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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Week 14 NFL Predictions: Prime Time Edition

Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys: PHI -3
If you are getting tired of seeing PHI in prime time you might have to just suck it up and deal with it.  PHI has been slotted for prime time games in what seems like every week because of the resurgence of Michael Vick.  NBC had the chance to flex this game, but they didn't because they know what kind of ratings this MVP candidate gets.  It's hard to argue with this because their offensive attack is unlike any other in the NFL.  Only NE score more points per game and I have no reason to believe the scoring will stop now.  A lot of people think the sky is falling in IND, but like I said in their write-up this week it isn't because DAL controlled the game.  The Cowgirlz got dominated in many key areas in week 13 and they should be sending thank you cards to Peyton this week for handing them the win on a silver platter.  Having said that, I'm not about to completely dismiss DAL.  I give them credit for playing hard despite their situation and I thought they would have more of a let down after their Thanksgiving Super Bowl.   

Yet, a closer look at this matchup reveals that DAL is in for another long day on defense.  Unlike Peyton, Vick isn't throwing many interceptions this year.  He is completely infatuated with this offense and it's not hard to understand why.  With weapons like D-Jax, Maclin, Avant, Celek, and "Shady" McCoy at his disposal, Vick only needs to buy an extra second of time to find someone completely wide open.  DAL haven't done a good job defending the pass before or after their coaching change.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that they haven't pressured the QB as effectively in years past.  They will have trouble all night long because PHI makes defenses defend every square inch of the field.  PHI score about 18 points per game from long drives and consistently win the turnover battle.  A short field from one of these turnovers is like icing on the cake for this offense.  They are a collection of speedsters and their game is tailored for the fast surface at New Cowgirlz Stadium.   

DAL only have two clear-cut advantages in this game and neither of them will translate into a win.  Both of them are also things that PHI do bad rather than anything DAL does good.  PHI continue to suck bad in their red zone defense and rank near the bottom in penalties per game.  These two flaws make their games much more interesting than they need to be and it shows you how good they actually are if they can consistently overcome them.  DAL should have also had a significant edge in the return game, but that is gone now that Dez Bryant is done for the year.  I was a little surprised that PHI was only favored by 3 in this game which tells me what the books think of this resurgent DAL team playing at home under the lights.  Feel free to jump on the Jon Kitna bandwagon, but I'll be taking a pass.  PHI hasn't forgotten what happened last year when these two teams met and they are eagerly waiting to return the favor this time around.  Prediction: Bank PHI -3.
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