PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ ARIZONA CARDINALS
When these two met on Thanksgiving Day, no one could have envisaged that they would be facing each other in the Championship game, some eight weeks later, it was simply unthinkable.
Philly won 48-20 that day and the scoreline probably flattered the Cards, who would have taken the flight home in very poor spirits. That win kick started the Eagles season, they have won 6 from their last 7 and not conceded more than 14 points in any game since then. I have discussed them a lot in recent weeks and they are not a team I would care to oppose, Reid, Westbrook and especially McNabb, are three talented individuals who were hurt by the abuse/criticism hurled at them.........in Philadelphia (The City of Brotherly Love) it is never just criticism btw. They were hurt, because they have taken the Eagles to five Championship games and one Superbowl in just eight years, a record which would have given then sainthood in any other city !
The whole team has rallied and are playing at, or near, the peak of their abilities. I do not think that the previous game has too much bearing, Arizona, despite the impressive win at Carolina last week, do not like (understatement) travelling East and were on a very short week. On reflection, they match up well with the Panthers and there is no doubt that almost anyone would have beaten Carolina on that particular day. The Cardinals also had something to prove, after they were said to be the worst team ever to make the post season and labelled with other such outrageous statements. However, I still think that their game is far too one dimensional and totally dependent on the arm of Kurt Warner, they can claim to have developed a running game of some sort during the post season, but have yet to convince me.
I am sticking with the Eagles, who are a team on a mission, McNabb will be happy with the return to warmer climes and will feel comfortable in the surroundings, as he lives in Arizona. I expect the Eagles defense to be all over Warner like a rash and the Cardinals problems, which have been swept under the carpet, to be clear for all to see.
6 points Philadelphia -3.5 points Vegas Line 2.0.