Early look at Monday Night

On Monday night (ABC, 9:00 PM ET), let's call it an "old-new" rivalry when two longtime NFC East foes meet in Washington when the Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles

 

"Old" because it's been contested since 1934.  "New" because it -- and every other NFC East matchup this year – has a whole new aspect to it in Washington's "ball coach" (as he calls himself), STEVE SPURRIER.

The former Florida coach (with a 122-27-1 record and 11 bowl appearances with the Gators) made his highly anticipated NFL coaching debut a successful one on Kickoff Weekend with a 31-23 win over Arizona.

And, yes, the Eagles' pass defense – ranked No. 2 in the NFL last year – will have to be ready for that Spurrier air game (Redskins quarterback SHANE MATTHEWS threw 40 times Sunday).  But what was that coming out of the Washington backfield last week?  Running back STEPHEN DAVIS, who many thought might be an afterthought in Spurrier's "Fun ‘n Gun" air game, but who ran 26 times for 104 yards and a TD (and added seven catches for another 46).

"Maybe you'll see more of me as a runner and receiver," says Davis hopefully.

The Redskins will have their own hands full Monday night in trying to contain the QB who led the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game last year, DONOVAN MC NABB.  With three TD passes, he had Philadelphia up by 24-13 at the end of the third quarter last Sunday in Tennessee before the Titans rallied for a 27-24 victory.

"It's going to be a fight," says Redskins defensive end RENALDO WYNN.  "It's a big division rivalry, and they already lost their season opener.  They're going to be looking forward to coming in here and winning."

No matter who wins Monday night, if the past in this series holds true, it will be a close game.  Seventeen of the past 21 meetings in the series have been decided by seven points or less.


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