My overly sarcastic point was that SOMEHOW every year, despite the opponant, the Eagles choke worse than a pit bull on a squirrel. Rams, Tampa, Panthers. Come from 'out of nowhere' teams, hence my prediction of Atlanta.
Take this with a grain of salt, huge. I am, after all, a cowboy fan
The Rams and Tampa were hardly 'out of nowhere' teams. The Rams were heavily favored and still considered the greatest show on turf going into the NFC Championship vs. the Eagles. They were the better team. Can't call it choking much when the underdog loses.
Against Tampa the Eagles were not really underdogs, but Tampa wasn't really either with the most dominant defense in the league by far.
Now Carolina did come out of nowhere, but in all honesty, the Eagles last year had no right even getting to the NFL championship. Going into the playoffs without they're sole offensive weapon, they're top defensive player, still 4 DLs on IR they were decimated. I know the Pats had lots of injuries too, but most of their guys (like Law) came back by playoff time, the Eagles lost Westbrook and Emmons in the weeks 16 and 17. So, yes they choked, but they shouldn't have gotten past Green Bay. It was only due to the willpower of McNabb to carry the entire team on his legs, and a bad 4th and goal call by the Packers that they didn't go on to claim title as the best NFC team (which they were at that point in the season).
That being said, yeah, the Eagles did choke last year. The previous years debateable, but this is sort of like picking any old team to win vs. the Colts come playoffs. If the Eagles stay healthy, the Vikings are the only ones that could even keep pace. Lets review the probable teams:
GB: Not as good as last year, despite recent success. Favre to Walker won't match McNabb to TO, and Lito Sheppard is better than the entire GB secondary to swing the balance further.
Seattle: Only getting into the playoffs due to an incredibly weak division and conference, they've just fallen apart. Hasselback can't throw, and Holmgren will abandon Alexander and the run game when the Eagles go up on them.
St. Louis: No defense, erratic offense, and too many sacks allowed by that line, and Bulger still needs to keep the ball away from the defense.
Atlanta: 120 yards of passing and 80 yards rushing by Vick won't cut it. His defense won't be able to save him, because this offense is not as weak as Carolina or Tampa, or Arizona.
So really, the Vikings are the best threat, what with Randy Moss, a strong deep backfield and a Pro Bowl quality QB. They have the capability to score first and quickly, then sit on the early lead with their running game.