Free NFL Pick: Philadelphia at Washington 11-15-2010

November 14, 2010

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Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

Monday November 15th, 2010 8:30 PM EST

Line: Philadelphia -3

Overview:

After the Giants loss to Dallas, the NFC East has been blown wide open. At 5-3, Philadelphia could be tied for the best record in the division should they come away with a victory. They will take on the 4-4 Redskins, who would edge closer to the forefront of the division, should they reach a 5-4 record. Both of these teams are in a position to make a play for the division title. While a wild card spot seems inevitable for at least one team in the NFC East, this week will put the winner in a position to noise at the top of the division.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Redskins have the tools to stop Michael Vick, but Vick has been downright incredible this season. He has thrown seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. His worst quarterback rating in any given game was 90.8, in a game he was injured in and only threw seven passes. If that isn’t enough, Vick is the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL when it comes to scrambling. He has two touchdowns in his last three games he has appeared in. If the Redskins get caught up in man coverage, Vick can turn a broken play into a huge run. The Redskins will need to contain him and their defense is built to do so.
  • The Redskins have the ability to seal the edge in a 3-4 defense. This is huge when playing a rushing quarterback. The best thing the Redskins can do is force Vick to stay put and become a pocket passer. While Vick has been great at throwing the ball, he is most dangerous when he is on the move. Flushing him out of the pocket is counter productive. They need Lorenzo Alexander and Brian Orakpo to force everything back into the middle, where the strength of the 3-4 lies.
  • Donovan McNabb needs to play. He has had a rough stretch recently, having a hamstring injury and a blow to his ego after being benched in favor of Rex Grossman in the final two minutes of the game. McNabb hasn’t exactly had a fantastic season statistically, though he has clearly shown leadership and changed the culture of the Redskins offense. McNabb is going up against his former team, so though he may be listed as questionable, it is probably safe to say he is going to suit up. The Redskins took out the Eagles the last time McNabb faced his former team. This time he will have his home crowd behind him. McNabb had a shaky game in his last game against Philly. It was evident that Andy Reid knew exactly what would rattle McNabb, but at the end of the day Washington still managed to come away with a victory.
  • The Redskins have to limit the huge crushing plays from the Eagles explosive offense. The Eagles have 24 plays of 20 yards or more. With DeSean Jackson back in the lineup, the Eagles could hit a home run with a number of different players. LeSean McCoy, Jackson, and Vick all have mind blowing speed. With Jeremy Maclin on the other side, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the weapons the Eagles present. Redskins middle linebacker London Fletcher is a veteran presence. The Eagles love the screen pass and having a guy like Fletcher in the middle is handy when it comes to snuffing those out. The secondary will have their hands full, but keeping everything in front of them is key. Allowing the Eagles to nickle and dime you to death is worth the opportunity cost of giving up the big one.

Matchup to Watch:

Trent Williams Vs. Trent Cole

  • May the best Trent win. Trent Cole has been a dominating force for the Eagles this season. He has seven sacks on the year, four of them coming in the last three games and one coming against Peyton Manning. There is no questioning Cole’s production, but will his experience be enough to get past Trent “Silverback” Williams?
  • Williams has had to acquire on the job experience. The Redskins took Williams because the admired his physicality. The pulled the trigger on Williams at the four spot in the draft, passing on a tackle who topped most teams boards, Russel Okung. Williams has seen his fair share of pass rushers this season. Hopefully for the Redskins, he took time over the bye week to watch Cole’s tendencies. He matches up physically against Cole, but he is still raw.

Wrap Up:

The Eagles got the best of Peyton Manning last week. When Vick is on, the Eagles are almost impossible to handle. With Jackson back in the lineup and McNabb struggling with not only his mobility due to injury, but also the trust of his head coach, it is going to be tough for the Redskins to hold off the Eagles. The Redskins got the best of the Eagles last time they met, but the Eagles are a different team when Vick is under center.

Free NFL Pick: Philadelphia -3


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