Over the past few years, I always go into a game and say "Which Eagles team will show up? The high scoring and elite offensive team that runs away with the game, or the low scoring offense and bend but don't break defense that doesn't create turnovers but still keeps the Eagles in the game?"
I hate to say it, but I always think the second team I mentioned will show up.
The defense usually has that "bend, but don't break" mentality, and I love it at times, but hate it at times. I hate it because I hate seeing other teams hold the ball and run down the field, but I love it because I love seeing the Eagles stop them and make sure they don't get any points. And then the defense doesn't create any turnovers, and they get tired.
Then you have the offense.
What's good with the offense is you can usually tell what's going to happen that day for the offense from the first series.
If Donovan starts out terrible, that's the way he will play. If he starts out great, that's the way he will play. He's a head case and he always plays like his first drive.
Also, some days Kevin Curtis (well he's out for a while, so he doesn't matter for Sunday) just is not effective. And the same thing goes for Reggie Brown (but he's doubtful, so he might not matter as well) and L.J. Smith. They'll either be open all night and catching everything thrown to them, or they will be dropping passes left and right and will not get open.
Hopefully DeSean Jackson can bring some reliability to the offense this season. But right now, Brian Westbrook is the only sure player on the offense to do something.
So what team do I think will show up this Sunday? The great offensive team with a good defense, or the terrible offensive team and the bend but don't break defense?
Honestly, I think it will be the latter of the choices. DeSean Jackson and Brian Westbrook may be able to have good games, but that doesn't mean the Eagles offense will. I don't like Donovan's chances these first few weeks, especially since he's number one receiver is most likely Hank Baskett now that Reggie Brown is doubtful for Sunday.
The Birds' defense will give up the run at the beginning of the Rams' drives like they always do against guys like Steven Jackson, but they will then stop the Rams once they go to the pass when they get into Eagles territory.
So as I said in my predictions, I do think the Eagles will win this game, but it won't be pretty. Westbrook will succeed against the 20th ranked run defense in the league last year, and DeSean Jackson will have an impressive debut. But the defense will be a little shaky and Donovan won't be on his game.
I hope the better Eagles team shows up, but I doubt it.
Now it's your turn. Do you notice the same thing I do (two different Eagles teams week in and week out)? Or do you think they always play the same way?