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Redskins-Eagles: 4 Keys to the Game

gary-banner2.jpg breaks down the key matchups to keep an eye on during Monday night's Redskins-Eagles game at Lincoln Financial Field:


Clinton Portis-Ladell Betts vs. Eagles Run Defense

The Redskins compiled 191 rushing yards in their 16-13, Week 1 win over the Miami Dolphins. Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and even Mike Sellers provided a solid punch.

The Eagles' defense shut down the Green Bay Packers' ground game, allowing just 46 rushing yards.

Last year, in Week 14, the Redskins ran roughshod over the Eagles, as Betts turned in a career performance rushing for 171 yards on 33 carries. (As a team the Redskins rushed for 210 yards.) It wasn't enough, as the Eagles fended off a late rally to win 21-19.

The Eagles spent the offseason upgrading their interior defensive line with wider bodies better able to stop the run. The Redskins will test them with their third-ranked rushing attack.


Redskins Blitz Packages vs. Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb is coming off a knee ligament injury suffered midseason last year, and he is not the mobile quarterback he was a few years ago.

So, in McNabb, the Redskins' defense could have a stationary target to pressure with blitzes.

If the Redskins can secure coverage one-on-one with the Eagles' receivers, it could allow Gregg Williams to employ some creative blitz schemes.


Redskins Special Teams vs. Reno Mahe

The Redskins have been solid in punt coverage, allowing a 5-yard return average in the Week 1 win over Miami.

Philadelphia lost last week's season opener to Green Bay primarily due to two fumbles by punt returners Greg Lewis and J.R. Reed. The Eagles re-signed fifth-year player Reno Mahe to take over punt return duties against Washington.

Mahe has not played since last year. He can be dangerous. In 2005, he llogged 21 punt returns for 269 yards for a league-best average of 12.8 yards per return.


Todd Wade vs. Jevon Kearse

Todd Wade steps in at right tackle for Jon Jansen, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 1.

Wade provides steady veteran experience--something the Redskins will need going against pass rusher Jevon Kearse.

The last time Wade lined up against Kearse was in 2003, when Wade was with Miami and Kearse was with Tennessee. Kearse won that battle, logging nine tackles, two sacks, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble.

Kearse missed virtually all of last season with a knee injury. Wade played in just one game last year.

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