Green Bay Packers (10-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6
SU, 7-9 ATS), NFC Wildcard Weekend, 4:30 p.m. EST, Sunday, January 9,
2011, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa., TV: FOX
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: GB +2.5/Philly -2.5
Over/Under Total: 46
The NFL will finish off its Wildcard Weekend in style with perhaps
its most exciting game of the opening round Sunday afternoon on the
Fox Network, when the 10-6 Green Bay Packers travel to Lincoln
Financial Field to take on the 10-6 Philadelphia Eagles in a big
NFC Wildcard clash.
Ironically, the Eagles can actually thank the Packers for the
position they are in this season. If Green Bay wouldnt have knocked
then-starter Kevin Kolb out of the game with a concussion in their,
27-20, season-opening victory at the Linc in September, the Eagles
may have never gotten a chance to ride quarterback Michael Vicks MVP-
like season to the NFC East title and into the NFC playoffs.
Vicks stud season took a few hits in the Eagles, 24-14, loss to the
Vikings on the snow storm-delayed Tuesday night game a few weeks
back, and he didnt play at all in their, 14-13, season-finale loss
to Dallas last Sunday, but Vick and the Eagles are by far the most
dangerous team in the NFC bracket and their march through the second
season begins on Sunday at home against a familiar foe in the Packers.
GB was able to persevere through an injury-riddled season and
clinched the final spot in the NFC playoffs with a must-win, 10-3,
victory over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau last Sunday. With
quarterback Aaron Rodgers back from his second concussion and a
stable of talented receivers at his disposal, the Packers are nearly
as dangerous as the Eagles, which makes Sundays showdown between the
two contenders in the wide-open NFC playoffs must-see television.
The oddsmakers out in Las Vegas are expecting a tight game too,
releasing the opening point spread for the game with the Eagles as
2.5-point favorites at home. The early action at the window has gone
in both directions too, with a few online sportsbooks moving the
number up to 3-points, and still a few others dropping the line in
the other direction down to as low as Philly minus -1.5-points (at
The over/under total opened at 46 and has held firm on the number at
a majority of the sportsbooks on the Web, although there are a few
that have moved it up the hook to 46.5 to take the push out of play.
With all of the talent on the offensive side of the ball for both
teams, the onus will be on the two defenses Sunday to try and limit
Green Bay will need to keep a linebacker in to spy on Vick and keep him from making plays with his feet outside the pocket, since his 103
yards running in the opener is really what sparked the Eagles offense
to its late comeback. Former practice player LB Erik Walden was
groomed for the role last week against Jay Cutler of the Bears, and
he responded with two sacks and double-digit tackles in his best game
as a pro, but nobody will mistake Cutlers scrambling ability with
Vicks so were talking apples and oranges here.
The Philly offense will also need to find a way to get right tackle
King Dunlap some help on the edge against the Packers Clay Mathews.
Mathews had three sacks in the opener, including the one that knocked
Kolb out of the game, so help on his side will be crucial. Guard Max
Jean-Gilles is listed a questionable with his bad ankle too, so the
entire Eagles offensive line will need to play better across the
board to keep Vick upright and in the lineup all day.
On paper, the Packers offense appears to have a very favorable
matchup against the Eagles defense. First of all, the Eagles pass
defense is one of the worst in the league. But add to the mix a
rookie making just his third start of his career at safety (Kurt
Coleman) and some huge uncertainty at right corner (Asante Samuel
listed as probable, no word on whether Joselio Hanson or Dimitri
Patterson will start there) and you have a tattered and diminished
secondary going up against Rodgers and his 101.2 quarterback rating
(3rd in NFL).
Linebacker Stewart Bradley is likely to return to the Philly lineup
to help the Eagles stop the Packers weak running attack, but this
game will turn on how effective the Eagles defense and coordinator
Sean McDermott can pressure Rodgers, and how well the young secondary
can disguise its coverages against Rodgers at the line of scrimmage.
Nobody in Green Bay will forget the 4th-and-26 game from 2004, so the
playoff history between these two teams is long and storied. The
Eagles are 5-1 SU at home against the Packers since the 1997 season,
with the only loss coming in the season opener this year. The Eagles
are 4-2 ATS in those same six games, with this years game (as 3-
point favorites) and the 4th-and-26 playoff game (as 4.5-point
underdogs) as the only two Packer covers.
As one of the publics most popular teams to bet on during the
regular season, the Packers are not a great pick in the postseason,
going 2-6 ATS in their last eight playoff games and 0-4 ATS in their
last four Wildcard games.
The under has some really strong betting trends following it too,
going 4-0 in the last four head-to-head meetings and 5-1 in the last
six meetings in Philly. The under is also 7-1 in the Packers last
eight road games and is 5-1-1 in the Eagles last seven playoff games
as the listed favorite.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe the Eagles peaked too early. I see the Packers winning this game straight up as an underdog. Take the Pack to cash your betting ticket on Sunday!