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NFL Predictions Week 6: Eagles in for a Long Day Against Redskins' Running Backs

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterOctober 12, 2011

Ryan Torain
Ryan TorainDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

You don't need to be a genius to figure out that the Philadelphia Eagles have problems. In fact, if you turn on ESPN for five minutes, they'll tell you everything you need to know about what's wrong with the Eagles.

Exactly what their biggest problem is varies depending on who you ask, but one thing we can all agree on is that the Eagles are nearly powerless against the run. That's something that can be chalked up to poor strategy, but the bigger shortcoming is their personnel. A pass-rushing defensive line and a weak corps of linebackers are not deterrents for opposing rushing attacks.

At some point in the last week and and half, one assumes that Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins took note. They are hosting the Eagles this Sunday and have had an extra week to draw up a good game plan thanks to their bye in Week 5.

Presumably, the game plan Shanahan has drawn up involves running right at the Eagles. It's the best way to beat them, and fortunately for the Redskins, it's what they do best.

As of right now, the only team that averages more rushes per game than the Redskins is the Houston Texans. Shanahan has three solid running backs at his disposal, and he has made good use of all three.

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Tim Hightower
Tim HightowerPatrick Smith/Getty Images

The only thing we don't know right now is which one of them will start. Tim Hightower is the usual starter, but he's dealing with a shoulder injury, and we know via the team's Twitter feed that he is still limited in practice.

If Hightower doesn't start, it will be up to either Ryan Torain or rookie Roy Helu. My guess is that Torain would get the nod, as he is coming off a game in which he pounded the St. Louis Rams for 135 yards on 19 carries.

Regardless of who starts, it's not going to be pretty for the Eagles. Opposing runners are averaging five yards per carry against them this season, and only a handful of teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns this season. To boot, they've allowed 100-yard rushers in back-to-back weeks, and were last seen giving up nearly 200 total yards to Buffalo's Fred Jackson.

If there is a silver lining for the Eagles, it's that Rex Grossman is not going to beat them. He's been OK, but he still looks like the same old Rex Grossman. The less Shanahan has to rely on him, the better.

The downside is that the Eagles are pretty much doomed if they can't limit the Redskins' rushing attack. The Redskins are a very good defensive team, and they are going to make it tough on an Eagles offense that has been, to put it lightly, inconsistent. Michael Vick and friends have put points on the board, but they have also put points on the board for the wrong team too.

In the end, I think the Redskins will win by a close margin, and it will be all thanks to their rushing attack.

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