1:00 PM ET, October 16, 2011
FedEx Field, Landover, MD
The top and bottom teams in the NFC East from last season have switched places in a stunning reversal of fortunes.
The Eagles will be trying to avoid their first five-game slide in the lengthy tenure of embattled coach Andy Reid on Sunday when they visit the Redskins.
Philadelphia (1-4) last dropped five straight in 1998 under Ray Rhodes, who was replaced by Reid after that season. Reid is the NFL's longest-serving coach, having led the Eagles to five NFC title games and one Super Bowl appearance.
He's failed to bring the franchise its first championship, however, and has come under fire for this poor start. The defending NFC East champion Eagles were dubbed the "Dream Team" by backup quarterback Vince Young after an offseason full of major acquisitions including former Pro Bowlers Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Babin.
Reid is getting the brunt of the blame, particularly for his decision to promote former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator.
"The thing that myself, our coaches, and the players, we're going to work our tail off to get it right," Reid said. "That's what we're going to do. We're not backing up a leg, man. That's our approach."
The mood is different for Washington (3-1), which has shown marked improvement after a 6-10 season in 2010 in coach Mike Shanahan's first season. The Redskins have allowed the third-fewest points per game at 15.8, with a pass rush that has produced 15 sacks, led by Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo with 3 1/2.
"I think you're always more relaxed in your second year," Shanahan said. "I think, first year, you have so many things going on -- with evaluating personnel, and you're evaluating coaches, you're evaluating your support staff, and you're getting ready for a football season."
The Redskins had an enjoyable bye last weekend as they watched the Giants fall out of first place with a loss to Seattle while the Eagles lost 31-24 at Buffalo.
Michael Vick was intercepted a career-high four times against the Bills, and Philadelphia has 15 turnovers this season -- three more than any other team.
"They're moving the heck out of the football," Shanahan said about the Eagles. "They've got some great weapons. They're scoring some points. All four of those games they've lost with turnovers."
Philadelphia's six lost fumbles match Pittsburgh for the most in the league. Vick's seven interceptions -- one more than he had in 12 games last season -- are tied for the NFL's highest total.
"I think guys are just trying so hard to make a play," Vick said. "We know what we're capable of, we know what we can do."
Vick will be returning to the site of what was likely the best game of his career in a 59-28 rout Nov. 15. He threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson on the Eagles' first play from scrimmage and became the first player in NFL history to amass at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing TDs and two rushing TDs in one contest.
The Eagles led 35-0 after the first play of the second quarter when Vick hit Jeremy Maclin for a 48-yard score. They set franchise records for points in a half (45) and total yards (592) in the club's second-highest scoring effort.
"I think the people that were here last year understand that we were embarrassed pretty good," Shanahan said. "They took it to us, both offensively, defensively, special teams and coaching."
Vick will be chased by Orakpo, who has a half-sack in 14 career games against NFC East foes. He has 22 1/2 sacks in his other 21 games.
New Redskins punter Sav Rocca spent the previous four seasons with the Eagles, and is well aware of the danger of punting to Jackson.
"My mind-set going into any game is that I'm against the returner, whether it's DeSean or not," Rocca said. "You're just trying to take them out of the game, and him just being so dangerous you just want to try and eliminate any returns."
The Eagles have never faced Rex Grossman, who is ranked 26th with a 78.7 passer rating.
Washington may be without cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who has a knee injury and is listed as questionable. Tight end Chris Cooley is also questionable after having his left knee drained again this week.
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After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Eagles-Redskins matchup.
1. Philadelphia needs to maintain balance offensively: The Eagles are the third-ranked overall offense (446 yards per game), the No. 1 rushing offense (166 yards per game) and the seventh-best passing offense (280 yards per contest). The Redskins are coming off a bye week and have been stingy defensively, allowing fewer than 300 yards per game. Look for Eagles coach Andy Reid to be creative but balance his game plan with a good mixture of run and pass on early downs.
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|Avg Points Allowed||24.2||16.6|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PHI|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PHI|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 15-7|
|Nov 15, 2010||PHI 59, @WSH 28|
|Oct 3, 2010||PHI 12, WSH 17|
|Nov 29, 2009||PHI 27, WSH 24|
|Oct 26, 2009||PHI 27, @WSH 17|
|Dec 21, 2008||PHI 3, @WSH 10|
|Oct 5, 2008||PHI 17, WSH 23|
|Nov 11, 2007||PHI 33, @WSH 25|
|Sep 17, 2007||PHI 12, WSH 20|
|Dec 10, 2006||PHI 21, @WSH 19|
|Nov 12, 2006||PHI 27, WSH 3|
|Jan 1, 2006||PHI 20, WSH 31|
|Nov 6, 2005||PHI 10, @WSH 17|
|Dec 12, 2004||PHI 17, @WSH 14|
|Nov 21, 2004||PHI 28, WSH 6|
|Dec 27, 2003||PHI 31, @WSH 7|
|Oct 5, 2003||PHI 27, WSH 25|
|Dec 15, 2002||PHI 34, WSH 21|
|Sep 16, 2002||PHI 37, @WSH 7|
|Dec 16, 2001||PHI 20, @WSH 6|
|Nov 25, 2001||PHI 3, WSH 13|