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Eagles-Redskins predictions, key matchups

With the expectation that there might not be the usual early risers on New Year's Day, we will do our Sunday gameday predictions and matchups a day earlier for the season finale.

Les Bowen

Not much to analyze here. This will come down to how into it the Eagles are. I think they're into it. I especially think Juan Castillo's defense corps is on belated a mission of redemption.

I think the team believes going 5-1 in the NFC East would be an accomplishment, even if the fan base disagrees. It will be interesting to see what fan reaction is. Given the level of frustration, I wonder if a win will be booed more than a loss would be.

Prediction: Eagles 26-20.

Vegas Vic

Is 8-8 really that significant? Actually, it is. After opening at 1-4, then dropping 4-8, you better believe that 8-8 is quite a feat. We can thank Michael Vick. Coming back for the Miami game, Vick has used his arms and legs to lead the Birds to three straight wins, and not just ordinary wins.

The Eagles have outscored the last three opponents by 91-36, or an average of more than 18 points. More than enough to cover this snowman. And it has obviously jacked up the defense, who has allowed a meager 12 ppg the last three. Then there is Vick's crazy-good stats against Washington, throwing for five TDs and running for two in the last two games.

Now look at Rex Grossman's last effort against the Green, a 20-13 win for the good guys. Grossman was picked four times, and it could be just as ugly Sunday. Birds end with a bang.

Prediction: Eagles, 37-14


Ed Barkowitz: Eagles, 24-10

Bob Cooney: Eagles, 23-13

Paul Domowitch: Eagles, 31-20

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 23-20

John Smallwood: Eagles, 31-17

Key matchups

Eagles RDE Trent Cole vs. Redskins LT Willie Smith.

Smith is an undrafted rookie with only two career starts. Cole is one of the league's top pass-rushers. Advantage: Eagles

Eagles TE Brent Celek vs. Redskins S's Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes.

Celek has 47 catches in the last 10 games and is dangerous after the catch. Doughty and Gomes play the run better than the pass. Advantage: Eagles

Eagles RG Danny Watkins vs. Redskins DE Adam Carriker.

Carriker is having his best season, but was in on only one tackle vs. Watkins and Eagles in Week 6. Advantage: Even