Who will be the X factors this weekend?
Edgerrin James and Willie Parker are X factors this weekend, according to Scouts Inc.
After breaking down film and critiquing the teams playing in divisional games, Scouts Inc. tells you who the X factors will be in each game.
Brian Dawkins: He is the emotional leader the Eagles rally behind. He is a dynamic player in coordinator Jim Johnson's attacking 4-3 schemes. Johnson emphasizes pressure schemes that result in turnovers and he wants his unit to attack the quarterback, while taking advantage of mistakes. Dawkins is a smart, instinctive player who still has a lot of versatility within the Eagles' regular- and sub-defensive groupings. He communicates calls and alignments in the secondary and has a very good knack for timing up blitzes. He is still a physical presence versus the run and has the speed to run the alleys, while maintaining leverage points on the ball carrier. He can match up in underneath zones and still has a knack for being around the ball. Even though he has declining skills, he is still a productive playmaker who is asked to do a lot in the Eagles' coverage designs.
More X Factors
Find out who will be the X factors in the AFC Championship Game. Insider
• Cardinals RBs Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower: The Cardinals have a much more balanced offense than the last time these two met. However, the Cardinals haven't faced a defense as good as the Eagles' this postseason. James and Hightower have really been effective over the past few weeks running inside and outside. James still has good vision, lateral agility and run skills. However, he doesn't have breakaway speed. Hightower isn't a burner, but has deceptive speed turning the edge. He will lower his shoulder and run through contact. A balanced offense will make the Eagles defend the run and also force their defensive backs to be more disciplined with their keys and reads. If the Cardinals can find a way to run the ball consistently, it will open up a whole new vertical dimension off play-action.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
2008 NFL Playoffs
The road to Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009, began Jan. 3 with the wild-card playoff round. Will the Steelers or Cardinals replace the Giants as champs?
Championship Game results: NFC | AFC
COLUMNS/FEATURES• Wojciechowski: May the bitter team win
• Chadiha: McNabb lets good times roll
• Football Outsiders: Numbers Crunching
• Sunday Countdown: Predictions and more
• Clayton: First and Goal
• Garber: This Philly Story seeks proper ending
• Clayton: Peaking Steelers should advance
• Chadiha: Eagles will soar in desert
• Wojciechowski: Book Eagles for Tampa
• Football Outsiders: Any Given Sunday
• Football Outsiders: Quick Reads
CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (Jan. 18)
Steelers 23, Ravens 14• Polamalu's INT return secures win
• Playoff page | AFC North blog
Cardinals 32, Eagles 25• Fitzgerald leads Cardinals to first Super Bowl
• Playoff page | NFC West blog ... East
DIVISIONAL ROUND (Jan. 10-11)
Steelers 35, Chargers 24• Walker: The Bus sparks Parker
• Williamson: Bolts need season-long urgency
• Recap: Steelers knock out Chargers
• More | AFC West blog ... AFC North
Ravens 13, Titans 10• Graham: Battered Ravens pass physical
• Kuharsky: Titans failed to answer critics
• Recap: Turnovers doom Titans
• Zoom Gallery
• Fleming: Can anyone stop the Ravens?
• More | AFC North blog ... AFC South
Cardinals 33, Panthers 13• Sando: Desert bloom for Arizona's faithful
• Sando: No denying Cards' makeover
• Yasinskas: Carolina's big plans fall apart
• Recap: Delhomme's 5 INTs doom Panthers
• Zoom Gallery
• More | NFC West blog ... NFC South
Eagles 23, Giants 11• Wojciechowski: Book Eagles for Tampa
• Mosley: Giants lost to better team
• Recap: Defense smothers Giants
• Zoom gallery
• Chadiha: Eagles' defense hitting stride
• More | NFC East blog
WILD-CARD ROUND (Jan. 3-4)
Ravens 27, Dolphins 9• Wojciechowski: Scary Ravens' D
• Recap: Ravens' defense overpowers Dolphins
• More | AFC North blog ... AFC East
Eagles 26, Vikings 14• Mosley: Eagles' run continues
• Recap: Westbrook, big plays carry Eagles
• More | NFC East blog... NFC North
Cardinals 30, Falcons 24• Sando: Cards' winning identity
• Recap: Strong second half powers Cards
• More | NFC South blog ... NFC West
Chargers 23, Colts 17• Williamson: 5-6 Sproles comes up big
• Recap: Chargers shock Manning, Colts in OT
• More | AFC South blog ... AFC West