Heading into Monday night’s game against the Redskins, the Eagles look more likely to become the first defending Super Bowl champion to finish with a losing record since the 2003 Buccaneers than the first repeat winner of the Lombardi Trophy since the 2004 Patriots. Decimated by injuries, particularly in its secondary, Philadelphia suffered the most lopsided loss by a reigning Super Bowl champion in NFL history two weeks ago in New Orleans. A week later, the Eagles barely squeaked by the woeful Giants at home.
“When you go to the Super Bowl, you have several elements that come into play the following year: a shorter offseason, contract issues, more demand for your players' time,” former Redskins GM Charley Casserly said more than a decade ago in attempting to explain the hangover that NFL champions sometimes experience. “And once the season starts, you become the biggest game on everybody’s schedule.”
Monday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field, the first of two meetings between the Redskins and Eagles over the final five weeks of the regular season, is a big one for both teams. At 6-5, the Redskins are a half-game behind the Cowboys, who upset the Saints on Thursday. The Eagles, at 5-6, are one game back of the Redskins. A Washington win on Monday would deal another blow to Philadelphia’s hopes of a repeat, and give the Redskins their 14th win in franchise history against a defending Super Bowl champion. It’s been a few years since the last one.
The lead item in the “What To Watch For” section of the Redskins' team-issued game notes this week is Washington “getting a win over the reigning Super Bowl champion for the first time since defeating the Rams 33-20 on Nov. 20, 2000.” While the Redskins did beat the Rams that night on the strength of three Jeff George touchdown passes, they’ve felled a Super Bowl champion much more recently — on “Monday Night Football,” no less.
On Dec. 3, 2012, Robert Griffin III set a single-season NFL record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback in Washington’s 17-16 win over the Giants at FedEx Field. It was the Redskins' third of seven straight wins to end the regular season.
Since then, Washington has lost its only two games against defending Super Bowl champions, to the Seahawks in 2014 and a year later to the Patriots. The Redskins are 13-17 all-time, including the playoffs, against defending Super Bowl champions, but have lost six of their last seven such matchups. Washington is a more respectable 10-9 against defending Super Bowl champions from the NFC East.
The Redskins vs. Defending Super Bowl Champions
Week 11 vs. Green Bay Packers: Lost, 27-7
The Redskins split their regular season series with the Cowboys and dethroned the champs in the NFC championship game to advance to their first Super Bowl.
Week 6 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Won, 24-20
Week 13 at Dallas Cowboys: Lost, 34-24
NFC Championship vs. Dallas Cowboys: Won, 26-3
Week 5 vs. Miami Dolphins: Won, 20-17
Week 5 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Won, 9-5
Week 13 at Dallas Cowboys: Lost, 37-10
Week 13 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Lost, 35-8
Divisional Round at Chicago Bears: Won, 27-13
The Redskins swept the Giants in the regular season en route to winning Super Bowl XXII. The first win came with replacement players at mostly empty Giants Stadium during the NFL strike.
Week 5 at New York Giants: Won, 38-12
Week 12 vs. New York Giants: Won, 23-19
Week 2 at San Francisco 49ers: Lost, 26-13
Divisional Round at San Francisco 49ers: Lost, 28-10
Week 9 at New York Giants: Won, 17-13
Week 16 vs. New York Giants: Won, 34-17
Richie Petitbon’s debut as head coach was a success, as Washington routed Dallas at RFK Stadium in the first of two times the Redskins have opened the regular season against the defending champions. Dallas got its revenge in Week 17, and went on to win its second consecutive title. The Redskins finished 4-12.
Week 1 at Dallas Cowboys: Won, 35-16
Week 17 at Dallas Cowboys: Lost, 38-3
Week 5 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Lost, 34-7
Week 12 at Dallas Cowboys: Lost, 31-7
Week 14 at Dallas Cowboys: Lost, 21-10
Week 17 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Won, 37-10
Week 4 vs. Denver Broncos: Lost, 38-16
Week 12 at St. Louis Rams: Won, 33-20
Week 6 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lost, 35-13
Week 1 at New York Giants: Lost, 16-7
Week 13 vs. New York Giants: Lost, 23-7
Week 7 at New York Giants: Lost, 27-23
Week 13 vs. New York Giants: Won, 17-16
Week 5 vs. Seattle Seahawks: Lost, 27-17
Week 9 at New England Patriots: Lost, 27-10
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