As of today, the Eagles are 22-point underdogs
for this Sunday's match up with the loathsome Patriots. According to the odds-makers, who have been burned by the Pats on a weekly basis, this game represents the second-most-lopsided game in the history of the NFL.
That seems a little extremist to me. I mean, the Eagles haven't played great, but they are 5-5, surely you'd expect them to put up a better fight than the lowly Bills (who have scored a whopping 153 points in 10 games). What's the line going to be for the Pats/Dolphins game, 40?
I'm currently resting my wearing bones in the heart of Pats country, and to be honest with you, it's making me a little sick to my stomach. Every restaurant I walk into either a "World Champion Red Sox" newspaper is sharing a frame with an ugly autographed picture of Kevin Youkilis, or the jerkoff behind the counter is wearing a Tom Brady jersey. Every time I sit down at a restaurant I have to overhear morons talking about how "Bill" is the smartest coach in the world and it's perfectly OK that he's running the score up on everyone.
I don't know if the Eagles are capable of doling it out, but this whole friggin' region is overdue for a heaping spoonful of comeuppance.
The Pats seem to be far-and-away the best football team in the world. There isn't much debate about that. They throw the ball better than anyone, and Tom Brady has proven this year that given equal tools, he makes Payton Manning look like a rank amateur. Here's the thing, though. There is one aspect of the game of football the Pats haven't been forced to prove, and that's the running game. Their quick-strike offense has buried teams so quickly, they've only had to run the ball to wind the clock down, and run up the score. I say you make them run it to win. Play 6 defensive backs on every single down of the game if that's what it takes. Play your safeties 15 yards off the line of scrimmage, double Randy Moss on every single play. Take away the pass, at all costs.
If it takes 15 running plays and the Pats march down and score a touchdown on the first drive, that's fine. Just do not let Brady to Moss for a long touchdown happen. Don't let any big plays in the passing game happen. Count on your front four to get pressure on Brady, blanket the field with DBs and DARE Belichick to hand the ball off. Worst-case scenario, it takes them longer to score and it frustrates them. Best-case-scenario, Maroney and Sammy Morris, the weak underbelly of this bloated team, can't carry the load and Belichick and Brady start trying to force things.
The flip side of this equation is the Eagles offense. I say, give them more of the same. Brian Westbrook is the best player on your team, overpower their defensive line and give #36 thirty-plus carries. Shorten the game, keep the clock running on both sides of the ball and make the lesser Patriots beat you. Take some chances, go for it on 4th and 1, fake a punt. Pull out all the stops. You have nothing to lose in this game, and everything to gain. If every member of the team plays like that, and the coaching staff coaches with that mindset instead of "Gee, how are we going to beat the great Belichick," you have a chance. In fact, that's the only way you have a chance.
As for Belichick, there's nothing magical about this douche bag. If not for Adam Vinatieri, he'd have zero Super Bowl rings. Basically, he's a bitter, horrible man who gets off on cheating, being smug, rubbing peoples' noses in it and, unfortunately, having the best quarterback in the league. What he's done as a coach this season isn't exactly impressive, he's coaching the most-talented team in the league, by far. Running up the score doesn't prove you're a genius, it just proves you're an asshole.
As usual, there's a cloud hanging over the game for the Eagles. McNabb is nursing a sore thumb and a sore ankle, and it's questionable as to whether he's going to play. Honestly, I don't think McNabb's health will be as big a factor in this game as the offensive and defensive game plans will. If we see McNabb (or Feeley, or Kolb) dropping back to pass 30+ times, this game is going to be a loss. I'd rather see Feeley handing it off than McNabb airing it out.
Let's forget about the playoffs for one day. Let's forget about the first 10 games, and the next 5. Let's forget about Donovan McNabb's injuries, Andy Reid's kids, L.J. Smith's groin, Kevin Kolb's development, Jevon Kearse's ego, Trent Cole's emergence, Trotter's absence, the anemic return game and the questionable play-calling. Let's forget about everything that has happened, will happen or may happen and just go out there and accomplish two things. Hang that first "L" on the Patriots, and make Bill Belichick see this guy running all over his defense when he closes his eyes to go to sleep on Sunday night.