Friday, December 19, 2008
The Not-So-Fab-Five is alive and well and back with a vengeance. Not really with a vengeance, but that just sounds cool.
Actually due to previous commitments, ONLY two (yours truly and Rich Romig) of the Not-So-Fab-Five are here to offer their views... hey two's better than nothing, right?
Anyway, the topic that brought us out of our self-imposed exile is this:
IF… the Philadelphia Eagles win out and get the help they need that knocks either the Bucs or Falcons out of the playoffs, they will be as likely as any team in the NFC to make it to (dare we say it...gulp!) the Super Bowl.
TRUE or FALSE
My reasoning is thus: The Giants are in a funk and nowhere near as explosive as they were with Mr. Glock lining up at wideout. Yes, they play good D and still run the ball well, but they can certainly be had. The Panthers are every expert's flavor of the month, and deservedly so -- for they too play good D and run the ball very well with that two-headed attack of Williams and Stewart (ain't they a law firm that specializes in asbestos injuries?). Plus they have the ever-explosive Steve Smith to break a big play or two, but Jake Delhomme (he of the surgically repaired right arm that wasn't so great when it was uninjured) does not scare me -- stop their RBs (not easy, but doable) and he can be a turnover machine if he's forced to throw to catch up.
The Vikes may win a first-round game, but that's about it; and, let's face it, the Cards are just auditing the Playoff course. The NFC South Wildcard representative will either be a team the Iggles HAVE spanked or can spank.
The Birds will be certifiably hot...hopefully maintaining a somewhat balanced offensive attack and hitting their stride as an opportunistic high-energy defense. Yes, three road playoff games will be daunting -- but they play well on the road and will be battle-tested, having run the gauntlet (or is it gantlet? Look it up) of trials and inner turmoil most recently, which is the right time to make your bones. The fact that many of them are not shaving and could potentially stink to high heaven won't hurt
SO: Absolutely and unequivocally true.
I realize that just a few short weeks ago even the mere mention of the word playoffs would be cause for people to check me for head trauma, but as we all know, the NFL is very much about getting on a roll at the right time of the year. And if the Eagles win out, they will be on said roll… big time.
Now obviously the winner of the Panthers/Giants game will secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs hence giving that team a supposed edge. A bye week and home cooking and all that good stuff.
The Giants, for all their mid-season stellar play, have picked a bad time to do their Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde impression. Last year of course, this is the time of year they themselves got on that roll and rode that roll to a Lombardi trophy. This year of course has been just the opposite, at least lately. Blame it on Plaxico. Blame it on not having Jacobs. Blame it on complacency. Blame it on the rain for all I care. The bottom line is the aura of invincibility that surrounded this team earlier in the season is gone.
Then there’s the Panthers, who themselves like to do a little Jekyll & Hyde. No question they are a formidable foe, particularly on offense with the likes of Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. And as much as I admire Jake Delhomme for returning from such a serious injury, he does have a penchant for making bad decisions/bad throws if you get sustainable pressure on him. The key to beating the Panthers will of course be stopping the run. Oh yeah, the Eagles owe the Panthers and how sweet would it be to beat then on their own field for the NFC Title?
As for the other “pretenders”… there’s the Cardinals, Vikings and either the Falcons or Bucs. Of this group the most difficult opponent would be the Bucs. The Eagles have already beaten the Cards and Falcons and the Vikings have no QB. But the Bucs, particularly if Jeff Garcia plays, would make for a very interesting game.
So in closing, yes I believe the Eagles can sustain the roll they are on and if necessary win 3 games on the road. Hey, everyone thought the Phils would blow it at some point, right and how’d that turn out?
Til next time.
Posted by Steve Olenski at Friday, December 19, 2008