This is the next part in our series of previews of the Eagles 2009 opponents. Joining us for this feature is Dave Schwab, who writes about the Eagles at his site Eagles Lincs.
Another week and another "must win" game. In what will likely be a close fight for a division title or playoff spot, every in conference win is important and that goes double for division games. The Redskins stand i the way of the Eagles going to 7-4 with a very strong in conference record which would put them in the driver's seat for a playoff berth.
Dave's full analysis of the game is after the jump.
After a big 24-20 win over Chicago on Sunday night the 6-4 Eagles return home this Sunday, November 30th to host the Washington Redskins in 1:00 P.M. start at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins fell to 3-7 on the year after a tough 7-6 loss to Dallas last week in a game that they had numerous opportunities to put the Cowboys away, but costly mistakes including two missed field goals by Shaun Suisham proved to be the difference. The loss basically ended any hope for Washington to turn their season around as they are now left to play out the string of their remaining six games. Head coach Jim Zorn will most likely be fired at the end of the season as owner Dan Snyder will once again look to hire someone who can come in and change the fortunes of a franchise that has fallen on hard times.
In their first meeting back in week seven, the Eagles used big plays and solid defense to pound out a 27-17 win. The Redskins turned the ball over four times including a Jason Campbell interception that was returned nine yards for a touchdown by LB Will Witherspoon. On offense, WR DeSean Jackson scored on a 67 yard run and a 57 yard pass play to give the Eagles an early lead that they never relinquished. The ability to jump on Washington early and often was the key to this first win. In this Sunday’s game, the Eagles will need to concentrate on once again getting to Campbell and causing him to make some bad decisions with the ball. With the status of RB Clinton Portis still uncertain and Ladell Betts out for the season with a knee injury, Washington’s running attack will be severely limited so Campbell may be forced to try and beat the Eagles with his arm which should play into the strength of the Bird’s defense.
Through eleven games the Redskins rank 29th in points per game, 25th in total yards, 21st in passing offense and 19th in rushing offense. While those numbers paint a pretty ugly picture for their offense, defensively they are much better. They rank 6th in points allowed, 4th in total yards allowed, and 1st against the pass. Their only weakness is against the run where they rank 25th. If the Eagles can incorporate the same offensive mix they used last week against the Bears, effectively using the run to set up the pass they should be able to move the ball against this team. The availability of DT Albert Haynesworth, who sat out last week’s game against Dallas with a sprained left ankle, could make a difference how well Philadelphia will be able to run against this team.
The Redskins are still a dangerous team, but I think last week’s loss to the Cowboys took whatever motivation they had left and pretty much crushed it. We all remember the game toward the end of last year when the Eagles were faced with a must win situation to make the playoffs and Washington shut them down 10-3. I’m sure Andy Reid will make his team painfully aware of this as to keep them from looking past this game. Washington on the other hand has nothing to look forward to but the future as I’m sure it will include a new head coach and possibly a whole bunch of new faces in the lineup.