VickNabb - "DC" Skins Pregame #4 - at Philadelphia

From last week's result, the media and fans around the area have been extremely worried coming into this football game. With the embarrassing, and humiliating loss to St. Louis Rams last week, there's good reason for a lot of worry. 

The Skins are still near the bottom of the league when it comes to their ground attack, and the defense still haven't gotten in sync. Many people say it's the scheme, others say that it's personnel. Maybe, it's a little bit of both.

I was driving home yesterday, and I heard a replay of a Chris Cooley interview on Sports Radio. The radio hosts apologetically (and unintentionally) attacked his team and how they played during the last 5 quarters. Cooley even said that it was disappointing because it was somber in the locker room after the loss, and the whole team probably felt they let Coach Shanahan down. 

However, based from the Cooley's voice inflection and tone during the interview, the Redskins seem confident with their gameplan on Sunday, and he feels that they can really beat their team. Maybe they see something in the game film that they can exploit, or maybe they like a few matchups. But, what I got most out of this interview, is that they are really anxious to redeem themselves, and want to get this win for their coach, as well as their quarterback.

Whether they'll do it or not... we'll see. I will say, that based on what we've seen from the Eagles during the last two weeks, as compared to the Redskins... Redskins fans have a lot to worry about. Michael Vick has arguably been the hottest quarterback in the league, and he has weapons to utilize (mainly, the explosive DeSean Jackson). Not to mention, as it looks right now, the Eagle running game is certainly done better than the Skins', and their defense has been solid when it counted. So on paper, the Eagles should DESTROY the Redskins.

My inner homer fanboy instinct tells me to give the Redskins the benefit on this one. From what it looks like this early in the season, this team plays up to their competition, and could probably play a lot better if they really have a reason to be fired up to. For Week 1, it was a season opener against the hated Dallas Cowboys... enough said. For Week 2, they played well for 3 quarters until they poo-pooed a 17 point lead during the last quarter and a half against Houston because they were probably "content". In Week 3, it just seemed they were uninspired during the whole and expecting to rollover a team they should have beaten and prayed some really bad football. 

This week, the big story line is McNabb going back to Philadelphia... What's going on inside his head when he has to play the team he's played for 11 years? How will the Philadelphia crowd react to him? How will he compare to the QB that he lobbied so hard to go to Philadelphia last year... the QB that no one wanted? There are a lot of story lines in this match... and a lot of reasons to get up for this match. And with McNabb being the leader that he is, and being extra motivated to play against the city that traded him... I think he will play so hard because he doesn't want to be disappointed. That could make a significant difference.

But to add on, there's a lot in the line... as the winner of this game has the inside track for the division lead, and will momentarily be in first place of the NFC East.

The line for this game is that Vegas is picking the Eagles to win by 5.5 (maybe 6) points. Here's my prediction...

Redskins 33 Eagles 27

I don't think the Redskins defense will do extraordinarily well, but I do think they are due for a decent running game. Both teams will put up points, and could have a potential for a shootout. I don't think the Redskins will stop the Eagles from putting up points in the board, but do I think McNabb and the offense will do just as well against the Eagles D? Quite possibly. Based on the Cooley interview I discussed a few paragraphs ago, there might be some holes in the Eagles defense they can exploit, and McNabb has played against that defense for 11 years.

Maybe my fanboyishness of predicting the Redskins to win may make me look like a fool. The Eagles look so much better on paper. But, my I do have a gut feeling about this game. And, I do believe that something other than stat sheet measurables can influence this game. And that's where I feel the Redskins have the advantage.

This should be an exciting game though. Based on the storylines alone, this is some must-see TV. My brother, as well as a few of my friends are Eagles fans. So, I'm hoping that for my sake, I'll be smiling after this game is over... rather than getting an earful.


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