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Relax, Philadelphia Eagles fans, this is not to say I don’t believe in your team. The Iggles are one of three favorites to come out of the NFC: You have to like Green Bay, and Atlanta or New Orleans will emerge as a threat from the South.
However, I see St. Louis as the type of team that can give the Eagles trouble. Teams that can produce a powerful running game to complement an accurate quarterback with a quick release will challenge the Eagles star-studded defense.
However, it will also take a defensive unit that can stop Michael Vick from going wild. St. Louis is far from dominant on D, but the feared duo of defensive ends Chris Long and James Hall (19 sacks, nine forced fumbles combined) can provide pressure on Vick without sacrificing an extra defender to blitz.
Thus, the Rams can keep “contain” on the explosive quarterback.
The favorable strategic matchups are one reason I like the Rams in this one. The other: The Eagles have a lot of new faces, plus DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin barely played or practiced in the preseason.
The Eagles will have no fewer than seven players who are either new to the team or missed huge parts of training camp.
Conversely, the St. Louis Rams were undefeated in the preseason (yes, so were the Lions in 2008, but this preseason should be given more credit than any other) and seem eager to prove that 2010’s 7-9 campaign was just the start for an up-and-coming team in the NFC West.
A lack of cohesiveness costs the Eagles a game here. The ESPN pundits will fire up the “panic meter,” and Eagles talk radio will be dominated by ‘fire Andy Reid’ tirades. Then the team will settle right in and win the division.
Thanks for reading and feel free to leave comments. You can follow Alexander on Twitter @thesportsdude7 or become a fan on his bleacher report profile.