What to make of the Philadelphia Eagles is one of the biggest question marks so far in 2008. One week they are offensive gangbusters that score 37, the next they are defensive monsters that give up 6 while recording nine sacks. Last Sunday in Chicago, they were medicore at best on both sides of the ball, and settled way too much for field goals in a 24-20 loss to the Bears to drop to 2-2.
On the other side, the Redskins are now 3-1, and starting to turn some heads in the NFC. They topped the Cowboys at home Sunday, and are getting big contributions from QB Jason Campbell, RB Clinton Portis, and WR Santana Moss. They are now putting up 342 yards of offense per game, and have found a groove under Jim Zorn that many felt they wouldn’t find till later in the season.
Sunday in Philly, these two NFC East rivals do battle, and it’s a critical game on both sides. A win for the Skins and they are 4-1 before hosting the awful Rams in week 6. If the Eagles can notch a win, they improve to 3-2, while dropping Washington to 3-2 as well, making the NFC East a big mess five weeks into the season.
For the Eagles, it simply comes down to executing better on offense and in the red zone. They missed Brian Westbrook a ton in the loss Sunday night, and his playing or not is going to be a big difference here as well. Correll Buckhalter is a nice back, but he’s no Westbrook, and if he would have played they likely would have beaten the Bears.
They also have to shore up that secondary that Kyle Orton burned for three TD’s. Too often this season wide outs and TE’s have gotten behind the secondary, or they have had mixed signals and not made plays when they were there for the taking. Look for Campbell to try and spread the field and attack those corners that have had issues.
Portis’ running to soften the Eagles run D up is going to be a big key. He has 369 yards this year so far, putting up 92.3 yards per game with three scores. A big game for Portis will put the Skins that much closer to winning their second straight big NFC East road game. Philly will try to do what they did to the Steelers two weeks ago, putting pressure on the QB and even forcing some mistakes.
Look for the Eagles to bounce back. The Skins are a nice team, and could be looking at a 9-10 win season, but at the same time, the Eagles are hungry to put the Bears loss behind them. McNabb and Westbrook, who comes back, have big days each, and the defense rebounds to gain a big win.