1. Donovan McNabb has looked erratic through the first two games. He’s also had a controversial week with the comments he made regarding the pressures African American quarterbacks face. Can he overcome everything he’s gone through with the injury, his play, and the controversy, and lead the Eagles to a victory over the Lions?
When I look at Donovan McNabb right now, I see a player who’s defeated. McNabb isn’t the same player he used to be, because he’s still healing from his ACL injury. He’s not 100-percent, and I question if he should even be out on the field. McNabb has a lot of pride. He wants his team to win, and he wants to be the man behind center who’s leading them. The problem is he’s not ready to lead them. His mechanics are off, and he seems to be favoring his injured leg. Most of his throws are high, meaning he’s not using his legs properly and is relying on his arm. With that said, I don’t see the Eagles defeating the Lions this weekend. There are too many question marks surrounding McNabb, and all of this adversity is destined to boil over at some point – possibly on Sunday.
2. The health of Brian Westbrook’s knee is a concern. If McNabb isn’t 100-percent and Westbrook isn’t 100-percent – what happens to the Eagles offense?
Everyone talks about McNabb and him being the leader of the offense, but if there’s no Brian Westbrook in the lineup, the offense becomes predictable and mediocre. Westbrook causes so many matchup problems for the opposition and is truly the one star the Eagles have on offense. If Westbrook is unable to go, I expect Correll Buckhalter and rookie Tony Hunt to see a lot of action against the Lions. But Westbrook is a gamer, and it’s very likely that he will play.
Donovan McNabb completing a pass. (Getty Images/Gregory Shamus)
Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson present a tough matchup for any team’s secondary in the National Football League, but when they face a hurting Eagles secondary on Sunday – this could get scary. The status of Lito Sheppard for Sunday is questionable as he’s recovering from a knee injury. Brian Dawkins suffered a neck stinger against the Redskins, and he’s also questionable for Sunday, but he will likely play. If both Dawkins and Sheppard are unable to play on Sunday, Williams and Johnson will have more opportunities to make big plays. Williams and Johnson, in the Lions’ first two games, have scored one touchdown in both games. They’re huge threats to any defense and even more dangerous with replacements filling in for a team’s starter.
4. The Eagles are going to wear throwback uniforms from the 1933 season this Sunday against the Lions, in celebration of their 75th season. Will a new look bring out a different outcome?
The uniforms the Eagles are wearing this Sunday are powder blue and yellow, and they give the feel of the San Diego Chargers throwback uniforms – without the lightning bolts. At this point, searching for hope and reasons to justify the Eagles winning this Sunday is normal. But wearing alternate or throwback uniforms on game day doesn’t generate anything for a team except merchandise sales.
5. How big is this game for the Eagles?
This game against the Lions, a game many predicted the Eagles would be entering into at 2 - 0, is a make or break game for the season. If the Eagles lose this game against Detroit, it’s bye-bye playoff hopes and hello top-ten selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. A loss to the Lions means drastic changes. When I say drastic, I mean a change at quarterback – replacing McNabb with rookie Kevin Kolb. Let’s hope for the Eagles sake that they can extinguish these flames of defeat before they burn out of control.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. If you have any questions for Chris, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.