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Original Issue

Dr. Z's Forecast: G-Men

If I passed the Eagles on the street I don't think I'd recognize them. They used to have a quarterback named McNabb. A little wild, full of fire. I sure enjoyed watching the show he put on when Philadelphia beat Tampa Bay in the wild-card playoff five seasons ago. A bitter cold day, but he warmed it up with his scrambles and the way he'd get first downs almost through sheer force of will. What a warrior.

For nine weeks there was some guy quarterbacking the Eagles who wore the same number, but something had died in his game. Oh, he'd move out of the pocket, but then he'd sort of think things over. When Philly lost to Washington, there were times when he could have galloped for a first down, but, well ... I guess I'm being unfair. The guy was playing hurt.

I used to like the way the Eagles' defense kept the pressure on. But when things were going bad they'd rush the normal four, and if they didn't come close they'd try it again and again as teams marched down the field against them. Maybe they don't have the faith in their cornerbacks that they had in Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor in the old days.

Well, based on Monday's Dallas game, you'd have to say the old Eagles are back, for now. McNabb was moving better than he had all year. The defense was all over Drew Bledsoe. Will they keep it going at the Meadowlands against the Giants, who are furious after shoving Minnesota around only to come out on the short end? I don't think so. The Eagles are too confusing. Giants to win it.

It's poor form to dwell on the U word around the Colts, not when there's almost half a season to play. So I'll just mention it briefly. Who's going to keep them from going unbeaten? Logically, Cincinnati, playing Indianapolis at home, has as good a shot as anybody. Well, the Bengals have a quick, opportunistic defense and all that, but I just don't think it has enough muscle to stop Indy. Colts are the pick.

Tennessee is an underdog that knows how to play the Jaguars. I like the Titans in an upset. The Packers are so desperate for healthy bodies, they'll soon be sending out press gangs, like the Royal Navy did. On Monday night you'll get a good look at their latest running back, Samkon Gado, as he leads Green Bay to victory over the Vikings.

I'm not going to say the Bears' bubble will burst against the Panthers. It'll be a grim, hard-fought match, but I like the rush Carolina will put on young Kyle Orton. Panthers the pick. The Buccaneers know how to win at Atlanta; they've done it in four out of the last five trips. Not this time. The Falcons will rebound with a victory.

Last week: 5-1 Season: 55-27



SAMKON I AM Gado has come from obscurity to become the Pack's top back.