Phew, you should seen the look on your face! Priceless, baby! Anywho, let's get down to business.
The Philadelphia Eagles are headed down to Baltimore to clash with the Ravens. It's the battle of the birds (I know, so original and clever).
Here we have what we thought would be a very intriguing match-up a few weeks ago. It's still an intriguing matchup, but it has lost some of its "WOW" factor.
The fellas in Las Vegas give the edge to Baltimore, with the spread at -1 or -1.5 in most odds. I will have to...naw, I'll tell you my pick at the end. Until then, let me give you my takes on the passing game, the running game, the defense, the special teams, and the x-factor.
Last week, Donovan McNabb was way off his game. He threw for 339 yards, yet also threw for just one touchdown and three interceptions. Add to that his 58 attempts, and you can see why he had a 50.9 rating. McNabb had a bad game the week before that as well against the G-Men.
Joe Flacco did not perform well last week either. But looking at his four weeks before that, a rating of at least 109.00 in three of those weeks. So it looks like this rookie has found out his game.
I don't see Donovan McNabb coming out of his recent woes this week against this very good defense, yet I don't see Joe Flacco succeeding either against Philadelphia's good defense...Also, neither team has a consistent receiving group.
I'm calling this a push.
Baltimore's third-ranked rush game should be able to run efficiently against this inconsistent rush defense. The crowded backfield of Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain, and Ray Rice have combined for 1,468 yards, which is 515 more yards than the 953 yards that has been racked up by the Eagles' rushing game that ranks 26th in the league.
Given Brian Westbrook's injury and Andy Reid's inability to realize that running is important, the Eagles rush game is doomed. Especially against this third ranked rush defense.
It's fairly obvious to me that the Ravens get the advantage here.
Baltimore's eighth ranked pass defense and third ranked rush defense is will be going against either a slumping running back, or a backup running back, and a slumping quarterback.
Philadelphia's 11th-ranked pass defense and 11th ranked rush defense will be going against the total opposite: a hot backfield and a hot quarterback.
The Birds' defense may be up to the task for the most part of the game, but there will be plenty of plays where they are caught off guard in my opinion. Then you have this tough Ravens defense that I think will have a fun time stuffing the run all day and giving McNabb fits.
I easily give the advantage to the Ravens.
Neither team is too weak or strong here.
The Eagles have the better return game, while the Ravens have a better kicking game. It evens itself out in my opinion, and I don't see this to be too big of a factor.
I'm calling it a push.
My x-factor for this matchup is whether or not the Eagles can find some motivation to get their act together. This time is much better than they are playing, but there are too many attitude problems and not enough leadership.
If a few more players can stand out, and be willing to give out that lecture and yell at the other guys, I think the Eagles could possibly make a run for the playoffs.
Either way, I do not see the Eagles winning this game.
As you saw above, I rated the passing game a push, the running game in favor of Baltimore, the defensive game in favor of Baltimore, and special teams a push.
So, I predict the hot Ravens to pull out their fifth win in six games against the slumping Eagles.
Yes Eagles fans, our woes will continue.
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