Matchups

Philadelphia (3-5) at Washington (5-3)

Philadelphia Eagles Defense
7th Ranked against the Run
21st Ranked against the Pass
Philadelphia Eagles Offense
14th Ranked in Rushing
11th Ranked in Passing

Washington Redskins Defense
9th Ranked against the Run
18th Ranked against the Pass
Washington Redskins Offense
9th Ranked in Rushing
26th Ranked in Passing

The importance of this game has little to do with the Eagles. The die hard Philly fans (are there any?) might be dreaming of the comeback kids’ performance last season when backup QB Jeff Garcia took the Eagles to a 5-0 run down the stretch, captured the division title and earned a playoff spot, but those of us here on planet earth would probably take a more realistic view of things. No, the story here is Washington, and whether they can muster enough success to stay alive in a conference that has two divisions in which the leader is 7-1 and the second place club is 6-2 (NFC East Cowboys/Giants, and NFC North Green Bay/Detroit). The fact that the Redskins have a better record than any team in either the NFC South or the NFC West won’t matter a lick if they can’t challenge the Giants or Lions for a Wild Card berth. Right now the Giants are a better target because Detroit will probably smack the Cardinals around pretty good this weekend.

The Eagles have a moderately successful offense on paper but in the real world they don’t put the ball in the end zone enough. Their one stunning win against Detroit in which they scored 56 points is the only time McNabb has thrown more than one touchdown in a game, and that’s not surprising considering that he’s been sacked 28 times, more than any other quarterback in the league. Eagles running back Brian Westbrook has provided about the only consistent offensive performance for Philadelphia and although he’s done admirably in gaining both rushing and receiving yardage this year he hasn’t been able to rescue McNabb.

The Redskins are having their own problems on offense. Third year quarterback Jason Campbell has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and even the 0-8 Miami Dolphins have thrown more TD’s than Campbell. Washington remains the only team in the league without a touchdown catch by a wide receiver, highlighting a major flaw in the Redskins play calling. That’s too bad because a passing game is about the only thing that could save Washington this week. Will they try one for a change? Probably not. Redskins running back Clinton Portis had a good game against the Jets last week with 196 yards rushing so Joe Gibbs will probably stubbornly cling to his dogma and run run run.

Brian Westbrook could win it for Philly but it’s really too close to call.

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