Yeah. The Eagles will win the Super Bowl.
Why? Well, first you have to figure in the The Klecko Factor.
That would be Dan Klecko. He’s roly. He’s poly. And he’s an NFL talisman. The 5-11, 275-pound reserve defensive tackle has won Super Bowls in three of his five NFL seasons (2003 and 2004 with the Patriots; 2006 with the Colts). And the Eagles — lucky them — have him in their stable this season.
I know — if I’m going to climb out on this particular limb, I best bring something more than The Klecko Factor. And I have.
The Eagles were merely 8-8 in 2007, but got a whole lot better in the process. And the guy that improved the most was their most important player, quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“Donovan became a better quarterback last year,” Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told me when I stopped by Eagles camp this summer. “Going into last year, he was certainly healthy enough to play (after blowing out his knee in November of 2006). But he was not near healthy enough to be Donovan McNabb. And so he became a better quarterback. Because of the lack of mobility he learned many things throughout his playing time. And now he’s got it all back it appears. He’s 100 percent healthy and running and gunning again.”
“He’s worked so hard that I believe he’s going to be really close to where he was,” Mornhinweg said. “Most guys don’t get close. I think he’s pretty close and you’ll see it on the field.”
It's worth noting how close the 8-8 Eagles were to 11-5. They lost consecutive games to the Patriots, Seahawks and Giants by a total of 10 points in late November and early December. Then they rebounded with three straight wins to close the season.
With Jim Johnson pulling the levers on an Eagles defense that features an incredibly disruptive front seven and perhaps the league's most talented secondary, opponents will struggle to score. That’s going to be important early on with wide receivers Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown banged up and rookie DeSean Jackson and young vets Hank Baskett, Jason Avant and Greg Lewis needing to pick up the slack. But the Iggles have an equalizer in running back Brian Westbrook.
I like the steady hand Andy Reid keeps on his team’s rudder and the fact that a lot of this team’s core players — McNabb, Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Jon Runyan — were around for the 2004 run to the Super Bowl.
Who else can make a run?
There’s no arguing with the Cowboys' talent. They are stocked. And I expect them to win the NFC East while the Eagles get in as a wild card. They'll have to duplicate the Giants' feat of winning three on the road to get to the Super Bowl.
But there’s a difference between collecting talented players and melding a team and the tenor to this Cowboys season smacks of unchecked ego and premature victory laps.
Come January, Wade Phillips will once again be looking at the ground and running his hand through his snowy mane wondering what went wrong.
The other NFC division winners will be the Vikings in the North. Behin that nasty run-snuffing defense and Adrian Peterson having an MVP year, they will be very good.
The Cardinals — finally entering a season in which they aren’t a vogue pick for the playoffs — take the NFC West as the Seahawks never recover from their litany of preseason dings. The Saints are rededicated after an embarrassing flop in 2007 and will rise again in the NFC South.
The Packers — bless Aaron Rodgers’ heart — are the other wild card.
PFT: Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith said the draft process taught him an important lesson on taking criticism.
Y! Sports: Redskins fans found what appeared to be the wedding registry for Robert Griffin III and fiancee Rebecca Liddicoat, and they helped out their star QB.
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