It’s official: With the repeat defeat last night between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, the 2010 NFL regular season is officially under way. In just two days, the Philadelphia Eagles will host a very powerful Green Bay Packers squad, who most likely have the most confidence coming into the start of the season.
The majority of experts over at ESPN have the Packers pegged to win the season opener at Lincoln Financial Field due to the fire power the Pack has on both sides of the ball. QB Aaron Rodgers has emerged as one of the premier players under center in the NFL, and while it will be difficult to defeat the Packers, it’s not impossible.
Obviously, having home field advantage needs to be mentioned before all else. Not only are the fans going to be in rare form after hibernating from the sport all offseason, but the referees need to make the right call when required. During the games held in Philadelphia during the preseason, I saw multiple plays that should have been called that were not.
Follow that up with the continuity of the offensive line and newly acquired right guard Reggie Wells, who is an eight-year veteran in the league and a habitual Pro Bowler.
During the preseason, the Eagles line looked out right horrible, allowing QB Kevin Kolb to get pressured far more than he should have. Second-year RB LeSean McCoy got next to nothing in the run game, as his lane would collapse right in front of him.
I have to say that cutting ties with the Andrews' family was long overdue, and having Wells in Philly should bring great comfort to QB Kevin Kolb. Hopefully that can translate into a much calmer QB who checks his options and doesn't run scared on every down.
Next is play calling. The Green Bay Packers are a veteran team that will be able to predict plays, so offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will need to be crafty and choose his plays wisely in order to effectively disguise what the Eagles offense is trying to do: mask the play.
I’m not saying bust out a full barrage of Wildcat plays, but Marty and QB Kevin Kolb must closely work together to make sure every player is on the same page to avoid any mental errors that could prove costly to the Eagles.
Red Zone efficiency is next up on the list to beat the Packers. When the Eagles get inside the 20, as they did all preseason long, they need to flawlessly execute each play like finely- tuned passing and catching machines. And if that football hits an Eagles player in the hands, the reception must be reeled in.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles are expecting two rookies to come in and play at a veteran level in defensive end Brandon Graham and safety Nate Allen. The play of these two youngsters is extremely vital to the overall success of the Eagles' upcoming season, and if they can produce early in the season it will pay huge dividends to both themselves and the franchise.
Beyond the first two draft picks, I highly expect WR Riley Cooper to be a big factor on Sunday. He’s been the most productive WR through the entire preseason, and with his big frame, he should get a lot of time. He is an excellent blocker, on top of being a fantastic surprise catching everything thrown in his direction.
Key to a “W”:
If the Eagles want to be successful on Sunday, their defense is going to have to apply a tons of pressure on QB Aaron Rogers from the front four and the secondary will need to be fully aware of what is going on around them at all times. Veteran CBs Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs have their hands full, but with the help of SS Quintin Mikell and FS Nate Allen, the impossible could very well become possible!
As much as I would love to sit here and say the Eagles will win this game, I can’t do it. Even if McNabb were still here, I would have my doubts. The Packers are a very explosive team and I think we will see the team who represents the NFC in the 2010 Super Bowl on Sunday.
Predictions: Packers 28-17
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