Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:54 pm
Only 5 weeks into the season, but the Eagles are finished with a record of 1-4.
Another week, another disappointing performance by the Eagles. This time, the Eagles made a comeback attempt but still had a critical turnover that led to a 31-24 loss to the Bills.
These are some reasons why the Eagles lost:
-The defense was unable to stop the run, put any pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick or make any plays in the secondary. The defense is loaded with "talent" and guys that have made plays in the past so there has to be an issue with Castillo and his schemes. The one thing this group did well in the last few weeks was get to the quarterback and they couldn't even do that this week. The coaches have players in the wrong positions/scheme. That is the only explanation.
-Jason Avant had a great game statistically, catching 9 passes for 139 yards, but he made two terrible plays that cost the Eagles the game. When a sure-handed guy like Avant can't hold on to the ball you know things just aren't going your way.
-Michael Vick doesn't deserve much of the blame for this one. Of his 4 interceptions, only one was a truly terrible pass. Vick is doing everything he can with what little time he is given and scrambling for his life when there is nothing open downfield. He can't be blamed for tipped passes becoming interceptions and for the inept line in front of him. Watching the post game show, you can see that Vick hates to lose. The same can't be said about other players on the eagles sideline. There is not enough heart on that team. They need leaders in the locker room; they aren't responding to Andy Reid anymore!
-How about giving the ball to LeSean McCoy more often? Only 15 touches for Shady, who still managed over 100 total yards. McCoy is one of the best backs in the NFL, but the Eagles don't use his skills enough. Look what Minnesota did this week...won the game by jumping on Adrian Peterson's back. I think McCoy is good enough to be the focus of the eagles offense.
-I'm so glad Juqua Parker was healthy enough to suit up this week so he could make a boneheaded play a the end of the game to seal the loss for the Eagles. That moron needs to be cut from the team. I don't care if they have to pay a penalty for cutting ties. Everyone fan watching the game knew they weren't going to snap the ball. How does a professional player make that kind of mental mistake?
-By my count, Jamar Chaney made the first play by a linebacker all season long when he picked off Fitzpatrick. The Eagles have the worst LBs in the entire NFL. Horrible (I blame this on Andy Reid and his lack of focus at that position)
At 1-4, this season is effectively over for the Eagles. They might get a few wins and find themselves back in the NFC East title picture, but there isn't any reason to think that this team is going to start playing well. This is a broken team that has talent but can't seem to put all of the pieces together. There is no leadership and no heart.
Andy Reid has been a great coach in Philly, but it's time for a change in philosophy. Why wait until next year? The Eagles should cut ties right now and get first dibs on a new coach.
I can't root for this team anymore. I really hope they lose every single game for the rest of the year, so they are forced to make changes.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 8:23 am
If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots in week three. Fitzpatrick has gotten off to a red hot start to the season, throwing for seven touchdowns and only one interception through the first two games. The Bills have shown confidence in Fitzpatrick, allowing him to use Steve Johnson, David Nelson, and Scott Chandler to get off to a great start to the season. The Bills threw the ball 46 times in week two against the Raiders, and may need to air the ball out again this week to keep up against a seemingly unstoppable New England Patriots offense. As good as the Patriots have looked on offense, their defense (in particular their secondary) has struggled through the first two games of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to exploit the Patriots secondary if the Bills have any hope of winning a shootout against New England. Fantasy owners should insert Ryan Fitzpatrick into their lineups and can expect 225 passing yards and a couple touchdowns from the Bills starting quarterback.
Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in week three. Kolb has gotten off to an excellent start to the season, throwing for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in each of the Cardinals' first two games. Kolb should continue his hot start this week against the Seahawks. Another encouraging sign for Kolb and his fantasy owners is that the chemistry between him and Larry Fitzgerald seems to be improving with Fitzgerald catching seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in week two. Kolb will continue to put up good fantasy number as long as he relies on Fitzgerald throughout games. Fantasy owners can start Kevin Kolb this week and can expect at least 200 yards and one touchdown from the Cardinals starting quarterback.
Dexter McCluster and the Kansas City Chiefs travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers in week three. McCluster was expected to be a niche player for the Chiefs this season, but he will be thrust into an important role in the Chiefs offense following the season ending injury to Jamaal Charles. While McCluster will not be asked to be the only replacement for Charles, he is much more exciting and unpredictable compared to Thomas Jones. Jones will probably handle most of the inside running, while McCluster will run outside and catch the ball out of the backfield. McCluster has a better chance of having a big game this week as the Chiefs will likely be trailing early against the Chargers. The Chiefs will have to pass the ball extensively to keep the game close in San Diego, and since the passing game better suits McCluster, he will probably play a bigger role in the game than Thomas Jones. Fantasy owners can claim McCluster off their waiver wire and can expect 75 total yards and a touchdown from the exciting second year player.
Willis McGahee and the Denver Broncos travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in week three. McGahee is coming off an impressive game against the Cincinnati Bengals in which he ran for 101 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. While his yards per carry average was not great, he was able to help the Broncos control the time of possession, and eventually led the Broncos to a victory. McGahee will likely have another opportunity to prove his worth to the Broncos this week, with Knowshon Moreno unlikely to play for the second straight week. Even if Moreno does return, he will likely not be at full strength as he is attempting to return from a hamstring injury. Fantasy owners can start Willis McGahee as a flex play this week and can expect 75 total yards and one touchdown from the Broncos running back.
Daniel Thomas and the Miami Dolphins travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in week three. Thomas had an impressive NFL debut in week two, rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries, while adding one reception for ten yards after returning from a preseason hamstring injury. Thomas played more snaps, and touched the ball more than Reggie Bush, giving fantasy owners of Thomas hope that he will continue to be the head of the running back committee in Miami. Reggie Bush will still be heavily involved in the Miami offense, but mostly as a receiving option out of the backfield. Thomas should be the Dolphins' early down back, giving him an edge over Bush going forward. Fantasy owners can start Daniel Thomas and can expect 70 yards and a touchdown from the rookie running back in week three.
Robert Meachem and the New Orleans Saints face the Houston Texans at home in week three. Meachem got off to a good start to the season by catching five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in week one, but followed that up by catching four passes for only ten yards, and one touchdown against the Bears in week two. The good news for Meachem owners is that he is being targeted as much as any other Saints wide receiver, and this will continue as long as Marques Colston and Lance Moore remain out. The Saints and Texans both have high powered offenses and this game should be high scoring, making almost all skill position players in this game good fantasy options. Fantasy owners can expect a game similar to Meachem's week one numbers, with five receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.
David Nelson and the high flying Buffalo Bills offense will take on the New England Patriots in week three. Nelson is coming off a career best game in which he caught ten passes for 83 yards and one touchdown in a shoot-out win over the Oakland Raiders. The Bills will likely be involved in another high scoring game this week against a Patriots offense that looks unstoppable so far this season. The Bills are going to have to throw the ball to keep up with the Patriots, making Nelson a good candidate for another breakout game. The Patriots have looked shaky in the secondary the first two weeks, allowing big games to both Chad Henne and Phillip Rivers. Fantasy owners who are looking for a good spot start at the wide receiver position this week can pick up David Nelson off their waiver wire and can expect five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown from the Bills slot receiver.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 8:35 am
One of the more intriguing matchups this weekend, and possibly the most puzzling prediction of the efficiency model all season, is the Patriots at Chargers. The Patriots come into Week 7 at 4-1, fresh off a dramatic win over the contending Ravens. The Chargers enter the weekend at 2-4, fresh off a loss to the rebuilding Rams. But somehow the model makes the Chargers heavy favorites over the Patriots at 0.85 to 0.15.
In fact, the Chargers sit atop all other teams in the weekly rankings produced by the game probability model thanks to their passing efficiency on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers and the rest of the offense are in a class by themselves, averaging 7.9 net yards per pass attempt. San Diego’s pass defense is also best in the league at 4.9 net yards per attempt. The Chargers’ running efficiencies on offense and defense are both better than average, as are their turnover rates.
So what is going on? How can a team that leads the league in efficiency (and in total yards) on both sides of the ball have only a 2-4 record to show for it? A big part of the answer is very clear: special-teams play. The Chargers have given up three touchdowns on kicks and punts, and have had further difficulties on special teams.
But things still don’t add up, so let’s look at turnover differential. Although the Chargers are better than average in interception rate, they pass so often that they actually have a turnover differential of -3. This certainly isn’t good, but even combined with their special-teams failures, it still doesn’t fully explain four losses for such a statistically dominant team. Something else is going on.
Rather, I’m talking about a concept I call “bunching.”
Let’s say there are two baseball teams, completely equal in ability, playing one game at a neutral site. Each team performs perfectly equally, both hitting exactly nine singles over nine innings. But let’s say one team gets all its singles in one inning, and the other has its singles spread out one per inning. The first team might win, 7-0. It’s an extreme example, but it illustrates an overlooked point about many sports. Successful plays are not enough. Consecutive successes are required to win.
In football, two equal teams could each have 12 first downs in a game. One team could have three drives of four consecutive first downs, each leading to a touchdown, and the rest of its drives could be three-and-outs. The other team could have 12 drives consisting of one first down followed by a punt. Both teams could have equal yards, first downs and efficiency stats, and yet one team could win, 21-0. It’s easy to imagine a game in which one team has many more first downs and yards, but still loses. Could something like this bunching effect be cursing the Chargers?
It’s a given that N.F.L. offenses tend to score in proportion to their yards gained. It’s actually an extremely tight correlation, and the best–fit estimate of a team’s points per game is to take just under 10 percent of its yards per game and subtract 10. For the Chargers, who lead the N.F.L. with 433 yards gained per game, we’d expect the offense to score about 32 points per game, but they’ve actually scored only 26.
A similar analysis for the Chargers’ defense, with the special-teams scores set aside, shows that it has allowed almost 2 points more per game more than the yardage total implies. That’s a total difference of 8 points per game.
If we could magically add those 8 points onto the scoreboard for each game this season, the Chargers would have five wins, no losses and a tie. Of course, things aren’t that simple, and we can’t just add points after the fact. But it’s an exercise that illustrates just how random game outcomes can be, even in the N.F.L.
Here are your Week 7 game probabilities:Win ChanceGAMEWin Chance0.45Cincinnati at Atlanta0.550.37Washington at Chicago0.630.40St. Louis at Tampa Bay0.600.49San Francisco at Carolina0.510.19Buffalo at Baltimore0.810.45Philadelphia at Tennessee0.550.14Jacksonville at Kansas City0.860.52Pittsburgh at Miami0.480.28Cleveland at New Orleans0.720.13Arizona at Seattle0.870.15New England at San Diego0.850.19Oakland at Denver0.810.26Minnesota at Green Bay0.740.53Giants at Dallas0.47
Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:19 pm
Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles - It is Vick vs. McNabb as the skins visit the Eagles in this key NFL. This game will feature the return of Donovan McNabb, back home in front of the home fans as well as the continuing tale of Michael Vick’s rebirth in the City of Brotherly Love. Just a year ago, Vick and McNabb were stacked on Philadelphia’s depth chart as Vick attempted to resurrect his career. Now, they will be playing against each other on McNabb’s former stage.
The Eagles (2-1) are giving 6 points to the Redskins (1-2) at home. Philadelphia has done well against
Washington, winning 12 of the past 18, including a sweep of the NFL Picks series last season.
Vick’s rise is nothing short of shocking, his play spectacular. In leading the Eagles to wins in his two starts, Vick has thrown for a combined 575 yards and 5 touchdown passes and 67 yards rushing and 1 touchdown. DeSean Jackson has been a big play receiver, averaging 24.5 yards per catch on 12 receptions while LeSean McCoy has gained 209 yards with a 6.1 average rush per carry. Tight end Brent Celek, on the other hand, has struggled getting involved in the new Vick-led offense after catching 96 passes in 2009. Celek might get have a difficult getting more looks, though, since Vick, though improved as a pocket passer, looks for big plays down the field, or scrambles for big gains.
Washington has been giving-up big plays on defense since blowing a 17-point second-half lead against Houston, and followed-up that meltdown with a 30-16 loss to the Rams. In that game, they allowed the Rams to pile-up 365 yards in total offense while possessing the ball for over 35 minutes. The Redskins have featured a decent pass rush, with 7 sacks, and have forced 4 turnovers, including a defensive touchdown, but they’ll need to improve their third down defense against the Eagles if they hope to have any chance. They also gave up plays of 42 and 30 yards to the Rams, and they’ll to avoid the big play against the Eagles, a team accustomed to making a splash on offense.
Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:14 am
Can you believe that it's already week 3 in the NFL? If I told you that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be 2 - 0 and the Cowboys were going to be 0 - 2, you would have said that I'm crazy. The unpredictable season is always exciting.
On to the game of the week:
A 41-7 drubbing of defending NFC West champion Arizona seemed to lay to rest doubts among the Dirty-Bird backers, if only for a week. Ryan threw for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a QB rating of 117.3. The Burner rushed for 75 yards on just 9 carries before succumbing to an injury (although not feared to be serious). Receivers not named White accounted for 14 receptions on Sunday. In short, Atlanta looked like the playoff-contending team that many had forecasted.
In reality, the Falcons fate is somewhere between their two performances. The Pittsburgh D, after shutting down Chris Johnson and Vince Young in Week 2, looks to have reclaimed their tenacious tendencies that led them to a Super Bowl in 2008. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are doing their best Little Giants impersonation. Atlanta travels to the Big Easy this week to play the Saints, off to a 2-0 start in their title defense. I give the edge to New Orleans; prediction: 28-19.
But rest assured, no matter what the outcome, one fan base will be making January playoff plans while the other will willow in its own misery. At least until next week's game.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:08 am
It came as a shock, but the Eagles temporarily pulled the plug on the Kevin Kolb Era after 10 passes, two quarters and an “exceptional” relief job by Michael Vick. At a strategically called news conference, head coach Andy Reid said he prefers starting Vick this week instead of Kolb, the quarterback the Eagles anointed their future, but was it really his decision?
“You’re talking about Michael Vick as one of the best quarterbacks right now in the NFL,” Reid said. “I didn’t expect, obviously, the accelerated play of Michael. I mean, he’s playing exceptional football right now. I think that’s obvious to everybody.”
Vick has completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 459 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.5 passer rating. In two games Vick has guided the Eagles to seven touchdowns in six quarters while Kolb has directed the offense to just a field goal after getting knocked out in the first half of the opener with a concussion.
In a win over the Lions last week Vick survived six sacks and made several plays evading a pass rush that Kolb wouldn’t have been able to escape. Kolb probably would have ran off the field crying. The offensive line was horrible. Reid said starting Vick had nothing to do with the line play or the health of Kolb, who has been cleared to practice.
What does Kolb think about this? Reid indicated that he didn’t like it. The Eagles announced before playing the Lions Sunday that Kolb would start next weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Vick also made it clear Kolb was the starter. “At the time, I told you what I believed,” Reid said. “Obviously I’m not like – any of us – able to predict the future.”
Reid said he watched film of Vick the past two days, spoke to general manager Howie Roseman and consulted team president Joe Banner and owner Jeffrey Lurie just to be sure they were all on the same page. A team source confirmed Reid’s reversal began when he second guessed his decision to stick with Kolb. Ultimately Reid said he made the decision. But there were immediate reports – denied by the Eagles – that upper management made the call.
“I think I had to make this decision,” Reid said. “I’ve had the full support of the front office. I counseled with Howie Roseman today and bounced some things off of him. But the first person I met with on this decision was Kevin Kolb. That’s the first person I talked to. And I met with him the last two days, and we shared thoughts. He’s a young quarterback that I think the sky’s the limit for. He’s just in a situation where he’s got an ex-superstar that now has regained his abilities. And it’s really that simple. Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now and that’s a beautiful thing. What a lucky franchise and a lucky head coach I am to have two quarterbacks that I feel that way about. I mean it’s unbelievable.”
Unbelievable sums up the entire drama.
Team sources didn’t expect Reid to act impulsively after the Eagles spent much of their offseason transitioning to Kolb from quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was traded to the Washington Redskins. Reid is stubborn and resistant to change. By grooming Kolb the head coach made it clear he didn’t think Vick would develop into enough of a pocket quarterback to operate the offense effectively to win games. Vick apparently has made a believer of Reid.
Kolb couldn’t have seen this coming. Only Monday he said he trusted Reid, and that the coach always did what was best for the organization.
At every bend in the drama Tuesday, Reid publicly refused to second-guess himself even though it was obvious he had done just that. NFL sources suspect Reid really did get cold feet about playing Kolb this week and the following week, when the Birds host McNabb and the Redskins. I think the decision came from the GM and owner.
“Again, this is more about Michael Vick and his accelerated play,” Reid said. “He’s sitting there as possibly the hottest quarterback in the NFL at this time and deserves an opportunity to play. It also allows Kevin to continue as a young quarterback in the NFL, his maturation process, and, again, to become a franchise quarterback in the future.”
Kolb’s future, however, appears to be somewhere else.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 1:07 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 1:11 pm
Before anyone goes there, let me beat you to the punch: When Donovan McNabb was the QB, the Philly fans wanted Feely, Garcia, Kolb and even Vick. Now that Kolb is the QB, some fans are calling for Michael Vick. Are the Philly fans just plain crazy, or are they more intelligent than people give them credit for?
If Kolb loses the next 2 games, Reid better hand the keys over to Vick.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 3:14 pm
Truism of fantasy football: every year there are players that will not be drafted in a fantasy football draft but will emerge off the fantasy football waiver wire to be solid additions for a fantasy football team, sometimes exploding to stud status. Good work on the waiver wire involves knowing who is low on the radar just before their stock goes through the roof. Word of caution: While a quick trigger in the free agent market can make a bad team good, it can also make a good team bad. Before just adding the players listed below to your roster, here are a few guidelines to help ensure that the former happens rather than the latter.
1. Do not just randomly pick-up a player or drop a player solely based on the information given below use some discretion as the quality of the player varies from league to league due to the size and scoring system of each league. In addition, team needs vary from fantasy team to fantasy team, so some discretion can go a long way. The list posted below is to bring some players to your attention and give you a comment or two regarding their possibilities.
2. Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to drop any player you drafted in the first ten rounds of your draft in the first few weeks. Be patient, particularly with wide receivers as they are very inconsistent in most scoring systems, posting a horrible week one week and then backing it up with a good performance in the following week.
3. Be quick to grab running backs, especially as new starters are announced or as players emerge with huge games. This does not mean dropping a traditionally good player in order to pick up one of these running backs, but if you have an extra D, TE, or even a lower tier WR, it is probably in your best interest to drop one of them and take a chance. RBs are in high demand and almost always carry value provided they are a primary back for a NFL team.