It's finally here, the NFL playoffs -- that storied time where legends are made and reputations are won. The wonderful world of do-or-die football begins with the wildcard round this weekend and SB Nation Arizona has its own role to play. Our team of "experts" has been beating the spread consistently throughout the season, besting the Vegas odd-makers at their own game. We have already looked at three of the four matchups, and now conclude with what could be the most exciting game of all -- the Green Bay Packers versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Philadelphia Eagles -2.5 vs. Green Bay Packers
Both of these teams have run the gamut this season, having ranged from "they might not even make the playoffs" to "they might be the best team in the league". And now here they are, the last two seeds of the conference. Strange. But even stranger, the fact remains that winner of this game might actually be the favorite to win the National Football Conference. Somehow, that sentiment perfectly encapsulates this year's NFC in a nutshell.
The fireworks are sure to fly in this one. Two of the leagues top offenses -- of course, headlined by two of the leagues top quarterbacks -- battle in the chilly confines of Lincoln Financial Field.
The way the Packer's defense has looked of late makes the difference. As the year went on, teams somewhat began to understand how to make life hard on Michael Vick. You need a big, fast front seven headed by smart, aggressive linebackers who can hold contain. After witnessing this year's Clay Matthews Destruction Tour, I think its safe to say Green Bay falls under that category.
Through the last nine games the Packer's have held eight opponents to twenty or less points (New England was the only team able to break through), with five of those scores ending in the single-digit range. While it's not likely that the Philly will fall victim in a similar manner, there will be the moment (in what is sure to be a close game) where the defense will need to step up and make "the big play". The Packers have proven capable of doing that.
Prediction: Packers 45, Eagles 38. After falling behind early, Philadelphia mounts a comeback but it's too little, too late as Green Bay wins a shootout.