Top contenders have major issues

It's been a long time since teams this flawed have been held in such high esteem heading into the postseason.

Updated: December 17, 2003, 3:16 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles are now being hailed as the front-runners to reach the Super Bowl in Houston. And it's easy to understand why they're getting so much ink.

Both teams have endured numerous injuries to key players and still managed to win on Sundays, and because of that, Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are legitimate Coach of the Year candidates. Plus, both teams have two of the league's best quarterbacks and are getting healthier as the season comes to a close.

However, such factors have blinded pundits and oddsmakers to the glaring weaknesses of both teams. It's been a long time since teams this flawed have been held in such high esteem heading into the postseason. The two most vital qualities necessary to win in the playoffs are being able to run the ball and being able to stop the other team from doing the same. The Pats and Eagles are severely deficient in at least one of those categories.


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