Two teams heading in opposite directions came together for a game on Monday Night. The Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the playoffs while the Washington Redskins are headed home after this awful season closes for them. At 4-5, the Redskins are a team on the decline. They are a Wild Card team at very best at this point.
The Eagles are soaring and looking like they will challenge for the NFC East crown. This week will lay the framework for what lies ahead for both clubs.
ON THE RISE AND SOARING – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Week 10 came to a close with the Eagles’ party on Monday Night Football. I had them at 31-20, and despite me saying it would be close for a half, it wasn’t. Michael Vick showed his cannon on the first play of the game. The game was in fact over for the Redskins at that moment and you could see it on the face of Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan.
He was stunned. Vick went on to make a mockery of the opposing defensive players with his feet and rocket arm. You can now consider Jason Avant fantasy relevant as he reeled in all five balls for 76 yards and a score. The Eagles made it look easy like a game of pitch-and-catch.
The Week 11 matchup is with the New York “Football” Giants.
The Giants are coming off an absolute disaster game against Dallas in Week 10. New York scored the first points of the game and then witnessed a flurry of scores, nine straight. I expect them to game plan for the Eagles’ passing game and fail.
Although Vick isn’t likely to repeat his six-touchdown performance against a better New York defense, I do expect that Avant will have adequate targets to again be relevant.
Jerome Harrison looked strong, and with LeSean McCoy nursing a nagging rib injury, he should see some action at home against New York. I expect to see them both in the backfield at some point. This could be very scary, folks. I can’t imagine that the Giants want to get into a shootout with all the injuries to their wide receivers.
Expect a pounding ground game with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs reminiscent of when the Houston Texans beat the Indianpolis Colts for the first time. A sort of children’s playground keep away. This will be the only chance that New York has to contain the Eagle aerial assault. They will opt to spy the quarterback and contain the pocket. Expect the Eagles to run the ball to set up the play action that gets Vick an extra second on the vertical routes. The Giants gave up huge days to the Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys wide receivers. This has all the makings of game of the week.
ON THE DECLINE – WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Donovan McNabb inked a big contract on Monday. He will not be around to see dime one of the money. McNabb has seven weeks to show the Redskins that he can run the entire playbook. It’s been “dumbed down” so he can run it currently. Coach Mike Shanahan does not like McNabb for whatever reason. I would see the contract as a way for ownership to atone for the benching a few weeks back.
McNabb is not worth owning unless you need a spot start or injury. I dropped him in one league as there was no need to find out how this awful scenario will play out. I liked the way Keiland Williams looked on Monday but I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that his role will continue. Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain will return, and in the wings is James Davis, who was acquired after getting his walking papers from Cleveland. The Carolina Panthers tried to sign Davis last week only to be denied. This is evidence that Shanahan has plans for Davis. Anthony Armstong has a little value going forward and has been targeted an average of five times the last three games. While those numbers aren’t jaw dropping, Santana Moss and Joey Galloway have been silent.
The Week 11 matchup is with the Tennessee Titans.
The Redskins clearly are lost and will get all they can handle in Tennessee. I expect Vince Young to start and do really well versus a lackluster Redskin defense. Randy Moss, having another week of learning the playbook, will be a factor. I expect the Titans to exploit the Redskins’ 32nd ranked defense with Chris Johnson, Nate Washington, Bo Scaife and Justin Gage. They all benefit from the arrival of Moss.
Look for the Redskins to be confused. This is a team with big problems. They couldn’t get any pressure on the quarterback last week. Young is very mobile. I expect the Titans’ defense to take over the game at some point.
Keep your eye on tight end Fred Davis, who creates matchup problems with the linebackers (see Anthony Fasano in Week 10). Chris Cooley and Mike Sellers will be utilized as well. Don’t bet on another blowout, but the Titans’ players are the only ones to start with confidence. Redskins go into this week on one day less rest and have to travel.
I will bet that Shanahan doesn’t bench McNabb unless he is physically unable to play with that hamstring injury. They won’t have any more “good faith” contracts to sell. I’m laughing at the way this franchise gave “carte blanche” to the coach. The Albert Haynesworth debacle is laying the foundation for the coach’s undoing.
Haynesworth told the press that he would miss conditioning again next year and Shanahan is furious. Owner Dan Snyder has traditionally paid top dollar for the best players, and expected results from members of the coaching staff. Do you think there is a free pass out there for the current regime? (See Joe Gibbs’ forced retirement.) Thanks for the read, folks!
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