Sunday, December 28, 2008

Playoff Game Against the Eagles

The Eagles are a very good football team; going into week 17, they ranked #2 in Football Outsiders' DVOA (they're probably back to #1 now).

But they're also capable of terrible duds: if their tie against the Bengals and blowout loss to the Ravens seem too long ago, look no further than their week 16 10-3 loss to Washington.

Playoff football is often about the team on a hot streak; games from earlier in the season don't matter as much as how the team is playing recently.  The Eagles look hot after their 44-6 week 17 win over Dallas, but that Washington game was just a week earlier.

The Eagles have struggled in close games this season: they're 1-5-1 in games decided by seven or less.  Andy Reid has been criticized for some of his decisions in close games; if the Vikes keep it close, the Eagles could choke it (but then everybody else relies on the Vikes to choke when it matters, so don't get too excited).

It will be a tough game for the Vikings to win, and they could get blown out by a very talented Eagle team.  But in Thunderdome (hopefully the crowd is energized for the first home playoff game since the 2000 season), it's a winnable game against an up and down team.

5 comments:

  1. Honestly, Philly's gonna win! Yet, tell me what the Vikings have to lose? They get Phat Pat Williams back and they're no longer the NFL's NFC choke artists (that wonderful title has been given to the Dallas Cowboys)! The Vikings can be dangerous if they relax, realize there in a good position, and do what they do best: run the ball and stop the run! Let's hope we're all pleasantly surprised next Sat./Sun., but don't get your hopes up, the Eagles are lookin' hot and the Vikings can be there own worst enemy!

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  2. The return of a healthy Pat Williams is key to the Vikings' chances; they looked very different defensively without him.

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  3. Key #2:

    How will Tarvaris handle the Blitz-heavy Philly D? He is going to have to make some quick decisions in those known passing downs.

    The key I think is going to be the offensive play calling. If we do the classic Run-Run-Pass, Philly will destroy us with the blitz.

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  4. Assessing Philly based on the Cowboy choke job is not a very accurate metric. Philly will be riding high and playing with confidence, but they haven't been impressive with any consistency this season. This game reminded me of the Viking's slaughter of the Giants last season; yes, they crushed a talented team, but it didn't make them good. Everything just bounced their way.

    I like the Vikings chances against Philly. they are very one-dimensional and we should be able to control the line of scrimmage on defense. If they can defend the screen pass effectively, they can shut down Philly.

    Offense may be a bit of a problem. If the Vikings don't fix their blitz pickups, it will be a long day for Tarvaris and he'll be running for his life. However, I think they can run the ball against the Eagles.

    They will almost certainly be considered underdogs (and at home no less!), which should play to their advantage.

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  5. Philly is very beatable, but they can get really hot. If the vikings limit the big play and don't allow the eagles to gain momentum with big offensive plays then we should win this game. The eagles will blitz, their Defensive coordinator has been doing this a long time and it really good at giving different looks to QB's and bringing confusing blitz's, which is not the vikings strong suit.

    Here's my fear and key to the game: coaching

    Here's why: we are now going to face an eagles team that has been in plenty of playoff appearances with many players on their roster. Andy Reid and most of his coaching staff have been together for a very long time. We are most likely outmatched in this department.

    However, we have a wildcard: Childress

    Here's why: Chilly was apart of Reid's offense and coaching team for quite some time. He should know them like the back of his hand. He knows their strengths and weaknesses. He also knows he is out matched in coaching, and he has a chance to use his personal experience against the eagles. If he can get creative, get an offensive and defensive strategy based on his knowledge of the Philly weaknesses, we have a good chance to win this game. Philly has no more talent than the vikings.

    I'll say it again, this game comes down to one man: Childress

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