The twists and turns of the weather forecast suggest, as I write this, a possibility of blizzard conditions when the Eagles line up on Sunday night to play Minnesota. A forecast that a day earlier suggested snow would pass by to the south has changed, and you have to wonder how the weather, should it be as bad as the forecast says, will impact the game.
Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg have always said that weather has a minimal impact on a game plan. If there is sun, the Eagles throw the ball. If there is rain, they still throw it. Gusty wind is another matter, but the Eagles haven't tempered their approach too much in the past. Snow? We haven't had a big snow game in many seasons, since the awful loss to Seattle in 2006 I think. There have been arctic blasts and weather challenges, but nothing as dramatic as the forecast says Sunday night will present.
What does it mean? Well, for one, it is going to be a long day for the Eagles to keep the stadium in tip-top shape for the game and for the fans. If the snow begins at noon, for example, the Eagles will be out keeping the field and the sidelines and the parking lots and the stands cleared. It is, needless to say, a massive project.
Beyond that, the old saying is that weather evens the playing field. I'm not sure if that is the case and I don't know how the coaches will be ready to adjust their strategies, but I guarantee that the Eagles are spending their Christmas evenings prepping for every and all scenarios.
It bears watching. The weather is front and center in the news in Philadelphia. How much the forecast changes between now and kickoff is, of course, the variable. But all of a sudden there is a very real weather threat, and that means that a must-win NFL game for the Eagles has more intrigue, more uncertainty and a lot of questions.
I'm going with the idea that Joe Webb starts at quarterback for Minnesota. I just don't see Brett Favre, even if he passes his concussion tests (and there has been no word as of late Saturday that he has), playing in this game, in these conditions, without having practiced all week once again. So it's Webb and his athletic ability and his inexperience and his big arm against a defense that has a lot of speed, a lot of changes and can come up with a lot of complicated schemes. Again, though: How much does the weather impact strategy?
- Adrian Peterson is going to play unless he has setbacks between now and Sunday night, and he brings a home-run threat to the Minnesota offense. The Eagles have to tackle well and they have to run to the ball as a team. It is not a stretch to concentrate their efforts on No. 28.
- Minnesota's secondary is hurting. In perfect conditions, you would expect the Eagles to go after that group in the passing game. But what if Lincoln Financial Field is in a state of blizzard? The good news is that the Eagles have enough confidence in their running game to run their offense through LeSean McCoy and the ground attack.
- What did the Eagles do on Christmas? They had a walkthrough practice late in the morning and then, as usual, they got together for the night-before at the team hotel. There, the team conducted business as usual. Minnesota flew in on Saturday without any problems because of the weather.