Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eagles Have Super Bowl Potential (Now and Beyond)

The Eagles remain undefeated when Michael Vick starts all 4 quarters.
For the first 8-9 weeks it seemed like a consensus to most that the AFC was far superior to the NFC. However, that idea seems to be changing. The Defending Super Bowl Champ Saints defeated the Steelers on Sunday Night Football week 8. The Packers shut out the Jets 9-0 that week as well. We all remember, of course, the Eagles edging out the Colts in a game most experts predicted against them. And finally, the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Ravens.

All 4 of those teams were deemed Super Bowl contenders and among the most dominant teams in the NFL. They were also all AFC teams. However, now that they all feel to NFC opponents, it is clear that the NFC has just as much potential as the AFC and that this season's Super Bowl will still be unpredictable.

Yet, despite the renewed faith in the NFC, experts continue to rave about how the Falcons, Packers, Saints, and Giants all have championship aspirations. But aren't they forgetting someone?

Why not us? Why not Philly?
Vick and Jackson make the Eagles among the league's most potent offenses.
Do experts fail to realize that the Eagles have one of the most explosive offenses in the game? Averaging 376.2 yards (4th in the NFL) and 137.5 rushing yards (5th in the NFL) per contest? And that these stats were still the result of having Kevin Kolb instead of Michael Vick at the helm for about 4 games? Have they witnessed the Eagles shut down elite running backs week after week? Have they swept under the rug the fact that the Eagles are currently 3-0 when Michael Vick starts a whole game?

Of course, there are many holes on this team that remain. The offensive line is still too porous and must gel to help prevent another Vick injury. The defense, at 12th in the league, is by no means poor, but must make major strides if it wants to make this team a dominant one, including limiting big plays, which they have done excellently against Indianapolis and Atlanta. And of course, there is the question on everyone's mind. Can Vick stay healthy? Is it a matter of time before another big hit sidelines him for the season?
With LeSean McCoy and Vick leading the way, the Eagles have the 5th best running game in the NFL.
Maybe, and that is another issue at hand. If Vick can play more carefully though, this offense is and will remain a headache for all opponents.

This Eagles team has had a rough first half of the season, but have shown enough promise and bright spots to land us at 5-3, a record experts would never have dreamed of in the off-season. And if history tells us anything, Andy Reid knows how to mastermind second half rallies to make a playoff bid. And we all know that Andy Reid is a genius when it comes to deep playoff runs. (although unfortunately, not finishes).

In conclusion, if the Eagles continue to play Philadelphia Eagles football, why not us? When the Eagles are at their best, they can beat anyone in the league. Their biggest obstacle is and always has been themselves.
The gelling of this defense may be the difference between a jump for the Eagles from a good team to a dominant one.
This week, another obstacle to overcome will be Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins. While last week was quite the statement win, this is indeed also a significant game for Philly. A win here would put us at 6-3 and do much to prove experts and pundits wrong and show everyone, as I have here, that we have just as much a shot at the Lombardi Trophy as anyone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vick Continues to Show Why He is the Short-term and Long-term Future

At this point, letting Michael Vick walk in free agency would be a big mistake.
"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years"

So to anyone who had a doubt before that Vick was the correct call at quarterback, you have been proven wrong for the 4th time this season. In every one of Vick's starts he has been phenomenal and is every bit the dynamic playmaker he was in Atlanta, if not better due to his improved passing abilities. He has yet to throw a pick all season long and continues to lead the league in passer-rating, as well as making huge plays with his legs.

Don't get me wrong, Vick was not necessarily the reason we won. The defense stepped up tremendously, limiting the greatest quarterback in the league, Peyton Manning, intercepting him twice, and consistently getting pressure on him. They were able to salvage a much-needed win for the Birds even after a series of poor calls by the refs that all could have cost the Eagles this game.
Vick gives the Eagles a chance to win every week and makes this whole offense better.
While the defense may be the main reason the Eagles came out with a W, Michael Vick's play is not far behind. Vick was clutch on almost every third down and continues to turn negative plays into positive ones, doing much to draw attention away from the abysmal offensive line.

Also, did anyone catch the post-game locker room celebration? It is clear that Vick has the unanimous support and respect of everyone on that 53-man roster. They truly believe that with him at the helm, the Eagles have a chance to win every single week. And the truth is with DeSean Jackson back as well and with the defense continuing to step up, that may very well be a reality.
The return of Jackson and Vick make the Eagles arguably the most dangerous offense in the league.
Obviously, there are still issues with this team. There are too many costly penalties. The red-zone offense still has problems. And while Vick has yet to throw an interception, that stat is a bit misleading, as he has had his share of careless throws. And the Eagles face a challenge ahead at the Washington Redskins. McNabb will be playing with a chip on his shoulder as he was benched for no reason against the Detroit Lions for the lowly Rex Grossman. If history teaches us anything, next week will be when he plays his best football (remember the Arizona game after the Baltimore benching?).
If the Eagles want to advance to 6-3, they cannot afford to underestimate Donovan McNabb next week.
Do the Eagles still have a shot at victory? Of course. On paper, Philly is by far the superior team, especially considering the Redskins have one of the worst pass-defenses in the league. But if the Eagles keep playing like they did on Sunday, this will be a long day for Donovan McNabb and co. If we can shut down Peyton Manning, McNabb should not pose too huge of a threat.