Today's game

Pro Football

January 11, 2004|By Los Angeles Times, Denver Post

NFC divisional playoff

Green Bay Packers (11-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (12-4)

Time: 4:45 p.m.

Site: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia.

TV: Chs. 45, 5.

Line: Eagles by 5 1/2 .

Record vs. spread: Packers 10-7. Eagles 11-5.

Series: Packers lead 22-11.

Last meeting: Eagles won, 17-14, on Nov. 10 at Green Bay.

Story line: The Eagles worked hard to get home-field advantage in the playoffs, and now they face the Packers, who have won five games in succession behind quarterback Brett Favre's leadership. In order for Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb to take the next step, this is a game he must win.

When the Packers have the ball: Favre has exploited secondaries with 10 touchdown passes in his past four games, but the veteran quarterback still throws ill-advised interceptions from time to time. Expect the Packers to get the ball to Green as much as possible, either with running plays or short passes. Since late November, Javon Walker has emerged as Favre's favorite target, with five touchdown receptions over his past seven games. Tight ends Bubba Franks and Wesley Walls are also effective receivers, especially near the end zone.

When the Eagles have the ball: With Brian Westbrook out, the Eagles must protect the football, which they have done quite well. The Eagles' 22 giveaways tied the club record for fewest in a season. They didn't have a turnover in five of their past nine games. The Eagles need McNabb to make plays, and McNabb has done so, even with a thumb injury.

Bottom line: This game will be decided by whichever team runs the ball the best.

Injuries

PACKERS: Doubtful: LB Marcus Wilkins (calf). Questionable: DT Gilbert Brown (knee); DE Chukie Nwokorie (wrist). Probable: T Chad Clifton (illness); QB Brett Favre (thumb); WR Javon Walker (shoulder).

EAGLES: Probable: CB Troy Vincent (hip).

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