Well, this is going to be one of the better wild card games, quite possibly of all time. With the advent of quarterback Aaron Rodgers exploding recently, and the devastating defense of the Green Bay Packers with fearsome linebacker Clay Matthews, this is going to be one for the record books…perhaps. The explosive offense of the Philadelphia Eagles led by Michael Vick can contend with it, as it was their injury to original starter Kevin Kolb that began Vick’s rise to stardom and Pro Bowler status for this season. But it’s a fresh slate, and both have become different teams. Aaron Rodgers have grown as Brett Favre’s shadow has all but disappeared.
Now to the pre-game analysis:
Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick had made a name for himself this season, but defenses have learned to counter against him, specifically the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants. Vick currently has passed for 3,018 yards, 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a 100.2 quarterback rating. He is currently ranked 4th in terms of quarterback rating and ranked 20th in terms of passing yards. Meanwhile, Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has currently 3,922 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 101.2 quarterback rating. Rodgers is ranked 3rd in quarterback rating and 7th in passing yards. Given these statistics, it appears that Rodgers and Green Bay have the edge. Lastly, bear in mind that Vick has thrown an interception in each of his last five regular season games whereas Rodgers has only thrown two and apparently cleared the interceptions out his system since the beginning of the season.
The Eagles LeSean McCoy currently has 1,080 yards rushing, 7 touchdowns and averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Green Bay Packers Brandon Jackson has 703 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns and averaging a mediocre 3.7 yards per carry. Their fullback John Kuhn has 281 yards rushing and averaging 3.3 yards per carry. Together, they both have amount of yardage as McCoy alone. Both quarterbacks are capable of rushing. Michael Vick takes the cake. He has 676 yards rushing, 9 touchdowns and averaging 6.8 yards per carry. He’s currently ranked 35th among rushers, ahead of Miami Dolphins Ricky Williams and Oakland Raiders Michael Bush. On the other side, Aaron Rodgers has 356 yards rushing, 4 touchdowns and averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Given these numbers, the Eagles get a fairly wide margin. They have a better running game than the Green Bay Packers.
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have 2,020 yards receiving, 16 touchdowns between them and averaging 18.2 yards per reception. This is one potent duo, but DeSean Jackson is the highest rated of this tandem at 12th in the league in terms of receiving yards. Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings is the biggest threat. Jennings currently has 1,265 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns and averaging 16.6 yards per reception. Additionally, he is currently ranked 4th in the league in terms of passing yards. He does have help with Jordy Nelson and James Jones with 7 touchdowns between the both of them, but they serve more as diversions and touchdown targets. The Philadelphia Eagles get the slight edge in this one when taking both wide receivers into account.
Both tight ends have been having a down year, but one is replacement for the potent Jermichael Finley and the other is regular starter. The Eagles Brent Celek has 511 yards, 4 touchdowns and averaging 12.2 yards per reception. Meanwhile, the Packers Donald Lee has 72 yards, 1 touchdown and averaging 7.2 yards per reception. Celek and the Eagles get a large edge in this one, and with the Packers defense against the Eagles offensive line and with modifying the near-perfect compiled blueprints to stopping Vick, Celek could potentially be leaned on a lot by Vick, if Vick doesn’t decide to run first.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense is currently ranked 15th in both against the pass and the rush. However, they do have Asante Samuel who is ranked 4th in interceptions in the entire league. The Green Bay defense is currently ranked 5th against the pass and 18th against the rush. The Green Bay Packers have Clay Matthews who is presently ranked 4th in terms of sacks for the entire league. Who can bring on the most pressure? From the numbers, Green Bay gets the edge in this one and with a solid margin. The Eagles offensive line is average at best, but it does have its moments. Matthews will be in Vick’s face all day by the looks of it.
Coach Andy Reid is still a pass-first offense, and he will have to rely on Michael Vick to make the right decisions at the right time. It is extremely difficult when this potentially explosive and talented offense is limited by their quarterback Michael Vick’s ability to spread the ball around. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy had to battle injuries to his offense this entire season. Potentially, it began as one of the more balanced offenses, but with injuries to Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant, it limited McCarthy’s playbook. However, with the piecemeal offense finally clicking, this game could turn into one heck of a battle. While Reid has more available weapons, he and (primarily) Vick doesn’t use them as much as they should. This is a push for both teams. However, the Eagles may have the slight edge since they are playing at home at Lincoln Financial Field.
An extremely close game 27-24 to the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime…but things can change in a moment. If Clay Matthews does what he does, it can.