Finally, football is back. Which means it's time to fire up the picks for this week's game. First up: the Cleveland Browns. Get it right and enjoy untold riches (think: Jerry Jones with better taste in football teams). Blow it, and it's back to your prison cubicle for another seven days (think: well, you). Off we go…
It may not have been a textbook performance, but the win over the Ravens has restored the faith of most Eagles' fans. Next up: a tough test against a Cardinals team most people figured for patsies when the season began. After all, how many clubs can win without a legitimate NFL quarterback? Arizona's done it twice now, most recently to the Patriots in New England. Try to wrap your head around that.
ESPN: Six of 10 experts have the Cardinals winning. Or, if you're a glass-half-full type guy, 40 percent like the Eagles Sunday. However you choose to look at, what looked like a "W" on the schedule this summer has suddenly become one of the week's best matchups. This is what happens when teams actually play the games (funny how that works). Jaws, Merril Hoge, Mike Golic and Keyshawn Johnson think the Eagles will win in the Valley of the Sun, as does supercomputer Accuscore and the fans.
CBSSports.com: Like ESPN, CBS Sports gives the slight edge to the Cardinals, five to four. CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco, who has a 23-9 record through two weeks, likes Arizona, 21-20. "Who picked this as one of the games of the week?" Prisco asked rhetorically before answering. "Well, it is. The Cardinals went to New England and won, which says a lot. That defense is impressive. The Eagles have won two games while turning it over nine times. They're either good to overcome them or lucky. Kevin Kolb faces his former team with a chance to get the Cardinals to 3-0. I say he does."
Yahoo Sports: Continuing the theme, the three experts and the fans are split. Mike Silver and Les Carpenter are going with the Cards; Jason Cole and the Yahoo users prefer the Eagles.
What Vegas is saying: Depending on where you look, the Eagles are between three and four-point favorites Sunday. The biggest unknown isn't which Michael Vick will show up, but the unintentional comedy stylings of the replacement refs. According to Bloomberg, "The 1,556 points scored this year are the most through the first two weeks of an NFL season, and Las Vegas oddsmakers are projecting another record-setting output in Week 3." Pregame.com's R.J. Bell adds: “This different approach to calling the game is contributing to additional scoring. Calling the game with more pass-interference penalties and less offensive-holding penalties encourages more passing.”
Gabe, my three-year-old yellow Lab (2-0): Last week, I labeled two paper plates "Eagles" and "Ravens," placed two identically tasty dog treats on each plate, and let Gabe decide. He went with Baltimore. He's now 2-0 and I'm giving serious consideration to letting him make all my important life decisions. Oh, and he likes the Eagles this week.
My one-year-old son (1-1): Continuing to work from the theory, "If it's good enough for the dog, it's good enough for flesh and blood," I again labeled two plates "Cardinals" and "Eagles." I replaced the dog treats with Cheerios (optional) and my son went for the Cards plate first.
Me (1-1): We're cautiously optimistic that the Eagles found something in that win over the Ravens and it will galvanize them over the rest of the season. After an atrocious showing in Cleveland, the offense found its footing against Baltimore. Now it will have to replicate that against a good Cardinals defense. We think they'll do it. We like the Eagles to win, 20-17.