Week 10 Matchup Preview: McNabb vs. Vick round 2

By JEFFREY WARNER
Staff Writer — jwarner@highhopesblog.com
_______

While Mike Shanahan struggles to get his reasoning together, Donovan McNabb will struggle to beat his division rival Eagles in primetime Monday night. (AP)

It’s Monday Night Football, under the lights, with the whole nation watching. And what a matchup they got. An NFC East showdown when Donovan McNabb and the Redskins take on Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

In this year’s first meeting back in Week 4, McNabb was victorious in his first game playing in Philly since the trade. This time around, the Eagles are hoping for a different outcome. The Birds are sitting pretty at 5-3 coming off a big 26-24 victory over Peyton Manning the Colts. The Redskins, 4-4, off a much-needed, but perhaps poorly timed bye week after crumbling to the Detroit Lions in a 37-25 defeat, leading to the highly controversial benching of McNabb for Rex Grossman in the game’s final two minutes.

This game is big for both teams, as both are looking to make a push in this wide open NFC playoff hunt.

News and Notes

  • Line: Eagles -3
  • Overall: Redskins lead Series 79-69-6
  • Streak: Eagles have won two of last three
  • Reid Vs Redskins: 14-9 record
  • Reid Vs Shanahan: 0-2 record
  • Last Matchup: Redskins win 17-12- The Eagles battled back from a 14 point deficit and the loss of their star quarterback, Michael Vick. Mcnabb struggles in his homecoming only completing eight passes but it was enough for the victory. Former Eagles starter Kevin Kolb shows the coaches why he should be a starter and brings the Eagles back only down five. He drives them down field with over a minute left and no time outs down to WASH 32 yard line but the Redskin’s defense makes a stand as Kolb’s pass to Jason Avant is picked off.

 

Tale of the tape

Eagles                                       Redskins

24.8(8th) Points Per Game 19.4(23rd)

376.3(4th) Total Offense 325.5(19th)

137.5(5th) Rush. Offense 94.6(23rd)

238.8(10th) Pass. Offense 230.9 (13th)

22.6(t-20th) Points Allowed 21.3(16th)

318.8(12th) Total Defense 393.3(31st)

103.9(12th) Rushing Def. 112.4(18th)

214.9 (15th) Passing Def. 280.9(31st)

+9(t-1st) Turnover Diff. +8(3rd)

3 Keys To Victory

  • Stop the Redskins Running game.
  • Get To Mcnabb!
  • Convert Touchdowns in Redzone.

Injury Report

Eagles: Out- Safety N.Allen, CB E.Hobbs

Doubtful- Tackle K.Dunlap

Question.- Guard M. Jean-Giles

Redskins: Questionable- RB. C. Portis, RB. R.Torrain;

When The Eagles Have the Ball…

The Eagles are peaking at just the right time. Right now you can argue they have the most dynamic offense in the NFL with a quarterback that has the ability to make plays in the passing game or on the run. Opposing team’s defenses are having problems containing this Eagles offensive attack with the arsenal of weapons they have at their disposal. And this matchup is no different.

Washington’s D is really mediocre and has had problems controlling offenses. The addition of DT Albert Haynesworth, to clog the middle and stop the run, has been a bust so far and they really have no one else on their defense to be a leader and perform. This unit is in complete disarray. They rank in the bottom half of the league in all defensive categories especially in the passing game and second worst in the league giving up over 280 yards.

The only real threat defending the pass the Redskins have is CB Deangelo Hall who has five interceptions and a TD in his past two games. The overall play from the front seven has been okay, but the play of Brian Orakpo has been stellar. His pass rushing abilities to get to the QB has been on the rise as he has seven sacks this season. But the Eagles just have too much speed on offense to be contained by this Redskins D.

QB Michael Vick is playing at as high of a level as anyone in the league. This team will go as far as Vick takes them as he has played flawless this season. When Vick gets the protection he needs that this offensive line has been giving him he is dangerous. He has done well scanning the field, picking apart defenses and throwing strikes to receivers. He has eight total TDs and no turnovers halfway through the year. He has a QB rating of 105.3 which tops the league. The Eagles are 3-0 when Vick has played a full game and he is also 3-1 on MNF with five rushing TDs.

Vick will spread the ball around to his weapons including his favorite target, WR Desean Jackson. Jackson in his first game back last week was a big part of the Eagles success, racking up 130 total yards and a touchdown. And three of Vick’s seven touchdown passes have gone Jackson’s way. Eagles fan’s are hoping to see a lot more of the Vick-Jackson connections.

Expect a big game from RB Lesean McCoy who has had a lot of success against this Redskins’ D last time around. McCoy recorded 12 receptions and 174 total yards from scrimmage. The potential pro bowler running back has been having himself a career season. His versatility and improvement in the passing game has made him one of the premiere backs in the league. He is one of three players with 500+ rush (572) and 300+ receiving (301). He is also tied for first among NFL RBs with 41 receptions.

The only thing the Eagles have to do better if they want to win football games is convert touchdowns down inside the 20. The Eagles were in the red zone five times and could only punch it in twice for scores last week against the Colts. Field goals are not going to cut it and they have to execute better if want to succeed.

Special teams could pay a big factor as Jorrick Calvin and Desean Jackson have done a tremendous job in the return game and will do wonders giving Eagles great field position against the Redskins’ return coverage as they are one of the league’s worst. Sav Rocca will need to have to rebound from that mediocre performance to set up the defense in a great situation.

Edge: Eagles – The Eagles just have too much fire power on offense. You just can’t bet against this Eagles offense of late with Michael Vick at QB. Expect Lesean Mccoy to have another big day as the Redskins will have trouble containing him and Vick.

When the Redskins Have the Ball…

QB Donovan McNabb is looking to prove to everyone on the Eagles sideline that they made the wrong decision when trading him back in April. But he also has to prove his worth to the coaches and players on his own sideline, after an embarrassing benching for backup Rex Grossman against the Lions down a score with less than two minutes remaining two weeks ago.

McNabb’s numbers this year have been down compare to the rest of his career but he still gives them the best chance to win games. He is behind a shaky, aging offensive line that just can’t remain healthy. He has a mediocre receiving crew with Santana Moss and Anthony Armstrong. And a running game with Ryan Torrain and Clinton Portis that has been non-existent. This whole Redskins offense is sub par.

The last time though the ex-Eagle QB didn’t have to do much to get the win as he only completed eight passes for 125 yards a touchdown. The Eagles just couldn’t contain the Redskins rushing attack giving up 110 yards. Torrain did very well with 70 yards and a score. But Clinton Portis and Torrain are both banged up and have been limited in practice most of the week and both are questionable for Monday’s game.

A big key in this game is the Eagles front seven controlling the Redskins running game with run stopping linebacker Stewart Bradley in the middle. They are also going to need another stellar performance from the new starting defensive tackle Antonio Dixon. Dixon, since filling in for the injured Brodrick Bunkley, has been magnificent. He has been on a tear having his way with offensive lines. He has done a tremendous job clogging holes and getting to the QB which the Eagles need from their DT. His play has really elevated and made everyone around him better including the play of DE Trent Cole.

Cole has been having another pro bowl season with seven sacks and making a lot of big plays against the run. The speed he gives off the edges and ability to get to the QB is deadly. This defense needs to give McNabb as little time as possible in the pocket forcing him to make mistakes with the football. Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott will be bringing a bunch of different blitz packages to keep the offense on their heels and get to the QB. McNabb was sacked six times by the Lions last game.

One liability for Philly is the inexperience of safety Kurt Coleman who gets his first NFL start for the injured Nate Allen. Coleman, however did a nice job last week getting some extensive playing time when Allen left. This secondary though is really beat up with CB Ellis Hobbs out and CB Dimitri Patterson getting his second consecutive start. Despite the injuries this unit has really come along. CB Asante Samuel has picked up his game, getting two interceptions last week and safety Quintin Mikell has been playing well despite people feeling he was on the decline. But this receiving core shouldn’t really scare any defense.

Washington’s receivers combine have a total of four touchdowns. WR Santana Moss is a nice possession receiver but doesn’t have the speed to beat you deep. They have an aging Joey Galloway who has been ineffective. The only weapon they have is one of the best tight ends in the game, Chris Cooley.

Cooley is second among TEs with 39 receptions for 440 yards and two touchdowns. The Eagles have had troubles covering the tight end this season and don’t expect anything different.

Edge: Eagles – The Eagles pass rush against this horrible offensive line is going to make it a long day for McNabb. Both running backs are banged up and this Eagles defense has been playing very well and I see it continuing this week.

Intangibles – Edge: Redskins – The Redskins have had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles. They have the home field advantage. The Eagles have to travel coming off that emotional and physical win over the Colts. And the coaching mastermind of Mike Shanahan is tough to beat. Andy Reid needs to stick with what has been working and remain balanced, but with the way some of  the matchups work out, it’s hard to say if that will happen. Also Andy Reid has struggled in primetime games, going 6-9 in his last 15 under the lights.

Prediction: Eagles win 24-17 – This will be, as usual, a hard fought NFC East showdown. The Eagles will prevail though, behind another great game from Michael Vick and the defense controlling McNabb. Look for the Eagles to improve to 6-3 and get ready for battle in first place with the Giants on Sunday Night Football.

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