Monday, September 17, 2007

Game 2 Preview - 2007

washington redskins at philadelphia eagles

a horrible, horrible loss last week against a talented but unbalanced packers team got the started on a sour note. blech. despite the loss, there were some positive signs -- especially on defense -- so let's hope andy hasn't lost his touch at avoiding back-to-back losses and the birds come out fired up and focused for this game.
- eagles come into the game ranked at 2nd in DAVE (factors in preseason projections) and 17th in VOA (too early in the season for defense adjusted rankings) -- 22nd on offense, 5th on defense, and a predictable 30th on special teams
- redskins come in ranked 8th in DAVE and 13th in VOA -- 13th on offense, 18th on defense, and 12th on special teams
Eagles fans never thought they'd miss Reno Mahe, the no-frills return man who clung to their roster for several years despite his lack of razzle and complete absence of dazzle. After the Eagles handed the Packers 10 points on two muffed punts, the Philly Phaithful are actually clamoring for the return of Mahe. Or Brian Mitchell. Or Via Sikahema. Or Wally Henry.

Both the Redskins and Eagles played sloppy 16-13 games last week; the Eagles lost in Green Bay, but the Redskins won in overtime. The Redskins' win came at a heavy price: right tackle Jon Jansen, one of the team's best players, is out for the year with an ankle injury.

"It takes away a little bit from the win," right guard Randy Thomas said after the game. "I'm down about that. That's a blow, man. That's a rock."

With Jansen out, veteran Todd Wade will get the start. Wade was on the inactive list last week with a shoulder injury he claims will be a non-issue against the Eagles. "It's manageable. There's harnesses and things like that I'll wear, but I feel good about it," Wade told the Washington Post. "It's nothing I'm worried about."

Jason Campbell is the one who should be worried. The one thing the Eagles did especially well in Green Bay was pressure the quarterback. The Redskins won't put many points on the board, and the Eagles offense should be more in sync after a poor effort in the opener. That seven-point opening line may be scary, but the Eagles are much better than they looked on Sunday, while the Redskins looked just about right. Lay the points, take the Eagles and hide your head under a blanket every time the Redskins punt.
les bowen

THE 6 1/2-POINT spread here might be a lot for an Eagles offense that didn't establish much of anything in its opener. What the heck, though, I think the Birds are going to step up tonight, and if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. (Homerish? Well, I was the only Daily News writer to take the Packers last week.) And I don't think last week's strong defensive showing was a fluke - I really think this is a talented if inexperienced unit. Yeah, this would be easier if Lito Sheppard was playing, but the big thing is going to be stopping the run, and that isn't Sheppard's job.


Eagles 20, Redskins 12

paul domowitch
Pick: Eagles

Running back
Pick: Even

Pick: Redskins

Offensive line
Pick: Eagles

Defensive line
Pick: Eagles

Pick: Redskins

Pick: Redskins

Special Teams
Pick: Even

Domo’s prediction: Eagles 20, Redskins 17
espn scouts inc
These teams enter this game with opposite mindsets. Philadelphia was shocked in its last-second loss at Green Bay while Washington was ecstatic to escape with an overtime home win over Miami. Neither offense looked very good, both quarterbacks seemed rusty and there was an alarming lack of big plays and explosiveness. Both defenses should play well in this game and there will be a lot of pressure on the respective offenses to be productive in blitz pickup and getting the ball to their hot receivers when they see the pressure coming, which will happen a lot from both of these defenses. Both running games should balance each other out. Washington gets it done with two backs, Portis and Betts, while the Eagles must get a big day from Westbrook. Philadelphia cannot afford to start 0-2 and it will play a lot better than it did in Week 1. The Eagles must fix their special teams problems because they cannot afford to give up big plays and field position in the kicking game. This game will be close and physical, but the differences will be McNabb playing a cleaner game than Jason Campbell.

Prediction: Eagles 24, Redskins 20
madden 08
Donovan McNabb's performance last week in Green Bay caused many to question the health of his surgically repaired right ACL. He quieted those concerns in the Eagles' 25-19 win over the Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. McNabb threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, his first a 3-yard touchdown to wide receiver Reggie Brown. After Washington scored on a field goal by Shaun Suisham, McNabb connected with Brown again for another touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

The Redskins defense grew stingy in the second quarter and enabled their offense to inflict some damage. Scoring on four straight possessions, including a touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Santana Moss and a 50-yard Suisham field goal, the Redskins built a 19-14 halftime lead. McNabb and Westbrook took over in the second half. With the Eagles pinned deep in their own territory, Westbrook compiled 37 total yards to set up a 58-yard touchdown pass from McNabb to Kevin Curtis. Westbrook ran in a two-point conversion, David Akers knocked in late a field goal, and the Eagle defense stifled any hopes for a Washington comeback.

Prediction: Eagles 25 - Redskins 19
The Eagles made an inexcusable error not having a reliable return specialist. Donovan McNabb will look to take the game out of the hands of the special teams and into his own capable hands. He is forecasted for 260+ yards and his TD to INT ratio is nearly 3 to 1. The Redskins Jason Cambell is forecasted for a passer rating of just 72, but he does scramble for key first downs and is averaging over 20 yds rushing to help get those first downs.

Philly RB Brian Westbrook and Clinton Portis are running for virtually identical rushing totals. Both are averaging 18 carries, 86 yards and .5 rushing touchdowns per sim. Westbrook has the fantasy edge thanks to his game high 4.5 receptions leading to 44 more yards.

Philadelphia is heavily favored having a 68% chance of winning and a nearly 40% chance of getting a double digit win.

Prediction: Eagles 23.8 - Redskins 17.7
what i think
i came into the season thinking the eagles would lose one of their first two games (i ran through every game of the season for the 4 nfc east teams when making my season predictions), but figured the birds to win the opener and lose to the redskins. while the birds have been bad in the opener under big red, i certainly was surprised to see how sloppy they looked and how poor the special teams were. unfortunately, the loss last week makes winning this week pretty important. it's not a "must win", but it sure is a game they damn well better win.

redskins o vs. eagles d
the redskins appear to have gone back to joe gibbs football, meaning power running game with play action deep passing and what i find to be the most entertaining kind of football. last season, the redskins ate the eagles d-tackles alive and basically pushed them wherever they wanted. i expect things to be a little different this year. having bunkley playing the nose instead of patterson, who is back playing 3-technique, means the middle should be at least a little stouter than last year. this will be the most important on-field matchup in this game -- the redskins o-line against the eagles d-tackles.

the second most important matchup will be gocong against cooley. the eagles have not been able to stop a decent tight end since emmons left in free agency. this will be gocong's first chance to line up against a top flight TE. for years now, the eagles haven't been able to stop the reverse action naked bootleg play where the TE drags across the field. let's see if that changes this game.
a game like this is where jim johnson has to earn his money. he has to control and befuddle first year starter jason campbell and be able to get consistent pressure on him. lito being out is a concern, but if this is probably the best opponent for him to miss a game.

eagles o vs. redskins d
the redskins d has an incredibly talented secondary (only nickel back smoot wasn't a high first round pick) and a very good to great d-coordinator. however, big red has shown that he can successfully attack and scheme for williams. some d-coordinators (e.g. john fox, belichick, lebeau) seem to have big red's number, but gregg williams isn't one of them.

mcnabb has historically played well against redskins, though i don't think that is necesarily relevant because many of those plays don made with his feet and he's not the same player anymore/yet.

the redskins under williams have generally been a very blitz happy team (even more than the eagles under JJ) and i don't expect that to change. with mcnabb's mobility limited, the o-line must play well. i'm hoping the eagles come out and make this a smash mouth game. draw taylor and landry close to the LOS and then throw over the top. probably won't happen, but one can hope.

bottom line
i'm expecting the skins to be the eagles biggest challenger this season, so this is an important matchup. it should be a tough, physical game. the eagles are the more desperate team coming into this game, and should be fired up playing in front of the home crowd. the teams are similar in terms of talent with the only real difference being at QB. limited mcnabb should still better than jason campbell. expect him to be a lot sharper than he was against the packers and expect him to get better protection as well.

eagles 20 - redskins 13



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bumble, relax big guy. We will be OK. Home opener, Mc5's 1st game back in front of the home crowd, he knocked some of the rust off last week, and the defense played well. The birds will come out fired up for this game and we will see their intensity. The know they should have won last week and cannot afford to start 0-2. It will show in their game this week. Andy always bounces back strong from a loss, we show well in prime-time games (when we have all our players) and it's a division opponent with an inexperienced QB. I expect Westbrook and the TE to be major contributors on offense this week, as Washington's secondary is excellent and our WR could have some trouble getting open. Here's hoping Andy & Morningweng stay committed to the run and play some smashmouth football. I want to see Andrews and Runyan pissed off and hammering D-Lineman on running plays to set up play-action.


1:21 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it back. I take it all back !!!! No emotion, no innovation. Too many passes. Receivers who cannot get open. It's deja vu all over again.


11:57 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it looks like these predictions were mostly wishful thinking. ugh.
McNabb looked bad--he's done with accurate passing or the scrambling abilities he once had. There are no good receivers--could anyone even break single coverage?? Reid was obviously calling the plays last night--we're back to an all passing game (which obviously doesn't work).
I hate to say it, but did the birds make a bad decision to send Garcia away??
what kind of season are we looking at now? 5-11?


6:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I hate being right. That team is in shambles. They are just not very athletic right now. If they go 0-3, you have to bench McNabb and get Kolb in there to plan for the future. I also think it's time to rethink your entire philosophy regarding West Coast offense, cheap free agency signings, and tiny defensive people who finesse tackles vs. punching people in the mouth. I'd be a fan of getting a defensive genius in here and starting fresh as those guys tend to be better coaches anyway-Belichek, Dungy, Lovie Smith, Cowher.


9:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Wow...Bumble has an interesting perspective....I guess maybe the questions are:
1. Is this team heading south OR is it just a team trying to find it's personality and with time will pull together and be successful
2. Has this regime run it's course OR is this just a bump in the road that needs to be hurdled.

Well, here's my take. I'm tired of being a Philly fan. I think that this team needs to find it's personality, but I also think that parts of the regime may need to be looked at. It seems like every year except for maybe the TO year, we were in this boat. A good coach who makes us scratch our heads at times, a defense that doesn't get enough pressure on the QB, and a QB who shows signs of greatness, then signs of being inept.

This isn't the worst team and I'm pretty sure that they are going to win some games and get us excited. I love Don and think he's the best QB we have had, but last night I wanted him yanked. Our receivers had balls that were not thrown near them on many occasions, but then had balls that should have been caught that were dropped....and none of them can create his own catch. Like creating your shot in basketball. They are mediocre. We have a great RB that is our best weapon but is under-utilized, an offensive line that should be dominant in the run and a defense that has no pressure up front, again.

I'm sick of it. Not "jump off the bandwagon" sick of it...not "let's chop some heads" sick of it...just drained. I am starting to have Sunday committments and it doesn't even get me upset....that is my sick of it!!!

11:06 AM EDT  
Anonymous Phil said...

First the good: outside of that ludicrous TD right before the half, I thought the D played well considering Lito was out. Special teams also looked better and better as the game wore on with kickoff returns getting out past the 30 and coverages stacked closer to their 20. Sav was serviceable. That's it.

5 was very bad last night. I'm wondering if he's got another injury that they're not talking about. Maybe something with his arm. A lot of throws weren't even close. Maybe his mechanics are messed up from the knee? I still think McNabb at 50% (no way he's close to 80%) is 3x as good as Kolb would be and much better chance to win games for us. I wouldn't toss Kolb in there until the season is definitely over (10+ games in).

The play calling was awful. Why weren't our WRs motioning all over the place considering the can't beat the bump and run coverage? Where were all the screen passes? I usually don't mind all the passes, but last night was ridiculous.

11:34 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

1. Is this team heading south OR is it just a team trying to find it's personality and with time will pull together and be successful
2. Has this regime run it's course OR is this just a bump in the road that needs to be hurdled.

i don't think we're quite at this point. it's unfortunate for big red (and really for us as fans), but he wouldn't be human if this thing with his kids isn't affecting him tremendously. i think there really is a chance he'll hang up his coaching hat sometime soon. i'd like to see him continue as GM because i think he's done a pretty good job at drafting, but maybe it's time to give up the HC duties to someone else.

i'm not excited about the possibility of blowing it up and starting from scratch. there's a good chance we'll end up with a far inferior product if/when kolb takes over.

3:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMG-what makes you say this?

i'd like to see him continue as GM because i think he's done a pretty good job at drafting

He has had too many terrible drafts. Look at 2004-beside Andrews, the rest of that draft is out of football. He cut half of the draft from 2007 and only had 2 active last night, one who looked great in pre-season and hasn't bene thrown a ball since. I loved 2006 at the time, but it ha sproven to be suspect-Gocong cannot play, Justice may be a player but isn't a need now and that pick could've been used on a now need, Jean Gilles cannot play, Bunkley looks OK after an awful first year, Bloom got cut, Gaither looks decent, and Avant looks good. Othe rpeople are drafting picks that make HUGE impacts. his drafts have been full of OK guys. this team lacks speed and toughness and leadership right now. Their philosophy is build through the draft, and since those qualities are missing, then isn't the draft lacking and the man in charge of the draft thusly failing? Oh no, I'm not sold on reid as GM. if anything, keep him as coach and strip the GM because at least a good talent evaluator could bring more speed and toughness and leadership.


7:01 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

TMG-what makes you say this?

i'd like to see him continue as GM because i think he's done a pretty good job at drafting

primarily because every analysis i've seen in print consistently puts the eagles in the top 5-7 teams in the nfl. i've seen analyses done based on number of probowl seasons, percentage of players still on the roster, percentage of players still in the nfl, and percentage of players that are starters. never have i seen the eagles ranked lower than 7 in any of them. unfortunately, i don't remember where i read them off the top of my head, so let me ask you a question:

off the top of your head and without any research, who are the top 5 drafting teams in the nfl?

the reason i ask is that you perceive that the eagles are a poor drafting team so i'd like to see who you perceive to be the good drafting teams.

8:03 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top 5, in no particular order

1. Pats-they get great contributing players despite picking in the high 20s to 30s every year

2. Steelers-Every year they lose "key" guys in free agency, yet every year they bring in new nasty guys who wreak havoc

3. Chargers-Hard to argue that these guys haven't done the best job of bringing talent in the last 5 years.

4. Dallas-Yes Dallas! In the past 3 years, they have stacked their D with young fast guys while solidifying some key offensive spots with the likes of Whitten and Romo.

5. Denver-These guys are always in the playoffs and if they played in the NFC would have gone to more Superbowls the last several years because they always pick fast defensive players and good RB.

I could go on, but this was a 2 minute excercise. I don't care what stats say, those stats are skewed to teams that still have drafted players on their teams who are starting. Well who cares if your drafted players still play for you if they aren't any good? i also don't believe in the pro bowl players piece. What drafts of the Birds have made the Pro Bowl in the last few years? Andrews yes, Dawkins-OK that was Ray Rhodes. Lito? Ok that was 2002. Aside from Andrews, they haven't drafted anyone to hang their hat on in 4 years. And I'm sorry, but it's tough to get excited about a guard.


8:21 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

ok, fair enough. that's a good starting point. personally, i wouldn't include the cowboys as i perceive them to be a team that tries to "make a splash" but usually ends up with high reputation-low production players. i propose we add the ravens to your list and use this as a the basis for our own analysis.


i propose we each go back and look at all of the drafts for each of these 6 teams starting with the 1999 draft. you pick whatever methodology you want, and i'll pick whatever methodology i want and let's compare notes afterward.

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Big Dog said...

Good dialogue, men. Doesn't it seem every year, we are at this crossroads? The Eagles struggle and we claim that they are inept? I hate to see them struggle, which they do, and I hate to call them inept, which I dont' think that they are. Anectdotally...they ARE doing something right. They have to be to have achieved success in this league for a sustained period of time. And they have talent and they have their faults. Would we want the alternative, like a Coughlin or a Wade Phillips?...not me, partner....would we want consistency? yes...

I love the Eagles. But I hate their philosophy. I personally can't wait till some things change, but I like winning. I like the team's business like approach and overall consistency. I like Andy Reid. That being said, I hate the West Coast offense. I hate not having a consistent running approach. I hate not having receivers that are a threat to bring it to the house, I hate passes that travel 3 yards in the air. I hate Don's new style, especially with the media. I hate having no pass rush. I hate small one-gap tackles. I hate the 4-3 in general...I loved when the Eagles ran the 3-4 on the 1980 team and I loved the 46 defense....I hate not having "nasty" men on defense....on that Buddy team, the defense had nasty guys....Joyner, Hopkins, Waters....and unbelievably good guys....Eric Allen, Simmons, B and E, Willie T...I think your defense sets the tone and the Eagles tone is just not nasty enough for me....

I want my cake and eat it too. I could use a change, to be honest. In my bizarro world, Reid would pack it up (I just don't think we'll get a ring with this regime) because of family matters and we blow it up. I would bring in a young aggressive D-coordinator to be the head who brings with him a veteran offensive coordinator. The GM would be independent of the staff, too. I would look at character, but not bring in "marginal" players because of it...I would not bring in a TO, but I would not be afraid to bring in a Chad Johnson.

The team who I would root for, if I wasn't so loyal, would probably be a 6 hour drive away in the same state....I love the Steelers. They do draft well, as do the Pats, and I also think that the Colts, Ravens, and SD the Steelers are nasty, consistent, and basically uncontroversial, outside of Big Ben last year.

9:23 AM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

you're lucky. my second favorite team is the raiders, but sadly they haven't been the same since al davis died and they started propping up his body weekend at bernie's style.

9:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMG I just busted a gut at that last post! Good stuff.


6:07 PM EDT  

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