The Eagles are not a bad team. Now don’t get me wrong they have alot of things that need to be addressed, but they aren’t a bad team. A combination of bad breaks, good opponents and a defense that needed some time to figure itself out got us to where we are now at 2-4. We’re still on the outside looking in, but if we can get a win at home against Dallas in two weeks, we will be back on the fast track to first place.
If you follow the DVOA ratings on FootballOutsiders.com then you will see that our losses were to some very good teams. DVOA uses weighted rankings for offense, defense and special teams taking into account the game situation and yardage. I think it is one of the best indicators of team strength (even if I don’t completely understand it). You can get more info about DVOA here.
According to DVOA, our losses were to the #2 (49ers), #5 (Bills), #7 (Giants) and #12 (Falcons) teams. At the time losing to teams like the 49ers and Bills seemed like season-enders. They were teams who we knew were ok, but didn’t think were contenders.
I think ranking the Bills at #4 is a bit of a stretch, but their schedule is pretty weak the rest of the way, so 9 or 10 wins is a possibility. The DVOA also has the Jets as the #4 team, so that alone might make you discount the whole thing, but overall I think it’s a good way to look at the quality of opponents we’ve played so far. Oh, and our two wins? We beat the #18 (Skins) and #32 (Rams) ranked teams, not exactly powerhouses. And we’re #17 right now, so we aren’t a powerhouse either… yet.
The Eagles have a bye this week. So there won’t be a game to preview. But we’ll look back at the Week 6 picks (2-0!), break down the Line Move of the Week and finish with everyone’s favorite segment… the Tweet of the Week ™.
Week 6 Revisited
We went 2-0 in Week 6 with the Eagles -1′ and Jets -6′, and now we’re 6-2 over the last three weeks. It’s been a nice run lately, to say the least. I’ve been around gambling for too long so I know this isn’t going to last forever, everyone gets on hot and cold streaks. But if we keep making smart bets based on stats and not on emotion maybe we can keep making a little money, and that’s what it’s all about (for amusement purposes only, dontcha know)…
Eagles -1’ over Redskins – The game pretty much hinged on one play. First quarter, a bad snap to Vick, he chases it down, gathers his feet, and tosses it away from almost in our own endzone. Flags fly from everywhere. I was thinking, and the announcers were screaming, ‘intentional grounding’. Oh crap, a penalty and a loss of down, we’ll be pinned in our own end. Ugh, here we go again. But then the call came, roughing the passer on the Redskins. Woo hoo. Birds get 15 yards and a first down, and Vick walked them down the field, ending the drive with a TD strike to Brent Celek (he lives!!).
After that the offense looked good, the d-backs earned their money with 4 INT’s and Rex Grossman proved to everyone (once again) that he is not a good QB. He got pulled in the 2nd half for John ‘Sexx Laws’ Beck, who looked ok, but couldn’t dig the Skins out of a 20-3 hole. Things got a little tight in the 4th quarter, the Skins pulled to within seven with under three minutes left, and unlike previous weeks the Eagles were able to hold on for a 20-13 win. Winner.
Jets -6’ over Dolphins – I said this in the preview “[The Jets] are a desperate team with a good defense playing at home going up against a QB making his first start of the season with a banged up starting RB. This one could get ugly if Rex unleashes the hounds on Matt Moore.”
And that’s pretty much what happened. Matt Moore did drive the Dolphins down into the red zone three times in the first quarter, but couldn’t get in the end zone. One drive ended in a pick 6 for Darrelle Revis, the other two ended in field goals. And after the 1st quarter the Dolphins offense was pretty much shut down. They managed only 140 yards of total offense in the final three quarters. That’s not going to win you any games.
The Jets D was stifling. Putting pressure all night on Moore, and they shut down Daniel Thomas (47 yds rushing). Brandon Marshall was the lone bright spot for Miami (109 yds receiving). The bottom line is the Dolphins are not good, and against good defenses they will have trouble scoring. The Jets got out of there with a pretty easy 24-6 win. Winner.
Big Line Move of the Week: St Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Opening Line: Dallas -10.5, O/U 44.5
Current Line: Dallas -12.5, O/U 43.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Dallas is 20-7-1 ATS at home vs. teams with a losing record.
This one is really not a surprise. It comes down to two factors: The Cowboys looked pretty good against the Patriots on the road, and Sam Bradford is questionable to play this weekend. Yes, the Rams traded for Brandon Lloyd but without Bradford playing who will get him the ball?
The Cowboys blew a very winnable game in Foxboro and you have to believe that Jerry Jones will want to take it out on the Rams. The Rams can’t stop anyone (they’re 30th in defensive efficiency) and they can’t move the ball (they’re 31st in offensive efficiency). In short, they’re the worst team in the NFL (I see you, Colts fans. Yeah, you suck too).
So, if Sam Bradford doesn’t play, who is the Rams QB?? Well, I’m glad you asked, it’s former Eagles QB A.J ‘Touchy’ Feeley (husband of Heather Mitts, here are pictures from their wedding).
Ok, so say Bradford isn’t playing then the Rams will just give the ball to Steven Jackson, he’s a pretty good back and can get some yardage and take pressure off of Feeley, right? Not so fast my friend, the Cowboys have the #1 rush defense in the league, only giving up 67 yards per game. Oh, and my man Sean Lee (We Are!) is anchoring the LB’s. Dallas is very, very good on defense.
The only thing that scares me is that the Rams are 0-5 ATS so far this season, and the law of average says that they have to cover a game at some point. Will this be the week?
Without Bradford I would definitely lean to the Cowboys laying less than 14 points. I don’t see how the Rams will move the ball on Sunday. Look for big games from Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Demarco Murray (playing for injured RB Felix Jones) could be a good fantasy sleeper this week, he should get alot of touches. This game could end up being something like 27-6.
A (not so) quick note on the NFC East division race:
The Eagles got themselves a win (and the Redskins got a loss) in Week 6 and Vegas responded and moved the Eagles up to +240 to win the NFC East. Giants are now the favorite (+180), Cowboys (+220) and Eagles (+240) still in the hunt and the Redskins drop from +150 favorites last week, to the longshot at +300. I expect the Skins to keep dropping as they start losing more game in the upcoming weeks.
And you can expect the Eagles to move ahead of Dallas if they can beat them in Week 8.
Looking at the division a little deeper we see that the Giants had the easiest strength of schedule in the first 6 weeks, and for the final 10 weeks they have the toughest schedule. Look at this run the Giants have from weeks 9-14: @New England, @San Francisco, vs. Eagles, @New Orleans, vs. Green Bay, @Dallas. Ouch. If they get out of that with three wins then they deserve to win the division. So their road will definitely get tougher after their bye week this week. Cowboys and the Eagles are both looking at easier 2nd half schedules. The Cowboys have played the 2nd hardest schedule so far, and close out the season with the 28th hardest. The Birds are in the same boat, started the season with the 7th hardest and end up with the 17th.
I’m not even worried about the Redskin, and here’s why, in the first 6 weeks they had the 30th hardest schedule (on two teams had easier schedules), last 11 weeks: they have the 7th hardest schedule including road games at Eagles, at Giants, and home vs. Patriots, San Francisco, Buffalo and the Jets. Good luck with that. 6-10 is in your future Skins fans.
So, based on my completely unbiased, impartial look at the rest of the season I have the Eagles and Cowboys at 9-7, Giants at 8-8 and Redskins at 6-10. I have us losing the division based on tie-breakers to the Cowboys (if I understand the division tie-breakers correctly), but if we can get a break here or there we could get it done. Have faith! Here’s the game-by-game breakdown (if you care).
So, at +240, I’d still take a shot on the Birds to win the division. I’d rather have locked in at +300 last week, but +240 is still pretty good odds.
We’ll revisits these odds periodically throughout the rest of the season.
Tweet of the Week(tm)
This one is not sports related, but it was too good to ignore. A bunch of exotic animals (like around 50) escaped from some guy’s private zoo in Ohio. So they tracked down (and killed) all of them except two, a wolf and a monkey. And based on the description given in the tweet, I think the wolf might be the safer of the two to come in contact with. “If you come in contact with the monkey, do NOT kiss him on the lips”.
We’re up to 2-4, Eagle fans. Things are looking up. Enjoy the bye week!
Coming up on Friday: the Week 7 Picks.
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