Tag:NFC East
Posted on: December 22, 2009 1:28 pm
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NFC East Recap - Week 15

Dallas 24 - New Orleans 17

That is why they play the games and don't listen to all of the talking heads on TV and the sports talk show host on the radio or actually read a online blogs from an idiot user on CBS. Because no one, including me, gave Dallas a chance to beat the Saints on Saturday Night. And then they did it.

Was it a must-win game for Dallas? No, but it was pretty close in my opinion knowing their playoff tiebreakers. The Cowboys were swept by the Giants this season, meaning if they finished tied with the G-Men, they're playing golf in January while the Giants travel on the road for a Divisional Playoff game. It is even more likely now that the Eagles-Cowboys Week 17 game will not only decide the NFC East, but the playoff fate for Dallas and the New York Football Giants.

And speaking of those Giants, did you see that beatdown they put on the Redskins last night? Sure the Redskins looked lost and Jim Zorn probably lost his job last night if he hadn't already secured a pink slip, but that was the Giants team that I remember from years past and earlier this September. I wrote in my breakdown last Saturday that Eli wasn't playing all that well, and I was very wrong. User TuckYou correctly pointed out that Eli is having one of his best statistical season, which he is. But I was stuck on a three game stretch in late October-Early November where the Giants lost three in a row (four total the next week to SD, but Eli was good in that game) to New Orleans, Arizona and Philly. Eli threw 6 INTs to 3 TDs in that stretch and completed around 50% of his passes. Most of the Giants wins, Eli has been completeing 60% or better and perhaps I focused too much on his injury and the Giants dismal defense, which by the way showed up big against Washington.

The Eagles took care of business against the 49ers last Sunday and still control their destiny for the playoffs. They have clinched a berth and also have a shot at the #2 seed in the NFC after the Vikings didn't show up against Carolina. More on the Vikes in a minute. But the Eagles desperately need to get healthy. Brain Westbrook is eyeing a return soon and would help take the pressure off rookie McCoy and fullback Weaver in the running game. WR Maclin also missed last Sunday's game and QB Mike Vick left the game with a thigh bruise. The Eagles need to be operating on all cylinders going into the playoffs, especially if the Eagles D continues to be gashed through the air. The Eagles are on a 5-game winning streak and have won 9 games straight in December. If the Vikings lose a game and the Eagles finished tied in overall record with them, they would have the tiebreaker based on conference record.

So how did last week's games affect the rest of the season? Well, it puts a lot of emphasis on the Week 17 games for the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants. But we can't look ahead just yet. Week 16 is still on the slate and for all of this to come down to the final week, each of the three East contenders need to take care of business this weekend too. Brian Dawkins makes his return to The Linc as the Broncos come to Philly. Both teams are in the hunt for the playoffs and while the Eagles have clinched a berth, they aren't resting on their laurels and niether will Denver in the muddled AFC Wild Card race. The Cowboys head to Washington to play the suddenly inept Redskins. Normally I trust the 'Skins to show up for their rivalry game like they did in a Week 11 loss, 7-6. But after last weeks preformance and the Cowboys thrashing of the Saints, there are only two potential outcomes here: blowout win or letdown game for Dallas. The Giants welcome Carolina, led by QB Matt Moore, to the Meadowlands. Carolina has looked better of late, beating the Vikes last week, but there are still questions about the Panthers. The Giants will have to be wary about this game and not let the Panthers' Steve Smith run through their secondary.

But the real fun begins Week 17, because if all goes well and the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants all win, well there's going to be a lot of scoreboard watching on Sunday. As of now, these games are slated for 1 PM EST, but that might change with the NBC Flex Sunday Night game. First, New York heads to Minnesota to play the Vikes. New York needs the game to still have a shot at the playoffs and the Vikings need it to hold on to the 2nd seed in the NFC and a first round bye. Minnesota also plays Chicago on MNF this week. Then the Eagles and Cowboys meet in Dallas to, in all likelyhood, decide the NFC East Divisional crown. The last time these two met it was a sluggish affair and I expect more of a shootout style in a couple of weeks. The Eagles secondary has been gashed through the air and two of the best young receivers in the game, DeSean Jackson and Miles Austin, will be on display with their big-play talents. Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo should both put on passing clinics and the defense will need to make plays to decide this game.

Overall, it's going to be a fun couple of weeks to end the season.
Posted on: December 19, 2009 4:09 pm
 

NFC East Breakdown - Week 15

With only a few weeks left in the NFL's regular season there are only a few interesting races left in the NFL. The AFC East, AFC Wild Card and the NFC East, whose 2nd place finisher will likely grab the final wild card spot and 6th seed in the NFC playoffs. So, here's a brief breakdown on the four NFC East teams and a suprising pick for which team might have the most impact the final three games.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4, 1st NFC East)

It's nice to see my Eagles back in first place, but there is still work to be done. The Eagles remaining three games are tough, but the first two are in Philly as the Eagles welcome the 49ers and the Broncos to Lincoln Financial the next two weeks before closing the year in Dallas. The Eagles will likely be favored in all three games, but all are tough outs. The 49ers have the offensive firepower to expose the weak Eagles defense, especially in the secondary. Crabtree and Davis could have big games for San Fran especially if the Eagles blitz packages aren't getting to the QB. The Eagles will be missing several key offensive weapons in Jeremy Maclin and Brian Westbrook, but Kevin Curtis and LeSean McCoy are likely to fill in. IF the Eagles can get healthy before the playoffs and continue to use Mike Vick effective, this will be a dangerous playoff team, and I think they're in, it's just a matter of where. I think the Eagles can win all three of their final games, but they really need the defense, linebackers and safties especially to step up. The Eagles are in control of their own destiny, win out and you win the division, and the Eagles usually play well late in the season, unlike...

2. Dallas Cowboys (8-5, 2nd NFC East)

Everyone's talking about how Dallas can't win in December. But have you seen their schedule this year? Three divisional games, two of which on the road, plus San Diego (best AFC team not named Indy) and New Orleans (best NFL team not named Indy). Seriously, that's brutal. And don't blame Mr. Jessica Simpson either, Romo's been pretty good all year. 5 TD's, 0 INTs this month too. I don't know who to blame really. All five of their losses have come against good teams, and I'm counting the Giants as good. Their early season loss to big Blue was when the Giants were beating everyone and their second loss was on the road. I don't see them beating the Saints, which means they have to beat Washington in DC and then the Eagles to close the season. They need to play well against the Saints to have a chance, even if they lose. And remember, the Skins outplayed them in the 7-6 Dallas win earlier this year and the Skins aren't an easy out, despite their putrid record.

3. New York Giants (7-6, 3rd NFC East)

The Giants are in a good spot here. They own the tiebreaker against the Cowboys and will know before their Monday Night game where they stand. It's a must win game for the Giants against the 'Skins because a win will either tie or keep pace with the Cowboys depending on their result with the Saints. I've been a firm believer that Eli Manning's foot injury has been more serious because his play has really suffered. Also, the Giants defense is so banged up, especially in the secondary that it is tough to judge this team with any accuracy. The one good news, they get a bad Carolina team at home, easiest game on the remaining slate for any of the playoff hunting NFC East teams (Washington doesn't count, divisional opponent, rivalry, etc.) I think they have a good chance to earn the final spot, and their final game at Minnesota could be a walkover if the Vikings rest players.

4. Washington Redskins (4-9, 4th NFC East)

Well, they canned Vinny Cerrato as GM or VP of Personnel or whatever his title is. Shame that 'Skins fans can't can their owner, who's been killing this franchise for years. Mr. Snyder, when was the last time your team had a surplus of draft picks? Oh that's right never...and you wonder why this team is never deep on the depth chart. In spite of all this, and the calling of Zorn's head too, this team fights, it always has. Jason Campbell has been effective at QB and the defense is stout as usually. There will be a lot of changes in the offseason to this team, but this team still has an important role to play in this season. They have a huge chance to play spoiler here for either New York or Dallas. If they beat either team, guaranteed that team doesn't make the playoffs. More so for Dallas since the Giants have the head-to-head tiebreaker. It's a shame that Washington is missing so many weapons in Cooley, Portis and Betts because they're not far away from being a good team. But they need to shake this losing mentality, and that means winning despite a terrible front office.

If you put a gun to my head right now, I say that the Eagles win the division and the Giants get the final playoff spot. I won't give records or scenarios, but that's what I'm thinking. The Giants beating Atlanta was huge in the playoff race as they are sitting alone at "#7" in the NFC Playoffs. I think they have a lot of tiebreakers and a favorable schedule and they are getting healthy. Dallas will miss out and probably can Wade Phillips and the 'Skins will likely can Zorn too, which is a shame since I like both coaches and blame the front offices for most of the problems each team has. My predictions will likey set up another Eagles-Giants game in the Divisional Playoffs, something that I'm not looking forward too.

But then again, neither are the all of the Giants fans I know here in CT. Enjoy the football and the snow on the East Coast everyone and have a safe and happy holiday season.

- Eagle
Posted on: April 27, 2009 1:00 am
Edited on: April 27, 2009 4:35 pm
 

NFC East/Eagles Draft Recap

I'm going to try and not turn this into an Eagles recap, and I'm probably going to fail miserably so just a fair warning before I continue. I tried to follow the draft for the NFC East, especially on Day 1. But as I start with Dallas, there's an immeadiate problem...

DALLAS Cowboys

...umm, they didn't make a pick on the first Day. In fact, the only pick they had turned into a complete fiasco when they "passed" the pick before trading it away. Not a good start for the Cowboys in my opinion but they did have 12 picks on Day 2, and focused on defense and offensive skill positions. It's hard for me to grade players on Day 2 because I just don't know the best 200 players in college football. I do like their pickup of Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee, who is one player I did get to see a few times. Should be a solid backup behind Tony Romo.

Grade: N/A

NEW YORK Giants

I'm not going to lie (and I'm not hating) but I don't like the Giants draft for two reasons. They drafted two WRs with thier first four picks (which I always think is a draft no-no) and their first-round selection Hakeem Nicks from North Carolina is not a player I was in love with. I am not copying Pete Prisco by the way ( I mentioned this in my previous entry), but I've seen Nicks play and theres enough there to dislike. I love OL William Beatty from UConn in the 2nd round and QB Rhett Bomar in the 5th.

Edit (4/27): A friend of mine pointed out that the Giants have to replace Plaxico Burress and that drafting two WR's isn't a bad idea. This is a fantastic point that I overlooked. I still don't like Nicks, but I understand the Giants need at the position. They were awful late last season after Plaxico was suspended for the remainder of the season. Therefore, I'm upping the Giants grade from a C to a...

Grade: B-

WASHINGTON Redskins

The Redskins are usually a team that doesn't value the draft as much as other teams (Dan Synder loves free agents for some reason). But this year, they made an impact with the few picks they did have and it started right at the top with the 'Skins landing Brian Orakpo at No. 13 overall. They have to wonder a little bit how he fell that far, but they aren't going to complain. Again, with only 6 picks (2 in the first 3 rounds) it's hard to give them any reasonable grade, but stealing Orakpo is worth this grade alone.

Grade: B


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Ah, let the homer comments begin. The Eagles had a fantastic first day, landing offensive weapons in WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy. However, they didn't have any 4th round picks and traded their only 3rd rounder for a 2010 pick, which is something the Eagles and the New England Patriots do quite often. This year, I thought the Eagles had a few needs on defense and one was addressed by aquiring Patriots CB Ellis Hobbs for two 5th-round picks. I was looking for the Eagles to take a safety at some point, but they took another CB in Victor Harris from VA Tech in the 5th round as well. The Eagles did pick up a TE in the 5th round by taking Cornelius Ingram who I've heard good things about. I expected a little more on the defensive side of the ball, but I can't be disappointed as an Eagles fan right now.

Grade: B+

Head Scratchers

Dallas/Oakland - It's Jerry Jones and Al Davis, I don't ask questions anymore.

Denver - I'm sorry Bronco fans (breaking out the Pitino voice) but John Elway isn't walking through that door. Terrell Davis isn't walking through that door. I have no idea what this organization has been doing for the entire off-season, but I think it started by firing former coach Mike Shanahan and it's only gotten worse. The Broncos franchise QB is in Chicago, they have 10 starting running backs after drafting Knowshon Moreno from Georgia at 12 overall and they don't have a 1st round pick next year to boot. This team and organization is a mess right now and 2009 isn't looking all that good in my opinion. Why did Brian Dawkins have to come to this mess...

Draft Notes

This is an unofficial stat because I was just browsing, but on Day 1, these were the schools that had the most players selected: Southern Cal (5), Ohio State (4) and UConn (4). Yeah, that's right University of Connecticut can play football now too and the NFL is noticing. Also, Miami (OH) had just as many players selected in the 2009 Draft as Miami (FL) with one selection each. I would go into my rant on how Miami (FL) [and BC] tried to kill Big East football, but I won't this entry is too long already.

Overall, this was another fantastic draft. EPSN does a great job with this event (and the Combine, Pro Days, etc.) that it almost is getting as much hype as the Super Bowl. I will never get tired of Chris Berman doing play-by-play on the draft picks highlight reels. I will never get tired of Kiper and McShay arguing, ever. I will get tired of trying to figure out every trade the Eagles pull off every year because no one reports it very well, and they trade often, leading to much cursing and refreshing of websites.

But something that will never get old: the New York heavy crowd chanting "USA!" in a tribute to the armed forces between rounds at the Draft.

- Eagle
Posted on: November 24, 2008 2:50 pm
 

The "Last" of the Rational Eagles Fans Surrenders

As a displaced Eagles fan from Connecticut (read my first blog entry for more details), I have defended Andy Reid from rabid, full-blooded, Philadelphia Eagles fans for what seems like a few years now. I thought my insight and rationale could help Philly fans step back from the "Fire Andy Reid Bridge."

But no more. I'm done with you Andy Reid. Because you violated my first rule of coaching.

Don't coach for your job.

That's what Reid did yesterday at halftime of the Eagles-Ravens game yesterday. By benching Donovan McNabb for youngster Kevin Kolb, Andy Reid succumbed to the fans complaints. He's read too many articles and seen to many ESPN clips about how he and McNabb might be done in Philly if the Eagles don't turn it around this year. He gave in to the outside pressure of the fans and the media and changed his coaching habits because of it. I hear that there is a report somewhere that Reid discussed benching McNabb with the Ealges coaching staff as early as last week. I wish Reid had pulled McNabb in the Bungles Bengals game, because I would feel more comfortable with Kolb at the helm against a competitive, fiery Cincy squad, than a lights-out defense in Baltimore.

For the record, neither McNabb or Kolb looked good yesterday. AJ Feeley might have been a better option for all I know. What I do know is that the Eagles "franchise QB" and the Eagles "QB of the Future" put up a combined QB rating of 12.5. I have a better passer rating for my flag football team. But that's not the point. The point is the Eagles offense is not what it was 5 years ago. The Eagles had McNabb, Westbrook, a solid offensive line, and an over-achieving group of wideouts. Now, it's the same team, a few years older yes, but essentially the same team. The Eagles simply do not run the ball anymore. They don't even do screens (which in Andy Reid's mind, could be running plays) successfully anymore, in my opinion. The Eagles offense has become stale. It's predictable. And when a predictable offense goes up against a solid defense, Cincinnati's included and Baltimore's especially, it's not going to produce. The Eagles just a few months ago lost to Dallas in a 47-41 shootout. The Eagles last three games (including the Giants game) were offensive offensive performances.

But back to the real culprit here, Head Coach Andy Reid.

Again, I've defended Reid for what seems like forever to my friends. Reid's dealt with injuries for the past few season, the whole thing with a certain-receiver-whom-I-will-not-na
me-for-sanity-reasons, and Reid always seems to catch lightning in a bottle with back up QB's (see A.J. Feeley and Jeff Garcia).

But this year, everyone was supposed to be healthy. McNabb and Westbrook were going to lead the Eagles back to the playoffs and many "experts" had tabbed them to make the playoffs, maybe even the Super Bowl. I don't consider myself an expert, but I put the Eagles at a year away for basically one reason: The NFC East. In the pre-season, it was very possible that all four teams from the NFC East were going to be fighting for a playoff spot. But the Eagles lost starting WR's Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, vaulting hot-shot rookie DeSean Jackson into the starting role, giving him the lone bright spot in the Eagles offense this year. The Eagles defense has been solid all year. The biggest problem the Eagles have is running the football. Reid just doesn't do it, which is fine with me, as long as the screen game is working. But, the real reason the 5-5-1 Eagles are most likely out of the playoff race. When the pass-heavy Eagles offense struggles in the beginning of games and falls behind, that leaves Reid and McNabb behind the 8-ball and forces them to throw.

Yesterday however, there was no 8-ball. Down 10-7 at the half to a stingy Baltimore team, Reid benches McNabb for Kolb. For the record, the Eagles also trailed the Giants by three points at the half (20-17) just a few weeks ago. Both games the Eagles were lucky to only be down three points after being out-played for the first half. In the Giants game, Reid stuck with McNabb and the Eagles gutted out a tough loss, failing to convert a 3rd and 4th and short on the ground. Against the Ravens, an inferior offensive team to the Giants (that's not a knock on Joe Flacco and the Ravens' O, that's a compliment for the Eli Manning and Giants), Reid benches his starter for an untested back-up.

I believe that once a coach has started coaching for his job rather than coach to win or rebuild or what ever the team's goal is, he is no longer looking out for the best interests of the team and the organization. Coaches usually preach a "put-yourself-before-the-team" mentality (the reason why said receiver is no longer with the team) and once they break that mentality themselves, there is no going back. You've lost a certain trust that you had with that coach and it's very difficult to gain that trust back in my opinion.

If Andy Reid needed to make a change, it was with his offensive game plan, not at QB. Reid refuses to stick with anything that looks like a running game, instead opting to have McNabb throw it for up to 50 times a game. The Eagles also failed to utilize RB Correll Buckhalter all season, with the exception of Buckhalter's start against the 49ers for an injured Westbrook. The Giants and Dallas Cowboys both use multiple running backs in their offensive game plan, why not Andy Reid and the Eagles? Where are the days where Westbrook lines up in the slot? Why are the Eagles using gadget plays on their first offensive play? (DeSean Jackson and the Wildcat Formation TD vs. the Giants)

Basically, all of this has led me to believe that Andy Reid believes his job is in jeopardy and he needs to do something to save it. I don't believe that's the case, but maybe the media has made him paranoid. All I know is that when I mention the Andy Reid-Lovie Smith comparison to my friend later ("Donovan McNabb is our quarterback"), he might die laughing. But that's about the only thing I can do to cheer him up right now. Because after more than a year of listening to this same friend complain about Reid, I finally realized he was right. This moment of enlightenment happened right after my same friend sent me this text message:

"The man didn't even tell Donovan he was benched. The coaches did."

Your telling me, that Andy Reid didn't have the guts (pun intended) to tell the franchise QB he drafted out of Syracuse, that he wasn't playing in the 2nd half in what might be a make or break game for the Eagles' season? And now you want McNabb to start again for you this Thursday against the Cardinals?

I'm done with you Andy Reid. I've tried to be a loyal fan. I've tried to believe that your going to turn around my football team. But, I've defended you for far too long. There are times when a team struggles despite their coach making game plans and watching film. And there are times where a team struggles, because of it's coach. I sadly feel that the Philadelphia Eagles might fall under the latter of the two categories.

Who knows, maybe 10-5-1 might be good enough to make the NFC playoffs, seeing how winning out would hand the Cowboys and Redskins both a loss (the Giants are winning the division folks, unless they have a collapse comparable to the New York Mets). Maybe benching Donovan was the wake-up call the whole Eagles team needed to turn this season around. Maybe in January I'll be writing a blog entry saying how I should have stuck up for Andy Reid and defended him for the remainder of the season.

Maybe the city of Philadelphia will forget the Phillies won the World Series last month too.

- Eagle
Posted on: September 3, 2008 1:57 pm
 

2008 NFC East Preview

OK, this time I can post my 2008 NFC East Preview before the season actually starts. See my 2008 Big East Preview, my previous post, to understand. Here we goes...

NFC EAST
1. Dallas - I hate doing this. Really I do. I despise the Cowboys. But they are the best team in the NFC. Hands down. They are explosive on offense with Romo, Barber and Owens and have one of the best D's in the league. There is no reason why they shouldn't win the NFC East and have a first round bye/home field for the playoffs

PREDICTION: 12-4, NFC East Champs, No. 1 Seed
BIASED PREDICTION: 10-6, NFC Wild Card, 3rd Straight Playoff Joke

2. Philadelphia - This isn't at all biased. Donovan McNabb is healthy and producing (see final 3 games last year) and Brian Westbrook is finally getting the credit he deserves for being an all around beast. The Eagles front seven on D is a year older and better and the Eagles have a loaded secondary once again. Losing Kevin Curtis means rookie WR DeSean Jackson will see a lot of the ball and might be the answer at WR for the Eagles down the road.

PREDICTION: 10-6, NFC Wild Card
BIASED PREDICTION: 12-4, NFC East Champs, No. 2 Seed

3. New York Giants - The defending champs are in trouble in my opinion. Losing Osi Umenyiora is going to be a factor. The Giants once dominant D-line now has very little depth and I don't like their secondary. Eli Manning and the offense should still be clicking, possibly into the playoffs. Also, I think their PSL's are ridiculous.

PREDICTION: 9-7, Potential NFC Wild Card
BIASED PREDICTION: 6-10, Fewest Returning Season Ticket Holders

4. Washington - Every year someone picks them to do well. Every year, it never happens. I do like this team overall, but they never seem to put it all together. The offense is inconsistent but very dangerous with Clinton Portis in the backfield. Jason Campbell is still a question mark at QB, but is progressing well.

PREDICTION: 7-9
BIASED PREDICTION: 5-11, 150 Online columns about why we continue to pick the Skins/Cards to do well

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com