JEFF MCLANE Record, 2-3
Have the Eagles quit? That is the question. Judging by their second half performance against the Bills and the sentiment emanating from the locker room this week Andy Reid still has the attention of his charges and will get a full effort Sunday at the Redskins. But there's evidence that not everyone is buying into what he is selling. Just watch the tape. Certain defensive players simply aren't hustling all the time. It's inexcusable. And then there are the little things that few see behind closed doors. Are players staying after practice to lift? Are they showing up at the NovaCare on their off days? Are they more concerned with accountability than what the media and fans are saying? Do they even care? I still think there's some pride in that locker room. If they have any now is about the time to show it.
This is as must of a must-win as Reid has ever had in terms of saving his coaching hide. There's no reason to think he can't save it at least for another week. The Eagles have won 15 of 24 against the Redskins under Reid and at times have done so convincingly. They have won 9 of their last 11 at Washington by an average margin of 10 points. The last time the teams met the Eagles embarrassed Washington at home on Monday night racking up 59 points to the Redskins’ inconsequential 28 points. But that game, when Michael Vick put on a dazzling show, seems like eons ago. Over the last three weeks I've picked the Eagles and they've lost in heartbreaking fashion. Maybe it's time I give up on picking the Eagles, but I think desperate times call for a desperate team. Eagles, 27-20.
What goes right: The Eagles offense actually manages to keep turnovers to a minimum.
What goes wrong: There's still no stopping the run for the Eagles D.
The Eagles season couldn't really end in week 6, could it? I doubt it, but I also doubted that they would lose to the Giants, and that they would fail to rebound against the 49ers, and that they would fail to rebound, again, against the Bills. Now come the Redskins, who excel at running and must be salivating after what they have seen from this run defense. Who knows what Mike Shanahan has drawn up in his two weeks to prepare for this game. Are there reasons to pick the Eagles? Yes. They looked better in the second half in Buffalo. They could be scoring in the 30s if they just stopped fumbling. And Washington is still led by Rex Grossman. If the Eagles somehow get a lead, this time it seems they'd actually be able to keep it against an offense without much air power. The Eagles talk about saving Reid sounded great this week - like this time they're really, really, really going to stop turning the ball over. As opposed to all those other weeks when ... what, exactly? The turnovers somehow were less important? After hearing the team all week I was tempted to pick them -- desperation should have kicked in by now -- but then I remembered being so sure they would get it done each of the past three weeks and of how they didn't: of the blown lead against the Giants, the even worse blown lead against the 49ers, and the mistakes against Buffalo. Those images on the field outweigh the ones in the locker room this week. I could see the Eagles pulling it out, but ultimately mistakes rise up again, and cost them dearly. Washington, 24-21.
What goes right: The defense, with their backs against the wall, finally tightens up.
What goes wrong:The Redskins' 3-4 front and talented pass rush create pressure and force more costly turnovers.