Tag Archives: Philadelphia Eagles

Red’s 2018 NFL Predictions – NFC East

Let’s start with the division of your NFL Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles –  Here is Red’s favorite to repeat as NFC East champion.  After all this team won the Superb Owl with a backup quarterback and a couple of trick plays over the greatest team of the 21st century led by perhaps the winningest quarterback the NFL will ever see.  That said, the track record for championship teams the next season is spotty at best (putting aside the Patriots of course).  Ask yourself, what have the Giants, Stealers, Saints, Broncos and Ravens done for you lately?  And that said, the Eagles still have the best defense in the East, a returning Superb Owl MVP as the backup quarterback, a decent corps of wide receivers (addition of Mike Wallace could be big) and question marks in the backfield (see you later Fat Pig aka LaGarrette Blount).   And that said, there is always the issue of the champions’ schedule.  That schedule is doubly brutal this year as the Eagles are playing the AFC South which looks to have two playoff teams and the NFC South with potentially tough games against the Saints, Panthers and Falcons in the season opener on September 6.  Looking up and down the Eagles’ schedule, the only games that one could count as sure wins are home games against the Giants and OTNA’s and maybe the Colts and Buccaneers.   With the difficult schedule and a few question marks Philadelphia goes 11-5.

New York (Jersey) Giants – One possible last hurrah for Manning the Younger this season.  A muted hurrah at best though.  The Giants seem to be headed in the right direction with a new GM in Dave “the Gentlemen” Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur (formerly OC for the Vikings – who would have been surprise of the 2017 season but for the aforementioned Eagles).  Shoring up the offensive line with Nate Solder (late of the Pats) and Rookie Will Hernandez may mean that EM is not running for his life on every other play.  But the big reason to have hope among the Giants’ faithful is the addition of RB Saquon Barkley.  Recent trials have shown that a fresh young running back – who can run, block and catch – lifts the entire offense.  As Cowboys’ fans about E. Elliot and Jaguars’ fans about L. Fournette.  If Barkley is the real deal, the Giants will not start 0-5 – maybe 2-3 with a brutal opening stretch of Jaguars, Cowboys, Texans, Saints and Panthers.  New Jersey is 9-7.  No soup for you.

Dallas (Arlington) Cowboys –  It was something of a miracle that the Cowboys managed to win 9 games last year with their pathetic excuse for a defense through a good part of the season (giving up more 27+ points six times) and the offense that disappeared for six games.  The only real changes are the subtractions of future HOFer Jason Whitten and future Huntsville resident Dez Bryant.  This season rests on the ability of the Boys to consistently score 25 points per game.  And that rests on the shoulders of the offensive line (still very good but no longer great) Dak P. (good) and E. Elliot (very very good).   The Red Rule is back in play however.  And for those who don’t remember that rule is – “Score 14 points and beat the Cowboys.” Here’s a stat for you – only the Cowboys, OTNAs and Lions have failed to play for an NFC Championship in the last 22 seasons.  That doesn’t change for anyone this year.  Arlington Cowboys are 8-8. 

Washington (Landover, Md.) OTNAs – For new readers that means “Offensive Term for Native Americans.”  The real offensive thing will be how badly the OTNAs stink this year.  This is a franchise that aspires to mediocrity and just missed that mark with a season-ending loss to the godawful Giants in 2017.  Alex Smith will be a boost as he is a guy who knows how to get the best out of the talent around him.  It is the talent around him that is questionable.  The offensive line is serviceable but skill positions are a lot of question marks.  Red likes Smith and thinks he deserves a shot at the big ring.  He just won’t get it with this season and not likely ever with this team.  Landover, Md. struggles to a 7-9 record again.

PS: Red will throw in his annual bitch about the Cowboys TV schedule.   The team that hasn’t sniffed a championship in going on 23 years now gets five primetime games (including the mandatory Thursday nighter) and six national TV late games (including the prime Thanksgiving spot) only one of which (Seahawks) is time zone related.   At some point, people just aren’t going to hate the Cowboys enough for this ridiculousness to make sense.

Red’s NFL Picks – The Championship

Last week – Red was 0-2 in the Conference Championship games.  Bleech!

The Jaguars had a real chance to off the Patriots but fell into the trap of not pressuring Brady with the game on the line.  Here’s the deal, if you don’t pressure him, he’s going to beat you.  If you do pressure him, he’s only probably going to beat you.  Not a tough choice in Red’s humble opinion.  The game came down to that and the Jags coaching staff blinked.

The Vikings – Eagles game was simpler.  In the matchup of two Texas quarterbacks, Case Keenum played like the Case Keenum of old – a creaky, unsure, seat of the pants, turnover machine Case Keenum.  Meanwhile, Nick Foles played like the Nick Foles of old – the can do no wrong best 2/3rd of a season of almost any quarterback in NFL history Nick Foles.  That was the game. The Superb Owl host jinx didn’t help either.

Your NFL Championship Game Pick of the Week –  Patriots over Eagles. 

The Eagles Last Championship – The Eagles last won the NFL Championship in 1960 at muddy Franklin Field with a 17-13 win over the Packers.  The game was Vince Lombardi’s only playoff loss (9-1).  Led by the Dutchman, Norm Van Brocklin, the Eagles only secured a victory when Chuck Bednarik stopped Packer’s fullback Jim Taylor at the 10 yard line after a reception from Bart Starr.  If the Packers had scored Taylor would likely have been the MVP of the game.  It would be 18 years before the Eagles returned to the playoffs losing to the Falcons in 1978.  Since then, the Eagles have been rather regular NFL playoff participants with only one major dry spell between the 1981 and 1988 seasons.  But real success has been elusive.  They have lost two Championship games – to the Raiders after the 1979 season (perhaps the best Eagles team since 1960) and to the Patriots after the 2004 season.  That was a close 24-21 loss for the Eagles.  McNabb’s 3 interceptions and the collapse of the Eagles rushing attack sealed the deal for the Pats.

The Patriots Last Championship – The Patriots last won the NFL Championship last season in the second biggest comeback in NFL playoff history (Oilers fans still remember the biggest).  And as for the rest of the story – does anyone really need to read about it here?

The Eagles Story – If Carson Wentz were still under center, Red would have no problem picking the Eagles.   Well, maybe a little problem.  There is certainly an argument that the Eagles feasted on a weak regular season schedule.  By Red’s hallmark (Quality Wins – meaning wins over Playoff teams and teams with winning records), the Eagles have four with wins over the Chargers (9-7 missed playoffs), Panthers (11-5 playoffs) and Rams (11-5 playoffs) and Cowboys (9-7 missed playoffs).  That is not bad by any means – even though Red discounts the win over the Cowboys because the only reason that team finished with a winning record was because of their 6-0 win in Week 17 over the Eagles who fielded a team largely made up of high school all-stars.  Throw in two impressive playoff wins over the redoubtable Falcons and the insurgent Vikings and its a pretty damn good season for the Eagles.  The only chance the Eagles have is to establish their running game early and put together some solid 5-7 minute scoring drives to keep Brady off the field and tire out the Pats defense.  If Foles has to throw 30 or fewer times and the defense sacks Brady 4 times and keeps the pressure up through the 4th quarter, there is a possibility that the Eagles could pull out a close one.  But Red doesn’t like those chances.  Alternatively, maybe the worst thing the Eagles could do would be to come out and rack up a sizable lead.  That seems to not work at all against the Pats.  Maybe they need to be behind by 10 going into the 4th quarter and then . . . oh, forget it!  In the unlikely event the Eagles win it will be on the last play of the game.

The Patriots 2017 Story –  The Patriots had six Quality Wins (Saints, Chargers, Falcons, Bills (2) and Stealers).  That is an impressive total for any team and just your average season for the Pats.  Home losses to the Chiefs and Panthers were unexpected but not terribly surprising.  The only real blip on the schedule was the late season loss to the Dolphins.   The hallmark of this season was the consistency of the Patriots offense.  They scored 30+ points seven times and only scored less than 20 once in a 19-14 win on the road against the sad-sack Buccaneers.  Odds are the Eagles are going to have to score at least 30 to have a chance. Given the Pats defense that is not likely.  After a shaky start, the Pats surrendered more than 20 points only twice after the first 4 games – in the loss to the Dolphins and in beating the Stealers on the road.  They kept the opposition in single digits three times.  On the other side of the ball with Tom Brady at the helm, confidence is always high on the Patriots sideline.  Having your legacy already fixed gives you some leeway in a game like this.  If Brady has a terrible game – it will not alter the perception of him at all.  It will make a lot of folks ridiculously happy but it will not change the historical perspective on Brady.  The only question here is what relatively unknown player will step up and have the game of his career in the championship game.  It happens every time the Pats win.  Picking that player is beyond Red’s prognostic abilities.

Suffice it to say, that after Red has scarfed down a half dozen of his Superb Ribs and a heap of potato salad and coleslaw, he will settle in for the inevitable second half where the Pats either put it away or mount another annoying yet incredible come from behind win.

New England 35 Philadelphia 27.   See you next season.

Red’s NFL Picks – NFC East

Some call this the highest profile division in the entire NFL. It’s hard to argue with geography and tradition. When you have teams from the big cities in the Amtrak corridor (Giants, Eagles and OTNAs), and the hated and loved (but seldom indifferent to) Cowboys, not to mention three teams that have won multiple NFL Championships – then yes a lot of people are watching what happens here.  And maybe more than any other division, the NFC East in recent years has been up for grabs like a Matt Schaub floater in the slot.  No team has repeated as division champion since the Eagles in 2004.  And since 2011, every team has won at least one division title with the Cowboys and OTNAs each grabbing a pair. Unlike the AFC East, this is a tough call

Eagles have done more than any other team to boost their offense at the skill position with Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery, Donnel Pumphrey, and LaGarrette Blount (aka the Fat Pig). The Fat Pig will function as the anti-Darren Sproles. Trading Jordan Matthews is a serious and unexpected blow, but the defense needed help. Most analysts think the Eagles are a year away.  Red thinks that the Carson Wentz workshop will be cranking out a bunch of touchdowns with his new tools and a solid O line.  Eagles score early and often.  The addition of Derek Barnett may give the Eagles the best pass rush in the NFL.  Red predicts Bosa, Barnett, Graham and Cox may combine to break the NFL team sack record in 2017.  And just so you don’t have to look it up that would be the Bears 72 sacks in 1984.  A relatively easy early schedule (at least compared to the division rivals) has the Eagles at 6-2 at halftime and with some breathing room.  It gets tougher and the season-ending matchup at home against the Cowboys will be loser goes home.  Eagles don’t lose.  Philadelphia wins division with a hard fought 10-6 record.

Cowboys.  Smart money is on the Cowboys with 2016 ROY Dak Prescott and suspended girl-beater Ezekiel Elliott returning from unbelievable stellar rookie seasons. If all that JerryWorld had to worry about was a sophomore slump from those two, then the Cowboys would be an easy pick.  But hold on Hoss.  Forty percent of the best O-line in football is gone with the unexpected retirement of excellent RT Doug Free and coveted LG Ronald Leary heading to the Broncos. They are not easy to replace and a unit that played together for several seasons is not readily replicated.  Add to that, the near complete fruit basket turnover in the Cowboys secondary with CBs Claiborne and Carr and Safeties Chuch and Wilcox being shown the door.  That leaves Byron Jones as the only remaining starter.  Unless the pass rush is much better than anticipated, expect to see the secondary getting burned early and often by the excellent wide receivers in this division.  And don’t forget the tougher champions schedule.  The only potential nothing-burgers on the schedule are the Rams and 49ers.  Every other team can beat the Cowboys.  Red sees Arlington making it to  9-7 at best.

Giants will have the best defense in the NFL this season. The line has been solid and the secondary took a big step forward with addition of Janoris Jenkins.  The big question for the Giants is the offense.  Young Manning is now 36 and coming off his worst season in years.  Maybe adding Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram helps, but unless the Giants can run the ball, look out for trouble.  As with the Boys, the Giants have a tough schedule.  The Week 2 matchup with the Cowboys could be critical since they will likely be coming off a loss to the Patriots in Week 1.  Realistically, New Jersey comes in as 8-8 material, but they could grab second with the Elliott suspension looming.

OTNAs (that’s Offensive Term for Native Americans for the new readers) will blow.  Disarray carries the day.  Landover, Md. will be lucky to see 6-10.