Filed under: NFL, Uncategorized | Tags: Eagles, Football, NFL, Packers, Playoffs, Sports
We shift over to the NFC at The Sports Blast, starting the coverage with potentially the most interesting game of the weekend.
Green Bay travels into Eagle country to stage a matchup which could easily pass as the NFC Conference Championship game, let alone a Wild Card Weekend duel. Both teams possess threatening offenses, while defense could be a much bigger question mark on either side.
The Packers come in as a surprising 6 seed. Needing to win out just to enter the playoffs, the Packers are still primed to be one of the toughest in the NFC due in part to the play of Aaron Rodgers. While the injury bug has done its worst to the Packers, Rodgers continues to statistically impress despite missing time due to 2 concussions. Rodgers is just a smudge under 4,000 yards on the season while posting a rating of 101.2. The connection with Greg Jennings is still there, and the Packers have received heroic contributions from Donald Driver and James Jones throughout the season.
Defensively the Packers have excelled, a huge step up from last seasons inconsistent showings on the defensive side of the ball. They posted an average of 309.1 yards allowed, which was good for a 5 spot in the rankings. Keeping with the trend, the Packers are second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers in PPG allowed. Tack on a +10 turnover differential and Dom Capers looks like a mad scientist in Green Bay.
When mentioning Philadelphia, need I say more than Michael Vick?
No? Alrighty then.
Alas, the Eagles live and breathe at the hands of the dynamic quarterback. If Michael Vick is moving the ball not only with his arm but with his feet, the end could very easily be near for the Packers defense. Coupled with Tom Brady in the MVP voting, Vick has thrown for over 3,000 yards, posted a 100.2 rating, and has been intercepted just 6 times. My mantra has always been, if you don’t turn the ball over in the playoffs, more often than not you win. Vick has the luxury of throwing to two different wide receivers who each offer a rare asset of their own to the Andy Reid offense. Desean Jackson is the burner to Jeremy Maclins’ physicality. Throw in a Lesean McCoy to take the heat off Vick and that’s a darn good offense.
Defensively, Philadelphia has its struggles. They’re 21st in points allowed(23.6), but rebound nicely by ranking 12th in yards/game. The Eagles struggle at the linebacker position. Despite what you hear out of Eagles camp, they do not have a linebacker who can be relied to plug the middle when needed the most. This may not be a huge deficit against a team like Green Bay, who for all intents and purposes has abandoned the run. Philadelphia has sacked the opponents QB 49 times this season, while the Packers have allowed 38 sacks and are known to struggle at the offensive line. Could that be Philadelphia’s plan of attack?
Despite the potent Philadelphia offense, my gut tells me to go with the Packers. The trust I have in their defense to not only be more physical with Philadelphia, but to contain any kind of run threat, is what puts them over the top. The ability to trust both Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams on the outside is huge, allowing Green Bay to keep the middle of the field occupied. Michael Vick won’t be able to hit the checkdown or escape into the open field with Clay Matthews having the luxury of shadowing him the entire game.
Green Bay is just 3-5 on the road, but the Eagles did not rise above .500 at home this season. This could turn out to be a battle of two uncomfortable, tight football teams. In the end, give me Aaron Rodgers, who desperately needs to win this football game to gain traction as a playoff QB, not just a fantasy football all-star.
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