Vegas says the Birds are the favorite to win Superbowl XL, but many experts are picking against the Eagles in the season opener on Monday night. ESPN Insider's Scouts, Inc. picks the Falcons to win 23 to 20. They believe that an improved Falcons defense, a speedy Vick on turf, a diverse running game, and the home field edge will be the difference. A few reminders:
The wait is over for Philly fans. A new season starts tonight and the Eagles begin the quest to Detroit. pictures from phillyburbs.com
Reasons the Eagles will win the Monday night opener against the Falcons:
-Andy Reid. We all know how well Andy performs with a few weeks to prepare for a team. While Jim Mora may one day be a great NFL coach, he lacks the experience that Big Red has over the past few years. Andy will have his team ready.
-Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens. Both of these Eagles weapons have something to prove and where better to show the nation what they are really made of than on Monday night football. T.O. has been yapping all off season, but going to Atlanta and playing in front of his hometown, there is no doubt he will be ready to tear up Atlanta's secondary. We didn't even have T.O. the last time we played Atlanta and we still beat them easily. Vick can't use the Milli Vanilli excuse when this one is over. I'm hoping for about two chances to see Terrell to his endzone thing. Westy is basically playing every game for a new contract. I'm really rooting for him.
-Donovan McNabb. People remember Donovan's last meaningful game for his choking, literally. He is still the man running the show and one of the games best. He is the quarterback Mike Vick wants to be. Donovan has a lot of the running ability Vick has, granted not the elusive quickness, but Vick hasn't showed us he can pass the ball anywhere near as well as McNabb. I'm putting all my faith in Donovan for another season.
Some things to watch:
Corey Simon may or may not be missed, but the D-line stopping the Atlanta rushing game will be important. Hollis Thomas moves back into a starting roll and Mike Paterson will have to show us what he can do. Last year Jim Johnson's "mush rush" really held Mike Vick in check and I expect to see something similar.
My prediction: Eagles 27 Falcons 17
I wouldn't take the Falcons lightly, if both teams play perfect games I give the Eagles the edge. The Eagles are defending NFC champs and the Falcons have to prove they can beat us. Anything can happen when playing Mike Vick, but I'll take my chances with Donovan and T.O. any day.
I'm ready for some football. Are you?