2003 Season NFL Football Past Picks

January 18, 2004

18

Carolina at Philadelphia

Sunday 01/18 06:45 PM Eastern

4 units on Philadelphia -4 (-110) (risk 4 to return 7.64)  RESULT: LOSS

Can I pick them both to lose? I am not hot on either of these teams. Carolina, behind the arm of Jake Delhomme, is peaking and playing very well. They deserve a lot of credit for getting this far. But, they just don’t seem like one of the four best teams in the league to me. I think they’ll be a great team for years to come but they just don’t seem like Super Bowl material to yet. On the other side of the ball, I’m also surprised Philadelphia is here. They have a terrible run defense and pretty average stats. Yet the Eagles find ways to win. They also have a very strong motivation to win this week, having lost in the conference finals two years in a row. Last year was a particularly humiliating loss at home. Both of these teams have found ways to win close games and games they maybe should not have won. Last week the Eagles survived 156 yards by Ahman Green, eight McNabb sacks, and a must-have 4th and 26 to pull out a victory. Seven of Carolina’s eleven regular season wins this year were by a touchdown or less. The Eagles’ rushing defense is in the bottom third of the league. Should we care? Normally I do care but it hasn’t seemed to hinder the Eagles this year. And, the Panthers’ top running threat, Stephen Davis (questionable) will not be able to play at full-speed and may not play at all. The Eagles are without their leading rushing Brian Westbrook but I don’t think this is a big deal. They have two other very productive backs in Correll Buckhalter and Duce Staley. It seems most analysts are worried about Philly’s ability to run the ball. Has everyone forgotten what Duce Staley did last year? If not for his holdout and the great play of Buckhalter and Westbrook, Staley (averaging 5.0 ypc) could have had a Pro Bowl year this year. The question is whether Andy Reid will keep balance and give Correll and Duce the ball or abandon the run as he did last week. I think Carolina’s luck runs out this weekend against a highly-motivated home team who believes the NFC Championship is their right.

Wunderdog’s systems and trends for this game:
+Conference Finals system #1 (23-6 ATS): Picks Eagles
+Conference Finals system #2 (3-2 ATS): Picks Eagles
+Matchup Power Ratings: Picks Eagles
+Conference Finals historical trends favoring the Panthers:
---3 trends with 70%-79% ATS record
+Conference Finals historical trends favoring the Eagles:
---2 trends with 60%-69% ATS record
---4 trends with 70%-79% ATS record
---3 trends with 80%-89% ATS record
---1 trend with 90%-99% ATS record

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