After watching the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboy’s at Texas Stadium on Christmas night, I now realize the Eagles are now the favorite to win the NFC. Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth with a 9-6 record, and with a win next week against Atlanta, they will clinch an NFC East title. This has been a major turn-around for a team that was considered “dead” after a primetime loss to Indianapolis. But that game truly was the beginning.With the Eagles having won four straight, (including three straight on the road against their whole conference) they now control their own destiny in the NFC East. They control their destiny because of how the Eagles completely destroyed the Cowboys in the two games they played this year. The first game was a 38-24 win in Philly. The second, and most recent game was a 23-7 schlacking of Dallas at their place. But now that is old news.
As if you didn’t already know, TO stands for Terrell Owens. But it also stands for Terrible Offensively, which is how Terrell played against Philadelphia this year. Terrell caught a combined five balls for a minuscule 68 yards, which included a touchdown, and three dropped balls. So in these games he racked up only six percent of his total receiving yards. The best way I could put this for Terrell, is that the Eagles held him in check.
I know this is clique, but the Eagles really have “spread their wings.” Since Donovan McNabb went out with a season ending ACL tear, the Eagles have gone 4-1 under the guidance of Jeff Garcia. And believe it or not, I think the Eagles are better off with Garcia, then they would be with any other quarterback in this league.
Now I am not going to lie. I like every other person who follows the NFL, thought Jeff Garcia was done with football. After becoming a Pro-bowl type quarterback in San Francisco, Garcia went through a rough patch that included stops to Detroit and Cleveland. But as of now, Jeff has to be considered one of the top five QB’s in the NFL right now. And his 96.2 rating, along with his 1,280 passing yards, and 10 touchdowns, back that statement up. But something that is astonishing to me is that he has thrown 185 passes and only two have been intercepted. That is a pretty amazing stat for a quarterback that was “done.” And don’t expect his performance to decline in the coming weeks.
Another piece of the Philadelphia puzzle, is running back, Brian Westbrook. When the NFC Pro Bowl rosters were announced I was shocked to see Westbrook’s name not mentioned. I mean come on. He is the Eagles most valuable player. But what is so fantastic about Westbrook is that in an offense that passes 65% of the time he has run for over 1,000 yards.
Also, Westbrook has close to 700 yards receiving for the season. And also he has returned kick and punts in 3 games this year totaling 39 yards. So in total Westbrook has accumulated 1,923 yards, along with 11 touchdowns. Look for Brian to rush and receive for 125 yards this weekend, to go over 2,000 all-purpose yards for the season.
With Philadelphia now in the driver’s seat of the NFC East and a lock to be in the post-season, we can now discuss Philly’s championship chances. And to do that we will have to look at their past season.
I for one think that Philadelphia is the second best team in the NFC. When you look at their first seven games, you can see that they were all “winnable”. Philly gave up 17 unanswered points to the Giants andlost in overtime. Also, they lost to Tampa Bay because of a 62 yard field goal, and they lost to the Saints by a field goal as well. So if you take away three plays through the first seven games Philly would be 7-0. Realistically, Philly should be 13-2 right now. But hey they are not, and despite their record I still believe they are the second best team in the crowded NFC.
If the playoffs were to start today then Philadelphia would play the Giants in Philadelphia. I don’t believe that will happen because the Giants have consistently been one of the worst teams in the NFL. I don’t expect them to win in Washington. I feel the Eagles will meet with the Packers (of whom were handled earlier) in Philadelphia. So round one solved.
More than likely, the Eagles will play the Saints in round 2, again in New Orleans. But this time I think that Philly wins by two touchdowns to meet the Bears at Soldier Field.
With the NFC Championship in Chicago this year, Philadelphia will face a tough Bears team. The Bears will cause Garcia problems, but the Eagles will defiantly give Rex Grossman problems as well. I think the Eagles win in overtime.
As you can see I am pretty confident that Philadelphia will rise to the challenge and make a run for the Lombardi trophy. I will not say whether the Eagles win or lose now, because I think the AFC is just too tough to call. Look for Jeff Garcia to lead the Eagles to glory, but McNabb will be back next year to continue another Eagles dynasty.