Recent history: The Eagles won both games last season, but the Redskins lead the series, 78-68-6.
367.7 yards per game (9th)
340.0 yards per game (13th)
While Mike Vick remains a lethal runner, he has made giant strides as a passer. He's improved his throwing mechanics and is keeping his eyes downfield rather than looking for the first excuse to run. He's second in the league in passer rating (110.2) and third-down passing (122.6).
Mike Shanahan is moving Donovan McNabb around a little more than the Eagles did, using bootlegs and rollouts to get him outside the pocket. Shanahan likes to use the run to set up the pass, but his ground game is struggling, which means the offense will only go as far as McNabb can carry it. He's struggled on third down.
Most of the Eagles' rushing success has come out of three- and four-WR sets. LeSean McCoy is averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry, but has just 34 rushing attempts. He also has 11 receptions. Mike Bell hasn't been much of a factor. Mainly a between-the-tackles runner, he's rushed for just 14 yards on nine carries.
Mike Shanahan brought in veterans Larry Johnson and Willie Parker and cut both. Clinton Portis had 18 carries in Week 1, but just 13 in Week 2 and seven last week. Shanny's RB flavor of the moment appears to be Ryan Torain, a guy he drafted in Denver, who rushed for 46 yards on seven carries last week.
WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are lethal. Maclin already has four touchdowns, equaling his rookie total. Jackson, who had 10 catches of 40-plus yards last season, already has four, two for TDs. Of their 24 combined catches, 18 have been for first downs or touchdowns.
The Redskins' receiving corps probably is making Donovan McNabb long for the halcyon days of Charles Johnson and Torrance Small. He's got WR Santana Moss (22 catches), TE Chris Cooley (14) and little else. Fifty of McNabb's 102 passes have been thrown in their direction. 'Skins will use lot of 2-TE sets.
After giving up 11 sacks in Weeks 1 and 2, this unit played a little better last week, giving up just three sacks, though extra blockers often were kept in. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett likely will take a page from the Packers and use a heavy dose of twists and stunts.
Rookie LT Trent Williams hurt a knee and toe in Week 2 and didn't play last week. His replacement, Stephon Heyer, is inadequate. RT Jamaal Brown, acquired in a trade with New Orleans after missing last season with a hip injury, hasn't played on the right side in 5 years and it has shown in the first three games.
309.0 yards per game (12th)
423.7 yards per game (32nd)
Challenged by defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, the front four dominated the Jaguars' offensive line. They were stout against the run and got consistent pressure on the QB. RE Trent Cole (three sacks, 10 hurries) is playing at a Pro Bowl level, and LE Juqua Parker (four sacks) is benefiting from fewer snaps.
This would be a much better unit if Albert Haynesworth was contributing anything. NT Maake Kemoeatu, who is coming off an Achilles' injury, is a physical force vs. run, but very limited as a pass-rusher. Former first-round pick Adam Carriker has a high motor, but doesn't seem to fit the 'Skins' 3-4 scheme.
MLB Stewart Bradley's return last week had a positive impact against both the run and pass. The Eagles neutralized the Jags' dangerous cutback RB Maurice Jones-Drew and held their TEs and RBs to 37 yards on seven receptions. Akeem Jordan is adapting well to the switch from WILL to SAM.
With the exception of pass-rushing OLB Brian Orakpo, most of this group seems ill-suited for a 3-4 scheme. The other OLB, Andre Carter, who had 11 sacks as a 4-3 d-end last year, seems as lost in this scheme as he was when he played in the 49ers' 3-4. Rocky McIntosh, a sure-tackling, 4-3 WLB, has struggled in coverage.
Rookie Nate Allen's ability to solidify the FS position has had a trickle-down effect on the entire secondary. Opposing QBs have just a .539 completion percentage and a 64.5 passer rating vs. the Eagles. With five interceptions already, they are on pace to better last year's total of 25.
Redskins are 31st in the league in pass defense. Opposing QBs have a .672 completion percentage and 95.0 passer rating. DeAngelo Hall is one of the league's better cover corners, but Carlos Rogers and nickel corner Phillip Buchanon have struggled. FS Kareem Moore isn't very physical, but has good range.
Eagles used Jorrick Calvin to spell DeSean Jackson on punt returns in the hot Florida weather last week and he looked good, averaging 10.3 yards on three returns. Coverage units continue to be inconsistent. They gave up a 41-yard punt return last week to Jags' Mike Thomas.
P Josh Bidwell injured his hip in pregame warmups last week and didn't play. His status is undertain. PK Graham Gano was signed late last season and has made 7 of 9 FG attempts, 2 of 3 from 40-plus. KR Devin Thomas is averaging 28.4 yards per return. Coverage units have played well, particularly the kickoff unit.
Domowitch's prediction: Eagles 17, Redskins 13
1. Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott vs. Redskins QB Donovan McNabb: McNabb knows the Eagles' defense well. What, if any, advantage that will provide remains to be seen. Advantage: Even
2. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin vs. Redskins CBs DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers: Jackson and Maclin already have combined for six TDs. Redskins are 31st in the league in pass defense. Advantage: Eagles
3. Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley vs. Redskins RBs Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain: Redskins haven't run the ball very well. Bradley helped the Eagles neutralize the Jags' Maurice Jones-Drew last week. Advantage: Eagles
HOT AND NOT
Eagles: WR Jeremy Maclin. Already has four TD catches, matching last year's rookie-season total.
Redskins: WR Santana Moss. Third in the league in receptions (22) and fifth in receiving yards (290).
Eagles: RB Mike Bell. Has just 14 rushing yards on nine carries in three games.
Redskins: WR Joey Galloway. Has just three receptions in three games.
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch tells you what he will be keeping his eyes on during the Eagles-Redskins game:
1. Good times on third down: The Redskins have been inept on third down. The offense is last in the league in third-down efficiency, converting just six of 33 (18.2 percent) opportunities. The Eagles, meanwhile, who finished 23rd in the league in third-down efficiency last year, are much improved under Mike Vick. In the 10 quarters he has been at the helm, they've converted 44.1 percent of their third downs and are 6-for-13 on third-and-10 or more since he replaced Kevin Kolb. Last year, they converted just 12 third-and-10s or more the entire season.
2. Another week, another 3-4 defense: The Eagles' offensive line, which had its share of problems with the Packers' 3-4 in Week 1, will go up against another one. The Redskins, who played a 4-3 last year and finished 10th in the league in total defense, really don't have the personnel to play a 3-4, but that hasn't discouraged coach Mike Shanahan. The Redskins are 32nd in the league in yards allowed and 31st against the pass.
3. The chess match between McNabb and McDermott: Donovan McNabb is short on good receivers, but long on knowledge of the Eagles' defense. Whether he'll be able to use that to his advantage remains to be seen. Look for Sean McDermott to try to confuse McNabb with some new blitz packages, coverage disguises and other little tweaks that will keep the former Eagles QB guessing.
4. Red zone no longer a dead zone: The Eagles, who finished 23rd in the league in red-zone productivity last season, are first in that category. They've converted seven of eight trips inside the 20 into touchdowns. For just the fourth time in his career, David Akers has gone back-to-back games without a field-goal attempt.