Philadelphia's Keys To Success: Five Ways The Eagles Can Beat the Redskins
The Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, is the most talked about game this entire season. Donovan McNabb is coming back to Philadelphia. This is destined to be a great match up.
With McNabb making yet another appearance at Lincoln Financial Field, just this time in a Redskins uniform. This game is more than just about, breaking .500, or getting on top of the NFC East, this game is about emotion. This is a game about a once loved QB in Philadelphia, and a redemption story of a once great QB. This is going to be a great game, guaranteed.
This is going to be one of the toughest games emotionally, for not only the Eagles, but also for McNabb. This is the type of game that defines a season, and is one of the biggest games for Philadelphia all year. Some are saying this should be any easy win, I have a question for them: When is it ever easy to win against a McNabb led offense?
Here are five ways the Eagles can beat the Redskins on Sunday:
5. Keep The Momentum Going
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The Eagles just came off of a huge win on the road in Jacksonville. A game where not only Michael Vick performed well, but the entire team. The offensive line performed, better. The receivers ran consistent routes, and were able to get open in the secondary. The defense actually showed some very impressive chemistry, and held the Jaguars offense to only three points. Special teams actually showed some potential. Then of course Vick played like a pro-bowler, for the third straight week.
This was a much needed win, considering they are going into week four facing a very difficult opponent. This is the second win in a row for the Eagles, and I am sure they want to make this a continuing trend, making it three straight wins.
The type of game style the Eagles are playing right now is playoff caliber, and there is nothing better than getting a win over a conference rival like the Redskins. Not only boosting the winning streak to three games, but putting the Redskins a win behind the Eagles in the playoff race. If the Eagles were to win this game they would advance to 3-1, and be the top team in the NFC East.
I am sure that if the Eagles can keep this type of play going against the Redskins, it could be a much easier win. The momentum that the team has built should be enough to carry the Eagles is a very powerful force right now. As to where the Redskins are coming off a loss the Rams in week three.
4. Utilize Home Field Advantage
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The Eagles need to get the crowd involved in this game early on, not only to distract the Redskins but provide Eagle players with boosted confidence. This might be easier than it looks, considering it is McNabb, and Lincoln Financial Field will be rocking once he steps onto the field.
This will be a key win at home, coming off an opening day loss at home to the Packers, Eagles fans want to celebrate some home wins, especially against a rival. Any win is good at home, but it is even sweeter against teams like the Redskins, Cowboys, and Giants.
Hopefully with a booming crowd, and a rookie playing left tackle for the Redskins, the Eagles will be able to get some false start penalties. In turn, potentially stalling the McNabb led offense. The defense will want all the help they can get, and the crowd plays a huge factor into that equation.
Look for the Eagles offense to run a fast paced tempo to help rile up the crowd, and then look for the defense to play very aggressive to keep the crowd involved. As always it should be a sold out crowd, providing deafening noise to the entire Redskins team. This will play a huge factor in the Eagles success against the Redskins.
3. The Offense Must Put Up Big Numbers
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Some of you may be totally confident in the Eagles defense, after only allowing three points against a some-what threatening Jaguars offense. I am not.
The Eagles defense had one good game, this does not mean that this will be a consistent trend. I am honestly worried, although lacking weapons, McNabb just knows the Eagles to well. He could end up tearing them up, no matter how good the defense plays.
So on the opposite side of the ball, Vick and the Eagles offense need to post big yardage and big touchdowns. After getting the lead, they need to maintain it. This is very easy by just scoring at least a field goal on every drive, preferably a touchdown.
I am not to worried about the offense, since Vick has stepped in as the starter the offense has looked electric. Almost putting something on the board on every drive, something the Eagles have struggled with in the past. It's also kind of seems as if the Eagles redzone struggles might just be solving themselves with Vick at the helm.
Also contributing, is how poor the Redskins' defense has played this year. Generally a fairly good defensive unit, the Skins' are having trouble stopping the passing game. Which can be seen through the whopping yards accumulated when playing the Texans, and Rams (?).
Look for Vick to light up the air and find receivers deep down field for huge gains, also don't be surprised to see Vick tuck the ball and run for some first downs. This should be a great game offensively, maybe reaching 300-400 yards total offense.
2. Mix Up The Defensive Play Calling
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McNabb played in Philadelphia for 11 years, he must know how the defense is run. Although no longer under the late Jim Johnson, Sean McDermott (current defensive coordinator), runs a very similar defense. Which McNabb knows in and out, and will be able to exploit to its fullest extent, but only if the Eagles allow him to.
I think the Eagles should go into this game and play very aggressively, not being afraid to blitz McNabb on third and longs. Not only that, but run some different play calls, go from a man blitz then back to just a straight up cover two. The Eagles defense also needs to be sure to contain McNabb on scrambles, even though he is aging, he can still make plays on the ground.
If McDermott fails to be original with play calling, McNabb could light up the scoreboard in just a few passes up the field. As stated earlier, I am still lacking total confidence in the Eagles young defense. Along with that, McNabb is a veteran who knows how to take advantage of young players making mistakes on defense.
Hopefully McDermott already knows his game plan to throw McNabb off balance, and hopefully create some turnovers. If the Eagles keep the offense guessing, it could be very tough for McNabb and the Redskins to move the ball down the field.
1. The Eagles Must Contain McNabb
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The thing is, if McNabb passes for 300 yards and scores four passing touchdowns, it will be a long day in Philadelphia. I am sure most fans would rather see McNabb finish with zero yards passing and a whole bunch of interceptions. But it is more likely to be the latter, and McNabb could end up having a huge game.
Even if McNabb does have a highly successful game, with 300+ passing yards and so on, if the Eagles end up winning the game by outscoring them, the defense will still take that as a moral loss. This will be a huge boost to the Eagles defense's moral if they can manage to keep McNabb to a somewhat average game.
But this will be a very tough assignment, knowing that McNabb is going into this game with something to prove. The defense is really going to have to step up their game if they want to walk out of the game with a moral victory. This could either save the Eagles defenses confidence or completely destroy it. This will be a make or break game for them.
The same goes for McNabb, clearly he is not under any sort of pressure of losing his starting position in Washington, but this is a huge moral game for him as well. McNabb is on a mission to prove that the Eagles made a poor choice in trading him, and that he can still perform at a level that is Super Bowl worthy.
This game is going to be a very close match up, as always with Redskins vs Eagles games. (It seems like both teams really turn up their play whenever they meet). But in the end, as much as I would love to see McNabb win, I think that the Eagles will come out as champions. The fact is, the Redskins defense will just end up giving up to many points to the fast attack Eagles offense. On the other side of the ball, the Redskins offense just no longer has enough weapons for them to move the ball efficiently, and the Eagles defense should be able to contain them.
On the alternative side, McNabb could come out on to the field destined to win the game, and just blow the Eagles defense out of the water and just flat out, outscore the Eagles offense. But that is kind of unlikely, because football is a team sport, and you need a good defense to win games.
Final Prediction: Redskins- 28 Eagles- 38