As usual real life prevents me from posting as often or as much as I’d like. But I have to put something up as a preview. Not to be a downer, but the idea of going into Dallas and Philly back to back and beating them both seems just a bit much. And with Shawn Springs, the heart of our defense hurt, I think we’re going to lose. That’s ok, because barring a terrible blowout where we turn the ball over ten times, we’ll learn a lot about playoff football win or lose in this game. The way you make it to the Super Bowl is by maintaining impossible intensity for several weeks in a row, and really for a whole season. If we show that intensity, all the better, we’re 4-1. If we don’t, we can learn that lesson as a team and as a coaching staff.
One of the weaknesses of the Redskins defense is covering the RB out of the backfield. We were dead last in that category last year, and of course, Brian Westbrook is the best RB out of the backfield in the division if not the league. We were relatively succesful against Reggie Bush, a similar player, a few weeks ago by playing a lot of zone and making sure we tackled right after the catch. This is likely the best strategy we can employ against Westbrook, too. Give up a few short passes to Westbrook, but make sure if they want to win they have to either run the ball or get the wideouts in the game. The zones also help us contain McNabb who is not the running threat he once was, but he still has the ability to get out of the pocket once and awhile.
On offense, the Eagles are the best blitzing team we’ve faced. This will be a test of exactly how far Jason Campbell has come in the system. If he is truly comfortable, the Eagles will give him the chance to hit receivers deep and in one on one coverage with a chance to run free. If he is not, he’ll likely get swamped. The Skins are good at blitz pickup, but we will give up some sacks. The key is where and when we give them up. The Eagles blitz more in the red zone than any other team in the NFL. We have to be prepared for this. They are also a good run defense, but we need to keep the time of possession on our favor, so we need to commit to the run even if it goes poorly early. As a compliment, look for tons of draws and screens, especially to Cooley.
By the way, coach Zorn has clearly been setting something up with the pump fake draws. We’ve been running several a game, and they were highly effective early, but defenses are now sniffing them out. This is not really the week to do it, because Philly blitzes so much but in the next couple of weeks, look for the pump fake, fake draw handoff to a deep pass to Moss. I know it is slow in developing, but it is clealry being set up. You heard it here first.
Overall, I see us losing a tight game. I think we’ll put together more drives, but have difficulty punching the ball in because of their agressive redzone D. They’ll sputter more, but without Springs, we’re likely to give up a big play, and we’ll probably turn the ball over a bit since we’re on the road. I’m predicting a tight, hard loss– 13-12.
Hail Skins, and let’s hope I’m wrong.