Eagles just 3.5 points. It’s expected to be a high-scoring affair with the over/under set at 52.
The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, and viewers can watch a free live stream online at espn3.com.
Prediction: Washington could be in line to get upset in Week One. Griffin might have some trouble finding his rhythm in his first action in eight months, leaving an opportunity for Vick and the Eagles offense to take an early lead. With DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver, and LeSean McCoy at running back, Philadelphia has a number of weapons. If Vick has time in the pocket, he could make it a long day for the team that ranked 30th in pass defense last season.
Final Predicted Score: Philadelphia 30, Washington 20