Warpath Game Preview: Plan Of Attack

Warpath Game Preview: Redskins vs. Eagles--The shortest path to the quarterback is up the middle and that's where the Redskins defense should be going after the Eagles on Sunday.

Don't worry about: LaVar Arrington's mindset. Though the timing was off on his comments, and there's a rift between he and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey, don't expect him to be unprepared for this game. Or to give anything less than his best. Arrington cares too much about his teammates to do anything else. Arrington's situation has been a constant sidebar to this season and it hasn't stopped him from competing yet. But we've still yet to figure out why he doesn't ever rush the passer. Some thing just haven't made sense this season.

And don't worry about: Mark Brunell's health. He practiced Thursday and Friday and was moving around well. Brunell should be fine for Sunday.

Where to attack: There's lots of places, but we'll start up the middle on defense. The Eagles have a backup center starting who didn't handle the blitz well at all in Arizona. That left QB Mike McMahon battered. Also, RB Ryan Moats had problems handling the outside blitz, an area the Redskins like to exploit.

Beware: Moats. He's had touchdown runs of 40 and 59 yards and coach Andy Reid said he's the best pure runner on the roster, including injured Bryant Westbrook. Moats is explosive and, given a crack, can be dangerous. But the Redskins have played the run well, save for two runs the past two games. It helps tremendously that Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a are healthy and plugging the middle.

Don't beware: McMahon. He stinks. At least he's generous, with three touchdown passes to the opposition. It's not all his fault as the Eagles' line isn't protecting him and the receivers aren't that good. But even when open they're not always getting the ball. McMahon is mobile and has a knack for sometimes making something out of nothing. We just haven't seen that in Philly.

Wondering about: Jevon Kearse. The Eagles' end is questionable with a knee injury and has not practiced this week. Not that he's a huge loss for Philly, silly as that might sound. In 18 of his 29 games with the Eagles, he has not recorded a sack. Kearse has been a disappointment. But rookie right end Trent Cole has played well and could be a handful for Chris Samuels.

Exploit: The Eagle outside linebackers. Keith Adams and Dhani Jones aren't that good (wonder if this is where Arrington will end up next year; they could use him). Adams has struggled in coverage against tight ends, so look for Chris Cooley to have a big game. And Jones has not done much of anything.

Simple reason: Some people still can't figure out why Taylor Jacobs hasn't done anything. It's simple, as we've told you before. When Jacobs gets in the game, he runs the wrong routes and lacks confidence. Really not hard to figure out. For all Joe Gibbs' talk about him not getting opportunities, good players get opportunities. Jacobs, nice as he is, has run out of options here.

Mistake prone: The Eagles have had more than 100 yards in penalties in four straight games. They've also turned the ball over 12 times in that span.

Matchup to watch: Sheldon Brown vs. Santana Moss. Brown makes plays, but Moss makes more.

Prediction: Certainly the Eagles will try to play better than last week when they lost at Arizona. Their defense still has many key players in place from last year's Super Bowl run. But the D hasn't played consistent all season. The Redskins are a better team and they will celebrate their first playoff berth since 1999 with a win. Redskins 24, Eagles 14.


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