Commentary

Who will be the X factors this weekend?

Edgerrin James and Willie Parker are X factors this weekend, according to Scouts Inc.

Originally Published: January 15, 2009
By Scouts Inc. | ESPN.com

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.

Arizona Philadelphia

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

Eagles FS 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 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.