It’s playoff fever in the city of Philadelphia this week and not many people had them in this situation at the beginning of the year. The Eagles go into the playoffs at 10-6 as NFC East champions. But now, ironically, they start the playoffs against the team they started the season against, the Green Bay Packers. Only this time around, it’s not just a loss and move on to the next week, if you lose, you’re done.
The Eagles kicked off the 2010 season with a 27-20 loss to the Packers right here in Philadelphia, giving Green Bay their first win in the City Of Brotherly Love in 48 years. That was a game that the Eagles would like to forget.
In addition to losing the game, there was a bulk of injuries that shifted their season on a different direction. Starting Center Jamal Jackson and FB Leonard Weaver were injured in the game and were done for the season. Along with injuries to LB Stewart Bradley that changed him for the worst and since returning has not been the same player. But the biggest injury of all was the one that got them to where they are at today as QB Kevin Kolb was slammed to the ground by LB Clay Matthews, knocking him out of the game with a concussion and giving QB Michael Vick the opportunity to play.
If Kolb didn’t get injured, who knows where the Eagles would be at right now because then Vick wouldn’t have played and never would have became the Eagles new starting quarterback.
In that game Vick did a tremendous job as he led the Eagles’ offensive attack almost with a come from behind win late in the fourth quarter as they were down as much as 17 in the fourth quarter. He led them to score three of their first five possessions in the second half. They got within 27-20 with the ability of Vick to make plays with his arms and legs as he was able to rack up over 275 total yards and a touchdown in just a half of football.
The Eagles had their chances to win the game as Vick’s throw, to possibly the best hands on the team WR Jason Avant, was dropped in the back of the end zone late in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game. It was a devastating loss but it showed the Eagles what they had with Michael Vick and move forward with the eventual Pro Bowler.
Vick after that game said, “The outcome might have been different if I played the full four quarters.”
He may have been right but none of that matters right now as both teams look forward to the challenge of playing each other on Sunday. Despite the previous contest between these two clubs, both teams have change dramatically since their first meeting and the Eagles know that’s the case on Sunday.
“Based on what they’ve done, I think we may get some different looks,” Eagles QB Michael Vick said Wednesday. “I think they’ve gotten better as a defense. We’ll really have to be conscious about what they’re trying to do.”
And Packer’s QB Aaron Rodgers felt the same way when he spoke to the media via a conference call.
“You can certainly look at the tape from the first game but it doesn’t matter too much,” Rodgers said. “Both teams have gone through a lot since the first week of the season and this should be a good matchup.”
Both teams are evenly matched and this game could go either way. It is going to come down to the team that makes the least mistakes and Coach Andy Reid knows has to limit those mistakes especially turnovers.
“Turnovers are magnified, man,” Reid said. “Your takeaway, giveaway, all of that, that’s very important when it comes to field position, very important.”
This is a huge game for both teams as both teams try to move on to that next step of reaching their ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. But only one can move on and the other is off to pack. We shall see which team can move on as kickoff is set for Sunday at 4:30pm right here at Lincoln Financial Field.
News and Notes and Injury Update
CB Gerard Lawson was signed two weeks ago to the Eagles and now will get a chance to show his stuff. Coach Andy Reid said that Lawson will be returning kicks going forward, replacing WR Chad Hall.
The 5’10” defensive back out of Oregon State is in his third year in the league. He was previously with Cleveland where he averaged about 14.4 yards a return in a limited role. Last week against Dallas, he was given the opportunity to show what he could do and was able to manage 24 yards a return and a long of 28 yd return
KR/PR Chad Hall was struggling back there and looked lost. He was only managing 17 yards a return and could be used more in a receiver role as he had a game high six receptions for 84 yards and a score.
After getting benched in the middle of the Minnesota game two weeks ago, CB Dimtiri Patterson has regained his starting right corner spot. When asked about if Patterson is the starting right corner, Reid said, “Yes.”
Patterson was benched in favor for CB Joselio Hanson but last week Patterson redeemed himself and played very well against the Dallas first team offense. He has however been very inconsistent all year long giving up big plays and miss tackling in some games. Hopefully his performance continues going into the playoffs.
Good news as last week’s Dallas game was essentially a bye week for the Birds sitting out pretty much all their key starters for the game, the only two Eagles that missed practice on Wednesday was LB Stewart Bradley with that elbow injury he sustained in Week 14 in Dallas. Also RG Max Jean-Giles who left this past week’s game with an ankle injury. Besides them everyone is good to go and healthy.