Week 11: Eagles-Redskins preview

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Philadelphia at Washington
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at FedExField, Landover, Md. - TV: FOX; DirecTV: 707
*TV announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
*Keys to the game: Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has been holding his unit together with shoe strings and bailing wire, and even a bye week can't fix what ails a defense allowing 397.9 yards per game. Minus injured Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, Washington has just 14 sacks. The Eagles have been struggling to generate the big plays that have been a staple of their offense in recent years, and now could be turning to rookie QB Nick Foles with Michael Vick leaving last week's game with a concussion. If Philadelphia's depleted offensive line can hold up against a meager pass rush, Washington's secondary will be extremely vulnerable. The Redskins have one of the NFL's most dynamic ground games, but the development of QB Robert Griffin III as a passer has been stunted a bit with WR Pierre Garcon battling a foot injury that's likely to keep him out again. The Eagles' pass rush has been as inconsistent as the Redskins', and RGIII's mobility will buy time to allow potential big plays to develop.
*Matchup to watch - Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan vs. Eagles RT King Dunlap: Kerrigan has continued to fight without bookend rusher Brian Orakpo, posting 4.5 sacks with teams focused on stopping him with no one else to worry about double-teaming; the Redskins don't have another player with more than 1.5 sacks. The Eagles have an interesting decision if Foles starts. Dunlap has been playing on the right side the past two weeks to protect the left-handed Vick's blind side since Todd Herremans was lost for the season.
*Player spotlight - Redskins S Brandon Meriweather: The team hopes Meriweather (knee) can make his season debut and bring stability to the back end of a pass defense that has allowed 17 receptions of 40-plus yards.
*Fast facts: The Eagles have won five of their past six games at Washington. ... Five of the Redskins' final seven games are against NFC East rivals. They are 2-7 in the division under head coach Mike Shanahan.
Washington is converting just 28.6 percent of its third downs, but has been solid in the red zone with touchdowns on 53.6 percent of its trips inside the 20. That area has been Philadelphia's downfall in several losses, and will again prove the difference in a close game.
*Our pick: Redskins 27-24

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