Friday, May 29, 2015

The other games that matter

Ed Barkowitz reporting ...

The other games that matter

Ed Barkowitz reporting ...

A number of permutations affect the Eagles' postseason hopes, but the simplest for this week involves an Eagles win over Washington and losses by either Atlanta or Tampa Bay (or both). If this happens, the Eagles will go into next weekend's game against Dallas needing only to win to clinch a playoff berth. Here's a look at the Atlanta and Tampa Bay games:

Atlanta (9-5) at Minnesota (9-5), Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

Local TV/Radio: None.
Line: Vikings by 3. Over/under: 43.
Eagles fans are rooting for: A Vikings win.
About the Falcons: The story in the NFC this season, Atlanta can clinch a playoff berth with a win and losses by the Eagles and Buccaneers. Atlanta went 4-12 last season with Joey Harrington as the Opening Day starter. Coach Bobby Petrino quit before the end of the season to run back to the college ranks ... Quarterback Matt Ryan is the favorite for rookie of the year and probably should have been selected to the Pro Bowl ahead of Eli Manning ... Atlanta hosts St. Louis next Sunday.
About the Vikings: Will clinch their first division title since 2000 with a win or a loss by the Bears. Chicago hosts Green Bay on Monday night, so the Vikes will have to play all-out ... Fourth-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson again will start in place of injured Gus Frerotte. Jackson, Minnesota's Opening Day starter who was benched after Week 2, threw four touchdown passes in last week's drubbing of Arizona ... The Vikings' No. 1 rushing defense will be without injured Pro Bowl tackle Pat Williams. Atlanta's running game averages 148.7 yards per game and is tied with the Giants for tops in the league. Minnesota is third at 147.6.
PICK: MINNESOTA 28, ATLANTA 17.

San Diego (6-8) at Tampa Bay (9-5), Sunday, 1 p.m.

Local TV/Radio: None.
Line: Bucs by 3. Over/under: 42.5
Eagles fans are rooting for: A Chargers win.
About the Chargers: One of the NFL's most disappointing teams, San Diego is 2-5 on the road. The Chargers are also 0-3 in games in the Eastern time zone, but they've lost those three games by a respectable 17 points combined ... Amazingly, if the Chargers win their final two and Denver (8-6) loses its final two, San Diego would win the AFC West. The Broncos host Buffalo in a 4 o'clock game ... The Chargers are 12-0 in December games since 2006.
About the Buccaneers: Are 6-0 at home this season ... Will clinch a playoff berth with a win, a loss by Atlanta and a loss by the Eagles or Dallas ... Quarterback Jeff Garcia saw some reps in practice late in the week and is expected to start. He missed Sunday's loss at Atlanta, but started the previous eight and had eight touchdown passes and one interception ... Though San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson has had an off year, the Buccaneers need to shore up a rushing defense that has given up 299 yards and 175 yards, respectively, the last 2 weeks.
PICK: BUCCANEERS 23, CHARGERS 14.

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