Category Archives: NFL
PHI: 4-3, 2nd in NFC East
IND: 5-2, 1st in AFC South
Spread: Eagles by 3
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (Philly, PA)
When: Sunday, 4:15 PM on CBS
Last time met: Nov. 26, 2006 – Joseph Addai gained over 200 yards from scrimage as the Colts rolled over the Eagles 45-21. Jeff Garcia was under center for the Eagles a week after Donovan Mcnabb went down with a torn ACL.
Last Week: The Eagles were on a bye. The Colts steam rolled the Texans, 30-17.
Best case scenario: Peyton Manning does not dismantle the secondary completely and they Birds offense stays on the Colts’ heals to maybe steal a game with a winning field goal.
Worst case scenario: Manning absolutely rips apart the Birds very weak secondary, throwing for four touch downs and not needing to run the ball too often. Michael Vick can’t do a single thing against the Colts defense, surrendering the ball back to Kevin Kolb.
Opposing player to watch – QB Peyton Manning: People should watch him because he will do work. Like watching Roy Halladay pitch or Kobe Bryant run the floor, watching Peyton Manning run an offense is a thing of beauty. Manning has a passer rating of 101.4 with 2,184 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s only thrown two picks all season.
Offenses: The Eagles look to be rolling with Vick as he’s fully healthy. Speaking of returns, DeSean Jackson cleared his concussion tests and will be back Sunday as well. Jeremy Maclin is due for another good game and with Jackson returning, he could give both himself and Jackson some time to get around and make plays. LeSean McCoy is a good running threat every week.
Manning is the best quarterback in the NFL and he’s currently playing like it. Reggie Wayne leads the team with 641 yards and has three touchdowns but Austin Collie has been Manning’s favorite end zone target with six scores. With no Addai, former Michigan stat and Heisman candidate Mike Hart is running the ball. Indy’s run game is weak and with the way the Birds run defense has been playing, running won’t be an option.
Advantage: Colts have Peyton Manning. That’s a given advantage.
Defenses: The Eagles certainly have the advantage with a strong run-stopping game but the Colts are so loaded in the passing game, that’s a non-factor. The Eagles secondary has been shredded the past few weeks and could have a big problem against Indy.
Indy’s defense is nothing special and the Eagles could take advantage of that. Though they are a pass-heavy offense, the balance the Birds have could keep Indy on their heals. This game is lined up for a shoot out because both offenses can exploit the glaring weaknesses.
Eagles: Q: E. Hobbs (hip). P: M. Vick (ribs), D. Jackson (concussion), B. Bunkley (elbow), B. Graham (ankle).
Colts: Q: J. Addai (neck), A. Collie (hand), A. Gonzalez (knee), M. Hart (ankle), B. Sanders (biceps), R. Mathis (knee), D. Freeny.
Roose’s Prediction (4-3): The Colts have the better offense and will win in a shootout, 35-31.
Final Score: Eagles 19; Titans 37
Eagles best number: 0:00 – the end of the game.
Eagles worst number: 18 – the number Kenny Britt wore seeing. They saw the back of his jersey a lot on Sunday.
Eagles best play:
Eagles worst play: With the game still in reach as the Eagles trailed by eight, Jorrick Calvin fumbled a punt with little over three minutes left, giving the Titans the ball in field goal territory and letting them put the game away.
K. Britt (TEN): 7 catches, 225 yards, 3 TD’s
K. Collins (TEN): 17-for-31, 276 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 INT, 90.3 rating.
C. Finnegan (TEN): 8 tackles, interception returned for TD.
Breaking down the game
MELTDOWN — The Eagles put fourth one of the most embarrassing fourth quarters in recent memory. Leading 16-7 with under five minutes left in the third, LeSean McCoy fumbled the ball on the 7-yard line to stall a would-be Eagles touchdown drive.
After that, the Titans marched downfield and kicked a field goal to make it 16-10. After a David Akers field goal to make it 19-10, the Titans scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth.
It all started with Kerry Collins hitting Britt for an 80-yard touchdown catch to make it 19-17. After a 3-and-out, the Titans took the lead with a field goal with 9:31 left.
Another 3-and-out for the Eagles and the Titans scored once again, a 16-yard touchdown pass to Britt to give the Titans the eight-point advantage with little over five minutes left.
After each team traded 3-and-outs and the Eagles were left with no time outs, the Titans punted. But Calvin bobbled and then fumbled the punt to give the Titans the ball on the Eagles 33.
But it got worse. The Titans converted on a should-be stop, kicked a field goal to make it a two-score game, and then Cortland Finnegan picked-off Kevin Kolb and returned it to the house for the last play of the game.
SICK OF SAMUEL — Looking at a 3rd-and-7 on the Eagles 30. With Philadelphia only trailing by eight and there still being a chance of the Eagles to force K Rod Bironas to make a long field goal attempt, all they needed was a stop.
They had shut down Titans running back Chris Johnson all game. The second leading rusher in the NFL was held to only 66 yards on 22 carries so a stop in that situation looked plausible.
Johnson took the hand-off, bounced out to the left and made Asante Samuel look stupid to pick up the first down. One-on-one, Johnson is hard to tackle. One-on-one with Samuel, though, everyone knew what the outcome would have been.
Lowering his head like the typical defensive back does today is what Samuel did. It’s hard to tackle anyone, especially with Johnson’s skill set, when you’re staring into the dirt and you don’t wrap your arms around the ball carrier.
Week in and week out we have to watch Samuel make horrible attempts at should-be tackles. He’ll get his token interception to allow people to forget about his inability to do the simple tasks asked of a football player.
I’m sick of watching it, Asante. Just sick. But at least you’re still better than that wasted of space Ellis Hobbs.
HEADING INTO THE BYE — The Eagles will be heading into the bye week this week. Instead of writing about it here, I will touch on a few things regarding the Kolb/Michael Vick situation and the possible return of DeSean Jackson.
It’s going to be a fun two weeks. Hopefully someone teaches Samuel how to tackle.
Final Score: Eagles 31; Falcons 17
Eagles best number: 326 – yards Kevin Kolb threw for.
Eagles worst number: 3 – number of field goals missed by David Akers.
Eagles best play: After scoring on an end-around earlier in the game, Kolb faked an end-around in the third quarter and hit Jeremy Maclin in stride for an 83-yard touchdown.
Eagles worst play: Kolb left WR DeSean Jackson hanging on a lobbed pass in which the star receiver took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit delivered by Dunta Robinson.
J. Maclin (PHI): 7 catches, 159 yards, 2 TD.
K. Kolb (PHI): 23/29, 326 yards, 3 TD.
T. Cole (PHI): 5 tackles, 2 sacks.
Breaking down the game
JACKSON SUFFERS CONCUSSION — It’s one of the most talked about things in sports: concussions. Jackson became a statistic on Sunday while being on the the receiving end of a vicious hit that knocked him out of the game and probably the next few weeks with a concussion.
The Falcons Robinson blind-sided Jackson, who turned around to try and make a catch on a soft pass from Kolb. The helmet-to-helmet hit knocked both players out of the game.
Jackson, the Eagles biggest playmaker, suffered a sever concussion and is likely out of next week’s game against the Titans.
With the league taking a stance against these type of hits, no one has yet to be suspended for them. Only a handful of fines have been handed out. Should Robinson be suspended for the hit? How about James Harrison of the Steelers for knocking two players from Sunday’s game against Cleveland? How about all the other countless incidents that happen on a weekly basis? If the league wants to crack down, make an example out of someone and get the head injuries to a minimum.
MACLIN STEPS UP — Jackson’s concussion allowed Maclin to step-up, which he did on Sunday. Maclin’s performance made many fantasy owners happy (or those who sat him – me – sad) with his seven catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
His first score was a nice diving catch in the front right corner of the end zone. Kolb struck Maclin with a bullet into his chest for the 8-yard score in the second quarter to make it 21-7 game.
His second came on a fake end-around in the third in which he bolted down the left side line and caught Kolb’s offering in stride for an 83-yard score.
Maclin has big-play ability written all over him as well. But what separates Maclin from Jackson is that he is a smarter route-runner with better hands. Many people don’t believe it but Maclin is the Eagles best wide receiver and could turn into Kolb’s favorite target.
BE GONE, PINK SHOE! — You may have noticed the pink equipment on a handful of NFL players the past few weeks. One of those players was Akers, who sported a pink cleat on his left foot.
But while the pink gear is an obvious stance for breast cancer awareness, it was a hinderance to Akers’ ability to make field goals.
In his first three attempts, Akers’ kicks all went wide left. But in the fourth quarter, Akers ditched the pink cleat for his old one and punched the ball through the uprights, finishing 1-for-4 on the day.
RUN DEFENSE SHOWS UP AGAIN — The Eagles run defense has really made a stance since getting run over by the Redskins a couple weeks ago. Coming off a strong performance in San Francisco, the front-seven again stuffed a big-time running back on Sunday.
The Eagles held Michael Turner to only 45 yards on 15 carries and the Falcons only gained 65 yards on the ground. Atlanta has a top-10 running game in the NFL and Turner is also in the NFL’s top 10 for yards so unlike last week against a weak San Fran offensive line, this was a big step towards becoming a strength once again.
PHI: 3-2, t2nd in NFC East
ATL: 4-1, 1st in NFC South
Spread: Eagles by 2.5
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (Philly, PA)
When: Sunday, 1:00 PM on FOX
Last time met: Dec. 6, 2009 – The Eagles destroyed Atlanta, 34-7. FB Leonard Weaver gained over 100 yards from scrimmage and scored a TD. Even though Donovan McNabb was the starter, Vick threw TD pass and ran for another in front of his former home crowd in Atlanta.
Last Week: The Eagles beat the Niners, 27-24. Atlanta rolled over Cleveland, 20-10.
Best case scenario: Kevin Kolb continues to play well, having another great day with over 250 yards in the air and a couple TDs to DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek. Celek finally has the breakout game the Eagles are waiting for. LeSean McCoy has another 100+ yards from scrimmage.
Worst case scenario: Matt Ryan and Roddy White hook up for a pair of touchdowns while Michael Turner rushes for over 150 yards and two scores of his own. Kolb sputters against the Falcons defense, reassuring faith in Michael Vick to take the reigns.
Opposing player to watch – WR Roddy White: He’s just a smart football player. White is one of the most dangerous players in the league that nobody talks about and unrightfully so. White has 37 castches for 463 yards and three TDs in five games so far this year. He has the ability to go off every game. If the Eagles secondary has a similar showing like last week, White could have a field day on the Eagles secondary.
Offenses: Kolb is riding a very good performance against San Francisco and will look to keep it up against a solid Falcons defense. As a whole, the Eagles are in the top 10 in most offensive categories but could be higher if they haven’t been swapping back and forth with Kolb and Vick due to injuries. Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Celek are all dangerous weapons but have all been inconsistent this season.
Ryan is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s matured greatly as a passer and that helps when you have a top-tier running back in Turner and wide receiver in White. Don’t discount TE Tony Gonzalez, who may be aging but is still considered a top-5 tight end. Jason Snelling has been a very good back-up running back and is a change of pace from the bruising Turner.
Advantage: Atlanta’s offense is clicking while Philly’s still isn’t. Advantage, Atlanta.
Defenses: The run defense for Philalphia had a much better showing last week against San Francisco and Frank Gore but that’s partly due to how bad the Niners offensive line is. Atlanta is very different. With two running backs who can exploit all the weaknesses in the front seven, the Eagles run defense could have problems especially without Broderick Bunkley, who injured his elbow and is out indefinitely. Asante Samuel will be back, a boost the secondary needed after Alex Smith exploited them last week. Rookie S Nate Allen leads the Birds with three picks and Juqua Parker leads with four sacks.
Atlanta has a top-10 defense right now. DE John Abraham lined up against Eagles T King Dunlap is scary. He leads their defense with four sacks and may rack up a few more. You can’t discount LB Curtis Lofton, who leads the team with 37 tackles and has also reached the quarterback twice. Atlanta’s 10 interceptions are tops in the NFL, led by S William Moore’s two with the rest spread around to eight other players.
Advantage: Both units have their strength’s and weaknesses. Push.
Eagles: Out: B. Bunkley (elbow), J. Peters (knee). Questionable: R. Cooper (concussion), M. Vick (rib).
Falconss: Questionable: J. Abraham (back). Probable: B. Finneran (knee), C. Lofton (knee).
Roose’s Prediction (4-1): The Falcons offense will be too much for the Eagles defense as Atlanta wins in a high-scoring game, 34-30.
PHI: 2-2, 2nd in NFC East
SF: 0-4, 4th in NFC West
Where: Candlestick Park (San Fran, Ca)
When: Sunday, 8:20 on NBC
Last time met: Dec. 20, 2009 – DeSeason Jackson caught six passes for 140 yards in a touchdown as the Eagles shut down the 49ers, 27-13, in week 15.
Last Week: Eagles lost to Washington, 17-12. San Francisco lost, 16-14, to Atlanta.
Best case scenario: Kevin Kolb and the offensive line do not suck. I’m not expecting the Eagle to light up San Francisco but I do expect a much better performance out of the line and Kolb. A clean slate with penalties and allowing Kolb time in the pocket will be the best thing for this team this week. With LeSean McCoy likely out, the running game will be a non-factor. Defensively, the Eagle should hold up and feed off the last two weeks’ success.
Worst case scenario: The line forces Kolb to get hit hard and knocked out of the game again. With no Michael Vick, Mike Kafka has to play and will not do well either. Frank Gore runs rampant on the Eagles offense, gaining yards in bunches and rushing for over 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Opposing player to watch – RB Frank Gore: Gore, when not battling health issues, is one of the most dangerous backfield threats in the NFL. Leading San Fran in both rushing and receiving, he could be a possible problem for the Eagles defense, which struggled against the run last week. Gore has 29 catches for 263 yards and a touchdown for San Fran while rushing for another 270 yards on 73 carries and a touchdown.
Offenses: Philadelphia took a huge blow last week in losing Vick. But Kolb played admirably well and will look to build off of that as he will look to make Philly forget about the concussion and Vick’s resurgence. But Kolb may have to do that without his favorite target, McCoy, who suffered a broken rib last Sunday. He still has targets Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek to throw to but McCoy was Kolb’s safety chord. With a week of work with the first team, hopefully Kolb won’t need to rely on dumping the ball off.
Alex Smith is not a good quarterback. He’s thrown seven interceptions to only three touchdowns this season. With ball hawks in the Birds secondary, this is not a good thing. Gore is their offense and is all the Niners really have. Michael Crabtree is a very formidable wide out but he’s been quiet this season. So has highly touted TE Vernon Davis.
Advantage: The Eagles have the weapons but will they be used? Slight advantage Birds.
Defenses: Philadelphia is coming off of two very strong perfoRmances. Despite giving up 169 yards on the ground last week to the Redskins and going up against a top back in Gore, a repeat performance isn’t highly expected. The secondary may take a huge blow with losing Asante Samuel, who suffered a concussion last week. Rookie S Nate Allen leads the team with three interceptions and is turning into an already dominant safety in the NFL. Poor tackling is still a huge concern for the Eagles’ line backers and secondary, who choose to go for the big hit rather than wrapping up.
San Fran’s defense is coming off of strong game against Atlanta, sacking Matt Ryan three times and holding Falcsons backs to 83 yards on 25 carries. Nate Clements and Shawntae Spencer each have two interceptions on the year. But the Niners have allowed 25.3 points per game, leaving them vulnerable to a poor defensive performance against Philadelphia.
Advantage: Eagles hold a strong advantage.
Eagles: Did not practice – A. Samual (concussion), M. Vick (ribs), L. McCoy (ribs), R. Cooper (concussion). Limited practice: N. Cole (knee).
Niners: no major injuries.
Roose’s Prediction (3-1): Eagles squeeze out a win, 13-6.
PHI: 2-1, 1st in NFC East
WAS: 1-2, t2nd in NFC East
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (Philly, PA)
When: Sunday, 4:15 PM on __
Last time met: Nov. 29, 2009 – Donovan McNabb led the Eagles on a fourth-quarter game winning drive as they downed Washington 27-24 in Philadelphia.
Last Week: Eagles beat the Jaguars, 28-3. Washington lost to St. Louis, 30-16.
Best case scenario: The Eagles spoil McNabb’s homecoming, shutting him down completely. Vick outshines his former teammate, throwing for over 300 yards for the first time since 2005 and a pair of touchdowns to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Trent Cole gets to McNabb twice and Asante Samuel returns an interception for a touchdown.
Worst case scenario: Washington ends Vick’s little streak of good luck. McNabb puts on a show infront of his former fans, throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns, two to Santana Moss. Clinton Portis rushes for 100 yards and a touchdown. The Skins defense forces Vick to throw his first two interceptions of the year.
Opposing player to watch – QB Donovan McNabb: Could it be any more obvious. The media has hyped up this match-up, centering it around Vick and McNabb. Why not add to the fire. McNabb played 11 years in Philadelphia as the franchise quarterback. After leading the Eagles to five Conference championship games and one Super Bowl, he was traded to Washington for a 2nd-round pick that turned into rookie safety Nate Allen. McNabb is 62-for-102 for 833 yards and two touchdowns. It will be interesting to see what type of reaction McNabb will get in Philly. Will he be cheered or will he get the boo bird special.
Offenses: Vick has turned into one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL again. Three years removed from the good-ole days, Vick is 54-for-79 with 705 yards and six touchdowns while throwing no interceptions. Jackson and Maclin are coming off of a pair of huge games against Jacksonville. Both are favorite targets for Vick, who has bought them a lot of time to get open with his legs. LeSean McCoy is still playing strong for Philly. Brent Celek has yet to have one his big games like last year.
McNabb is the new face of the Skins offense. He’s found a new target in Moss, who has caught 22 bals for 290 yards and one touchdown. McNabb has always utilized the tight end and has a very good one to throw to in Chris Cooley. Cooley has 14 grabs for 197 and a touchdown. Their ground game is very weak. Clinton Portis has 140 yards on 38 carries, an average of 3.7.
Advantage: The Eagles offense is rolling while Washington’s is stalling. Advantage, Birds.
Defenses: The Eagles finally got their best game from this unit last week. They stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew and held Mike Sims-Walker to minimal damage as Jacksonville could only get a field goal against them. Asante Samuel and rookie Nate Allen lead the Birds stingy secondary. A healthy Stew Bradley makes their run-stopping game that much better. He’s also a great coverage line backer and will have his hands full with Chris Cooley this week.
Washington is in shambles defensively. Albert Haynesworth isn’t panning out and they are coming off of back-to-back poor performances against Houston and St. Louis. Honestly, I would be shocked if Vick doesn’t have a field day. Brian Orakpo, who leads the team with two sacks, is their most dynamic player. He could get to Vick a couple times seeing as how bad the Birds offensive line has been this season.
Advantage: Eagles defense is coming off a strong performance and should roll again. Advantage, Birds.
Eagles: Ernie Sims practiced Friday and should be fine. Mike Bell is sick and didn’t practice Friday.
Redskins: Questionable: A. Haynesworth (thumb), D. Hall (back), C. Portis (wrist).
Roose’s Prediction (3-0): Eagles shut down Skins, 24-10.
PHI: 1-1, t1st in NFC East
JAX: 1-1, t2nd in AFC South
Where: EverBank Field (Jacksonville, FL)
When: Sunday, 4:05 PM on FOX
Last time met: Oct. 29, 2006 – Fred Taylor’s 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the lone endzone appearence for both teams that afternoon as Jacksonville won 13-6 in Philadelphia.
Last Week: Eagles beat the Lions in Detroit, 35-32. Jacksonville got run over by the Chargers 38-13.
Best case scenario: Michael Vick takes full advantage of being the Eagles number one, putting up another electric performance. He rushes for 100 yards and throws for 250 more with a three-touchdown effort. Shady McCoy has another great game himself, rushing for over 100 yards for the second time this season. Vick’s new favorite target, DeSean Jackson, will make some big plays down field.
Worst case scenario: Vick makes Andy Reid regret his decision, restoring faith in the head coach with Kevin Kolb. Vick throws three interceptions, two to corner Rashean Mathis. The injured Maurice Jones-Drew has his first 100-yard performance of the season.
Opposing player to watch – RB Maurice Jones-Drew: Fantasy heads know the type of player he is, drafting him in the top five of their pools. Jones-Drew has been struggling so far this season with an injured ankle. He has yet to get over the 100-yard mark but as he nears full strength, that performance could come this week.
Offenses: The Eagles offense had no problems scoring. Vick and Jackson developed a nice little rapour last week and hope to keep that going heading into Jacksonville. They still have receiving weapons in Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. McCoy is turning into a nice feature back and FB Owen Schmitt looked very good in his Eagles debut. Jacksonville’s defense got scorched by the Chargers’ high-powered offense and if things go the way they have, the Eagles could easily do the same thing.
The Jaguars have some weapons of their own. Besides MJD in the backfield, they have WR Mike Sims-Walker, who had a career-high 10 catches last week against San Diego. He is QB David Garrard’s top option and rightfully so. WR Mike Thomas is settling in as a no. 2 receiver.
Advantage: Eagles have the advantage.
Defenses: The Eagles defense was great last week until it fell asleep in the final five minutes, allowing two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Stewart Bradley is listed as probable for Sunday’s game and should be able to play. His absence was sorely missed as he’s their best run-stopping and pass-defending linebacker. Juqua Parker is leading the defense with three sacks and rookie safety Nate Allen has two interceptions.
Jacksonville’s defense has allowed the most points in the AFC so far with 55. They got routed last week by a Vincent Jackson-less Chargers offense. Just think what DeSean Jackson could do this week against them. They have no stand-out players on their squad. S Reggie Nelson, arguably the defense’s best player, only has made two tackles.
Advantage: Eagles hold a huge advantage.
Eagles: Probable: S. Bradley (concussion), K. Kolb (concussion), B. Celek (chest).
Jaguars: Out: L. Cohen (knee), J. Durant (ankle). Probable: M. Jones-Drew (ankle).
Prediction: Vick and Jackson have monster games in a 42-17 rout.
Final Score: Packers 27; Eagles 21
Eagles best number: 103 (rushing yards by Michael Vick).
Eagles worst number: 24 (passing yards by Kevin Kolb before he got knocked out in the 2nd quarter).
Eagles best play: In the third quarter, Vick avoided some tackles and ran down the left sideline before being knocked out at the 2-yard line, a gain of 31.
Eagles worst play: Earlier in the third, Vick threw a pass to RB Eldra Buckley, who ran 1o yards before fumbling the ball at mid-field. Green Bay scored their next possession.
Breaking down the game
QB CONTROVERSY? — Kolb was plain bad before getting knocked out of the game. Vick, on the other hand, was not. Vick almost led the Eagle to a come-from-behind win. He went 16-for-24 with 175 yards passing and a TD. He also rushed for 103 yards on 11 attempts, his longest run being 31 yards to set up a LeSean McCoy score.
Before Kolb was knocked out, he went 5-for-10 with 24 yards passing. He was apparently nervous and had a terrible time locating his receivers. This is not the quarterback the Eagles intended to be the heir to Donovan McNabb’s throne.
In fact, Vick played more like a quarterback who can lead a team, which he has done in the past. In one game, Vick has already shown he is smarter, faster, and a better weapon than he was last year. Vick is very close, if not back to his original form before his two-year hiatus.
Overall, I won’t be surprised if Kolb gets the start next week against the Lions but if he falters in that start, Vick may be back out on the field to work his magic.
CONCUSSIONS –Both Stewart Bradley and Kolb had to leave the game with a concussion in the second quarter. Kolb rolled out the left on third down and was chased down by Packers LB Clay Matthews. Kolb had his head driven into the ground, injuring his jaw and scrambling his brain. Kolb was throwing on the side lines and re-entered. But he could not focus, allowing Vick to go in and out shine Kolb.
Bradley’s concussion was a little different. Bradley went in for a huge hit on one of the Packers’ ball carriers and instead drove his helmet into the thigh of LB Ernie Sims. Bradley appeared to be shaken up, staggered to his feet, and then fell right back down. It was a scary sight to watch. Two plays later, he was back on the field.
Why did both of these guys go back onto the field? They passed some stupid little test. Technically, by being concious and passing that stupid little test, they were cleared to go back in. Thankfully after a few plays each, Andy Reid woke up and pulled them for the game.
I can understand putting Kolb back in. He wasn’t clear that he had a concussion seeing as he was holding his jaw and told the medical staff on the side that is what was hurting. But when the leader of your defense, the anchor to your line backing corps, and arguably your best run stopper gets up for two seconds and falls back down like a tranquilized rhino, you take him out of the game and monitor that!
Brian Westbrook was right: the NFL sacrifices players for wins and it’s a bull shit thing to do.
OTHER INJURIES — The Eagles took two huge blows to their offense injury-wise. Pro Bowl FB Leonard Weaver is out for the season with a torn ACL. He was a big part to the Eagles passing game last year out of the back field and is also a great blocker. The hunt for a new full back has started.
On the offensive line, C Jamaal Jackson tore his triceps and is also going to be out for the remainder of the season. He was the anchor of the offensive line and a huge part in their shot gun offense. Mike McGlynn filled in for him for the remainder of the game, doing a solid job.
DEFENSE — The defense was pretty good in the first half, holding the Packers to a touch down and two field goals. They knocked Ryan Grant out of the game (scary to me for fantasy football reasons), put pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers the entire time, and picked him off twice.
But the run defense was absent, especially up the middle without the presence of Bradley. Grant and back-up Brandon Jackson rushed for a combined 108 yards on 16 carries. FB John Kuhn had two carries for 15 yards and touchdown, both runs up the middle.
NEXT WEEK — The Eagles play the Lions in Detroit. Expect Kolb to get the start and try and right himself with Andy Reid. Going up against a very weak Lions defense, Kolb will need to have a game similar to his start against the Chiefs last season to give the Eagles confidence in him. If he struggles and Vick has to come in and shine again, the Philly faithful will be calling for Vick as the starter.
PHI: 2009 record – 11-5
GB: 2009 record – 11-5
Spread: Green Bay by 3
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
When: Sunday, 4:15 PM on FOX
Last time met: Sept. 9, 2007 – Brett Favre went 23 of 42 for only 206 yards but led the Packers to a game winning field goal in a 16-13 win.
Last Week: Eagles wrapped up the preseason with a 21-17 loss to the Jets and the Packers lost to the Chiefs 17-13 in their final preseason game.
Best case scenario: The Eagles start off the Kevin Kolb era in a high note. The third-year quarterback but first-year starter will throw over 250 yards and two touch downs. DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek each catch a TD pass and LeSean McCoy gains over 100 yards from scrimmage.
Worst case scenario: It’s an ugly debut for Kolb. Kolb throws a couple of interceptions and can’t find the endzone in the air as the Packers stingy defense rolls over the Eagle in a blow-out season opener.
Opposing player to watch – QB Aaron Rodgers: Seeing as there have already been comparisons between he and Kolb, I figured he would be the ideal player on the Packers to watch. He’s a top three quarterback in the NFL and his the leader on a high powered offense that also features RB Ryan Grant and WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. Last season, Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards and 30 TDs while only being picked off seven times. He compiled a passer rating of 103.2, the fourth highest in the NFL.
Offenses: The Eagles have revamped their offense with a cast of young players. Kolb is in his first year as starting quarterback so it isn’t known how well he will do Sunday. This is also the first season McCoy is the feature back in the offense. He’s backed up by Mike Bell, who can with stand a pounding and take the short-yardage and hard carries. Kolb has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL with Jackson, Maclin, Jason Avant, and Brent Celek. How everyone around Kolb does with be the key to his success.
Rodgers is the leader on the Packers offense. But he isn’t alone as Grant is arguably a top-five running back in the NFL. He’s backed up by Brandon Jackson, a very tough runner like Bell. Jennings and Driver have been a great tandem for the past four years. Jermichael Finley is turning into a very good tight end and MLB Stewart Bradley will have his hands full up the middle with him.
Advantage: Packers have the edge for experience and chemistry.
Defenses: The Eagles have one of the best defenses in the NFL thanks to their deep line, rotating door of reliable line backers, and ball-stealing secondary. Asante Samuel is the thief in the backfield. He led the NFL with nine interceptions with three others and could do the same damage this season. Bradley heads a line backing corps that will again be in heavy rotation to stay fresh. On the ends are Trent Cole and rookie Brandon Graham, a fast and scary duo. Expect Juqua Parker to get a lot of reps as Graham can move into the middle on passing situations.
The Packers have a devastating defense of their own. They feature a 3-4 defense with upcoming NT B.J. Raji smack-dab in the middle and Cullen Jenkins at the end. The LB corps is one of the best in the NFL with Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk, and bruiser Nick Barnett. Charles Woodson and Nick Collins bolster a very strong secondary.
Advantage: Eagles have a slight edge. Pass rushing will be key against Rodgers.
Eagles: no injuries.
Packers: few guys are banged up but all will play.
Prediction: Kolb will stumble in his first action of the season as the Packers win a tight one, 20-16.
Records: Eagles (1-0); Bengals (1-1)
Where: Paul Brown Stadium (Cincy)
When: Friday; 8:00; FOX
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports
What to Expect: Starters will be getting much more playing time this time around. If I’m not mistaken, starters will play at least the first quarter and some of the second. This is when you’ll get to see Kevin Kolb try to gel with his new starting team mates and hopefully develop a rapport that will carry over into the regular season… Heeeee’s Back! Terrell Owens isn’t thankfully coming back to Philly because he wouldn’t make it out alive but we will get to see him on TV playing against one of his uglier divorces. Owens and Chad Ochocinco, together on one team, is going to be a huge circus act and I can’t wait until the big top collapses, leaving Carson Palmer wondering what the hell to do with two spoiled cry babies…
Players to Watch
Kevin Kolb – He’s the man in Philly now. Like I said in the previous section, he is going to try and develop some kind of relationship with his receivers in an actual game-day scenario. It would be nice to see him get more playing time for a change and really give us a taste of what he can do this year.
LeSean McCoy – It’s going to be nice to Shady get a fair share of carries this time around and attempt to get on a roll. Shady is the number one man now in Philly without Brian Westbrook. He will also hopefully have something Westbrook hasn’t had in most of his career, a reliable number two to keep him healthy in Mike Bell. McCoy is like a clone of Westbrook in that he is small in size but very speedy. He has great hands and can get lost behind the line man. Once he pops out into sight, it can be too late to get into position to make a tackle on him.
Riley Cooper – Cooper had himself a nice little showing in the second quarter last week. He made some nice catches and showed that he should get some touches in the regular season. He’s battling Hank Baskett for the fourth WR spot and right now he has an early lead.
Michael Vick – Vick looked pretty sharp last week. It appeared he was forcing himself into more of a passers role by staying in the pocket. His discomfort showed as he fumbled a couple snaps, losing the ball once, and throwing an interception. Vick did look good on the other plays and even showed off some of the vintage speed on his rushing touch down. Look for Vick to continue to work on being a true quarterback and continue to get better and show flashes of his old brilliance. Maybe this time around he can be a weapon on the field.