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Redskins-Eagles 2: A subtle rivalry

By Evan Bliss

The Redskins and Eagles rivalry appears to be gaining some momentum, considering both teams have never been competitive at the same time. Back in the day we could look through the schedule and notch four wins next to the Eagles and Cardinals before the season even began. The Eagles are the only team in the NFC East that the Redskins have an overall winning record against, despite the Eagles' success over the last 10 years and the Redskins’ slide from grace for nearly two decades.

It’s been much easier to dislike the Eagles’ fans than their team and players, considering the fans were the ones to worry about. Chief Zee, notably a fan-turned-iconic symbol of Redskin loyalty, was attacked and hospitalized by Eagles' fans in ’83 after a Redkins win at Veteran Stadium. But the Eagles themselves are the only blemish in the NFC East. A conference with more combined Super Bowl wins than any other (11), the Eagles haven’t contributed to any, much to their fans' chagrin.

The Redskins now see themselves in a position to oust the most dominant team in the conference for the past 10 years. However, it’s not uncommon that the Eagles and Redskins will split away wins during a season. In 2000, ’01 and ’07 the Redskins won in Philly, and the Eagles won in Washington.

Winning Monday night won’t be easy. The first meeting of the year saw the Eagles in a tumultuous quarterback controversy, oddly ironic after dealing Washington the face of their franchise during their recent run of success, quarterback Donovan McNabb. But the tables have turned since Washington's Week 4 win in Philly.

The Eagles are coming off a massive win against the Colts, led by Michael Vick who has returned to the helm after being squished by DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore. The Eagles looked much improved after their bye-week, whereas the Redskins look as if they needed two weeks off.

Kick and punt return specialist Brandon Banks is likley out. Who is running the football? Portis wants to play, I’m sure Torain does too, but are they healthy enough to run behind this offensive line? Did Kory Lichtensteiger take football lessons during the bye-week? But mainly, has McNabb mastered this incredibly complicated two-minute offense that only Rex Grossman and Kyle Shanahan can understand?

This should be the Monday night matchup. A division game with both teams vying to keep pace with the Giants to earn a playoff spot. The Eagles are fighting to maintain their decade-long stronghold on the NFC East after giving up their franchise quarterback. The Redskins are trying to prove to themselves and the rest of the NFL that they’re no longer the divisional doormat. Whether or not the Redskins can overcome their offensive setbacks, lingering injuries at almost every position, and the giant shadow that three Super Bowls can cast can’t all be resolved in one night. However, if they beat the Eagles on Monday, they could go to the playoffs. If they don’t, they won’t.

By Evan Bliss  | November 12, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  
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