Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day
Flyers Stanley Cup Champions Parade From The '70s

Friday, January 16, 2009

Is this the early 2000's or 2009?

I am in a state of disbelief. My prediction for the Eagles game, as many other Philadelphians, was that the Eagles would topple the Giants. I felt better about that game than the Vikings game believe it or not. Did I actually believe that the resurgent Eagles could take down the defending Super bowl champions? Yes. I actually did. You may be asking yourself how on earth I could possibly be predicting an Eagles victory with Donovan McNabb at the helm and Andy Reid calling plays, after writing a piece called "End of an Era and Week 13 Picks Part 1." Well every other NFL journalist is asking themselves precisely the same question. If you have watched an ounce of ESPN this week or read anything on football you will have read something like "everyone counted the Eagles out" or "who woulda thunkit after McNabb was benched in week 12?" So I will no reiterate the point. You get it. McNabb was benched, people called for Reid's head, the season was over, yadda yadda yadda.

That is all over and done with. It's in the past. Know what else is in the past? The Eagles 48-20 demolishing of the very same Cardinals they are playing in the NFC Championship game this Sunday at 3 pm. Except one thing. These aren't the very same Cardinals. They beat the coach of the year and the rookie of the year two weeks ago and won their game versus the Panthers in the first quarter. And what is the big revelation that Ken Whisenhunt had about the offense? To run the ball (sound familiar Eagles fans?)

Well I am here to tell you to put your fears aside. The Arizona Cardinals may have started to run the ball, but not terribly effectively. All this talk of Edgerrin James and his "fresh legs" is nothing to fret about. I drafted this loser three years ago in the first round of my fantasy draft and he had a majorly disappointing season. So while I may hold a grudg-errin against Edgerrin it has nothing to do with my feelings on his 2009 playoff performance. The man couldn't win the big one for the Colts during his tenure in Indy and he sure as hell won't do it in Arizona.

Another big point. For those analysts and Cardinals believers who continue to point to the run game as the reason for their success, look no further than the Eagles playoff success versus the run. The best back the league has to offer, Adrian Peterson was nonexistent in the second half. Brandon Jacobs may have gained 92 yards on the ground, but he (and the rest of the Giants) were kept out of the end zone. The Iggs also stuffed him twice on 4th and short situations. Stopping Edge shouldn't be a problem after the running backs we experienced the first two rounds.

For all the talk of the Cardinals newfound running game, it's nothing special. Bear with me for some stats here. During the season the Cardinals ranked last in rushing yards per game and second last in yards-per-carry with 3.5. Their playoff rushing numbers yield an underwhelming 3.2 yards-per-carry which would drop them down to the only spot below them in that category - last.

The truth about the Cardinals is that they are a good team. Good but not great. They beat a rookie Quarterback and rookie Coach with their experienced old man Warner leading the pack. They beat a team coming off a bye week (one of three bye teams to lose this weekend), a Panthers team with the 18th ranked defense. Impressive win? Of course. Match this dynamic offense against the 3rd ranked defense and a different old man wins this matchup - Jim Johnson. Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown are better than Chris Gamble and Ken Lucas. Brian Dawkins over Chris Harris any day, not that either of those comparisons needed to be made. Fitzgerald and Boldin will get their catches, but not the ones that matter most.

Some things that need a-fixin' from the Giants game...
-Brent Celek needs to make wide open catches
-Kevin Curtis needs to make wide open catches
-McNabb needs more consistent protection
-The offensive line needs to open up some holes for Westbrook
-More Buckhalter!
-8 penalties for 61 yards is too much. Cut it in half.
-David Akers cannot be counted on to make midfield tackles

My crystal ball shows me an Eagles victory. 31-17

Go Eagles!

1 comment:

Michael Stubel said...

Nice stuff Zach. Many of the same thoughts I voiced in my analysis. Go Birds