Game time: Sunday, Nov. 18, 1:0 p.m. ET, FedEx Field
Weather: mid-50s, sunny
Records: Eagles (3-6) at Redskins (3-6)
1. Can whomever is under center take advantage of a suspect Redskins secondary?
It's Friday morning and we still don't know if Michael Vick will start seven days after suffering a concussion, or if rookie Nick Foles will finally get his chance. Even if Andy Reid isn't saying publicly, there are a few reasons to lean toward Foles.
For starters, Vick had his brain sloshed around his noggin less than a week ago. That fact coupled with a suspect offensive line might make it in Vick's long-term interests to take the week off. (The problem, of course; it might not be just "a week." There's speculation that Reid could ride Foles out the rest of the season in the hopes of keeping his job.)
Then there's this: the Redskins are atrocious against rookie quarterbacks (almost as mystifying -- the 'Skins haven't won coming off their bye week since 2007). Whomever gets the nod this much is certain: they have to take care of the football. You'd think that would go without saying but these are the Eagles. No detail is too small.
2. Is this the game that Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg let LeSean McCoy do the heavy lifting? (At this point, this question is for comedic purposes; we all know it won't happen.)
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It does make you wonder, though: just how bad do things have to get before Reid relents on this pass-only offensive philosophy? Yes, that's an overstatement but you know what we mean. The Eagles gave McCoy a new contract in the offseason because he's one of the league's most dangerous backs. But there's one caveat: YOU HAVE TO GIVE HIM THE BALL. We'll repeat what we wrote above: You'd think that would go without saying but these are the Eagles. No detail is too small.
"It seemed so wrong-headed, especially since the (Cowboys) game was close through three quarters," Ray Didinger said of Reid ignoring the running game earlier this week. "Often, the Eagles’ coaches use the excuse they were way behind so they had to throw the ball to catch up. Games like the one Sunday are proof that the score really doesn’t matter. Reid and Mornhinweg throw because they want to throw, simple as that."
3. Will the Eagles front seven be able to contain Robert Griffin III?
Well, if there's anything the Eagles should be good at it's playing against mobile, strong-armed quarterbacks. That said, this group has been anything but typical. Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last month and replacement Todd Bowles hasn't done much to change this group's fate. That said, Philly's front seven has shown signs of life in recent weeks; they sacked Tony Romo three times in Sunday's loss, and they got after Drew Brees the week before, forcing two fumble and sacking him twice. Whether that limited success translates against one of the league's most dynamic players is another issue.
4. Can the Eagles' secondary show up big against an undermanned Redskins receiver corps?
If the defensive backfield was looking for a confidence boost, here it is. The 'Skins will be without their two biggest playmakers -- Pierre Garcon and Fred Davis (there's a chance Garcon plays but he's been slowed by a torn ligament in his toe and admits that he's not close to 100 percent) -- and Josh Morgan, Santana Moss or Chris Cooley aren't legitimate threats to stretch the field.
5. What should we expect from the special teams?
It's hard to fathom a Bobby April-coached unit playing so poorly but given how the rest of the season has unfolded perhaps it's not all that surprising.
“The season has been very disappointing,” April said. “If you have a dominating special teams -- I mean, a dominating special teams -- many of the games we lost we could have won. You dominate them, and a lot of games we lost we could have won. I believe that. "
So does that change this week? Maybe. The best thing the Eagles have going for them: according to Football Outsiders, Washington's return teams are worse than Philly's coverage teams. It's not much but it's something.