Friday, December 26, 2014

What we're watching: NFC title game

Our weekly look at what we will be watching in the Eagles game:

What we're watching: NFC title game

Our weekly look at what we will be watching in the Eagles game:

1. Putting Heat On Warner. Give Kurt Warner time and he’ll slice and dice any secondary in the league, including the Eagles. He’s deadly accurate and has great receivers. The Eagles didn’t sack him in the first meeting, but they got pressure on him early and hits on him early and he ended up completing just 53.8 percent of his attempts and throwing three interceptions, two in the first quarter.

2. Eagles in the Red. The Eagles were just 2-for-5 in the red zone vs. the Giants last week, which was the continuation of a disturbing late-season trend. They have converted just seven of their last 21 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns. Against a potent offensive team like the Cardinals, the Eagles need to maximize every scoring opportunity, like they did in the first meeting with the Cardinals when they were 6-for-6 inside the 20.

3. The Turnover Battle. The Cardinals are 10-0 this season in games in which they’ve won the turnover battle or broken even. Their 30 takeaways were the fifth-most in the league. The Eagles have had just three turnover-free games the entire season and finished with 26 giveaways. They were one of just two teams with that many turnovers to make the playoffs. The Cardinals (30) were the other.

4. The Return Game. The Cardinals; coverage units weren’t very good this season. They finished 30th in the league in both punt coverage and kickoff coverage. KR Quinti n Demps averaged 24.3 yards per return in the first meeting, but they bottled up PR DeSean Jackson pretty well. He averaged just 3.7 yards per attempt on three returns. Jackson has averaged more than 8 yards per return in just two of the Eagles’ last 10 games.

5. Fast start from McNabb. When McNabb gets off to a good start, the Eagles usually win. When he doesn’t, they usually don’t. In the Eagles 11 wins this season, McNabb had a 64.0 completion percentage and averaged 7.7 yards per attempt in the first half. In their six losses and tie vs. Cincinnati, he had a .543 completion percentage, averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt and threw three TDs. Averaged an interception every 44.4 first-half attempts in the wins and 1 every 25.4 in the losses and tie.

Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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