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News » WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-7) vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5-1)


WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-7) vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5-1)


WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-7) vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5-1)
KEY MATCHUP


Eagles WR DeSean Jackson vs. Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall

Earlier this week, Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache was talking about Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. He then was asked about receiver Kevin Curtis.

Blache quickly complimented Curtis before turning the subject back to Jackson. He's only a rookie, but Jackson clearly has the Redskins' attention even though he was limited to one catch for 8 yards in the Redskins' 23-17 victory in Week 5. (He did return a punt for a touchdown, though.)

Jackson leads the Eagles with 58 catches for 852 yards. Philadelphia's 48 pass plays of at least 20 yards rank third in the NFL.

"The [Eagles'] formula has been working," Blache said. "It's always been a good offense, but they've been an exceptional offense the last couple weeks."

Since a drubbing in Baltimore, the Eagles are 3-0 and have averaged 32.7 points and 395.3 yards.

Hall is now a starter and has two games remaining in his contract drive. Since coming to the Redskins, he has two interceptions and four pass breakups. Last week against the Bengals, he played 61 of 64 snaps.

Jackson probably isn't the kind of receiver that will force Blache to assign Hall to him all game, but they'll run into each other. Shawn Springs will probably get the assignment when Jackson is lined up in the slot.

THREE KEYS

1.DON'T BE LATE

The Redskins have been first-quarter no-shows the past three games, falling behind 10-0 to the Giants and 14-0 to Baltimore and Cincinnati. In those losses, the offense has eight punts and three turnovers, and the defense has allowed five scoring drives. The Redskins' 33 first-quarter points are tied with Oakland for fewest in the league. Philadelphia has outscored its opponents 82-50 in the opening quarter.

2.LIMIT WESTBROOK'S BIG PLAYS

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was limited to only a few possessions in the teams' first meeting, but he hurt the Redskins in both games last year, posting six runs of at least 11 yards and five receptions of at least 10 yards, including a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The Redskins' linebackers have to be on point to limit Westbrook if he squeezes through the first level, especially when he's Donovan McNabb's outlet target.

3.KEEP PROTECTING CAMPBELL

Last week, for the first time all year, Jason Campbell was not sacked even though the offensive line was without both starting tackles. Philadelphia's 41 sacks are tied for third in the league. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is famous for his blitz schemes, but he sent more than four rushers only nine times in the first meeting. Still, the Redskins have to be ready for four-man rushes that include linebackers and safeties.

WHEN THE Redskins HAVE THE BALL

The Redskins still haven't reached 30 points this season. The slump includes six offensive touchdowns in the past six games and 11 straight games without three offensive TDs. Don't expect that to improve against a Philadelphia defense ranked third in yards and ninth in points. The key will be third down. In the 23-14 win, the Redskins were 11-for-19 on third down and rushed 44 times for 203 yards, both season highs. But the passing game (19th in the NFL) simply isn't good enough to keep the Eagles from stacking the box to try to contain Clinton Portis.

Edge: Eagles

WHEN THE Eagles HAVE THE BALL

The Redskins can relate to Philadelphia's up-and-down season. Like the Redskins in 2005 and 2007, the Eagles started fine (5-3), had a rough November (2-2-1) and are catching fire in December (2-0). At the center is the resurgence of Donovan McNabb, who has seven touchdown passes and only one interception in three wins since his benching against Baltimore. The Eagles are more efficient in the passing game (164 more pass attempts than runs), so expect McNabb to throw often to Jackson and Westbrook. Couple that versatility with the Redskins' inability to rush the passer, and Philadelphia should be able to move the ball.

Edge: Eagles

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jackson can also make an impact in the return game. Although the Eagles are only 20th on punt returns, Jackson scored a 68-yard touchdown against the Redskins. Last week, Rock Cartwright's 87-yard return moved the Redskins up to fourth on kick returns; Santana Moss' 28-yard punt return sparked a touchdown drive. The Redskins remain last in net punting. Expect the team to bring in competition next season for kicker Shaun Suisham and punter Ryan Plackemeier; they also must consider whether Antwaan Randle El is the answer on punt returns.

Edge: Eagles

There was no way around the obvious - Riley Skinner's first game against Navy this season was perhaps the worst of his career.

Given a second chance, he responded with one of his best performances.

The Wake Forest junior completed all 11 of his pass attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown as the Demon Deacons upended Navy 29-19 Saturday in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium.

Skinner also converted a vital two-point conversion for Wake (8-5) as he earned MVP honors - pretty much the complete opposite of his five-turnover outing in a 24-17 loss to the Midshipmen on Sept. 27.

"If you're a competitor, you're going to want another shot at those [guys] - get some revenge and not have that last game be what you think about when you think about Navy," Skinner said.

The redshirt junior can be assured that won't happen after providing the perfect complement to an attack that actually outperformed the nation's leading rushing offense 239-221. But Skinner was exact when he was given opportunities and led three crucial scoring drives to help Wake erase a 13-0 deficit.

He connected on two long passes with D.J. Boldin to set up a touchdown just before halftime, then mixed a 32-yard completion to running back Kevin Harris as the only throw in a 10-play drive just after the break to give Wake its first lead.

But his most impressive work came early in the fourth quarter, when he followed a 44-yard throw to Chip Brinkman with an 8-yard scoring strike to Ben Wooster with 7:52 remaining. Seconds later, he zipped a pass to Devon Brown in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 22-19 lead.

"Today, he was on a mission," Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said.

It was a solid cap to the season for Skinner, who rallied the Demon Deacons to a victory from their largest deficit since erasing a 24-3 hole against Maryland last year. Skinner threw 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions this year as Wake won bowl games in back-to-back years for the first time.

But four of those picks came in the startling loss to the Midshipmen (8-5) nearly three months ago, and Navy's ability to exploit his errors appeared to influence some skittish decision-making in the early stages of Saturday's game.

As Navy expanded its early lead, Skinner conferred with backup quarterback Brett Hodges and acknowledged he was not operating with nearly enough patience.

"The first couple drives, I kind of realized I was leaving the pocket early," Skinner said. "The offensive line was giving us all the time in the world. ... [I thought] if I just stay in the pocket, people will come open, so just trust the pocket around you"

Skinner did just that, becoming the first Wake Forest quarterback in school history to throw at least 10 passes in a game without an incompletion.

That's only an extra line on a burgeoning resume for Skinner, who was under center for nearly all of the Demon Deacons' ACC title run in 2006 and is the only quarterback to start three bowl games for the program.

One of the few black marks of his career was his dark day in Winston-Salem back in September - but he more than made up for it with his precision the second time around against the Mids.

"He didn't play well in the first game, but here in the rematch I don't know if he could play any better," Grobe said. "I don't think if we could play the game over that we could ask him to play any better."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 22, 2008

Juqua Parker Name: Juqua Parker
#75
Position: DE
Age: 30
Experience: 8 years
College: Oklahoma State
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