One week after nearly pulling off a huge upset on the road against a division opponent, the Washington Redskins get to try again -- and in more than one way.
The Eagles won 27-10 thanks to DeSean Jackson and the fact that the Redskins offense was putrid. This time around could be even worse, as the two teams have enough injured players to field a Pro Bowl squad.
The teams meet for the second time this season at Lincoln Financial Field at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Eagles (6-4) need a victory to remain one game behind Dallas in the NFC East standings and maintain an edge in the wild-card race. The Redskins (3-7) are looking for something to build on.
Not to mention that, if the 'Skins lose Sunday's game against the Eagles, they may as well take a time machine back to the early 60's, when the team set a record of nine consecutive road losses.
Unfortunately for the team and head coach Jim Zorn, his list of healthy players has been steadily moving down by the day. Top cornerback DeAngelo Hall is out with a knee injury. The team lost running back Ladell Betts and right guard Chad Rinehart for the season in the loss to Dallas. Star running back Clinton Portis is out with a concussion. Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley remains sidelined following ankle surgery. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (ankle) also may not play.
"It's unfortunate, but it's part of the game,'' Redskins guard Derrick Dockery said. "We have to find guys that are going to step in and replace these guys. We are moving forward. It can be disheartening, but as a professional, as a competitor you have to stay focused. Individually, you have to keep grinding, work hard each and every day, make sure you do your part, and hopefully if you put forth your best effort everybody comes along and we all get on the same page like we did last week.''
Considering the defensive effort against the Cowboys, some wondered whether the Redskins would become a divided bunch. But
there was no finger-pointing against the offense by defensive players.
"We're not that kind of team,'' receiver Santana Moss said. "I feel that every weekend we go out there with the intent to win. We go out there knowing that we're just a play here and there, a drive here and there, from being better than that opponent. I think the past three weeks we've really been coming together and playing decently. I think we can build on to it and just add more to what we got going, and get some more wins."
The Eagles, meanwhile, have been closely watching the game film from Washington's 7-6 loss at Dallas. It's a reminder that this won't be easy. Never mind the 9-point spread.
"All the guys know what rides on this game. We're taking it in stride and not looking past these teams,'' said wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who played a major role in Philadelphia's 27-17 victory at Washington last month. "This could easily be a trap game, but we're going to come into the game and play hard and just set ourselves up good for the playoffs.''
Having already blown one gimme this season -- a 13-9 loss at lowly Oakland last month -- the Eagles can't afford to overlook any
opponent at this point. They've got tough matchups coming up at Atlanta and the New York Giants the next two weeks, so they need to stay focused on the Redskins.
"They really should have won that game the other day against Dallas,'' coach Andy Reid said. "They had them right there and
things didn't work out for them, but they gave Dallas everything Dallas could handle and Dallas pulled it out at the end. They are a
talented football team and they've been banged-up in some areas, but the guys that have stepped in are playing aggressive and hard football. It's important that we prepare ourselves properly.''
A tough Redskins defense held the Cowboys scoreless until Tony Romo tossed a touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton with 2:41 left for the one-point win. Shaun Suisham missed a pair of field goals that could've helped Washington seal a much-needed victory.
The Eagles rebounded from two straight losses with a 24-20 victory at Chicago last Sunday night. Donovan McNabb led the offense to a late touchdown and the defense held on for the team's first comeback win in the fourth quarter in two years.
McNabb will set a team record for quarterbacks by playing in his 143rd game when he lines up against the Redskins. Ron Jaworski, the only other QB to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance, played in 142.
"That's something that you look at when it's all said and done,'' said McNabb, who turned 33 this week. "At this particular point it's just focusing in on what we have to do in order to win ball games and try to bring a championship home.''