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Redskins-Eagles keys to the game: special teams

By LaVar Arrington

The special teams will be a vital part of this game. As in the first time the Redskins and Eagles met this season, if Washington's special teams are able to help dictate field position, it will help both the offense and the defense.

On kickoffs and punts, if the coverage teams are able to stop the Eagles deep in their territory, it will go a long way in the battle for field position. In the Lions game, Detroit's Stefan Logan had success returning the ball and created problems for the Redskins defense. The Redskins cannot afford to let the Eagles have a good day returning if they want to have a fair shot at winning.

Michael Vick is very dangerous when he starts drives beyond the 40. When teams are that close to midfield at the start of drives they have the advantage. This is the part of the field where you will see what are called throwaway plays, which are deep throws to the end zone or a trick play like a reverse or double pass. Vick hasn't turned the ball over, so if he's going to beat you, make him do it with long drives.

The same holds true for kickoffs. If the coverage team can keep the Eagles deep in their own territory, the Philadelphia offense will have to drive a long way to have a chance to score points. Keep in mind the Redskins defense did a very good job against the pass in the first meeting.

In the return games, I am anticipating Brandon Banks will be out due to his knee surgery. This is a big blow to the Redskins, as Banks was a one man wrecking crew in Detroit. Somebody else will have to step in and step up. The Washington offense needs all of the assistance it can get right now and good returns would be a help. I'm looking for Phillip Buchanon and Chad Simpson to fill in, and if they are successful returning the ball they will give the offense a better starting point. Even if the Redskins don't score, hopefully they will have driven far enough downfield to punt and keep the Eagles deep in their own territory.

Stay consistent with field goals and don't have any breakdowns in blocking. Field goals may be the difference in this game Monday night.

This one is close, but I give the Redskins the edge.

By LaVar Arrington  | November 12, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
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