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What matters: This is the game that decides whether the Eagles can salvage a respectable season or simply fall apart and end the Andy Reid era in ugly fashion. The Eagles still talk bravely of competing for a playoff spot, but even if that isn't realistic these guys can show some pride and professionalism and beat a team they should beat, despite what the odds-makers say. The Eagle have lost five in a row, and with their bye week thrown into the middle of the losing streak this team has gone seven weeks – almost two months – without winning a game. Pretty soon, they're going to forget what that feels like and how it's accomplished. This game can't save the Eagles' season, but it can make them feel a little bit better about themselves and give them a springboard to a strong, albeit meaningless, finish.

Who matters: It's obviously rookie quarterback Nick Foles, for a couple of reasons. He's making his first NFL start and if he plays well the Eagles have a good shot to win the game. But if he makes some bad turnovers or some other rookie mistake or simply loses his composure then the Eagles have no chance. But this is more than just one game. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Reid and QB Michael Vick will be gone after this season and the Eagles need to find out whether Foles can be their QB of the future. And if Foles plays well, the future might start now.

Key matchup: Defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole vs. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Eagles' two best pass-rushers don't have to necessarily sack RG III, but they do have to contain him. The Redskins don't have the best or fastest wide receivers in the NFL and the Eagles should be able to cover them -- unless Griffin breaks free of the pocket and gives them more time to get open. Those kinds of breakdowns in containment are a defensive back's worst nightmare. And, of course, Griffin can take off and run if he gets out of the pocket, and considering the way the Eagles' DBs have tackled this season that could be big trouble. Griffin has the arm to hurt a defense from the pocket, but he's much more dangerous outside of it and it's up to Babin and Cole and the other DEs to make sure that doesn't happen.

Injuries of note: Vick (concussion), WRs Jason Avant (hamstring) and Mardy Gilyard (hamstring) and RB Chris Polk(toe) are out. … WR Jeremy Maclin was limited early in the week in practice with a back strain. … RG Danny Watkinsreturns to the lineup after missing three games with an ankle sprain.

Connections: Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was a Redskins defensive back in the late 1980s and early ‘90s and was a member of their Super Bowl XXII champions. … Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith was an Eagles assistant under coach Ray Rhodes from 1995-98.

Inside stuff: The Eagles will want to protect Foles, who makes his first NFL start on Sunday. That means we might finally see RB LeSean McCoy get his hands on the ball more. And that should set up play-action passing game against the Redskins' weak secondary -- Washington is ranked 30th in the NFL in pass defense. That play action is important because it gives Foles a chance to throw some higher-percentage passes and get some confidence and rhythm.

Stats you should know: Eagles WR DeSean Jackson doesn't always catch a lot of passes vs. the Redskins, but he usually does a lot of damage. In eight career cames against Washington, Jackson has 19 catches for 381 yards -- an average of 20.1 yards per reception -- and four touchdowns, almost all of them long ones (57, 35, 88 and 62 yards). In his last three games vs. the ‘Skins, Jackson has nine receptions and has averaged 25.5 yards per catch. On Sunday he goes against the NFL's 30th-ranked pass defense.

Looking ahead: The Eagles' schedule finally gets a little easier, as they take on Carolina, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, teams that right now have a combined record of 15-21.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow@CBSEagles.