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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 5
October 1, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM *TEN at NE Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Week:
*ARZ at DAL *MIN at ATL DET at SF *CLE at PIT Ravens
CIN at BUF *NO at CAR WAS at PHI Mon 9 PM Texans
*DEN at KC OAK at CHI *SD at JAX *IND at TB Jets
MIA at NYG SEA at GB   *updated Rams
   
Washington vs Philadelphia Sun, Oct 5; 4 PM on FOX at Osaka Dome
  Washington Rush Catch Pass
QB Patrick Ramsey 0 0 230,2
RB Trung Canidate 50 0 0
RB Ladell Betts 50,1 20 0
TE Zeron Flemister 0 10 0
WR Lavernues Coles 0 100,1 0
WR Rod Gardner 0 50 0
WR Darnerian McCants 0 40,1 0
  Philadelphia Rush Catch Pass
QB Donovan McNabb 40,1 0 180,1
RB Duce Staley 10 30 0
RB Brian Westbrook 40 20 0
RB Correll Buckhalter 50,1 10 0
TE L.J. Smith/ C. Lewis 0 30,1 0
WR James Thrash 0 30 0
WR Freddie Mitchell 0 20 0
WR Todd Pinkston 0 40 0

Game Prediction: WAS 21, PHI 24

The Redskins now ride atop the NFL East, placed there by their newfound ability to win close games. No Washington game this season has been decided by more than three points. That will probably continue at least until Tampa Bay comes to town.

The biggest reason for their ability to hang tough in games has been the reduction in their own turnovers, with Ramsey not throwing more than one interception a game and last week he had none against the Patriots. Compare that to the seven interceptions that the Redskins have forced from their opponents the last three weeks.

Patrick Ramsey came off his two consecutive 300 yard games to only throw for 147 yards against the Patriots last week. Lavernues Coles (5-62) and Rod Gardner (2-19) were the only wideouts that had catches. The Patriots were focused on stopping the pass and battered Ramsey in the process.

Opting to return to a more even ratio, Washington instead went to rushing Trung Canidate (12-67) and Ladell Betts (11-35, 1 TD) and ended up with a run/pass split of 25/22 in the game. Rock Cartwright was the short yard specialist even though his name sounds like it belongs in a soap opera and he shares the team lead for rushing touchdowns (2) with Ladell Betts. Trung Canidate has yet to score this season and does not figure into the passing game either.

What Spurrier has done, shockingly enough, is take what the defense is giving him and has translated that into three very close wins. With the secondary injuries for Philadelphia , chances are Ramsey gets to air it out again this week.

The Eagles come off their first win, a decisive beating of the Bills in a manner that we expected the first two weeks but never materialized.

Donovan McNabb threw for 172 yards and no scores while rushing six times for 53 yards. The Eagles reverted to a run heavy offense and used Correll Buckhalter (11-25, 1 TD) and Brian Westbrook (11-96, 1 TD) with Duce Staley only getting two totes for four yards and three catches for 16 yards.

HC Andy Reid said not to conclude that last week means Staley is no longer to be used. With Westbrook turning in a sharp 62 yard touchdown run in the game, Staley will now have to do more with less in order to regain his place in the rotation. Reid said that it came down to personnel groupings for the game that caused such little use to Staley. Since they won the game and gained yards doing it, perhaps those groupings should be used again.

Last week L.J. Smith had two catches for 16 yards for his first NFL catches (he had two incompletions in week one). Smith was brought on board via the NFL draft this year and is slotted to replace the aging Chad Lewis but that conversion will take time to happen.

CB Troy Vincent injured his hamstring against Buffalo but is hopeful he will be able to play this week.

This will be interesting to see if the Eagles can continue to improve while still hampered by defensive injuries. After losing their first two games, the Philadelphia fans still have yet to see a win in their new stadium and the Eagles are on the road for four of the next five weeks after this Sunday.

Look for Washington to exploit the Eagles secondary by offering a more balanced attack than Buffalo could muster last week. The Eagles have to get out of the NFC basement and facing the current divisional winner will help their cause in several ways. The Redskins have not faced a good running game this season except when they faced the Giants and Tiki Barber gained 126 yards. Philly will return to what won last week - running the ball and keeping the Washington offense off the field as much as possible. With a good set of receivers, the best way that the Redskins passing game can be neutralized is by going after Ramsey and Philly will be blitzing to avoid exposing their secondary to more challenges than it can handle.

WAS
PHI
2003 Averages
PHI
WAS
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
259
263
Pass yards
177
217
1.3
2.0
Pass TDs
0.0
1.8
0.5
0.3
Interceptions
1.0
1.3
13
2
Rush yards
52
-1
0.0
0.3
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
----
----
RB's
----
----
118
54
Rush yards
63
91
1.0
0.0
Rush TDs
1.0
0.8
42
54
Receive yards
41
34
0.0
0.0
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
WR's
----
----
208
179
Receive yards
111
120
1.3
1.3
Receive TD's
0.0
1.3
----
----
TE's
----
----
9
28
Receive yards
25
63
0.0
0.7
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
----
----
PK's
----
----
2.0
0.7
Field Goals
1.3
1.3
2.3
2.7
Extra Points
1.0
2.5
----
----
DEF/ST
----
----
0.3
1.7
Fumbles
0.3
0.8
1.3
1.0
Interceptions
0.3
0.5
0.0
0.3
Touchdowns
0.0
0.0
1.5
4.0
Sacks
1.3
3.8
0.3
0.0
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Redskins (3-1)
Score Opp.
16-13 NYJ
33-31 @ATL
21-24 NYG
20-17 NE
Week 5 @PHI
Week 6 TB
Week 7 @BUF
Week 8 BYE
Week 9 @DAL
Week 10 SEA
Week 11 @CAR
Week 12 @MIA
Week 13 NO
Week 14 @NYG
Week 15 DAL
Week 16 @CHI
Week 17 PHI
Eagles (1-2)
Score Opp.
0-17 TB
10-31 NE
Week 3 BYE
23-13 @BUF
Week 5 WAS
Week 6 @DAL
Week 7 @NYG
Week 8 NYJ
Week 9 @ATL
Week 10 @GB
Week 11 NYG
Week 12 NO
Week 13 @CAR
Week 14 DAL
Week 15 @MIA
Week 16 SF
Week 17 @WAS
(Statistics are game averages from current season )