Audibles: NFC East Week 16 preview

December, 19, 2008
12/19/08
4:18
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Philadelphia Eagles (8-5-1) vs. Washington Redskins (7-7), 4:15 p.m. ET

The Eagles can't afford to stumble after their brilliant three-game stretch. Andy Reid must stay committed to the running game even if it's not there early. Donovan McNabb was lethal in Week 15 throwing downfield against the Browns, and there's a chance he'll pick the Redskins apart. The Eagles also have a revenge factor going. The Redskins went into the Linc and pushed the Eagles around at the line of scrimmage in the teams' first meeting this season.

For Jim Zorn, a win could go a long way in saving his job. Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder have offered few clues on what will happen after the season. Whether you want to blame it on injuries or coaching, this team imploded after a 6-2 start. The optimistic Zorn has questioned his own ability, and that's not a good sign. A win here would be huge for this team's psyche. I don't see it, though. The Eagles are finally firing on all cylinders. I don't see them slowing down. Look for Trent Cole to have a big game against the Redskins' injury-ravaged offensive line. Cole's had a lot better season than anyone's giving him credit for.

New York Giants (11-3) vs. Carolina Panthers (11-3), 8:15 p.m. ET

This could be a great one. The Giants will sell out to stop the run and try to make Jake Delhomme beat them. Something tells me that Justin Tuck is about to have a huge game. The NFC South blogger keeps telling me how great the Panthers' offensive line is, but I don't think they're ready for Tuck's quickness.

On offense, the Giants need a healthy Brandon Jacobs. As Tom Coughlin has pointed out, Jacobs sets the physical tone for the offense. Without him, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw aren't as effective. After a poor effort against the Cowboys, the Giants need their offensive line to come back strong. This would also be a good time for Domenik Hixon to have a big game. Without Plaxico Burress in the lineup, teams have been playing more man-to-man coverage against the Giants. Manning needs to make them pay. If the Giants win, they'll have a bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. I think they'll play a lot more like the desperate team that we saw last January. The Giants will win this one in a squeaker.

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