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Monday, January 3, 2011

Eagles to Face the Packers

The Eagles lost a meaningless regular season finale to the Dallas Cowboys yesterday, 14-13, and will face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 PM.

Yesterday’s game meant absolutely nothing. I was watching it through a haze of a growing flu, anyway, but I wouldn’t have been offering a review of this game anyway. it simply offered nothing in the way of gauging how the Eagles might do in the playoffs.

I’m dumbfounded by the back page of the Daily News with today’s headline: “Paging Mr. Vick – It’s all about No. 7 now after another Kolb klunker.” They even have a poll on their website asking, “How much confidence do you have in Kolb?” as if yesterday’s game was a referendum on his talent.

Maybe Daily News has the flu running through its staff. To try to judge Kolb based on yesterday is absurd. The Eagles essentially played their backups, and the Cowboys had their regulars playing and a head coach who was basically looking to solidly his job for next year.

The only story out of yesterday for the Eagles is that they will play the Packers at home on Sunday.

Yesterday’s Packers-Bears game actually gave me more confidence that the Eagles could get the victory on Sunday. Yes, the Packers won, 10-3, in Chicago to clinch a playoff berth. And, yes, the Bears played their starters despite having nothing to play for with their playoff position locked in.

But the Bears still had nothing to play for. I realize playing football at half speed is an invitation to injury, but there’s no chance that the Bears players didn’t take a little something off of their usual level of play yesterday. With nothing to gain from a win, they weren’t going to be “selling out” on every play, and they still almost sent the Packers home for the season.

That said, writing on Monday morning with the game almost a full week away, I don’t have a good feeling as an Eagles fan going into Sunday. The Eagles lost the one starting offensive lineman that played yesterday, Max Jean-Gilles, to an injury. It was only an ankle injury, but the offensive line is already struggling. In the last two meaningful games, opposing teams have blitzed the Eagles as if it’s a blueprint to beat them.

Adjusting isn’t exactly a strong suit of Andy Reid or Marty Mornhinweg. On the other hand, they’ve known since Tuesday night that they were likely facing the Packers, and they are generally very effective with two weeks to prepare for a time – one huge exception, of course, being the Super Bowl against the Patriots.

The Eagles who do play Sunday should be somewhat rested. Stewart Bradley, everybody’s favorite savior for the defense, is not necessarily expected to play, but Asante Samuel should be on the field. If he can prop up a deteriorating Eagles defense, the Birds have a much better chance against a strong Packers team.

I’ll have more on the game throughout the week.

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