Given the way the Michael Vick and the Eagles played last week in Cleveland and the way the Ravens blew out the Bengals, some are scratching their heads that the Eagles are a slight favorite for Sunday’s game in their home opener.
I think it’s simple. Oddsmakers know the Eagles are a better team than they showed and this is a classic “sandwich” game for the Ravens. Baltimore is coming off an emotional home opener against a divisional foe (on Monday night nonetheless) and next week they return home to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game. The Ravens were a missed 32-yard chip field goal away from going to overtime and possibly a return to the Super Bowl in last year’s game, so the Eagles’ may benefit from the Ravens’ looking ahead to avenging their bitter loss to the Patriots rather than focusing on the Eagles in the middle matchup.
Teams coming off big emotional wins also tend to come down and teams, like the Eagles, coming off unspectacular games tend to pick up their game. Andy Reid-coached teams rarely put two bad games together -- they typically rebound after bad games.
Some just can’t overlook Vick’s four interceptions against the Browns and the fact the Ravens’ have an aggressive defense that blitzes from all angles and situations. Indeed, the Ravens’ defense has and is the backbone of the team, but they’re also long in the tooth -- safety Ed Reed and LB Ray Lewis are Hall of Famers and still make plays, but they’re a step slower, which occasionally has them out of position. The Eagles MUST take advantage of those rare situations because the Ravens are mostly disciplined.