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The Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers have already met once this year here in the City of Brotherly Love, and on that day, the visitors scored a 27-20 victory. However, the Eagles made a huge stand that day and nearly erased a three score deficit. The two are going to have at it again this Sunday to wrap up the first round of NFL betting action in Wild Card Weekend.
Matchup: Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles
Date: Sunday, January 9th, 4:30 ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Game Line: Philadelphia -2.5
Packers Notes: About the only thing that has really changed for the Packers since Week 1 is that RB Ryan Grant hasn't been in the lineup. He suffered his season ending injury in that game against the Eagles and has not been heard from since. RB Brandon Jackson really didn't cut it as his replacement, rushing for just over 700 yards on the year. The argument could be made that QB Aaron Rodgers was the league's MVP this year, as he really put this team on his back and carried it to the postseason in the face of adversity. Rodgers threw for 3,922 yards and 28 TDs this year against just 11 picks, and he was the man responsible for winning these last two must win games of the year to get the Pack into the playoffs. He turned WR Greg Jennings into a Pro Bowler this year, as he caught 76 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 TDs. WRs James Jones and Jordy Nelson both replaced a struggling and aging Donald Driver, though all three had at least 565 yards and 45 receptions this year. The real key to this team is the defense, which was one of the best in the NFL this year. LB Clay Matthews might be the Defensive Player of the Year after he picked up 13.5 sacks on the season. Green Bay ranked No. 5 in the land in total 'D' at 309.1 yards per game and No. 2 in scoring at 15.0 points per game. Though there were some shoddy games, there were some absolutely fantastic ones as well. The Packers held a whopping six foes to seven points or fewer this year, and the only team to score more than 26 points on this unit all season long was the New England Patriots, and QB Matt Flynn was forced to start in that game.
Eagles Notes: The difference between this NFL betting affair and the one in Week 1 for the Eagles is that the signal caller starting the day will not be QB Kevin Kolb. Instead, QB Michael Vick has turned himself into an MVP candidate, and a surefire Comeback Player of the Year winner. Vick, who was only in prison just two years ago at this time, came back this year to throw for 3,018 yards and rush for 676 more. Had you prorated his numbers over a full 16 game season, Vick would have thrown for 4,024 yards and 28 TDs and rushed for 901 yards and 12 scores on the ground, and he surely would be the owner of the league's most illustrious individual award. Alas, injuries and some shoddy coaching at times by Head Coach Andy Reid kept him on the bench for far too long. When Vick was in the lineup, this team averaged over 400 yards per game, and the unit would have averaged 33.8 points per game, both numbers of which would have been No. 1 in the league. Watch out for WR DeSean Jackson, as he led the NFL in yards per reception with 22.5. He had 47 catches for 1,056 yards and six TDs, and he also had 104 yards and a TD on the ground and 231 yards and a TD while returning punts. WR Jeremy Maclin had 70 catches for 964 yards and 10 TDs. On the ground, RB LeSean McCoy was one of the most underrated backs in the league. he had 1,080 yards and seven TDs as a runner, and he led the team with 78 receptions, accounting for 592 yards and two more TDs as a receiver. The Philly defense is suspect in spite of the fact that DB Asante Samuel ranked No. 2 in the NFL with seven picks. This unit allowed 326.8 yards and 23.6 points per game.
The Final Word: The Packers are a trendy selection both here and for the right to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year, but we tend to disagree. Beating the same team twice in the same season on the road both times has to be one of the hardest things to do in the NFL. The Eagles have learned their lesson, and Vick and company are sure to be pulling out the 'W' in front of their hometown crowd.
Free Pro Football Picks: Philadelphia Eagles -2.5
Prediction: Philadelphia 27 – Green Bay 20