Redskins Gameday Matchup

One win allowed a city, and a team, to heave a huge sigh of relief. The losing ended, for at least a week. And the 31-7 win over New York provided, they hope, a glimpse of the future with quarterback Patrick Ramsey. Seasons, and careers, aren't made in one game. But it sure beat the alternative for Redskins fans.

Now comes the reward: 11-1 Philadelphia in a Sunday night matchup. The Eagles have won six straight over Washington, but the Redskins hope they gained needed momentum last week. Maybe that will lead to an upset. A big one.

Big challenge for: Patrick Ramsey, who else? Ramsey missed two blitz reads in the last meeting, leading to him getting pummeled. He rarely had to read such blitzes last week because the misdirection bootlegs often took him away from the pressure. While last week was a nice step up for Ramsey, this week will show if he's yet capable of standing and reading in the pocket. Against the Eagles, those bootlegs won't be as effective. Also, this defense is 100 times better than New York's right now. Ramsey posted decent completion numbers in the first game (21-for-34) but they were ineffective throwing downfield. That can't happen again. And it's not just all on Ramsey, that's on his protection.

Big key: running the ball consistently. Without doing so, the Redskins have no chance. Everything against New York stemmed from their ability to run well.

Congrats: To Ray Brown, who will be starting his 200th career game. What an addition he's proven to be. Maybe the Redskins have to provide him a lot of help at times, but Brown has served as a steadying influence and good mentor for the young guys. He has a tough assignment today facing Jevon Kearse.

Why the Redskins should run better: Because they're playing at home. In Philly, the Redskins' line couldn't get to the Eagles linebackers because they constantly got a late jump on the ball. The Eagles' linemen would drive into them, allowing the linebackers to run free to the ball. It happened all day. And if they can't get to the linebackers, Clinton Portis can't operate. So removing the noise factor should at least help in this area.

Watch out for: Pressure up the middle. It's the most vulnerable spot and the Eagles often will use Kearse as a standup rusher up the middle.

The Redskins must limit: the big plays by receivers not named Terrell Owens. They failed to do this last time, with Fred Smoot getting burned for a long reception and later a pass interference penalty. He was clearly beaten on both. If they're going to double T.O., they must take away the much-lesser wideouts everywhere else.

Playmaker: Time for safety Sean Taylor to make a big play. The defense must force turnovers to win this game and Taylor is the best playmaker they have. With Donovan McNabb's scrambling, Taylor's speed and ability to cover ground quickly is a huge bonus. He made a beautiful diving interception in the first meeting. But big plays deep hurt the defense in the first game.

The Redskins must: Contain Brian Westbrook. He caught two touchdown passes in the first game.

Must avoid: Another game with 12 penalties, as happened in the loss in Philly. You can't commit so many fouls against a good team and expect to win.

Prediction: The Redskins gained confidence last week. The Eagles remain too talented and this offense hasn't proven it can do anything against a good defense. Eagles win, 21-10.

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