Last year at this time, Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles were the feel good story of the NFL.
Vick’s unlikely redemption was an irresistible human interest story that was sweetened by his explosive play and winning record. Unfortunately for Vick, this season has been more horror show than uplifting drama.
Philadelphia v Washington
Venue/Stadium: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
Time/Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 16, 2011
NFL Odds From: JustBet
Spread (ATS): Philadelphia -1
Coming into week six, Vick and the Eagles (1-4) are banged up and facing a Washington Redskins (3-1) squad that will make that second victory extremely difficult.
Who would have thought that 6 weeks into the NFL season the Eagles would be playing in a must win game against a division opponent that will ultimately make or break the team’s season.
The Redskins are also not the same team they were at this time last year, and that’s a good thing. For Washington, the 2010 season was marred by on and off-field dramas that pitted head coach Mike Shanahan against defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Freed from these distractions, Shanahan has been putting his own mark on the Redskins. Part of that effort has turned on bringing out veteran quarterback Rex Grossman’s full potential. Grossman led the Chicago Bears to a 13-3 season in 2006 but hasn’t seen much action as a starter since leaving the Windy City.
But under Shanahan’s guidance, he’s been showing some of that spark he had in 2006. So far this season he’s completed 83-143 for 983 yards and six touchdowns and five interceptions.
In Vick’s case, things could not be more different. Since injuring his ribs early in the season, he’s been a shell of the player he was in 2010. While he’s completed 105 of 169 for 1336 yards and eight touchdowns, he’s also thrown seven interceptions and fumbled six times. Four of those picks came in the Eagle’s 31-24 loss last week to the Bills.
For a struggling quarterback, facing off against the Washington defense is the stuff of nightmares. The Skins are currently allowing an average of only 84 yards on the ground per game. Vick may find that his trademark bursts of speed won’t help him much this week.
And there’s no doubt that the Washington defensive line will be relishing an opportunity to let Vick know that the 59-28 beat down he put on them last year was a one shot deal.
For the Eagles, this is a very big game, they haven’t dropped five games in a row since Bill Clinton was sitting in the White House. Head coach Andy Reid knows that his job may well rest on the outcome of this game, so everyone has all the inspiration they could want.
Vick and the Eagles surprised Washington last year, but it’s unlikely that lightening will strike twice in the same spot. The drama free Redskins are playing well and will very likely put the Eagles in a situation that makes them dread the flight back to Philly.
Matt’s Prediction: Washington 28-14