Audibles: NFC East Week 6 preview

October, 10, 2008
10/10/08
4:59
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Dallas Cowboys (4-1) at Arizona Cardinals (3-2), 4:15 p.m. ET

The Cowboys have spent the week dealing with distractions caused by Adam "Pacman" Jones' latest incident. Even if Jones plays -- and all indications are that he will -- the Cowboys' secondary will have its hands full with the Cardinals' passing attack. I expect the Cowboys to play quite a bit of man-to-man coverage in an attempt to give DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis more time to rush Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. I'd be shocked if the Cardinals are able to run on the Cowboys. They won't even pretend to keep the Cowboys' defense honest, although the Redskins gashed the Cowboys with the run.

Expect the Cardinals to take a page out of the Redskins' game plan and jam Terrell Owens at the line of scrimmage. It worked for Washington and it worked for the Bengals for three quarters. T.O. doesn't do well against anyone who gets physical with him at the line of scrimmage. I think the Cowboys will put up enough points to win, but it should be an entertaining game.

St. Louis Rams (0-4) at Washington Redskins (4-1), 1 p.m. ET

The Redskins can't let the Rams hang around for too long in this one. How will the Rams perform under interim head coach Jim Haslett? Well, I don't think much will change. Jason Campbell will look to get Santana Moss and Chris Cooley involved early and then the Redskins should coast home with Clinton Portis and the running game.

There's a chance this game is close for a half. The Redskins have strung together two emotional NFC East wins on the road. Jim Zorn has spent the week reminding players of the proverbial trap game. This one won't be pretty, but the Redskins will improve to 5-1. In fact, they'll be 7-1 at the midway point. Just a remarkable story. So much for this team being last in the NFC East. I don't see them fading at all. Players such as safety Chris Horton keep improving every week.

New York Giants (4-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-3), 8:30 p.m. ET Monday

Is it really a good idea for the Browns to talk trash when they have a 1-3 record? This was a team that has shrunk in the face of major expectations. I want to believe that we'll see a close game, but I think Eli Manning and the Giants' receiving corps will shred this secondary.

And the Browns are picking on the wrong guy. Running back Brandon Jacobs is coming off his best game of the season, and he'll be looking to punish the Browns. Playing a game without starting wide receiver Plaxico Burress only helped the Giants gain confidence.

This is a game in which defensive end Justin Tuck will serve notice that he's a player to be reckoned with. Giants fans already know it, but the rest of the nation will get to see it Monday.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (2-3), 4:15 p.m. ET

Call it the Mediocre Bowl. I guess you could argue that the 49ers have exceeded our expectations while the Eagles have faded fast after a strong start. The Eagles won't have All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook. Correll Buckhalter should fill in nicely, but we thought the same thing two weeks ago against the Bears.

Andy Reid is running out of excuses. This team makes mistakes at key moments in games. I'm thinking you might want to dial up Donovan McNabb on a quarterback sneak if you have another goal-line situation. The Eagles came out with what looked like an aggressive game plan against the Redskins. But after the first couple of drives, the offense went into a holding pattern.

On defense, the linebackers must do a better job of tackling or Frank Gore will have a big day. He has over 600 yards from the line of scrimmage. You better account for him on every play. I think the Eagles win going away, but I've written those words before and been wrong.

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