No more grousing about the implications of a short week and what it could mean to the Eagles. No more questioning the decision to move the game from Sunday night. Game day is here, and hey, the buzz is palpable. This is a special event. For the first time in most of our lifetimes, the Eagles play on a Tuesday night and the nation is watching.
Mother Nature cooperated, blessing us with a gorgeous winter day and night. The winds may gust at times, but shouldn't be much of a problem. The newly sodded Lincoln Financial Field turf is green, thick, luscious. I can't tell you how excited I am to get this game going, because we're in the midst of a perfect scenario for the Eagles to keep the momentum going, to go out and show the world that neither wind, nor rain, nor snow, nor a blizzard nor a Viking will deter this team from going where it wants to go.
Add in the announcement -- at 7 p.m. -- of the Pro Bowl team and it makes for a very, very unique night.
As for the game, it is very simple to me. If the Eagles play their best game, they are going to beat Minnesota. I don't care about the margin. The Eagles are in the business of winning, so the tasks are right there in front of everyone: The defense has to contain running back Adrian Peterson, upon whom the Vikings will rely for the bulk of the offense with rookie Joe Webb -- I'm taking a leap of faith here that Brett Favre isn't playing -- running the offense at the quarterback position. The Vikings don't want to put Webb in any dangerous situations. They know the Eagles will blitz. They know that the longer Webb holds the football, the more trouble he can expect.
So the realistic expectation is that Peterson is going to get a bunch of carries. The Vikings want to play keep-away from Michael Vick and the Eagles offense. Webb has tremendous weapons in Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, and Minnesota will give Harvin some end arounds, they will use him in motion and they will try to get the ball to Rice deep down the field. But the bread and butter of the offense is going to be Peterson, the monster running game who is going to be an enormous challenge for Sean McDermott's defense.
Offensively, hey, the Eagles are going to do what they do. The Vikings play the run well. They have a massive defensive line. Jared Allen is a premier pass rusher. The Vikings have a fast, aggressive defense. But if the Eagles execute the game plan, well, I'm not sure there are any defenses that are going to hold this group down for 60 minutes. Chicago came close. The Giants gave it three great quarters.
But Vick is so dynamic, and the weapons are so diverse, that is it hard to see the Eagles scoring fewer than 24 points tonight. If, if ...
The open to the game is the most important aspect of things. No way the Eagles can allow Minnesota to feel like it has a shot. I'm not sure how hyped the crowd will be for a mid-week game without the benefit of a full day of "preparing" for the contest. The best thing the Eagles can do is start well and keep the fans in the game and that could be enough to stave off the Vikings.
We'll see. This is a never-been-there moment for all of us. I can tell you now, though, that South Philadelphia is buzzing. That's a good thing with such a critical game just hours away.