Isn't it strange how McNabb will be celebrated as the greatest Eagle quarterback of all time Sunday all meanwhile the dismantling of the Eagles' season?
Things we know for a fact: 1, McNabb is no where near ready, mentally and physically, to start in the NFL. 2, Andy Reid is not giving him any favors making him throw the ball over 40 times a game. 3, There is no reason McNabb should be starting if he has rust by week 2, put that on the coaches. 4, Unless McNabb becomes miraculously healed within this week and until Marty learns that Westbrook is the best offensive player on the team, the offense will continue to run in circles.
As Sunday nears, major questions remain for the Eagles as many players are bitten by injuries.
Will McNabb regain his early form? There is no excuse to have a starting quarterback on your team with this much rust, especially at week 3.
Will the Eagles run the ball this year like the Fat Man promised?! Sure the o line hasn't played up to its potential so far, but there is no excuse with the current offensive scheme the Eagles are running. Fat Man continues to state the running game needs to get better. That might be so, but what about Westbrook's average of 5 yards per carry?! lol. If Westbrook doesn't become more of the offensive gameplan, this will be a loss.
Will the lack of a tight end continue to kill the Eagles offense? Opposing defenses have learned that if they can play bump and run with the Eagles' receivers, they can force McNabb to beat them with his arm. This makes the tight end position that much more important. As LJ Smith continues to be out for the Eagles, they will need significant production out of Schobel and Celek this week. On the opposing end, Chris Gocong had a weak showing against the Redskins last Monday night. He will have to play better for this defense, but those struggles, especially this early, are expected.
Will the absence of Lito Sheppard and questionable Brian Dawkins be the nail in the coffin for the Eagles this week? You have to be worried about this. With William James getting picked apart last week, luckily Sheldon Brown had a career game last Monday night. With Lito out, and the chance of Dawkins missing from the stinger, this defense is in big trouble as it faces the NFC's best receiving trio of Johnson, Williams and McDonald.
Key Matchup for the Lions: Shaun McDonald versus the lack of depth for the Eagles. With all that coverage leaning towards Johnson and Williams, Shaun McDonald has had a couple huge yet quiet games for the Lions and is a huge reason for their 2-0 record. Joselio 'Mmm bop' Hanson will have to have a very solid showing to stop this Lions offense. While Hanson will have a huge part in this game Sunday, it really all comes down to pressuring the quarterback. In other words, Hanson will not be held out to dry. The defense will have to show a team effort to stop that offense. The entire front seven must play light outs, bottomline. I could have gone with Tatum Bell against Omar Gaither due to their spread offense, but this is a passing offense. Tatum Bell has only had 15 and 9 carries in their first two games.
Key Matchup for the Eagles: Brian Westbrook versus the Lion's weak linebackers: It's obvious the Eagles have to run the ball to be successful this season, but this week there should be more emphasis placed on screens with Westbrook. The Lion's defense has been vulnerable so far to the big play in the passing game. While I expect Westbrook to have at least 20 carries Sunday, he should also have at least 6 or 7 designs in the passing game to get him in open field. Viking RBs had huge plays in the passing and running game against the Lions last week and I expect the same results this week.
Overall Feel for the Game: In just the 3rd week, the Eagles are surprisingly looking at a MUST WIN. What has me worried most about this game on Sunday all comes down to confidence. The Lions are a team on the rise that has a sense of swagger, while the Eagles are a team with a lack of confidence and one looking to get on the same page. Not a good mix, especially with so much at stake. Based on these past two games, nothing about the Eagles makes me confident that they will beat the Lions. With Lito and possibly Dawk out tomorrow, the Eagles' offense may be forced to put up at least 24 points to beat the Lions? CAN they do it? Of course. Will they? That is the question, and one that I'm extremely hesitant to answer. Not because I can't, but because I have a feeling what the end result may be.
Prediction: 28-27 Eagles
The Eagles, on the shoulders of Brian Westbrook, will have a late 4th quarter comeback after trailing all game that saves the season. McNabb will continue to show rust, and the play calling will remain stagnant. The WRs will have a great game, putting up lots of yardage, but overall the offense will remain scrappy.