The Eagles are back in action this week and will take on a very strong Colts team. As I do every week, I was able to interview a blogger from the opposing side. This week, I was able to speak with the guys over at 18to88.com about the upcoming matchup.
We discussed Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and some of the matchups to keep an eye on during the game. Enjoy!
BirdsFan: When I hear “Indianapolis Colts,” I automatically think of Peyton Manning. When it’s all said and done, what do you think his legacy will be? Greatest quarterback of all-time?
18to88: I’m more of a "tier" guy. I don’t think you can parse between John Unitas and Joe Montana. I think Manning will be on that very top tier. Not because of the numbers, which will be unparalleled, but because he managed to play the position of quarterback in a unique way that transformed the game.
BF: Staying on the topic of Manning, will the Colts look at every season as Super Bowl or bust as long as he’s around?
18to88: I don’t personally buy the idea that any year you don’t win the title is a failure, however, every year that Peyton is playing, the team has a legitimate shot of winning it all.
All Colts teams end up around 12-4, but some are much better than others. Most fans will tell you that the 2008 team was very weak and the 2007 team was better than the 2009 team before injuries took them down. No one thinks of the 2006 Colts as the best of the group (that would be the 2005 team).
So, when you’ve won a title with "not your best team," it allows you to have hope every season that if you get the breaks in the playoffs, you can win it all.
BF: It seems as though the Colts have experienced a lot of injuries so far this year. Which injury has hurt the most and what back-up player has had the biggest impact filling in for an injury?
18to88: In the long run, the answer will be Dallas Clark’s injury, but it’s too early (one game) to see all the ways that plays out. For now, the injury to Melvin Bullitt looms large. Colts fans expected to lose Bob Sanders but no one worried because of Bullitt.
Bullitt’s replacement Aaron Francisco is a waiver wire kind of guy, but now he’ll likely start the rest of the season. His ability to fill in for two strong performers could make all the difference from here on out.
BF: The Eagles will start Michael Vick against the Colts. What are your thoughts on how he has performed this season, and how do you believe he matches up against the Colts defense?
18to88: Vick has been excellent, but like most people, I question if his style of play lends itself to a long, healthy career in the NFL. I don’t think Vick matches up well against Indy, however. The Colts are predicated on speed, taking away deep passes and forcing short accurate throws into zones. That sounds like a recipe for stopping Mike Vick to me.
BF: On Sunday, where will the Colts have an advantage on offense? On defense?
18to88: Any advantage for the Colts starts with Manning and Dwight Freeney. Manning is the great equalizer, and Freeney forces teams to be aware of his presence at all times. Freeney gets so much depth so quickly that he creates havoc in the run game and the pass game.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
18to88: Trent Cole should have a field day with a very questionable pass blocking line. The only question is, can he get to Manning fast enough to beat his quick release?
On defense, the Colts tackles are light and can be exploited for big gains in the run game. Safety Aaron Francisco is a question mark as well. Indy played without two of their best corners on Monday, so if Vick can be accurate, he should find passing lanes.
BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Colts on Sunday?
18to88: Who lines up at running back. Indy’s top three backs are all banged up, and there’s no telling who will line up in the backfield. Whoever it is had better be able to pass protect, however.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
18to88: Indy 27, Philly 24