MINNEAPOLIS -- A couple of quick things late in the night/early in the morning before the Eagles-Vikings game. First, the fans. Dozens greeted the Eagles at their downtown hotel, a scene the same in scope to the 2004 season. Before then, the road support in the playoffs is similar to what the experience was like during the 2001 playoffs, and the scene in Chicago and St. Louis.
Great stuff. Great fan support. There are legions of Eagles fans here, but only later today will we truly know how the numbers rank in comparison with years past. How many Eagles fans will be in the house? We'll let you know soon.
For now, another hearty thanks to the fans. Going on the road in the playoffs is not easy, as the first day of the postseason told us. The Eagles are going hear every E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES! chant. Thanks.
QUICK HITS BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS START!
- If I'm drawing up the defense, I am ordering a bevy of blitzes in this game. I know Tavaris Jackson can run and I know he is much better than he was earlier in the season, but I am going to crowd the box, rely on my secondary to cover the Minnesota receivers and go after the Vikings in the backfield.
- Pat Williams is likely to start at defensive tackle for the Vikings, but I have to wonder how effective he can be after not playing for two games and then not having a full practice all week. If he plays on first and second down only, I throw the football. If he comes out when the Eagles use an extra receiver and spread the field, I think the Eagles may be able to run the football with some success.
- On the flight out, I spent time reading the Dallas Morning News from Monday and Tuesday, and it was just delightful. The Dallas newspapers absolutely crushed the Cowboys after last week's 44-6 Eagles win.
- Home wins by Arizona and San Diego were huge. Arizona created takeaways and won with big plays and San Diego survived some potentially-crippling turnovers to beat the Colts. Darren Sproles is to the Chargers what I hoped Lorenzo Booker would have been to the Eagles this year. Maybe not to that extent, but you get the idea ...
- Stephen Spach had 3 catches at tight end for the Cardinals. Amazing. Do you even remember Stephen Spach?
- Yeah, I'm glad Peyton Manning isn't going to be in the Super Bowl. For a lot of reasons, believe me.
- ESPN.com is reporting that Asante Samuel will start at cornerback after injuring his hip in practice this week. I feel confident that Samuel will be out there. This is his time.
- Playing without defensive end Ray Edwards is a blow to the Vikings with their pass-rushing. Edwards had a very productive regular season.
- For whatever reason, I think Reggie Brown is going to have a big game against Minnesota. I just have this feeling for Brown and Kevin Curtis.