Posted on: January 6, 2010 1:24 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2010 9:11 pm
WILD CARD ROUND --- The Dallas Cowboys (3) and the Philadelphia Eagles (6) face off for the third time this season, and needless to say, this is the most important. The winner moves on in the surprisingly tough NFC playoffs, while the loser goes home with a lot of unanswered questions.
Leading up to their anticipated Week 17 matchup, both teams had momentum. The Eagles had won six straight games, their offense was looking unstoppable, and the defense was stepping up in the crucial moments. All looked good. On the other side, the Cowboys were coming off two very impressive performances. The first was a win against the then-undefeated New Orleans Saints; the second was a shutout performance of the Washington Redskins. The defense was looking strong, and Romo's woes in December had suddenly disappeared. Two hot teams facing each other, with the stakes high. An Eagles win gave them the #2 seed and a first round bye. A Cowboys win would ensure them home field advantage for at least their first game, and with help, a potential #2 seed for themselves.
The game turned out to be a party for the Cowboys. From the beginning, the Eagles' defense could not stop the run. Marion Barber and Felix Jones began slicing through the injury-riddled defense of Philadelphia. Tony Romo began to find his groove early on, as well. The Eagles offense never got anything going, and the game ended painfully... a 24-0 loss to the hated rival Dallas Cowboys.
This week, however, the Eagles can start fresh. A win vs. the Cowboys this Saturday night and the Week 17 loss will be forgotten. A loss vs. the Cowboys this Saturday night and the Cowboys are 3-0 vs. the Eagles in the 2009-2010 season, a mark that will not be forgotten in seasons to come.
The Cowboys are the favorites to win this game, and a big reason why they are favored is because of their defense. The defense shut down New Orleans in the upset, held Washington to zero points, and then shut out the scoring hot Eagles offense. The defense's toughness starts up front with Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff. As it was last week, the matchup of Ratliff vs. inexperienced Philadelphia center Nick Cole will be a big key to this game. Cole did a better job than most assumed he would last week vs. Ratliff, but this week could very well be another story.
To stop the Cowboys, the main player that must the stopped is the quarterback, Tony Romo. At the end of the day, Romo is the man leading the Cowboys to victory. To stop Romo, the secondary must obviously play a great game. However, I think getting pressure on him is the more effecient way of flustering Romo. In Week 17, Tony Romo had all the time to throw the ball, as the Eagles' defense got minimal pressure throughout the game. With all of this time, Romo easily found Miles Austin, Jason Witten, and Patrick Crayton throughout the game and in the clutch situations. Romo got through the dreaded month of December, and while it started out scary, by the end of the month most Cowboy fans are trusting Romo to get the job done.
The main man I expect to see stepping it up for Philadelphia is defensive end Trent Cole. Cole is the best pass rusher on the Eagles' defense, as well as the leader. For the Eagles to have a chance in this game, they must stop Tony Romo. To stop Tony Romo, they must bring pressure on him. To bring pressure on him, they need their best pass rusher to step up their game, and that man is Trent Cole. If Cole and the Eagles defense can get to Romo early, I see him making some bad decisions that feisty cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown may be able to take advantage of.
Miles Austin has been one of the pleasant surprises this season for the Dallas Cowboys, and has made a name for himself as one of the big play threats in the NFL. Austin faces one of the best cornerback tandems in the league of All-Pro corner Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown. For Austin to be shut down in this matchup, the Eagles' corners need to cotinue their stellar play.
It's already been mentioned, but the matchup between center Nick Cole of the Eagles and nose tackle Jay Ratliff of the Cowboys is a very important one. Ratliff had a quiet game in Week 17, but chances of him being that quiet this Saturday are slim. The stakes are higher and I expect the same of Ratliff's level of play.
Eagles' defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has done a nice job of calling the defense in his first season taking over for the late Jim Johnson, but how will he fare vs. a great playcaller in the Cowboys' Jason Garrett. Garrett has more experience, but look for McDermott to do a solid job with the defense.
Eagles vs. Cowboys Stadium is also a huge matchup that no one is talking about. In Week 17, it certainly looked like there were some nerves in the Eagles' players, playing in Cowboy Stadium. The crowd can really help Dallas in this game, as it did last week.
Keys to the Game
For the Eagles, the main thing they have to do is get going early, offensively and defensively. They will be nervous, knowing that they are the underdogs and playing possibly the hottest team in the NFC. If the Eagles can get going early, however, they will forget about the critics and just go out there and play. If not, I see them losing confidence quickly, as it seems they did in Week 17.
For the Cowboys, the main key is stopping the Eagles' big plays. They did a great job in Week 17, and if they can keep it up in this game, look for them to have a huge advantage. DeSean Jackson is at his best when he's making the big plays, something he hasn't been able to do vs. the Cowboys this season.
Donovan McNabb does not like losing, and I think he'll come out with fire in this game. Look for him, along with tight end Brent Celek, to have big games for the Eagles on offense. The Cowboys' defense has shut down DeSean Jackson well this season, and I see them slowing him down this game as well. With Jackson being bottled up, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant have to have big games.
As a diehard Eagles fan it's hard to go against them, but I like the Dallas Cowboys in this game. They are hot at the right time, and it's not just one particular unit. The offense is on fire, and very balanced. Marion Barber and Felix Jones can slice and dice through that plagued Eagles' defense, while Tony Romo has great targets to get the ball to. The Cowboys' defense is aggressive, and they haven't allowed any points in the last two games vs. NFC East competition.
There you have it... should be a great game, one that I am looking very forward to. While the Cowboys are the frontrunners to win this game, the Eagles have what it takes to not only win this game, but advance deep into the postseason. I made my prediction of the Cowboys to win the game, but here's to hoping that I am dreadfully wrong. :p
Posted on: August 9, 2009 5:56 pm
Top 10 Wide Receivers
1. Andre Johnson- big, strong, fast... you can put two, three guys on him and he'll catch the ball
2. Larry Fitzgerald- great hands and a natural playmaker
3. Anquan Boldin- impossible to bring down when the ball is in his hands, very strong
4. Calvin Johnson- athletic receiver who will be one of the best in a few years
5. Randy Moss- finds ways to catch touchdown passes, tough to keep out of the end zone
6. Steve Smith- fast, finds ways to put up sick stats despite the shaky quarterback situation
7. Reggie Wayne- all around threat who benefits playing with a great quarterback
8. Brandon Marshall- off field issues put him out of the top 7, pure talent possibly top 5
9. Roddy White- will continue to get better as quarterback Matt Ryan does
10. Greg Jennings- deep threat who may be one of the best targets for a Hail Mary pass
Top 3 Sleepers
1. DeSean Jackson- has developed a nice chemistry with Donovan McNabb in just one season
2. Percy Harvin- could be a huge playmaker used in a variety of ways
3. Anthony Gonzalez- should see many more opportunities now that Marvin Harrison is gone
Posted on: April 26, 2009 9:51 am
First round: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Living in a Big 12 area, I saw a lot of Jeremy Maclin. And from what I saw, I really like this kid. He's got great speed, no doubt, but he also has great playmaking ability. He doesn't drop many balls, and he can run out of the backfield. I haven't even mentioned that he's a superb kick returner.
Paired with last year's senstation DeSean Jackson, I'm looking for Maclin to have a great year with the Eagles. Hopefully he and Jackson remain Eagles for years to come. That's a dangerous, fast duo.
Posted on: September 8, 2008 11:00 pm
Well I will have to say this. Watching this game really made me believe that the Eagles are as talented as any team in the NFL. Sure, it was the Rams, but the Rams are an NFL team that has some talent as well, and to me a win is a win. But that was no win the Eagles got on Sunday... that was a thrashing. Every facet of the game was beautiful. The chemistry was there, the response, the defense was pumped up, the signals were understood and executed properly, and the Philadelphia Eagles are now officially "in the hunt".
I myself was a Donnie Mac doubter, but after the Rams game it is hard to continue doubting. By no means do the Rams have a daunting defense, but McNabb really played his heart out in one of the best games he's had for awhile. DeSean Jackson impressed me as well, not only as a receiver but as a kickoff returner and punt returner. I see good things from this kid.
The defense was superb. Bulger was under pressure all day, no room for Steven Jackson to bust out a big run, and Holt was shut down by the secondary. The ends and linebackers are impressing me already, not to mention the corners. Jim Johnson as well.
All in all, very impressed and looking forward to a fun game against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night!
And for now, that is all.
To be continued...
Posted on: July 5, 2008 2:05 am
This season should be a great one for the Philadelphia Eagles, and their loyal fans. After last season's somewhat disappointing sixteen games, the Eagles are back and wanting to win more than ever. And we have the pieces to do so...
Also, the drafting of DeSean Jackson was not as bad as I first made it seem. He is actually a speedy reciever that will provide the Eagles with... well, speed. Also can be used as a return man, which is a plus one for us.
And Brian Westbrook remains one of the best running backs in the league. His ability to make big plays, running and receiving, will continue to show him as one of the elite backs in the NFL.
When healthy, there's no doubting what Donovan McNabb can do. He has always been a great scrambler, a strong passer, and a good quarterback, period. However, a full, healthy season from Donnie Mac is rare, and something I want to see happen.
The WR core is not bad, but can certainly get better. Kevin Curtis is a tad overrated, but still is a good player. Reggie Brown is underrated on the other hand, and fits in very will with the Eagles system.
I'm not Trevor Laws biggest fan, but I won't bash him until I've seen him play with the Eagles.
David Akers is getting inconsistant, but can still hit 45+ yards when he's focused.
I like Sav Rocca more than some others do. Hopefully we won't have to use him much this season, though.
Lastly, Trent Cole is a STUD at defensive end. I love his agressiveness when he steps on the field. Every time he makes a big tackle, I love the look of pain on his victim's face... HEHE
All in all, look for a big season from the Eagles. I believe we will go far this season, as long as we stay healthy and don't get streaky. GO EAGLES!!!