What they're saying about the Eagles
Who are people picking in Sunday's Eagles-Packers matchup? Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying.
What they're saying about the Eagles
The nightly roundups continue for wild-card week.
Here's what the national media are saying today about Eagles-Packers.
SI.com's Peter King predicts a 31-27 Green Bay victory:
The Eagles enter the postseason flat. They've played -- you could argue -- eight minutes of great football in their season-finishing 2-2 stretch; their quarterbacks have been sacked 12 times in the past two games, and superman Mike Vick enters the playoffs after an awful game against Minnesota and nursing a deep thigh bruise. It's been well-documented that Vick has had trouble reading corner and safety blitzes in his tremendous comeback season, and though the Packers don't rush their secondary players all that much (their starting corners and safeties combined for just three sacks this year), there's no doubt defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be playing mind games with Vick by sending rushers from different spots than he's seen on tape. So look for Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson, in particular, to take the kinds of chances Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield took when he strip-sacked Vick and ran the ball back for a touchdown in Week 16.
This will be a great back-and-forth game, right down to the two-minute warning. Anybody's ballgame. I say the Pack D will make two or three plays to win it late.
SI.com's Damon Hack is also going with the Packers, 27-24:
Could this be the game that tests the NFL's new overtime rules? The Eagles and Packers are as evenly matched as any two teams on wild-card weekend. Green Bay's team speed on defense will be the difference.
Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc. ranked every playoff team 1-12 in nine different categories. Here's where he had the Eagles:
It's worth noting that he has the Eagles' O-line one slot ahead of the Packers' O-line.
ESPN's NFL Countdown crew is split on their picks. Keyshawn Johnson and Mike Ditka like the Eagles. Cris Carter and Tom Jackson go with Green Bay.
Laura Okmin of FoxSports.com writes about Kevin Kolb's season:
While the media criticized Reid for not speaking the truth about the situation, Kolb says his coach was completely honest with him every step of the way.
That’s still the case. Reid pulls his backup quarterback aside before or after each practice and asks him what his thoughts are for the game, what plays he thinks would work best and what plays Vick likes running that week.
“I don’t know if he’s just trying to make me feel good, but I do know he’s given me a feeling of ownership with the offense even though I’m not the starter and I appreciate that,” Kolb said.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com provides a good breakdown of the Eagles-Packers matchup:
In studying tapes of the Eagles' recent games, the blitzes that have worked best have involved a defensive back attacking from the slot off the left-hand side. By rushing Vick from his strong side, defenses are forcing him to flee the pocket to the right, which makes it difficult for him to throw on the run. To bolster the effectiveness of the blitz, opponents have disguised a double A-gap blitz prior to the snap to force the Eagles to squeeze their protection. By positioning linebackers in the center-guard gaps on each side of the center, foes are making the Eagles account for pressure up the middle, which shortens the corner for the blitzing defensive back off the slot and frequently leads to an unobstructed path to the quarterback. The Vikings and Giants had tremendous success utilizing this approach, and the Packers will certainly copy the tactic to generate pressure.
Steve Wyche of NFL.com breaks down the game position-by-position and gives the Eagles an overall edge:
Philadelphia's 4-4 home record is the worst of any playoff team, and the Eagles were 3-3 down the stretch, 0-2 to end the season. Vick also is coming off a thigh injury. The signs don't look great, but the Eagles are so explosive on offense.
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