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Friday, November 13, 2009
Final Word: NFC East

By Matt Mosley

NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10:

Brian Westbrook
Brian Westbrook is healthy enough to play for the first time since Week 7.
The Eagles are going to be vulnerable at linebacker and cornerback against the Chargers. The Eagles have been dealing with injuries all season, but the losses of Ellis Hobbs for the season and Joselio Hanson to a four-game suspension have put them in a real bind. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is a tough guy who will stand in the pocket and take punishment. And with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates running routes, he has plenty of options. Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott would prefer to generate pressure from his front four, thus not exposing players such as cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Cornerback Asante Samuel loves to take chances on defense, but he needs to play under control against this offense. Just when you think Chargers coach Norv Turner is on the ropes, he gets his team going. That was a huge win over the Giants in the Meadowlands. We'll see if they can ride that momentum to a win over the Eagles. And by the way, keep your eye on Chris Gocong moving to middle linebacker. That's a completely different situation for him, and I think he could find himself covering Gates every now and then. That's not a good thing for the Eagles.

I think the Eagles will ride Brian Westbrook in this game. Yes, I know this is a different team with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but the Chargers did a nice job taking away the deep ball against the Giants. Westbrook appears to be healthy heading into this game, and I think he could give the Chargers' linebackers trouble in space. I think Andy Reid needs to get Westbrook involved early so he can take a hit or two. He hasn't played since that violent collision with London Fletcher's knee. Once Westbrook feels some contact, I think he'll be ready to go. I see a breakout game coming for him. And if you know my track record on predictions, make sure you bench Westbrook on your fantasy team immediately.

The Redskins are catching the Broncos at a bad time. After a brilliant start to the season, the Broncos have dropped two straight to the Ravens and Steelers. They can't afford a three-game losing streak. I think Josh McDaniels will take advantage of the Skins' issues in the secondary. With Levi Jones taking over at left tackle and Chad Rinehart possibly getting some valuable time at guard, Washington's offensive line will have a different look. I don't think it can be any worse. Mike Williams was struggling mightily before he was injured. Here's hoping that Jim Zorn and Sherm Lewis discussed ways in which Jason Campbell can get the ball away quicker. Don't waste time sending Santana Moss on double moves 40 yards downfield when there's no hope of getting the protection. And on defense, this is the game where you need Albert Haynesworth to earn his money. I know his legion of apologists has spoken, but it's time for him to take over a game. This would be a good place to start. The Redskins can't afford the turnovers that have plagued them all season. If they get a quick start and a heroic performance from the defense, the Redskins can hang around in this game. Am I predicting a win? C'mon!

The Cowboys must dominate the line of scrimmage on defense. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware could have three or four sacks. The Packers' offensive line has been awful this season, but those 37 sacks are also a product of Aaron Rodgers holding onto the ball too long. He won't be able to get away with that Sunday. Packers left tackle Chad Clifton is back from an ankle injury, but it's not like he's completely healthy. He really struggles when pass-rushers try to make an inside charge. At this point, Clifton's just a guy. Someone named T.J. Lang is going to get the start at right tackle. This is a big, big problem for the Packers. And keep your eye on Keith Brooking and Ware in this game. This offensive line has allowed linebackers to come racing through the line of scrimmage in the running game.

I love this Charles Woodson vs. Jason Witten matchup. It looks like the Packers will try to keep Woodson close to the line of scrimmage and let him press Witten. I think Witten's athletic enough to get releases on the long-armed Woodson, but we'll see if quarterback Tony Romo has enough time to get the ball to him downfield. I think it will be one of the best matchups on the field. Romo will be looking for Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush. The Cowboys think he's susceptible to double moves. That's why they hope he jumps on Miles Austin or even Patrick Crayton at times. If Bush gets burned a lot Sunday, remember that you read about it on Final Word, one of America's fastest growing features on the Internet.