1) Batter Michael Vick – The blueprint is out on how to minimize the explosiveness of Michael Vick: constant pressure from your front four, and knock him to the ground as many times as humanly possible. The season is just five games old for Philadelphia, and Vick has already had to deal with a concussion and a serious bruised hand. The Redskins have tallied 15 sacks through 4 games, and should blitz Vick throughout the game to disrupt him from throwing downfield to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Vick already has thrown 7 interceptions through 5 games, and fumbled 7 times as well, losing 3 of them. His reckless playing style and scrambling ability is a double-edged sword; electrifying to watch, but also clearly conducive to turnovers. The Redskins defense needs to capitalize on any of Vick’s mistakes, to try to doom the Eagles to a 1-5 start.
2) Eagles finally facing a tough defense – The Eagles offense has faced mostly laughable defensive teams in the first five weeks of 2011. Of their five opponents, only the San Francisco 49ers defense is ranked in the top half of the NFL in yards allowed per game, coming in at 340 yards, good for 13th in the league. The Eagles have also squared off against these defensive “juggernauts”: New York Giants – 20th, Atlanta Falcons – 24th, St. Louis Rams – 27th, and the Buffalo Bills – 30th. The yards and points shouldn’t be so easy to come by against the Redskins, ranked 6th, and allowing just 296 yards per contest.
3) Ryan Torain – Look, I have a better chance of guessing the Powerball numbers than figuring out what goes on with Shanny’s running back rotation. It was always mysterious in Denver, outside of the Terrell Davis era, and it has continued here in Washington. Tim Hightower looked like a back who would go well over 1,000 yards rushing from his preseason performances and workload, but his 3.5 yards per carry average through 4 games and a shoulder injury have limited his effectiveness. Enter Ryan Torain and his breakout performance in St. Louis, gouging the Rams for 19 carries and 135 yards. It’s clear he has become the running back du jour for the Washington Redskins. Pair that with the arrival of the Eagles woeful 28th-ranked rushing defense, and Torain appears to be in line for back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances for just the second time in his career.