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: 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: 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 15, 2010 6:13 pm
Wilfred Winkenbach created fantasy football. He set the rules for engagement. Check out this funny video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX1ncpOXoDw
Category: Fantasy Football
Tags: 49ers, bills, browns, cardinals, chargers, colts, cowboys, dolphins, eagles, falcons, fantasy advice, fantasy football advice, fantasy league, FFB, funny video, giants, jets, lions, lions, nfl, packers, panthers, patriots, raiders, rams, ravens, redskins, saints, steelers, talking smack, trash talk, wilfred winkenbach
Posted on: December 17, 2009 3:11 pm
This week I'm identifying unsuspecting players who I believe could emerge as the "fantasy stud" for the week. Each player/defense will be owned in less than a third of all leagues. I settled on 33% primarily because I'm working under the assumption that most people don't have the luxury of plucking Jonathan Stewart off the waiver wire at this point of the season.
Chad Henne (@ Titans) I'd much rather recommend a Titans' QB here, but Vince Young's hamstring injury makes the thought of playing him or Kerry Collins dicey at best this week. Therefore, I am forced to turn to the other sideline and give a slight nod to the fast-improving second-year Dolphins signal-caller. While Tennessee ranks as the third-most favorable defense for opposing fantasy QBs this season, it has been the sixth-best unit over the last five weeks. While I admit it would take a pretty desperate owner to put Henne in your lineup this week, I certainly would play him over the likes of players such as Josh Freeman or Brady Quinn (perhaps in two-QB leagues) just because of the matchup. Here's why: what the Dolphins lack in terms of quality WRs, they make up for in quantity. Over the last month, Davone Bess has started to emerge as a quasi-WR1 for the team, but in recent weeks, Henne has come to trust Brian Hartline and Greg Camarillo as well. Because Ricky Williams should have a difficult time with Tennessee's eighth-ranked rush defense, Henne will probably be responsible for Miami’s ability touchdowns this week the few times the Dolphins get into scoring position. I don't anticipate much more than 210 yards and a score, but again, he should provide a usable fantasy point total if you find yourself in a truly desperate spot at the QB position.
Arian Foster (@ Rams) You have to hand it to HC Gary Kubiak. When he decides to make a change at RB, he seems to give that back a chance against a team in which he should be able to succeed. What do I mean? When Steve Slaton lost his fifth fumble of the season in Week 8, Kubiak turned to Ryan Moats against Buffalo's league-worst rushing defense (at the time) and he promptly went off for 151 total yards and three scores. With any luck, Part 2 of this drama may be coming just in time for desperate fantasy owners as the coach is "fixing to pick it up big-time for Foster" with a contest on deck against the 28th-ranked rush defense of the Rams in Week 15. With Slaton on IR, Chris Brown had been named the de facto starter, but that seemed like a place-filler move for Kubiak, and after three carries in Week 14, that appears to be the case. Of course, as luck would have it, Moats apparently picked up on a bit of his predecessor’s ball-handling issues (fumbling for the second time in three games of which he has played and contributed to the box score). On a team that has shuffled through its backs like Houston has this season, nothing is set in stone and certainly Kubiak isn't the most committed coach when it comes to sticking with the run or a particular RB for that matter, so he's certainly a gamble at this point of the season. However, the matchup is so juicy and Foster's pedigree is good enough - especially for an undrafted free agent - that I would be willing to roll with him over several established starting NFL RBs this week.
Kevin Faulk (@ Bills) If there is a Rodney Dangerfield (someone who gets no respect, for the younger crowd) among likely free agent RBs available each year, it has be Faulk. PPR leaguers already know Faulk is a great end-of-the-roster filler, but he has always been a RB that has gotten the most out of his limited touches. We all know the drill with Patriots RBs (and last week's 38 carries by New England RBs was definitely a one-time deal), but if there has been one constant over the years with the Pats’ runners, it has been Faulk. His chances of putting a huge number in your fantasy box score are extremely remote from week-to-week, but at this point of the season, fantasy owners are quite often searching for a RB who won't hang them with a bagel (right Chris Brown?) or near bagel (are you listening, Jerome Harrison?); this from supposed starters on players' real teams. (For what it's worth, I don't hold Brown or Harrison near as accountable for last week's sorry performances as I do their coaches, but I digress.) The Bills and their fifth-ranked pass defense are next on the schedule for the Patriots and given the state of New England passing game right now - more specifically, the fact that Bill Belichick revealed that Tom Brady was a true game-time decision last week - it may be wise for the AFC East leaders to take the same run-heavy approach they did last week vs. the Panthers' sixth-ranked pass defense. In that scenario, Faulk could push 12-15 touches, which is more than enough for him to put up 75-90 total yards.
Posted on: November 25, 2009 10:54 am
Week 12 has quickly appeared. This is a week where the gluttons will prosper and the weak teams will go home starving. Let’s take a look at the matchups.
The Packers to Detroit to face the Lions. The city of Detroit has been facing hard times, so this weekend they shouldn’t be upset when their team loses; they are used to the feeling of dejection. Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings should be able to light up the Lions secondary. Calvin Johnson is beat up and will probably be a non-factor.
The Raiders go to Dallas to do battle with the Cowboys. The Dallas offense has been weak for the last couple of weeks. They almost got beat by the Redskins last week, so this game could be closer than the experts in Vegas would suggest. The Raiders have a good pass defense, so dem boys will have to get the running game going. If the game was on the west coast, the Raiders might be able to win, but the Cowboys should take care of business.
The Giants go to mile high to face the Broncos. After a great start, the Broncs have been struggling. The Giants had their own losing streak, but the win last week might have been the confidence boost that they needed. If Brandon Jacobs can get loose, Eli Manning should be able to pick apart the Denver secondary. I have a feeling that the Broncos loosing streak is going to continue.
Redskins go to Philly to face the Eagles. If Washington had an offense, they might be a formidable team. Donovan McNabb, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin have been in synch. It is a horrible time to be a Redskins fan. The Eagles are going to crush them on Sunday.
Buccaneers go to Atlanta to play the Falcons. ATL has been somewhat disappointing this year, but they will beat the Bucs. Josh Freeman might turn out to be a great QB, but he isn’t going to make a difference in this game. Matt Ryan is improving and this game should boost his confidence.
Panthers go to New York to face the Jets. This is a really tough game to predict. Both teams have shown a hint of potential, but there are still a lot of voids. If the Jets can stop the run, they will win. Carolina has a good passing D, so Mark Sanchez might struggle. Thomas Jones needs to have a big day if the Jets are going to win.
Seahawks go to St. Louis to “play” the Rams, and by Rams I’m referring to Stephen Jackson. He is the only player doing anything on that team. If the Seahawks don’t win by 2 scores then the Rams should consider that a win.
Dolphins head to NY to play the Bills. Last week Terrell Owens emerged from his coma. The Dolphins should be able to lock down the Bills offense this week. Even without Ronnie Brown, the Fins can win games. Ricky Williams has proved that he can still carry the load.
Colts go to Houston to play the Texans. The Texans need a win in a big way, but the Colts are damn good. This would be a major statement game, if the Texans can pull out a win, but conventional wisdom tells me that the Colts will win.
Chiefs head to San Diego to play the Chargers. Jamaal Charles has been playing well, but I expect the Chargers to shut him down this week. The Chargers should be able to jump up big and take away the running game from KC. Look, the Chiefs aren’t a good team; the Chargers are.
Bears go to Minnesota to try to beat the Vikings. Jay Cutler has been killing the Bears. If I was the coach, I would run Matt Forte 35 times in this game…no matter what. Cutler needs to cool off, before he kills his confidence (the little bit that he has left).
Cardinals go to Tennessee to face off against the Titans. This game should be a great one. Chris Johnson is unstoppable, but the Cardinals strength is their running defense. If the Titans can get pressure of Kurt Warner, they will win this game. Larry Fitzgerald vs Chris Johnson…talk about playmakers.
Steelers go to Baltimore to play the Ravens. The Steelers might have too many injuries (Troy) to beat the Ravens. Both teams need the win, so this should be a great fight. A coin flip should be used to predict this winner…my coin toss said Ravens win.
Patriots go to the Big Easy to play the Saints. This might be the game of the year: Tom Brady vs Drew Brees. I think a coin toss is the best way to predict this game as well…my Lincoln said Saints win!
I don’t know about you guys, but this is going to be a great week of games! The hungry teams will feast, while the pretenders will be like the homeless guy on the corner, starving while others stuff their mouths with stuffing and turkey.
Posted on: November 17, 2009 8:41 am
49ers 10 – Bears 6
Cardinals 31 – Seahawks 20
Tags: 49ers, Bears, Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Chris Johnson, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Fantasy, FFB, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, NFL, Packers, Panthers, Patriots, Peyton Manning, Raiders, Rams, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers, Titans, Tom Brady, Vikings, Week 10
Posted on: November 11, 2009 8:16 pm
Last week was the first time that I shared my predictions with the online community. I was on point with 61% of my games with the spread. I'm looking to build on that percentage this week. That brings me to the first game of week 10.
The Niners handle the run well but struggle against the pass, which means Jay Cutler might be airing it out all night. Chicago has looked a bit more vulnerable and a lot more fragile.
BEST BET: Cowboys, 21-17
Time for Bill Belichick to toy with Peyton Manning's mind again, and for the Patriots to prevent Indy from chasing their unprecedented 16-0 of 2007. The Colts just have too many injuries in the secondary.
UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS, 24-20
I have been wrong on the Bengals a lot this year, but I'm starting to believe in them — at least enough to cover.
Two teams that epitomize the up-and-down nature of the NFL. Philly's secondary is depleted and they only have one LB. I expect Gates and Vincent Jackson to come up big.
Detroit (plus 15) at Minnesota
Fresh from a bye, this should be easy for the Purple Favres. It's like having 2 bye weeks.
Been searching for hours for a reason this will be close. Still searching ...
Enigmatic Cardinals need to bring their road temperament to their dome.
Baltimore (minus 10 1/2) at Cleveland
The Monday night massacre, although the Ravens really are struggling. Not nearly as much as the Browns, of course. Brady Quinn better practice throwing from his backside; I feel bad for the young fella.
Tampa Bay (plus 9) at Miami
Does anyone outside of Florida really care? Don't expect Freeman to sneak out with another win.
Does anyone anywhere really care?
Chiefs, and cover...no points total here because they are both zeros.
There it is: safe bets by DC.