Sunday, January 07, 2007

Eagles Need Better Effort Against Saints

The Eagles realized after their 23-20 playoff win over the New York Giants that a better effort will be needed during Saturday's second round matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
This was a game where Jeff Garcia's passer rating of 79.1 was less than Eli Manning's. And Manning didn't exactly dazzle anybody with his play.
What this showed was the Eagles can win a big game without Garcia coming close to carrying the offense. And that's because they continue to run the ball effectively.
The Eagles gained 185 yards, including 141 by Brian Westbrook, who was ill at halftime, but continued to make big plays.
If the Eagles can run the ball against the Saints, they surely will have a chance. In the Eagles earlier 27-24 loss to New Orleans, the Birds rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries.
The Eagles can't afford either total against the Saints. They will have to run the ball at least 30 times, the more to chew some clock and keep the Saints big-strike offense off the field. Another 150-yard effort on the ground is also recommended.
Even though Sunday wasn't the Eagles best effort, they have advanced and at this time of the year, that is all that matters.
They were the favorite against the Giants and it appeared as if they felt the pressure of being expected to win.
Now they can return to the underdog role they have embraced so much this year.
The Eagles have more than a fighting chance to win, but they realize it will take a much better effort than the one they had against the Giants to advance to the NFC title game.