While the NFL playoff schedule says the Philadelphia Eagles are at home, coach Buddy Ryan figures that's the worst place to be as they prepare to meet the Washington Redskins on Saturday.
So, company aside and domesticity notwithstanding, Ryan has taken his team to Tampa."You take people out of town and you put them all together," Ryan said Tuesday after putting the Eagles through their paces at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice facility.
"Some guys are having babies," Ryan said. "Some guys have babies at home crying.
"Some people have visitors in for the holidays. It's better to get their butts down here."
And there they will stay until Friday, happy campers or not.
Ryan has two major concerns, neither of which relates to family matters. He probably will have to go against the Redskins' veteran offensive line without defensive tackle Jerome Brown and could be minus center David Alexander.
Brown has a slight tear in his right rotator cuff. Alexander has a sprained left knee.
Brown and Alexander are not the only injured Eagles. Linebacker Seth Joyner (ankle), safety Terry Hoage (wrist) and guards Mike Schad (toe) and Ron Solt (ankle) are listed as questionable. Solt was held out of practice Tuesday.
The Eagles and Redskins (both 10-6 as NFC wild-card teams) kick off the playoffs at 10:30 a.m. MST Saturday at Veterans Stadium. The AFC wild-card game follows at 2 p.m., with Miami (12-4) hosting Kansas City (11-5).
First-round games continue Sunday with AFC Central champion Cincinnati playing host to division foe Houston at 10:30 a.m., in a meeting of 9-7 teams. NFC Central champion Chicago (11-5) plays host to wild card New Orleans (8-8) at 2 p.m.
Awaiting the survivors for second-round games the following weekend are division champions San Francisco and the New York Gaints in the NFC and Buffalo and the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC.
The Eagles and Redskins split their games. Washington won 13-7 at home, then lost 28-14 at Philadelphia. In that game, the Eagles knocked out nine Redskins.
As kick returner Walter Stanley lay on the ground with a season-ending knee injury, the Redskins recalled Philadelphia players shouting, "Do you guys need more stretchers?"
"That last game was a disgrace," safety Alvin Walton said. "Everybody has it in the back of their minds. Talking? That's Philly. They can talk all they want. They beat us up last time. We'll use it as motivation."
The Eagles have been joined in the Sunshine State by the Chiefs, who are working out in Vero Beach.
Schottenheimer took the Cleveland Browns to Vero Beach three times before playoff games and the Browns won twice.
Miami, 9-1 at one point this season, won just three of its final six games and lost the AFC East title at Buffalo.
The Dolphins combined for just 122 yards rushing in their four losses - all to physical teams like the Chiefs. Miami also is vulnerable to the run, which is what the Chiefs do best.
The Chiefs got season totals of 1,015 yards from Christian Okoye and 805 from Barry Word.
The Saints will go against a Chicago team missing quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Mike Tomczak will start over rookie Peter Tom Willis, although Tomczak was dismal in Chicago's loss to Kansas City last Saturday and coach Mike Ditka suggested then that his quarterback for the playoffs was still in doubt.
But he announced Monday that he'll go with Tomczak, who has started two NFC championship games for Chicago.
Cincinnati, which beat Houston 40-20 two weeks ago, has won nine straight games at home against division opponents. In the loss to Cincinnati, the Oilers lost quarterback Warren Moon to a thumb injury.
But Cody Carlson, Moon's backup, was 22-of-29 for 247 yards and three touchdowns as Houston got both itself and the Bengals into the playoffs with a 34-14 victory Sunday over Pittsburgh.