OK, let’s get this out of the way… the Eagles are still alive for the NFC East division title.
They need to sweep their last three games (v. NY Jets, @Dallas, v. Washington) and the Giants and Dallas both have to go 1-2. Dallas and the Giants play each other in Week 17, so this thing could go down to the final weekend. Which would be a fitting way to end the season, Andy and the boys will drag us all back in for Week 17 after we’ve already cashed out three times already (maybe more) and then force us to cheer for either the Cowboys or Giants in order for the Eagles to win the division. Yeah, I could totally see it happening.
Of course, if the Cowboys and Giants both win this weekend then it’s all over for 2011. Again. But for real this time. Mathematically eliminated. DOA.
But let’s hope we can live to dream another week about sneaking into the postseason against all odds. This season won’t be complete until we all get sucked back in for one last heartbreak.
Week 14 Revisited
We did ok last week. 2-1, I’ll take it. Thursday night was a bad loss. Steelers had the better team, and they looked pretty good on defense, holding Cleveland to only three points. But the Pittsburgh offense couldn’t get the ball in the end zone. They had the ball 1st and goal on the one, going against the Browns’ 30th ranked rushing defense, and the Steelers got stuffed on four straight run plays. Pittsburgh got out a 14-3 win, but they didn’t cover the 13 point number.
On Sunday, the Eagles got us our first winner. After a slow start they turned it around and opened up a 24-7 lead at halftime and never looked back. The defense played pretty good, Vick played well, Shady scored on two short runs and the Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive, winning 26-10, and they didn’t even need the three points Vegas was giving them.
We closed out the week with a winner on Monday night. Honestly, it was a crappy game that made even other crappy games look good. Seattle hosted St Louis. Sam Bradford was playing on an injured ankle and it showed. We said “How about Marshawn Lynch leads the Seattle offense, the Rams continue to struggle on offense and the Seahawks win 24-10”. We were almost spot on, Seattle won it 30-13, Lynch had 115 yard rushing and a TD. Rams got 281 yards of total offense, and Sam Bradfrod looked like he shouldn’t have even suited up. Anyway, it’s nice to watch a game play out pretty much just like you handicapped it.
Let’s hope we can do it again in Week 15.
We’ll take a first look at the Eagles/Jets game and break down the Falcons/Jaguars Thursday night game. So keep reading…
Week 15 Hometown Preview: Eagles vs. New York Jets
Opening Line: Eagles -1, O/U 37
Current Line: Eagles -2.5, O/U 37.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Eagles: 1-8 ATS in last nine home games; Jets: 13-3-1 OVER when they are an underdog.
This line is right about where I expected. Eagles laying 2.5 points at home to the Jets.
Eagles are 5-8 on the season, and a disappointing 1-5 at home. Jets are 8-5 and 2-4 on the road.
The Eagles have an interesting trend happening this season, when they win game outright, they cover. When they lose games, they don’t cover. They have been favorites in all but 3 games this season. Last week they were getting 3 points from Miami and ended up winning 26-10.
The Jets have had back-to-back 34+ point outings, winning 37-10 over Kansas City last week as a 10.5 point favorite at home. The Jets have only been held to under 21 points three times this season, so they can score.
No real injuries to speak of for the Eagles. Mike Vick is still banged up a little, but should be playing this week. Jeremy Maclin seems to be healthy again after missing 3 games with a hamstring injury.
The Jets also come in pretty healthy, with no big players expected to miss the game.
New York is still in the mix for both the division title (a longshot) and a wildcard spot. They are holding on the last wildcard spot, so they really need this win and should come in plenty motivated.
The Eagles are playing with house money at this point, no pressure, and no one expects much from them. And that is what makes them dangerous.
At first glance I’m liking the Eagles and UNDER, but we’ll break this game down further in tomorrows post.
Thursday Night Football
TNF Bet #1: (a.k.a the “Hey look, it’s the Jaguars again” pick): Falcons -12 over Jaguars
The Jaguars are on national TV again! Good for us, we don’t see enough of Blaine Gabbert and his 65.3 passer rating (yeah, that’s the worst rating for starters in the NFL this season).
How do the Jags manage that many national TV games? I don’t know, but please make this the last time.
When you first look at this line it looks like a trap. You have the Jaguars coming in with the #4 rated defense (#3 vs. pass, #9 vs. run) and they just whupped up the Buccaneers 41-14 last week. They are playing for pride and nothing more. They really have nothing to lose. At this point they are rallying for the new head coach, who is also the defensive coordinator. They just got a new owner, too. So the coaches and players are all pretty much playing for their jobs (every game is a ‘playing for your job’ situation in the NFL but with a new regime coming in, these guys know changes are coming to Jacksonville next season). All these points make you think that they are a live dog, and not to be messed with. Getting 12 points? A team that only scores 14 points per game and only gives up 19 points per game is getting 12 points? Sounds like a low scoring game. Gotta take the points, right?
But you know what, I’m going with the Falcons -12 in this one. Here’s my theory, the Jaguars will not score (at least not much). When you think Falcons you think offense, Matty Ice, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Michael Turner. Yup, Atlanta does have the 11th ranked offense (9th passing, 26th rushing) but they are also pretty good on defense and they should be able to shut down the weak Jaguars offense.
I know the Jags put up 41 points last week but that was just the 2nd time all season that they’ve scored over 17 points in a game. They’re averaging a paltry 14.8 points per game, their QB is terrible and the Falcons come in with a pretty good defense. The only way the Jags will have a chance is if Maurice Jones-Drew gets it done on the ground. Good luck with that, Atlanta has the #2 rush defense this season.
The Falcons are fighting for the last NFC wildcard spot (and they’re still mathematically alive for the NFC South division title) and will be plenty motivated to get it done in front of the home crowd. I think the combination of Matt Ryan ‘s passing and Michael Turner’s running will give the Falcons all they need to win this comfortably.
How about Jacksonville can’t find the end zone, the Falcons mix up the run and pass, the home crowd becomes the X factor, and Falcons win 27-10.
Injuries: Jacksonville WR Mike Thomas is OUT, he leads the team with 40 catches for 391 yards. Atlanta RB Michael Turner is PROBABLE with a groin injury, Turner hasn’t missed a game all season and word is that he is expected to play.
The Line: Falcons -12, O/U 42.5
The Pick: Falcons -12
Game trends (via Covers.com): Falcons: 20-8-1 ATS last 29 vs. teams with losing record. Jaguars: 4-11-1 ATS vs. teams with winning records
Season Record: 18-16. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.
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