Can Michael Vick lead the Eagles to a huge win over the Colts?
The Philadelphia Eagles face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9 of the 2010 NFL regular season.
As I did last week with the Eagles vs. Titans, I am going to do a position by position breakdown of this week's matchup between Indianapolis and Philadelphia.
The only difference is this week I am going to do it via a slideshow. This is my first ever slideshow, as I normally write articles, so we will see how this comes out.
Can the Eagles topple the Colts Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, or will the Colts send the Eagles to a 4-4 record?
Join me on a ride through the two teams rosters and get my prediction at the end.
Peyton Manning leads the Colts into Philadelphia Sunday
We obviously all know the Colts quarterback and the future Hall of Famer is the key to the Colts offense.
Manning has a career QB rating of 132.5 against the Eagles and after what Kerry Collins did to them two weeks ago, can the Eagles slow the Colts offense down?
Manning is so tough because if you blitz him he can burn you and if you give him time he can burn you.
The Eagles getting pressure with their front four will be the key, but whether they can do that or not will be the question.
Michael Vick was having perhaps the best year of his career before going down with a rib injury.
He returns this week to try to lead the Eagles to a huge win in a game they really need to have.
While Vick is talented, he will be overshadowed by Manning in this match up, but that may not be a bad thing.
It will be interesting to see how much Vick looks to run after his injury, I imagine he will still be the same scrambler, only he might actually slide this time if he is going to get thumped.
Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, and Mike Hart are all dealing with injuries.
At this point, no one knows which one of those 3 are going to play. Addai seems unlikely, but Brown or Hart could play. If none of them play, the Colts will turn to undrafted rookie Javarris James from my alma mater (University of Miami, FL).
James signed with the team in October and had 3 carries for 4 yards last week.
Even fullback Brady Ellridge is banged up and is questionable for Sunday.
No one knows what to expect from the Colts running game, but the Eagles should be able to limit the Colts on the ground. Obviously if the back is James I would expect Indy to throw the ball more.
LeSean McCoy is enjoying a break out season at running back for the Eagles, and the newly acquired Jerome Harrison had the bye week to get implemented with the offense, so we may see him get a few carries this week.
Owen Schmitt continues to be a pleasant surprise at fullback.
Running the ball will be huge for the Eagles because if they can run the ball, they can keep Manning off the field, much like the Texans did in their week one win over Indy.
The Colts are banged up at this position as well, with Austin Collie out with a hand injury.
Reggie Wayne is one of the best in the business though and Manning's favorite target, and Pierre Garcon is more than a capable target.
Anyone who catches passes from Peyton Manning is hard to stop and with the Eagles questionable secondary, I think Garcon might have a huge day if he is matched up with Dmitiri Patterson.
Tight End Jason Tamme did a nice job last week against Houston filling in for the injured Dallas Clark.
Eagles are desperately hoping to have star WR DeSean Jackson back and it looks like there is a good chance that will happen.
Jeremy Maclin has had a good season and Brent Celek, despite being somewhat disappointing this season, is a solid pass catching tight end.
It will be interesting to see if rookie Riley Cooper gets involved in the offense at all with Jackson healthy.
This is one area the Colts are actually very healthy and Peyton Manning's quick release makes him really hard to sack.
Jeff Saturday is a solid center, and tackles Charlie Johnson and Ryan Diem do a solid job as well. The Colts line has Jamey Richard and Mike Pollak at guard who also are solid.
Manning has been sacked only 7 times all season in 7 games.
Injuries have hurt the Eagles OL and Jason Peters was signed to be an All-Pro and hasn't done that.
The Eagles have struggled with protection at times but Vick's elusiveness will help offset that a little bit. Still, they have to protect Vick and keep Dwight Freeney out of the backfield to have a chance in this game.
Dwight Freeney is one of the best in the business, but it is unheralded Robert Mathis who scares me.
While Freeney often sees double teams, that allows Mathis to get one on one with an offensive lineman and Mathis has five and a half sacks already this season. The only good news is he is questionable so there is a chance he doesn't play. There is a significant drop off after Mathis if he can not go.
The Colts defensive tackles are the weakness of this line, as the Colts have been gashed by running backs this season at times and neither one of their tackles has a single sack.
Trent Cole is the Eagles version of Dwight Freeney and Cole is just as good, although probably not as heralded as Freeney.
However, the rest of the Eagles line is suspect, as they don't have a second pass rusher as good as Mathis.
Mike Patterson has been a complete zero so far, and Dixon has played well filling in for Bunkley, but the Eagles need to get pressure to win this game.
Gary Brackett is solid in the middle but the Colts are suspect on the outside.
Both Clint Session and backup Kavell Conner are questionable to play Sunday, and Philip Wheeler has just 31 tackles and no sacks on the season.
As a matter of fact, the Colts linebackers have not recorded a sack or interception all season.
As shocking as it is, the Eagles normally much maligned linebackers may actually have an advantage here.
Ernie Sims is solid on the outside, and Moises Foku has played well since winning the starting job from Akeem Jordan a couple of weeks ago.
I'm not a Stewart Bradley fan, but there is no doubt he is better than Omar Gaither.
Neither LB group is very good, so pick your poison here.
The Colts secondary is so banged up, it's scary.
Bob Sanders, their great safety, got hurt in week one and has not seen the field since.
His backup, Aaron Francisco, is hurt as well.
CB Kelvin Hayden is underrated and has done a really solid job for this depleted secondary, and Antoine Bethea has been better than expected as well.
Still, this secondary is very vulnerable due to the injuries, but a good pass rush can often help a secondary look better than they are.
Asante Samuel might be the key to this game for the Eagles, if he can limit Reggie Wayne, then the Eagles have a chance to win the game.
The Eagles will use Dmitiri Patterson on the other side, demoting Ellis Hobbs.
Nate Allen had his worst game of the season against Tennessee, but SS Quintin Mikell has played his best football as of late.
Eagles kicker David Akers will try to bounce back from a forgettable last game at the Linc
Adam Vinatieri is one of the best in the business and punter Pat McAfee has a 44.7 yard average with a long of 66 yards.
Both of the Colts normal return men are a bit banged up, so it will be interesting to see who returns kicks if Tryon and Powers can't go.
David Akers last trip to the Linc was a forgettable one, as Akers missed three field goals.
Sav Rocca has a huge leg but the Eagles kick coverage has been very suspect at times.
Advantage: Call it Even
Colts Jim Caldwell took his team to a Super Bowl last season and has done a solid job since taking over for Tony Dungy.
Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer has done a great job dealing with injuries and getting the most out of his defense.
Andy Reid has tenure in Philadelphia but the Eagles have never beaten Indianapolis under Reid.
Sean McDermott's defense will have to come up with a great scheme to contain Manning, and I don't know if he is capable of that.
The Eagles have never beaten the Colts under Peyton Manning, who has great numbers against the Eagles. Colts are 3-0 against the Birds under Manning.
The Colts average margin of victory against the Eagles under Peyton Manning is 24 points. The Colts played Monday though, so it is a short week for them and they are very banged up.
Monday night teams who go on the road the next week traditionally do not do very well in that scenario, but then again, most of them do not have Peyton Manning.
The Colts have the 2nd ranked offense and 15th ranked defense, but struggle against the run, where they rank 27th. Manning's audibles at the line will confuse the Eagles and be hard for them to defend.
On the other hand, the Eagles have never lost coming off a bye since Andy Reid has been the coach (11-0).
The Eagles are also unbeaten this season when Michael Vick plays the whole game.
The Eagles have the 5th ranked offense and 11th ranked defense in the NFL.
The Eagles also have the home field advantage, although they are only 1-2 at home. Coming off a bye week is probably the biggest advantage though.
I have picked against the Eagles a lot this season, including against Tennessee, and I was correct there.
Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct and for some reason, I think the Eagles are going to pull this game out.
Reid's great track record after a bye plus a short week for the banged up Colts is just a bad spot for them in my opinion.
Manning gets his, but the Eagles win a close one.
Eagles 31 Colts 27