This Sunday, the NFC East champion Eagles come screeching into battle against a ferocious Green Bay Packer defense.  Before you assume Michael Vick can just run faster than your nightmares, here’s how FOX Sports described the last meeting between the two team, which reads more like a grotesque clip from a nature program than post-game analysis.

Clay Matthews blew past Brent Celek off the line of scrimmage, pushed aside Winston Justice and sprinted after Kevin Kolb, chasing the quarterback across the field before catching him from behind and driving him hard into the turf.”

If you just pictured a cheetah chasing down a gazelle, catching it by the throat, and throttling it to the Serengeti floor, that’s because that’s exactly what it was like.

In a time-bending twist, if it weren’t for the above concussing of Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick would have never gotten the green light, and pretty much salvaged an Eagles season that had been thus far caked in crippling letdowns.

But welcome to the NFL playoffs nonetheless!  If the Seahawks can get here with a sub-.500 record, than the Eagles certainly deserve to be here as well.  Putting aside the positive strides they showed, the Birds kind of earned themselves the berth just by having to witness the unending tragedy of the Giants’ season.  You can’t watch that degree of human suffering and not demand compensation in some form.

Nevertheless, it is the first round, and two days from now, the Linc will be populated by a cocky set of Wisconsinites, who actually have every reason to be cocky, despite being merely a Wildcard team.

Why the Packers Could Win

Clay Matthews sneaks into your house at night and punches your kids while they sleep.  The Packers defense shows Chicago nothing but stop signs last week, dropping a brick wall in front of the advancing Bears with such intensity they couldn’t even score a touchdown (They allow an average 15 points a game and have 47 sacks–second in the league in both categories). There’s also this Erik Walden kid who was, like, penetrating the Bears O-Line every time I looked up in the second half and got himself NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

It also helps that the Packers have a quarterback (Aaron Rodgers is his name) who was named NFC Player of the Month, even though he (also) had a concussion for large chunks of it; though he popped right back in after the injury to throw 400 yards and four touchdowns against the Giants as they bled to death.  Here’s ESPN’s Kevin Seifert jerking him off, in case you’re feeling curious.  You may also note that the article in question mentions the city of Philadelphia, and therefore by law, also brings up “cheesesteaks.”  Journalists just aren’t quite ready to let go of that blanket of cliches lying across our fair city.

Rodgers has a host of receivers to throw to–you’ll be hearing “Donald Driver!” and “Greg Jennings!” a lot.  This, combined with the Eagles limping unceremoniously through their last few match ups gives the Pack a humdinger of a chance here.

Why the Eagles Could Win

Having the second best offense in the NFL kind of helps, I guess.  Of course, the defense doesn’t seem like its doing much other than shrugging helplessly at times, but when Michael Vick is forced to start scrambling, things tend to get better somehow, so go figure.  LeSean McCoy has come into his own, after a season of stifled meandering on my fantasy squad last year (THANKS A LOT), and Jeremy Maclin has every intention to flash that wicked stiff arm through the face mask of any yellow-headed defender in his path.  With those two combining powers with DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek, you get points.

He even walks back to the huddle evasively.

[NY Daily News]

And drop all of them against a rolling Packers squad starring the sharpshooting Aaron Rodgers, and god help us all.  Rodgers is one of the most comfortable QBs in the league when put under pressure, but Michael Vick has cybernetic legs that can sense trouble.  Maybe the Eagles’ D can lock it up, and maybe the offensive line won’t do what they did in front of the governor again, but for the most part, the Eagles should be looking to get around the Packers, not go through them.

What This Means for You

If you’re a bartender, it means shouting, spitting, fighting, boozing, and possibly a devastated wave of silence, just before raucous violence.  Not everyone’s got the several hundred spare dollars needed to go to the game, so the bars of Philadelphia will be clogged with increasingly ill-tempered well-wishers.

What This Means for Sidney Crosby

Probably nothing, I predict he stays wherever he is, still concussed, still watching his team crumble, as he sips hot chocolate with marshmallows underneath a blanket fort, because he is a whiny, self-entitled, idiot child.