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Monday Night Preview: Redskins Look to Sweep the Eagles

Embattled Redskins take on divisional foe

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Donovan McNabb used his legs Sunday.

    There's a sense around Redskins’ nation that in the glare of the national spotlight of Monday Night Football, the wheels on the bus are about to come off. It just feels like the whole season is hanging by a loose chinstrap as angry defensive linemen bear down on us. And worst of all, it is the Philadelphia Eagles who are more than willing to be the catalyst of the implosion of our season.

    Could the Redskins be in worse shape (No offense, Donovan McNabb) coming into Monday night’s game because there are a host of questions swirling about:

    • Is Mike Shanahan really thinking about jumping ship after one year and heading to Dallas?
    • How can there be a quarterback controversy if Rex Grossman is the backup? (No offense, Rex.)
    • Is McNabb’s agent really coming to talk contract extension right now, and will McNabb beg Andy Reid to take him back to Philly?
    • Does Clinton Portis not realize that the Philadelphia Phillies are from the same town and the Philadelphia Eagles? (No offense, Portis.)
    • Did Albert Haynesworth get traded because he hasn’t complained in a couple of weeks? (No offense, Albert.)
    • Did the Redskins really lose to the Lions ... AGAIN? (No offense, all of Detroit.)

     

    A HEAVY DOSE OF REALITY:

    Now before Redskins’ nation folds their Redskins’ Snuggies away for the season, they just might want to take a deep breath and snap back to reality. The Washington Redskins are in the drivers seat in the NFC East.

     

     

    With another win against the Eagles, the Redskins would be 3-0 in the division and only one game behind the New York Giants. The Redskins still have one game against the inconsistent Cowboys and two games against the beatable Giants. For all practical purposes, the division is the Redskins to lose.

    THREE REASONS WHY THE REDSKINS WILL WIN:

    1. McNabb Plays Better Amidst Controversy – The last time McNabb was benched came in 2008 during a 36-7 drubbing by the Baltimore Ravens. After the benching, also during a road game, McNabb returned home the following week to play the Arizona Cardinals. McNabb bounced back with a vengeance passing for 260 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. If you remember, the Cardinals were no slouch that year as they ended up two toenails away from being Super Bowl champions.
       
    2. Portis is Semi-Healthy and Ready to Run – Portis should be back from a severe groin tear (ouch!) during the Week 4 win in Philadelphia. It is just in time as the Redskins rushing attack ranks 23rd in the league in rushing, averaging just under 95 yards a game. During the previous meeting, Portis gained 55 yards rushing and 26 yards receiving and was a focal point of the offense as they scored all 17 points while he was still in the game. However, after the injury, the Redskins’ offense became stagnant and was unable to move the ball with any effectiveness. The Redskins’ offense will need the threat of Portis on the field on Monday if they have any chance at winning the game.
       
    3. The Redskins Had an Extra Week to Prepare – The Eagles had a hard fought game against the Indianapolis Colts last week and are poised for a letdown. The Redskins, despite all their off-the-field shenanigans, had an extra week to prepare for Michael Vick and the Eagles offense. In Shanahan’s time with the Broncos, he compiled a 10-4 record in games coming off of bye weeks. The extra week of scheming and of rest will be the difference in the game.

    THREE REASONS WHY THE REDSKINS WILL LOSE:

    1. Vick is Playing Like the Young Michael Vick But Who Can Pass Also (No offense, Michael.) – Vick is finally healthy after the Redskins’ roughed up his ribs and knocked him out of the game in Week 4. A healthy Vick wreaks havoc on opposing defenses because he is always a threat to tuck the ball and run. The Redskins will have to keep a spy locked in on Vick’s every move, which will take a linebacker out of the blitz schemes and out of coverage. Vick has yet to throw an interception this season and is coming off a stellar performance against the Colts. He just might be the most dangerous quarterback in the league right now because he can hurt you with his arm and his legs.
       
    2. The Eagles Have Uncanny Abilities to Stretch the Field – Most teams start with the run in order to open up the passing game, but the Eagles are the opposite as they look to hurt you early with the vertical passing game to their outstanding receivers, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. As the defensive secondary respects the deep threat, and rightfully so, the middle of the field opens up for Brent Celek to roam free. With Vick’s ability to escape pressure and improvise, it could be a long night for the battered Redskins’ secondary.
       
    3. The Redskins are on the Verge of Implosion – The Eagles are experiencing a high after beating the Colts and seeing the Giants lose to the Cowboys. If they can score early on offense and get some pressure on McNabb with their defensive line, then this whole building could come crumbling down.

    MY PREDICTION:

    The Redskins defense will take advantage of the beat-up offensive line of the Eagles and make Vick run for his life, all the while McNabb, like so many times before, will find solace in the controversy and lead his Redskins to a big victory on Monday Night Football.

    Washington Redskins 32 – Philadelphia Eagles 28

    GAME DETAILS:

    Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles (FedEx Field) 8:30 p.m. on ESPN