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Wondering If This Is An Historic Day Waiting

BALTIMORE -- We took the bus here on a cold Saturday afternoon, turning into this fine city and staring at a huge, huge football game against the Ravens on Sunday. There is no other way to put this as it looks from my perspective: This is a crossroads game for the 2008 team and maybe more. I wonder about a whole lot of things as kickoff nears ...

  • I wonder if the Eagles are going to change any kind of philosophy either on offense or defense. What would you do against Baltimore? From what I know, I would pass the football against the Ravens defense and try to get them on their heels early. I want to run here and there -- more on first down than maybe the Eagles have done -- but everything is going to be north and south. I think Baltimore pursues the football very well and runs sideline to sideline, so it makes sense to go right at the Baltimore defense, not an easy task. On defense, the Eagles have to cover well so that they can concentrate on an extra player in the box. And they have to man up against the run. Baltimore is going to run the football. They live on dominating the line of scrimmage and controlling the time of possession. The defense has to be good on third down.
  • I wonder if Andy Reid is contemplating any lineup changes. He had quite a talk with the players this week, some reported from the locker room, and I think that at the very least Reid has been considering some moves.
  • That said, I wonder how long Reid will stick with players if they get off to a slow start.
  • I wonder if Correll Buckhalter is going to get a good 8-12 touches.
  • Then again, I wonder if Brian Westbrook, listed as questionable, is even going to play. Fifty-fifty, they say.
  • I wonder how much it matters if the Ravens are without left offensive tackle Jerad Gaithers (he is listed as doubtful) and right tackle Willie Anderson (listed as questionable). Losing one, especially two, can cripple an offense.
  • I wonder how Sav Rocca is going to bounce back after a tough game last week. I think he has otherwise been excellent this season.
  • I wonder what clicked for David Akers to return him to his groove. Akers has made 12 straight field goals, tied for the fifth-longest streak in team history. All of a sudden, Akers is 22 of 26 on field goals and leads the league with 94 points. Plus, his kickoffs have been excellent.
  • I wonder who is going to the Pro Bowl from this team? Akers is a consideration. Anybody else on offense? Donovan McNabb? On defense, maybe Stewart Bradley? He should get consideration. Asante Samuel? Give me three others ahead of him .... Just thinking out loud.
  • Joe Flacco is an impressive rookie quarterback who last week had a preview of what Jim Johnson is going to try to do in this game, Flacco had a couple of interceptions. Let's hope he didn't learn his lessons, and that Johnson can show him just a little bit of a twist to make a difference. I wonder how much that preview helps Flacco, of if it exposes him in certain ways.
  • I wonder if McNabb is going play four quarters of good football. His passer rating by quarters this season: 79.0 in the first quarter, 100.5 in the second quarter, 68.0 in the third quarter and 88.1 in the fourth quarter.
  • I wonder if anybody thinks this is a coincidence, considering the above numbers: The Eagles have scored their most points in the second quarter (95), their second-most total in the fourth quarter (74), their third-most points in the first quarter (55) and then their least-highest total in the third quarter (40).
  • I wonder how much Lorenzo Booker can contribute this season. He has been a major disappointment, but if Westbrook can't be on the field with these two games coming in a span of four days, Booker is going to have to see some time.
  • I remember back to the 2006 draft, when Baltimore took massive defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with the 12th pick in the first round and the Eagles selected Brodrick Bunkley. I wonder how the two will look on the same field in the same game.
  • Todd Heap doesn't have big numbers this season, but I sure wonder what Johnson is going to do to keep him from being the latest tight end to hurt this defense.
  • I wonder if the Eagles have the right stuff to play in a smash-mouth environment on the road and come away with a win. It's been a long time ...
  • John Harbaugh coached for a decade with the Eagles and I really wonder what that is going to mean in this game.
  • I see this game and the one against the Cardinals as must-win deals. I wonder if the urgency is the same top to bottom on the field. Kickoff nears ...
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