The Eagles take to the road for the second consecutive week while the Redskins play their second straight home game. Shane Matthews completed 28 of 40 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Arizona. Matthews was able to sit in the pocket all day and look for the open man. The Eagle defense will be night and day compared to that of the Cardinals. The Eagles, known as a quick, aggressive defense, will apply pressure to Matthews all night showing him plenty of blitzing. He’s not very mobile as the Eagles showed in last year’s playoffs. Matthews had to replace Jim Miller for the Bears and was only 8-17 for 66 yards and 2 INT’s. RB Stephen Davis carried the ball 26 times against the Cardinals but strained his groin and may not be 100%. He needs to be healthy to get some of the pressure off of Matthews. If the Eagles can take him out of his game, they will be able to control the tempo and force a lot of third and long situations. The Eagles welcome back corner Troy Vincent this week and with Bobby Taylor on the other side, they will give Matthews and the receivers a challenge.
Donovan McNabb was sacked six times and threw two interceptions last week in their loss to Tennessee. Philadelphia needs to have other players step up to take some of the heat off McNabb. The Redskins have some of the fastest linebackers in the league, so if McNabb breaks out of the pocket, he probably won’t be able to make too much happen by himself. But he is sill a huge weapon and if he moves out of the pocket, he will attract attention and open up receivers down the field. A big advantage for the Eagles is the kicking game. The Redskins lost K Brent Conway for the season last week when he tore a quad and they signed James Tuthill as his replacement. He spent time with the team in the preseason but has limited experience – he was 1-1 in the preseason with a 23 yarder. Eagle kicker David Akers is one of the most consistent in the league. Bottom line, the Eagles are a playoff team and will be out to prove that, especially after their loss last week. Andy Reid took the blame for the loss last week after playing too conservative with their late lead. They do not want to fall to 0-2 and be two games back already. This will be Spurrier’s first real test after lighting up the scoreboard in the preseason and facing a mediocre Arizona team in week 1.