Packer vs. Eagles (-2.5) 46.5 o/u
If you are a fan of football then there is nothing to hate about the final playoff game of the weekend. The Green Bay Packers (10-6) head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles (10-6) in Michael Vick’s first playoff game since 2004 and sports-glutton.com’s Game of the Week.
There is no argument that the reason the Eagles find themselves in the playoffs is because of Michael Vick’s maturation at quarterback and his playmaking abilities. Vick, who was seemingly unstoppable early in the season, has cooled off over his past 6 games. Even though Vick has completed 62.6% of his passes, averaged 278 yards passing, 55.8 rushing with a total of 15 touchdowns, the elusive quarterback has also thrown 6 interceptions. Indeed, the Eagles quarterback has shown signs of making poor/rushed decisions as a result of pocket pressure and defense schemes.
Whether or not the Packers defense is able to create pressure and force Vick into making high risk passes is one of the keys to the game. But there is more to this aspect of the game than Vick not throwing the ball into the hands of the Packers defense.
There exists a pressure on Vick, whether from himself or the coaching staff, to make plays with his arm and not his legs, thus proving that he is not the “rushing” quarterback of his past. At critical moments this season Vick has made tremendous plays rushing the ball, but there have also been times that Vick has attempted high risk passes instead of tucking the ball and running. If Vick is able to tuck the ball and make plays with his legs at key moments in the game (instead of making high risk passes), then the Eagles stand a much better chance of moving the ball against a stingy Packer defense.
Green Bay comes into this game riding a two game winning streak, which a defensive battle against Chicago where Aaron Rodgers made three keys passes that helped the Packers secure a playoff spot. Rodgers has been on fire over the past 6 games completing 69.8% of his passes, averaging 270 passing yards per game, with 13 touchdowns and only 1 interception.
Even though Rodgers and the Packers offense has been playing well as late, they only average 16.7 point per game on the road with Rodgers as quarterback.
What principally concerns me about the Packers offense is its inability to effectively run the ball and consequently the offensive play calling. It was the horrendous offensive game plan and playing calling against the Lions, which forced Aaron Rodgers to scrabble for first downs and led to his concussion in that game.
The Detroit game was symbolic of Green Bay’s offensive troubles on the road this season, troubles that will surely follow them to Philadelphia as the Packers face a Philly defense which statistically is middle of the road, but as opportunistic as they come.
Lastly, Andy Reid’s playoff teams average 20.6 points on offense, while surrendering 18.7 on defense. This coupled with the Packers low scoring road offense and a defense which has held opposing offenses to 240 points (15 points per game) should result in lower scoring tightly contested affair.
I personally feel that this game could go either way. However, over the past six games Michael Vick has proven that when pressured he is as mistake prone as any quarterback in the NFL. This couple with his questionable physical health leads me to give the Packers the slight edge in this game.
Packers win, take the Packers plus 2.5 and the under