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Keeping an Eye on the Other Beasts in the East

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Two of the top Beasts go at it this week as the 5-2 Giants head to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the 4-2 Eagles. This matchup has slobberknocker written all over it. Unfortunately, it's one of the early games; so, Cowboys' fans will have to switch back and forth between commercials. 

The Beast with the least - the Redskins - are on a bye. They can use it to either regroup or begin prepping their draft boards. Either way, dropping five out of their first seven games indicates that their playoff chances are but a dream. Realistically, they can afford maybe only one more loss. Running the table would require a lot less turmoil.

More Beasts in the East after the jump.

 

Washington Redskins (2-5)

Last game: 17-27 Home Loss vs. Philadelphia

Next up: Bye

The biggest news, personnel-wise, out of D.C. is that TE Chris Cooley had ankle surgery following an injury suffered Sunday night. Former second-rounder, Fred Davis, is set to take over.

With Chris Cooley on the mend for at least four weeks after undergoing ankle surgery on Wednesday morning, Davis moves into the starting lineup. Davis started two games as a rookie last year and two games this year, but only when the Redskins opened with two tight end sets.

"It’s definitely a different role for me," Davis said. "You get a lot of chances to get the ball in your hands. I got a lot of opportunities [on Monday night] and I tried to make the best of it."

Shortly after Cooley suffered his injury in the second quarter, Davis approached Campbell on the sidelines and asked him for trust.

Other than being a pass catcher, Davis has to work on other areas of his game to be considered a complete TE.

With his eight catches against the Eagles, Fred Davis proved he can get open, albeit not as far downfield as Chris Cooley. But what Davis isn't ready for is prime-time pass protection; he was beaten for two sacks in the second half.

Davis' deficiencies made him part of a pass protection group that was overwhelmed by Philadelphia's defense, whether it was on a blitz or a simple four-man rush.

Losing Cooley is just the tip of the iceberg that seems to be sinking the team's offensive ship.

Even with the potentially improved prognosis, Cooley's injury is coupled with season-ending ailments to Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels and starting right guard Randy Thomas. That series of events puts an unproductive offense -- one that is tied for 28th in the league with 13.7 points per game and hasn't yet surpassed 17 points in a single outing -- in an even more precarious position. The offensive line is fragile, and quarterback Jason Campbell's favorite target -- Cooley leads the team with 29 catches -- will be out at least a month.

"The bottom line is to win," Zorn said. "And nobody really cares that guys get injured. They feel bad, but the team moves on."

Much of their 2-5 record can be attributed to the falling apart of the offensive line.

The lack of depth along the offensive line and a constant shuffling of personnel has created a difficult operating environment for quarterback Jason Campbell, who was sacked six times on Monday night in the 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Cerrato said the club believed it had addressed its issues sufficiently if not overwhelmingly by signing guard Derrick Dockery and backup tackle Mike Williams.

"When we were in the draft, there was no one at 13," Cerrato said, speaking of the 13th overall pick that was used on linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo. Cerrato added: "Look at the depth around the league. Nobody has a Pro Bowler to back up a Pro Bowler. Look at Philadelphia last week once Jason Peters went out and they had six sacks against the Raiders. There is a dropoff. I’m not making excuses."

The Redskins banked on Chad Rinehart, last year’s third-round pick, developing into a suitable successor for Thomas. He started two games but has been inactive since and replaced by Will Montgomery. Counting Thomas, the Redskins have started four players at right guard, two at left tackle and two at right tackle.

Hogs Haven takes a bye week look at the "tricks and treats" of all things Redskins.

Redskins' fans can no longer bring signs to FedEx Field.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the franchise has forbidden its home fans from bringing signs of any kind into FedEx Field — whether or not the signs are bashing the struggling team. A team spokesman told the Post that officially this is a new policy change done to avoid obstructed views or potential injury to other fans in the vicinity of signholders.

New York Giants (5-2)

Last game: 17-24 Home Loss vs. Arizona

Next up: @ Philadelphia (4-2)

Is it time to panic yet in the land of the Giants? History shows that these two teams go back and forth no matter who plays at home or on the road.

The Giants will attempt to break their two-game losing streak Sunday when they face the Philadelphia Eagles in Lincoln Financial Field. After opening the season with five consecutive victories, the Giants have lost back-to-back games to New Orleans and Arizona. Philadelphia defeated Washington Monday night, 27-17, to improve to 4-2. The Giants lead the regular season series, 79-67-2, and the postseason series is tied, 2-2. Last season, each team won on the other's home field, but the Eagles also defeated the Giants in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game. The Giants have won their last four regular season games in Philadelphia.

The Giants should be thinking revenge after Philly knocked them out of the playoffs last year...in insulting fashion.

The Giants were irked in last season's divisional playoff game when McNabb ran out of bounds, grabbed a telephone near New York's bench and pretended to make a call. The phone is the one players use to communicate with coaches in the press box. The move got a big belly laugh in Philly, though the Giants have stewed about the sideline show.

Mario Manningham (shoulder) is questionable.

Manningham hurt the shoulder on the final play of practice on Thursday. He was held out of the team's final workout for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles as a precaution.

"They thought it was better if he just not work today," coach Tom Coughlin said. "So I'm going to list him as questionable, but hopefully he will make it."

Manningham expects to play. If not, Hakeem Nicks would get the start. Here's the news on some other injured Giants.

Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce (ankle) and offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie (groin) practiced fully and were listed as probable for the game. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who disclosed he has played with a cracked bone in his right foot all season, practiced on a limited basis and is listed as probable, while cornerback Aaron Ross (hamstring), defensive tackle Chris Canty (calf) and linebacker Michael Boley (knee) were ruled out.

Evidently, the Giants had quite the opportunity to get back in the game last week.

Arizona punted after its quick three-and-out, and New York got the ball back with 2:52 to go. The Giants still had all of its timeouts — plus the 2-minute warning — giving them four clock stoppages to work with. The Giants drove to Arizona’s 39-yard line with 1:15 remaining. That’s when Eli Manning — easily the most overrated player in the NFL — threw a deep-right pass that Cardinals free safety Antrel Rolle intercepted.

Game over. The Giants, who were favored by 4, lose by 7.

Ahmad Bradshaw was fined this week and has been getting a little trash-tweeting from Arizona's DT Darnell Dockett.

It all started on Sunday night, when Bradshaw hit Dockett in the facemask and was flagged for a personal foul. After the game, Dockett went on Twitter and compared Bradshaw to Glass Joe, the weakest character in the old Mike Tyson's Punch-Out video game. Today it was reported that Bradshaw was fined $5,000 for hitting Dockett, and now Dockett has taken to Twitter once again.

"Please NFL & Commisioner don't fine Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw $5,000 for throwing a pillow at me," Dockett tweeted today. "My 3yr old son hit harder, please REFUND."

Here is Matt Mosely's Final Word: NFC East for Week 8.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-2)

Last game: 27-17 Win @ Washington

Next up: Home vs. New York Giants (5-2)

The biggest question for the Eagles going in is the health of RB Brian Westbrook, who suffered a concussion against the Redskins.

"It's going to be a game-day decision," Reid said of Westbrook, who traditionally performs well against the Giants. "We're waiting to get more tests back and see how they look. So far the tests we have done this week have looked OK. But it comes down to a matter of time."

Westbrook has not practiced all week, but he was on the field Friday with his teammates and seemed in good spirits.

"I know he wants to play," Reid said. "As long as he cleared, he's OK'd, we just have to see. The experts are looking at this. We have to listen to the doctors."

If Westbrook can't go, rookie LeSean McCoy would make his second start. The second-round draft pick from Pitt started against Kansas City and gained 84 yards on 20 carries.

The Eagles signed RB P.J. Hill off Saints practice squad and placed LB Omar Gaither on IR.

Rookie WR Jeremy Maclin is quickly gaining the trust of Donovan McNabb.

Last week, against the Washington Redskins, Maclin was the receiver who McNabb targeted the most. McNabb threw the rookie's way seven times, completing five passes for 53 yards. Maclin was part of a group of players who worked out with McNabb in Arizona during the off-season, but he also missed most of training camp while working on finishing his rookie contract. So what has allowed the rookie and the franchise stalwart to get on the same page so quickly?

"I think he has trust in all his receivers," Maclin said. "I think if he didn't, then none of us would be out there. I think that's the relationship that you establish with him."

New LB Will Witherspoon had an extremely productive game against the 'Skins.

On just his sixth day with the Eagles, having been acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams, the eight-year veteran started at middle linebacker and had a stunning stat line: eight tackles, one sack, one quarterback hurry, a deflected pass, one forced fumble and an interception returned 9 yards for a touchdown.

"What? Who in their right mind would think that in their first game?" Witherspoon said. "But when it comes down to it, it happened. ... For the first game with a new team , for me, it put the stamp on it. Saying, 'Hey, this is exactly what I want to bring to this team. This is exactly who I want to be.'"

There just might be a bit of traffic in Philly tomorrow.

Not only are the hated NFC East-rival New York Giants in town seeking a measure of revenge against an Eagles team that pilfered their hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champions, but the legendary New York Yankees will be paying a visit to Citizens Bank Park to take on the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series down the street.

The Giants get the first shot at ruining at least half of the day for Philly fans, before the Yankees and Phils square off under the lights across the street at 8:00 p.m. (ET).