We start this week by looking back at the last. It won’t take long, mainly because it didn’t take long for the Eagles to dispose of the Jaguars. Michael Vick looked in control again, moving the offense up and down the field, and hitting a myriad of receivers for big plays. His arm looks as strong as it did in his rookie year. At one point, Vick hit Desean Jackson for a 50 yard gain, while throwing the ball off of his back foot. Amazing.
The defense looked solid, only giving up the lone field goal to the Jags. David Garrard looked confused, and alarmingly unprepared. He threw just the one pick, but it could have easily been 5. Maurice Jones-Drew could get nothing consistent on the ground, even though he got 22 chances to try. It’s tough to take anything away from this game because Jacksonville looked so bad. The one thing this game showed is that the Eagles are more mentally tough than in years past. They came, they saw, they kicked some ass. They did it all knowing that this week was coming.
Here it is, finally. The Redskins are coming to town to rekindle their NFC East rivalry with the Eagles. They have a new coach in Mike Shanahan, and have looked a bit unsure of themselves at times. Clinton Portis looks old, even though he is still on the good side of 30. Santana Moss and Chris Cooley have been very good so far, but no other viable receiving threats have stepped up at all. Which leads me to the quarterback. Donovan McNabb played for 11 years in Philadelphia, so it’s going to take awhile before that red #5 jersey doesn’t make me sick. His first few games have been very good, but the record is what it is, 1-2. He’s going to have a wild range of emotions leading into the game, and he has to be able to control them for the Redskins to be successful. The Eagles’ D has shown some holes in the pass defense, especially covering the tight end. If Cooley can get off, it will make the run game that much better, and they’ll need a solid game out of Portis to keep the Eagles’ offense off the field.
Speaking of the Philly offense, boy does it look good. They have receivers running all over the place, and a quarterback that is getting them the ball on time. Vick was named the NFC player of the month for September, and he deserved all of that recognition. Now the first division game is at hand, and he has to show that he indeed learned something from McNabb. #5 regularly made the NFC East his playground, which lead to multiple titles and the 5 NFC Championship games. Vick’s first test comes against a defense that has given up 30+ points in the last 2 games. The Eagles have averaged 30+ points in the last 2 games. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
I still have serious concerns about the Eagles’ running game, even though it is ranked 7th in the league. They average 140 YPG, but lead back LeSean McCoy only gets half of that. To this point he has carried the ball 34 times, which is absurdly low. If and when a defense loads up to stop the pass, will the Eagles be able to grind out a victory? That remains to be seen. This won’t be the week though. It’s going to be a mad house in South Philly this weekend. McNabb will play well, but the Eagles’ offense is clicking on all cylinders right now. Put another one in the win column. Eagles 30 Redskins 17.