- Hello, again. (Photo: Associated Press)
Redskins. Eagles. McNabb. Vick. Shanahan. Reid. The winner stands alone in second place in the NFC East with the first-place Giants squarely in their sights. The loser is knocked to third place in the NFC East and their fans can officially begin to worry.
No more need be said: Let's get to know the foe.
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Date: Monday, November 15. Time: 8:30 p.m. Place: FedEx Field.
TV: ESPN. Radio: WTEM-AM 980. The Line: Philadelphia by 3.
The Eagles on Offense
Last Week (26-24 win over Indianapolis): Gained 402 total net yards on 63 total plays (6.4 yards per play). Gained 195 net rushing yards on 31 rushing plays (6.3 yards per rushing play). Gained 207 net passing yards on 32 passing plays (6.5 yards per passing play). QB Michael Vick: 17/29, 218 yards, 1 touchdown; 10 rushes, 74 yards, 1 touchdown. RB LeSean McCoy: 16 rushes, 95 yards; 3 receptions, 8 yards. WR DeSean Jackson: 7 catches, 109 yards, 1 touchdown; 3 rushes, 20 yards.
Look it's simply not reasonable to expect a repeat of what happened when these sides first met in Week 4, when the Redskins took an early 14-0 lead and sent Michael Vick to the hospital with broken ribs before the end of the first quarter. Now, Michael Vick is reasonably healthy and making plays with both his arm and his legs. Exhibit A: this pretty touch pass to DeSean Jackson last week. Exhibit B: this daring scramble on a third-and-9 play, also from last week. Exhibit C: another third-down scramble. Exhibit D: another touch pass to Jackson for a touchdown.
You get the idea. Remember, Vick had completed five of his first seven passes when the Redskins knocked him out back in October.
If Vick is going to get his yards, than it's absolutely vital that LeSean McCoy not break any long runs like this one from last week. If that does happen, then it really is game over. The Redskins should know all about McCoy: He gained 174 all-purpose yards on them when the teams first met this season.
The Eagles on Defense
Last Week: Allowed 338 total net yards on 73 total plays (4.6 yards per play). Allowed 62 net rushing yards on 19 total rushing plays (3.3 yards per rushing play). Allowed 276 net passing yards on 54 total passing plays (5.1 yards per passing play). Forced 2 turnovers (both interceptions). Recorded 3 sacks for a total loss of 18 yards.
One of Peyton Manning's interceptions last week came in part as a result of pressure by the Eagle defense, the other was just a straight-up overthrow. Given the, ahem, inconsistent play of the Redskins pass-blockers, it is absolutely vital that McNabb keep his head and make good decisions with the ball.
It's also absolutely vital that the Redskins get some traction in the running game. Lest we forget, the first meeting between these two was one of the better performances by the Redskins running backs as Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis combined for 151 all-purpose yards, not to mention some clutch, hard running by Torain in the fourth quarter to help secure the 17-12 victory. A similar performance is to be hoped for if the Redskins are to do the double over Philadelphia, a team that's giving up an average of 103.9 rushing yards per game this season.
The Eagles on Special Teams
Philadelphia has an OK return game, averaging 9.2 yards on punt returns and an even 22 yards on kickoff returns. They're not giving up very much on kick returns either (an even 23 yards per return), which is something to keep an eye on if Brandon Banks pulls off a miraculous recovery. Punter Sav Rocca is one of the better ones in the NFL, averaging 46 yards per punt (tied for 5th-most in the league) with 10 punts inside the 20 and just two touchbacks. David Akers has been somewhat less-than reliable on placekicks, making only 15 of 19 field goals (all his misses have come from beyond 30 yards), though he has been perfect (21-for-21) on extra points.