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NFC wildcard playoff game

Packers vs. Eagles

Betting Line: Eagles -2.5 o/u 46.5

1/9/11

The Packers roll into the city of brotherly love as healthy as they have been all year and with loads of confidence. On the other hand, the Eagles literally limped into the playoffs, losing their last two games and sitting quarterback Michael Vick. To many experts the Pack is playing like a possible Super Bowl contender. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers ended the season with 28 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions. His poise and ability to scramble helped to cover-up the fact that Green Bay can't run the ball very well. Running back Brandon Jackson gained a mediocre 703 yards this season, averaging less then four yards a carry.

Rodgers has some dynamic receivers in Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones. Jennings caught 76 passes during the season and scored twelve touchdowns. Driver grabbed 51 passes, fitting the roll of the check down receiver to perfection. Defensively the Packers were a tough unit to score on, giving up an average of fifteen points a game. Linebackers A.J. Hawk (110 tackles) and Clay Matthews (13.5 sacks) displayed consistency and toughness. Veteran cornerback Charles Woodson complimented his teammates by forcing five fumbles.

Philadelphia is like Green Bay was a few months ago, battling injuries and late season mistakes. The Eagles enter the playoffs having lost their last two games. Comeback player of the year and possible MVP Michael Vick sustained a quadriceps injury in a losing effort against the Vikings. Vick says he's 90 percent recovered and the Eagles had better hope he's telling the truth. Vick threw 21 touchdown passes and completed 62 percent of his throws. His injury is a major concern. Vicks strength is his ability to take off when the play breaks down. If he is hobbling, the Eagles are in trouble.  

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One area Philadelphia can exploit is the Packers inability to stop the run. Running back LeSean McCoy picked up over a thousand yards, averaging five yards a touch. Wide receiver Desean Jackson has been battling foot problems but should be a go by game time. Jackson is a dangerous deep threat, collecting close to twenty-two yards a catch. McCoy has grabbed 78 passes out of the backfield, while Jeremy Macklin has 70. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Stewart Bradley's elbow continues to cause him pain. Safety Quintin Mikell leads the Eagles with 88 tackles. Defensive end Trent Cole has sixty-five tackles and ten sacks.

The key to this game like many playoff games will be the quarterback play. Will the Eagles be able to get consistent pressure on Aaron Rodgers? They better if they want to win the game. Philly needs Michael Vick to play as he did earlier in the season, completely passes effortlessly and running when necessary. The game could decided by a late turnover, or a blown coverage.

The Packers have some numbers that a playoff team should have, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They are the #2 team in the NFL in points against which goes along with their very good yards per point number of 20.5 on defense, the best of all the teams playing this weekend. They are also #5 in the NFL against the pass.

Vick is the key to this game. If the Packers can't contain him, it will be a long day for Green Bay. If they can bottle him up and force him to throw the ball, they win this game.

No official selection for us here, but we lean towards the Packers +3 laying the extra juice. We also lean towards the under 44.5.

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