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Eagles Picked by CNN/SI Columnist to Make the Playoffs

CNN/SI Columnist Mike Lombardi has posted a new column about three non-playoff teams that will make the playoffs this year.  On the list, the Eagles.  Here are Mike’s comments about the Eagles this season:

I live near the City of Brotherly Love, and all everyone wants to talk about are the Eagles. The fans ramble on how quarterback Donovan McNabb may get replaced with Kevin Kolb by midseason, that McNabb has a bad shoulder, that his career is in ruins. They also ramble about how this might be the final year for coach Andy Reid if the Eagles don’t get things turned around. Well, from where I sit, the Eagles will be a playoff team this season and they will make a long run once they are in the playoffs. A few factors to consider:

McNabb will be back and really healthy. Two years removed from tearing his knee ligament, McNabb will be stronger, allowing him to avoid some of the rush and keep his eye level down the field to make big throws. I really feel he is poised to have a huge year, with the Eagles offense built around his talents. I love that the Eagles are a “throw early team” and believe in the concept of winning the first-half point differential.

Secondly, the Eagles used the offseason to improve their pass rush, something that was lacking last year. Adding DE Chris Clemons from the Raiders gives Eagles premier pass rusher Trent Cole some relief from the double teams he faced last season. With the added rush, the Eagles are hoping to improve on their paltry 19 takeaways in 2007, which was last in the league. Pressuring the passer means turnovers and I expect the Birds to be vastly improved in this area.

The Eagles play the NFC West and add in Atlanta and Chicago to what is a very favorable schedule in 2008. I know they play in the NFC East and that is always tough, but the Birds know how to handle that division. With some soft games against teams like the Rams and 49ers, the Eagles will accumulate wins.

Count the Birds in the playoffs.

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