Game Snapshot

Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey proved last week that he has the arm and the ability to move the ball as long as he gets help from his running game. The Eagles' run defense has improved in recent games, but it doesn't often get tested with Philadelphia jumping out to big leads.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Sunday, 8:30 ET
GAMEDATE: 12/12/04
SURFACE: Grass
TV: ESPN, Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, Paul Maguire, Suzy Kolber

SERIES: The two teams met twice last season with the Eagles winning both times, including a come-from-behind 20-17 playoff win in Philadelphia. Quarterback Donovan McNabb completed a fourth-and-26 pass to Freddie Mitchell in the fourth quarter to set up a game-tying field goal by David Akers. Then Brian Dawkins intercepted a Brett Favre pass in overtime to set up Akers' game-winning 31-yard field goal.

2004 RANKINGS: Eagles: offense 7th (21st rush, 6th pass); defense 12th (14th rush, 14th pass). Redskins: offense 30th (16th rush, 29th pass); defense 2nd (3rd rush, 3rd pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey proved last week that he has the arm and the ability to move the ball as long as he gets help from his running game. The Eagles' run defense has improved in recent games, but it doesn't often get tested with Philadelphia jumping out to big leads. Washington's defense has been its strength, but faces a dilemma against the Eagles. In the first meeting, the Redskins rolled their coverage to stop WR Terrell Owens, only to watch RB Brian Westbrook and TE L.J. Smith combine for 11 receptions for 198 yards and four touchdowns. Look for Washington to bring a variety of blitzes in an attempt to confuse QB Donovan McNabb. If the Redskins can win the turnover battle and create short fields for their offense, they can at least keep it close.

FAST FACTS: Eagles: Have won the past six meetings, including a 28-6 win at home three weeks ago. ... Can clinch a first-round playoff bye with a victory. Redskins: Are 4-0 when RB Clinton Portis rushes for at least 100 yards. ... Coach Joe Gibbs is 60-39 (.606) all-time vs. the NFC East.

PREDICTION: Eagles 24-13

PERSONNEL NEWS:

Eagles:

--DT Darwin Walker will start at LE Sunday against the Washington Redskins. The move was precipitated by an injury to RE Derrick Burgess. LE Jevon Kearse will move over to the right side and replace Burgess.

--DT Hollis Thomas will start at RT Sunday against the Redskins. Darwin Walker, the club's regular right tackle, will start at LE. The move was precipitated by a sternum injury to DE Derrick Burgess.

--DT Paul Grasmanis is expected to be activated Sunday for the first time this season. Grasmanis hasn't played since the first week of the '03 season when he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

--LG Artis Hicks practiced for the second day in a row Thursday, but still is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Washington. Hicks has missed the last two games with a knee sprain.

--RG Jermane Mayberry, who missed last week's game with a calf strain, practiced for the second day in a row Thursday, but still is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Washington. The Eagles are expected to hold him out for one more game.

Redskins:

--LB LaVar Arrington (knee) participated in a full-pads practice Thursday and retains a chance of playing Sunday against the Eagles. He took all the scout-team work in practice. His status likely will be determined by how he feels Friday following Thursday's intense work.

--WR Laveranues Coles (toe) is expected to return to practice Friday and play against the Eagles. Coles has battled assorted injuries all year but continues to show impressive toughness.

--CB Walt Harris (hamstring) returned to practice Thursday and remains in line to play against the Eagles.

--TE Robert Royal (knee) returned to practice Thursday and remains in line to play against the Eagles.

--RG Randy Thomas (hamstring) returned to practice Thursday and remains in line to play against the Eagles. --WR James Thrash (hamstring) returned to practice Thursday and remains in line to play against the Eagles.

--OL Jim Molinaro (illness) sat out Thursday but is probable for the Eagles game.

INSIDE THE CAMPS:

Eagles:

With right defensive end Derrick Burgess out for at least the remainder of the regular season with a separation in his sternum, the Eagles will shuffle their defensive line around a bit Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said Thursday that Darwin Walker, the club's starting right tackle, will open the game at left end. Jevon Kearse, who ordinarily plays left end, will move to Burgess's spot.

With Walker moving outside, backup Hollis Thomas will start at right tackle.

Odd man out is Hugh Douglas, who was expected to start in Burgess's place.

"Hugh will play a lot more," Johnson said. "He'll play both (ends) a little bit, mainly the right side. And we'll get (tackle) Paul Grasmanis into the rotation a little bit too."

Grasmanis, who missed 15 games last season with a torn Achilles tendon, was inactive for all of the Eagles' first 12 games. They had been suiting up four tackles -- starters Walker and Corey Simon, and backups Thomas and Sam Rayburn. Thomas and Rayburn had been taking about 35 percent of the snaps.

But with Walker moving outside, the Eagles will need Grasmanis to provide depth inside, although Walker is expected to play some inside as well as outside.

Douglas, who re-signed with the Eagles this summer after getting released by Jacksonville, only has been playing about 12 to 15 snaps a game as Burgess's backup. He had two sacks and 13 tackles.

"Hugh is exactly what we brought him in here for," Johnson said. "He's been solid. Last week, I thought he played the run well. Sometimes those sacks come in flurries and at times, his pressure has been good. I've been happy with him. I've been satisfied."

Redskins:

The latter stages of the Nov. 21 loss to the Eagles didn't sit well with most members of the Redskins defense, who remember Philadelphia taking some deep shots downfield and talking trash after the outcome already was determined.

"We just remember," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "That's all I got to say. On the defensive side, we remember it. No big deal. This is the NFL. Nobody's going to beg for sympathy. We just remember."

The Redskins defense remains one of the NFL's premier units, ranked sixth in scoring and second in total yards. By keeping Washington in every game this season, the defense has helped the club maintain relatively high morale and has created considerable reason for optimism in 2005.

Even the first game against the Eagles was close, though the final score (28-6) made it seem otherwise. Washington trailed just 14-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter and had first-and-goal, but three straight penalties and a missed field goal led to a quick reversal in momentum.

Now the defense gets an opportunity to extract some vengeance against the Eagles. "That's what football's all about--when there's a little hostility in the air," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "Guys want to get out there, make some big plays and rub it in the other guy's face. We'll be ready."


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories