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KEYS TO VICTORY
1. Handle the blitz » Before the first game between these teams, pundits said the Eagles weren’t blitzing as much as in the past. Wrong. They still like to blitz, and they remain creative when doing so. And that means they will heavily test the inexperienced left side of Washington’s line, not to mention young running backs who are inconsistent at best in pass protection. It would also help the Redskins to control the tempo of the game by rushing well — as they did in the first meeting.
2. Stop the big play » The Eagles thrive on these plays, but they couldn’t make any in the first game vs. Washington. The Redskins, helped by Michael Vick’s absence, sat in a Cover-2 zone and kept everything in front of them. But Vick presents a different problem because of his legs. If they have one defender assigned to him too often, it could create holes in downfield coverage — and that means big plays. They must force Philadelphia to be patient.
3. Beware LeSean McCoy » Here’s the problem with facing the Eagles: You have to be so aware of Vick … and receiver DeSean Jackson … and tight end Brent Celek … that you forget about guys like McCoy. OK, there’s no way they have forgotten about him. But they can’t defend everything. In four of Philadelphia’s five wins, McCoy has averaged at least 4.9 yards a carry. He’s also a receiving threat with 41 catches.
CB DeAngelo Hall » He’s already tied his career best with six interceptions. Vick hasn’t thrown any.
|vs.||WR DeSean Jackson » Scored three TDs vs. Washington last season; held to three catches for 19 yards in first meeting.|
|LT Trent Williams » Missed the first game and was uneven before the bye thanks to knee and toe injuries.||vs.||DE Trent Cole » The speedy end has seven sacks, none in the October game. He’s also good against the run.|
|RB Ryan Torain » Gained 70 yards and ran over Quintin Mikell in the 17-12 win over Philadelphia.||vs.||LB Moise Fokou » Run defense has improved with him in the lineup. No teams over 100 yards since the Redskins did it.|
STATE OF THE TEAMS
EAGLES » Philadelphia is a different team with Vick at quarterback, much more dangerous and seemingly confident. The Eagles’ defense is solid but ranks only 20th in scoring defense. They have holes if teams handle the pressure.
REDSKINS » Washington is coming off a bye that seems to have lasted a month. Quarterback Donovan McNabb has to be motivated to prove himself — again. But he and the offense remain a work in progress.
EXAMINER PREDICTS ...
McNabb explodes with huge game! That’s the dream. The reality is the offense just isn’t there yet. And the protection will fail him.
Eagles 21, Redskins 17