WASHINGTON REDSKINS (7-7) vs. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (8-5-1); Today: 4:15 P.M. / Where: FedEx Field / TV: Chs. 5, 45 / Radio: ESPN 980

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

KEY MATCHUP

EAGLES WR DeSEAN JACKSON vs. REDSKINS CB DeANGELO HALL

Earlier this week, Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache was talking about Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson. He then was asked about receiver Kevin Curtis.

Blache quickly complimented Curtis before turning the subject back to Jackson. He's only a rookie, but Jackson clearly has the Redskins' attention even though he was limited to one catch for 8 yards in the Redskins' 23-17 victory in Week 5. (He did return a punt for a touchdown, though.)

Jackson leads the Eagles with 58 catches for 852 yards. Philadelphia's 48 pass plays of at least 20 yards rank third in the NFL.

The [Eagles'] formula has been working, Blache said. It's always been a good offense, but they've been an exceptional offense the last couple weeks.

Since a drubbing in Baltimore, the Eagles are 3-0 and have averaged 32.7 points and 395.3 yards.

Hall is now a starter and has two games remaining in his contract drive. Since coming to the Redskins, he has two interceptions and four pass breakups. Last week against the Bengals, he played 61 of 64 snaps.

Jackson probably isn't the kind of receiver that will force Blache to assign Hall to him all game, but they'll run into each other. Shawn Springs will probably get the assignment when Jackson is lined up in the slot.

THREE KEYS

1.DON'T BE LATE

The Redskins have been first-quarter no-shows the past three games, falling behind 10-0 to the Giants and 14-0 to Baltimore and Cincinnati. In those losses, the offense has eight punts and three turnovers, and the defense has allowed five scoring drives. The Redskins' 33 first-quarter points are tied with Oakland for fewest in the league. Philadelphia has outscored its opponents 82-50 in the opening quarter.

2.LIMIT WESTBROOK'S BIG PLAYS

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was limited to only a few possessions in the teams' first meeting, but he hurt the Redskins in both games last year, posting six runs of at least 11 yards and five receptions of at least 10 yards, including a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The Redskins' linebackers have to be on point to limit Westbrook if he squeezes through the first level, especially when he's Donovan McNabb's outlet target.

3.KEEP PROTECTING CAMPBELL

Last week, for the first time all year, Jason Campbell was not sacked even though the offensive line was without both starting tackles. Philadelphia's 41 sacks are tied for third in the league. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is famous for his blitz schemes, but he sent more than four rushers only nine times in the first meeting. Still, the Redskins have to be ready for four-man rushes that include linebackers and safeties.

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

The Redskins still haven't reached 30 points this season. The slump includes six offensive touchdowns in the past six games and 11 straight games without three offensive TDs. Don't expect that to improve against a Philadelphia defense ranked third in yards and ninth in points. The key will be third down. In the 23-14 win, the Redskins were 11-for-19 on third down and rushed 44 times for 203 yards, both season highs. But the passing game (19th in the NFL) simply isn't good enough to keep the Eagles from stacking the box to try to contain Clinton Portis.

Edge: Eagles

WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL

The Redskins can relate to Philadelphia's up-and-down season. Like the Redskins in 2005 and 2007, the Eagles started fine (5-3), had a rough November (2-2-1) and are catching fire in December (2-0). At the center is the resurgence of Donovan McNabb, who has seven touchdown passes and only one interception in three wins since his benching against Baltimore. The Eagles are more efficient in the passing game (164 more pass attempts than runs), so expect McNabb to throw often to Jackson and Westbrook. …