Tag Archive | "cardinals"

Conroy: The Eagles Cannot Win The Super Bowl

Michael Conroy is a freelance sportswriter and Flyers fan, and a guest writer for Spike Eskin Dot Com. You can find him on Twitter @MichaelConroyPM.

It’s a common belief that, no matter the magnitude, one loss only counts as one loss. For the Eagles, yesterday’s debacle in Arizona counts as a lot, lot more. Through the first two weeks of the 2012 season, the Eagles had overcome seemingly unsustainable misfortune, stumbling clumsily to a hollow 2-0 record. After Michael Vick led the way to a go-ahead touchdown on the final drive against Baltimore, Philadelphia fans were inspired to believe that, beneath the disorganization, carelessness and chaos, a Super Bowl contender laid dormant. After 3 weeks, the sample size is now large enough to draw some conclusions that would point to the contrary.

Conclusion #1

Michael Vick is no longer a starting caliber NFL quarterback.

It’s been the source of a sense of dread that most Eagles fans have felt but explained away for over a year now, watching Michael Vick lead this offense. The entertaining highlights and reputation that accompany a player like Vick have gone a long way to mask a disturbing trend that has surfaced during his tenure with Philly. This most glaring fact that Eagles fans must come to terms with is that Michael Vick is no longer a good player.

This honestly isn’t an arguable fact (it’s not a fact, it’s an opinion, and it is arguable, -spike) but for those who choose to disregard what their eyes are telling them, consider this: Michael Vick is currently the 29th rated quarterback in the NFL. He is rated behind Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jake Locker, all of whom are considered to be the biggest reason their respective teams are not a threat to win a super bowl. Additionally, Michael Vick has led the league in turnovers since the start of the 2011 season.

This is important because the biggest difference between a starting quarterback and his potential replacement is his tendency to turn the ball over. It is absolutely reasonable to assume that Nick Foles, Trent Edwards, or even Mike Kafka could give the Eagles more efficient quarterback play. Thus, a strong argument can be made that Michael Vick is no longer above his replacement level.

Conclusion #2

We have seen the best Andy Reid has to offer.

When a band releases their first “Greatest Hits” album, it’s pretty much a lock that their best work is behind them. In 2004, Andy Reid released his last platinum record. We saw the most successful manifestation of his “plan” for the Eagles and it just wasn’t good enough. That’s not to say that Andy Reid cannot be successful or even show some glimpses of the brilliance he once possessed, but to expect a return to that level on a consistent basis is unrealistic at this point.

With that in mind, one question looms over Philadelphia. What are the Eagles doing? On one hand, you have a coach whose sole focus should be on finishing with a record “substantially better” than 8-8. Thus, the notion of benching the irresponsible Michael Vick in lieu of an unproven commodity like Nick Foles is inert. Andy Reid has no choice in the matter. Making a change at quarterback is tantamount to handing in his resignation.

On the other hand, you have a quarterback who is rapidly declining in an offense that demands more from him than ever before. As the season drags on, this volatile situation is going to become toxic. While the coach is trying desperately to salvage the present and the quarterback struggles to hold onto his past, fans will begin to realize that what matters most is the team’s future; a future that does not include either.

Conclusion #3

The Philadelphia Eagles CANNOT win the Super Bowl.

On the last snap of the first half, Sunday, Michael Vick rolled to the right, straight into oncoming pressure, and was strip-sacked from behind. The ball was picked up by the Cardinals and returned, with zero seconds remaining on the clock, for a game breaking touchdown. This is damning in a few respects. For one, this is a play the Eagles have seen many times at the goal line in since 2010. A similar defensive play call was employed just last week when Vick almost fumbled his team to their first loss of the season.

To think that, not only has the team made no discernible progress in dealing with this situation, but they seem to have gotten worse is nonsensical. Whether this is a failure of the coaches to make adjustments or the quarterback’s limited understanding of opposing defenses, the results on the field speak for themselves.

Another troubling part of this play was the fact that Vick held the ball until the clock ran out. At the 1-yard line, with a deafening crowd, when the best weapon on your team is a running back, the only justification for throwing the football is keeping the possibility of a field goal open. When Vick held the ball so long, he ensured that the only advantage to keeping it out of Lesean Mccoy’s hands was eliminated. This is the type of lazy, sloppy, irresponsible behavior has spread through the team like a fungus in recent years.

This brings a larger point to light. In a league where the talent has become so evenly distributed; where parity is rampant, what separates good teams from championship teams is their attention to detail, preparation, in-game adjustments and situational football. The Eagles have proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are lacking in all of these areas.

Regardless of the outcome, the Eagles have entered every single one of their first three games unprepared. The offense has been maddeningly slow to adjust to opposing defensive schemes. The Eagles do not pay attention to detail, they do not play situational football, how can they be legitimate super bowl contenders?

While many will be hiding behind the hackneyed drivel that is “it’s just one game,” I urge you to understand something. When you claim that the Eagles can contend for a super bowl, you are arguing against all available evidence. There is nothing that the Philadelphia Eagles have shown to indicate that they are capable of being as consistent and efficient as a world champion needs to be.

Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” This may be the 19th time in three seasons that this Eagles team has shown us who they are. Can we please, at long last, believe them?

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Time’s Yours Podcast: Arizonageddon For The Eagles

Well, that sucked, right?

How bad did it suck, who sucked, who is responsible for all of the sucking, and will they continue to suck?

We discuss it all.

Follow Lee Russakoff on Twitter @LeeRussakoff.

Follow Chris Johnson on Twitter @chrisjohnsonjr.

Follow Spike on Twitter @SpikeEskin.

Subscribe to the Time’s Yours podcast on iTunes, click here and do it.

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Time’s Yours Podcast: RIP 2011 Philadelphia Eagles

There were three ways the Eagles game against the Arizona Cardinals could have gone.

The first way was the Eagles take their frustrations out on the terrible Cardinals, and beat them something like 41-7.

The second way was the Eagles stumble through the game, but still somehow come out on top. Maybe a final score of something like 20-10.

It ended up going the third way. An uninspired loss against a awful team, thereby all but crushing any hope the team had of making the playoffs.

Lots of talent? Yes. Lots of disappointment? For sure. But what does it all mean for the organization? And just why did Steve Smith fall down two yards before the first down marker? Will the Time’s Yours Podcast last longer than the guy who coined the phrase, “time’s yours?”

Lee Russakoff and I break it all down.

Check out Lee Russakoff on Twitter @LeeRussakoff.

Subscribe to the Time’s Yours podcast on iTunes by clicking here.  (do it)

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Photoshop With Matt Mac: The Eagles Have No Heart

Do yourself a favor and follow Matt Mac on Twitter for all the stuff unsuitable for the site (@_mattmac).

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The Degenerate: Week 10 Preview and Thursday Pick, A New Day

My Week 9 picks went 0-2, my alma mater is embroiled in the ugliest and most sickening scandal in NCAA history, and the Birds blew a 4th quarter lead and lost to the Bears on Monday night, probably ending any chances they had at a playoff run. So, how was your weekend?

Wow, Fantasource did not have a good five days.

What a week.

I spoke my piece on the Penn State issue yesterday. Check it out if you want to know my thoughts from an Alumni point of view. Thanks to Spike for letting me post it, I owe him an Orange Julius.

But let’s move on from the Penn State scandal. Not to mitigate the situation, or downplay it in any way, but I’m going to make this post a ‘Paterno-Free Zone’ this week. So, if you are looking to read something other than the 24/7 Penn State chatter, please stick around. I have some hot chocolate and cookies for you.

This week we start with the NFL Thursday night games. Great news for NFL fans (at least those of us with NFL Network), we get one more night of prime-time NFL action. And one more night of gambling (for amusement purposes only, as we all know). So this week, and all weeks going forward with a Thursday night game, we will do a review of the previous weeks picks, an Eagles preview, and the Thursday night pick.

Let’s get on with the show…

Week 9 Revisited

We'll Get 'Em This Week

0-2 last weekend. Rough loss on the Cowboys -11.5’ and an even tougher loss with the Eagles UNDER 47.5. Both games were close and could have been winners as easily as they were losers. Oh well, we need to regroup in Week 10 and get some winners.

We dropped to 10-8 on the season, still above .500 but we need to get back on the winning track. Let’s review last weeks picks…

Cowboys -11.5 over Seahawks

This game went pretty much as I thought, withthe exception of the Seattle rushing game. Marshawn Lunch decided to show up and put up 135 yards and a TD.

Dallas started well, but came away with two FGs in the 1st quarter when they should have had twp TD’s. Dallas had a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter but gave up a TD with six minutes left and only got away with a 10 point win, 23-13. Not enough to cover the 11.5. Loss

Eagles / Bears UNDER 47.5

We were sure looking good in this game, Chicago was up 10-0 with two minutes left in the half and then the wheels came off. The Eagles drove down and got a field goal, 10-3. Ok not bad. Still looking good for the under. Chicago gets the ball, and proceeds to fumble the ball and the Eagles run it in for a TD. 10-10. Not great but the Under is still looking ok. Then with a minute left in the half, DeSean Jackson fumbles a punt inside the 20, Dallas stuffs it in for a TD, 17-10 at half. What? 17 points in two minutes? Never good for the Under.

In the 3rd quarter we got two more rushing TD’s from the Eagles and we were pretty much done. Then the Eagles went ahead and blew a 4th quarter lead and lost the game. The icing on the cake. Chicago came into the Linc and got a 30-24 win. Loss.

Week 10 Hometown Preview: Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals

Opening Line: No Line posted
Current Line: No Line posted
Game Trends (via Covers.com):

Limber up, John. It's going to be a long day.

I looked every where for a line on this game and found nothing. No one wants to put up a number yet. The problem is that no one knows which QB is playing for the Cardinals. Kevin Kolb is hurt and is probably not going to play. That leaves the QB duties to John Skelton. Yup, good old John Skelton coming into the Linc.

If it was up to me, I would put this at Eagles -9, O/U of 48, but who knows what it will be. I’d expect to see a line posted sometime Thursday when the Cardinals decide on their starting QB.

Coming off of a loss to the Bears, you have to think the Eagles will come out fired up and ready to play.

Arizona is not a good team. 30th ranked in overall team efficiency. 27th on offense, 30th on defense. Yeah, they’re going to get lit up. The one bright spot for the Cardinals is that they have a decent rush defense, so it may cause problems for Shady. But I doubt it.

And QB? Kolb or Skelton? It’s not going to matter. The Cardinals are a one man team, Larry Fitzgerald. But here’s the problem, the Eagles have the 5th rated pass rush, and Arizona is 30th in pass protection. I’ll do the math for you, John Skelton (or Kevin Kolb) will be running for his life back all afternoon.

Arizona has two wins this season, week 1 at home against Carolina and last week at home vs St Louis. Not an impressive resume.

I do remember that the Cards went into Baltimore two weeks ago and almost pulled the big upset (that was our Week 8 pick, ugh), and they’ve hung tough on the road, only losing by more than 3 points on the road once, that was a 34-10 blowout @ Minnesota (McNabb’s last good game of his career).

I just can’t see a scenario where the Cardinals keep this game close. A west coast team coming east to play the early Sunday game, that’s never a good spot to be in.

I would lean to the Eagles at a line of 10 or less. We should see a pointspread Thursday and I’ll be back on Friday with the pick.

Thursday Night Football

TNF Bet #1: (a.k.a the “I hate Phillip Rivers, but I’m still betting on him” pick) San Diego Chargers -7 over Oakland Raiders

I hate Phillip Rivers. But that isn’t going to stop me from picking the Chargers tonight.

This is your last chance, Phil.

After what he did to us last Monday Night, I am not in his fan club. Last Monday, San Diego was driving late in the game, they were well into field goal range and ready to get us out of Monday night with a push, and Rivers fumbles, and the Chiefs win in OT. Thanks, Phil.

But ask yourself this, are you sold on the Raiders? Darren McFadden is their best player, and he is not even suiting up tonight.

I’m not sure if Carson Palmer is ready to be an NFL QB again. Last week vs. Denver he had another game with three INT’s. Seriously, four weeks ago Palmer was eating Papa John’s and laying on his couch and now he’s going to go into San Diego on a short week and beat the Chargers? He played in Week 7, had a bye week, played in Week 9, now he’s going on the road and playing four days later?

The basic handicapping of this game says that even with both teams at 4-4, San Diego is the much better team. They have the 9th ranked rushing offense, and the Raiders have the 26th ranked rushing defense. Oakland gave up 300 yard rushing to Denver last week. Yes, 300 yards rushing. So expect alot of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.

Without McFadden I don’t see where the Raiders get their offense. Michael Bush is a decent replacement, but he can’t make up all of McFadden’s production. San Diego’s defense isn’t great (24th overall) but the Raiders don’t really have weapons to take advantage of that.

San Diego put up 38 points on Sunday against Green Bay, so I don’t think they’ll have trouble scoring against the Raiders. With offensive weapons like Phillip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert, Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates they are just a better team. Combine that with the fact that they are playing at home on a short week, against a QB who may not be in shape to bounce back and win on the road with 4 days of rest.

How about Phil Rivers and his crew roll up the points and knock off the Raiders 34-20. (if you wanted to parlay this, I’d lean to the OVER also)

The Line: Chargers -7, O/U 47.5
The Pick: Chargers -7

Back on Friday with the Sunday picks

 

Fantasource

 

 

 

Season Record: 10-8. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
Email me fantasource@gmail.com
Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

 

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The Degenerate: Week 8, The Friday Picks

Asante is fired up for the Cowboys

So, this is it. Cowboys week. Eagles laying three at home.

Whatever, Tom.

Even though Tom Landry frowns upon it, I’m making some picks this week. I found this picture when I was scouring the internet for images for this post. I couldn’t believe it. I mean smug-ass Tom Landry is one of the reasons we hate the Cowboys. Seriously, Tom Landry is going to lecture me about gambling, wasn’t one of his guys doing coke off of his helmet at halftime of the Super Bowl or something?

As far as I’m concerned gambling is like the stock market, you can lose alot of money in the stock market if you don’t do your research and manage your money, it’s the same thing with gambling. We’re on a nice run here hitting 80% over the last four weeks, but that still doesn’t mean we are going to hype something up as a lock. And the opposite is also true, trying to chase money is the worst strategy ever. Doubling your bets to get out of the hole is dumb. Sometimes you just have to take your lumps and move on. Of course, we do it all for amusement purposes only here at SpikeEskin.com. Hopefully our winning trend will continue this weekend.

It’s another week with high pointspreads from Vegas. I don’t remember seeing so many high spread like we’ve had this week and in Week 6. This week we have six out of the 13 games with lines of nine points or higher, and six games with lines of 3.5 points or lower. Wow, not making it easy on us. Toss-ups or blowouts, take your pick. A few matchups looked interesting but I decided to pass on making a choice on these games:

Poor, sad, Rex

Redskins @ Bills (in Toronto) (Bills -6) – this one jumped out at me as a Bills play. I don’t think the Redskins have the offense to make a game of it. The Bills are coming off the bye week and should be ready to play. The line jumped from Bills -4 to Bills -6 so the sharps felt the same way. I laid off this one because I had a gut feeling it could be a sucker line. I don’t want to lay points to find out if the Bills are for real.

Browns @ 49ers (49ers -10) – I think the 49ers are for real, especially on defense. They’re the best team in the NFC West (I know, that’s not saying much). Alex Smith is playing good enough not to lose. And on the other side you have a bad Cleveland team going to the west coast after a terrible performance against Seattle (ugly 6-3 win). The 49ers are 5-1 ATS this season, Cleveland is 1-3-2 ATS with some ugly losses. Cleveland wins are against Miami, Indianapolis and Seattle (combined record: 2-17), so their three wins are not impressive at all. I laid off this one because the Browns, while they suck on offense, are decent on defense. And getting 10 points they might be able to keep the score low enough to stay within the number.

Those 2 games might be good teaser material, but I’m going to pass on them this week. But I did isolate one other game that I liked, plus I’ll make my pick on the Eagles/Cowboys, so let’s get to it…

Bet #1: (a.k.a The “You’re picking the Under?” pick) Eagles / Cowboys UNDER 51

Yeah, I’m doing it again. I’m betting the Under. We hit the Under on Monday Night pretty easily, and hopefully the same thing happens here.

I know, Unders suck. Unders are boring. We’d rather watch a shootout, we want to see Shady run for a few TD’s, Vick throw for 3 TD’s. We want a 38-31 down to the wire. Well, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Not this week.

The defenses aren’t bad. Maybe we’ve seen the Eagles blow too many big leads and give up huge plays to think this is possible, but in the last game against the Redskins they seemed to get it together. I know it was against John Beck and Rex Grossman, but still, it was a big improvement from past weeks. And I’m thinking that Andy and Juan Castillo can make some adjustments in the bye week to have them ready to take on the Cowboys offense.

Maybe the Eagles hold Murray to 223 yards?

The Eagles held the Redskins to 42 yards rushing, that’s pretty good considering the Bills ran all over them. Thisweek the Cowboys come to town with rookie DeMarco Murray coming off a huge 253 yard rushing day. Yes, it was against the Rams, who give up the most rushing yard per game in the league, but it was still impressive. I don’t think he’ll do it again. The Cowboys have already said that they plan to cut down on Murray’s workload. Yes, the Eagles are #28 in rushing, but with Trent Cole back I think that number will improve each week. I think we can keep Murray under control on Sunday.

Romo and the passing game is where we would expect to see big plays. Dez Bryant, Mile Austin and Jason Witten should get plenty of chances. But I think the Eagles can match up well. The Eagles do ok with Romo, in seven career games vs. the Eagles he has 10 TD’s and 10 INT’s.

But let’s not forget that the Dallas defense is very strong. No question about it. At FootballOutsiders.com they are #3 overall (#3 in rushing, #4 in passing), they are only giving up 67 rushing yards per game. Wow. It could be a long night for McCoy. If the Eagles expect to beat the Cowboys they’ll need to play a ball control offense. I expect the Eagles to try to model the gameplan after what the Patriots did a few weeks ago. Quick, short passes to Jackson and Maclin, use McCoy out of the backfield.

I know we all want to see fireworks, but I think Andy plays it tight this week and tries to play a low scoring game.

It’s a night game, it’s going to be cold at the Linc, like 40 degrees at kickoff. I’m saying that both defenses step up and keep it a low scoring game. How about the Eagles get a home win and stay alive in the playoff hunt. Eagles 24 Cowboys 17.

The Line: Eagles -3, O/U 51
The Pick: Eagles / Cowboys UNDER 51

Bet #2 (a.k.a The “You won’t like the Ravens when they’re mad” pick) Baltimore Ravens -13 over Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals and Ravens, two teams that were on our list last week. We went against the Cardinals at home against Pittsburgh, and they didn’t dissappoint, losing 32-20. And on Monday Night we had the Ravens/Jaguars UNDER, and that game was an UNDER lock at halftime.

Mad Ray Lewis is Dangerous Ray Lewis

Well, this week I think it will be more of the same for the Cardinals. 13 points is alot to lay, almost two touchdowns. I hate laying that many points, but I think this week is an exception. Ravens will be fired up coming off that ugly Monday Night loss at Jacksonville. They need to make a statement. This isn’t so much a testament to the Ravens defense as it is me saying the Cardinal might get shutout. I really don’t know if they can put up 10 points. The Jaguars have a similar offense to the Cardinals, and the Jags had trouble moving the ball. And how is Kevin Kolb any better than Blaine Gabbert? And Cardinals RB Beanie Wells is out. So it will be up to Kevin Kolb to withstand the pass rush without much rushing help and he has to buy enough time to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald against the #1 pass defense. Good luck with that, Kevin.

The Ravens have been able to put up points when they win. The margins of victory in their 4 wins has been 28,20,17 & 15. In two losses they only put up 13 and seven points, so it seems like it’s all or nothing for them. In their 3 homes games (all wins) they put up 35 vs. Pittsburgh, 34 vs. the Jets and 29 vs. Houston, all pretty good defenses. They lost at Tennessee in Week 2, then came into St Louis the next week and lit up the Rams 37-7. So the Ravens have proven that they can bounce back after losses. All signs point to a big day for the Ravens.

The Cardinals are ranked 30th in defensive efficiency, 31st vs. the pass and 25th vs the run. I think Flacco and ray Rice should have decent days and put enough points to cover against a bad defense. They had trouble withthe Jags, but the Jags D is leaps and bounds better than Arizona.

I won’t bore you with the Ravens defense stats, they are the best, the #1 rushing defense and the #1 passing defense. And they will shut down, possibly even shut out, the Cardinals.

It could get ugly as the Ravens look to regain possession of 1st place. I’m going to be generous to Arizona and say Ravens 27 Cardinals 6.

The Line: Ravens -13, O/U 44.5
The Pick: Ravens -13

Go get ’em, for amusement purposes only.

Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:

  • Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
  • Email me fantasource@gmail.com
  • Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments

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Addicted To The Rush Of The Phillies Postseason

I hesitate to even write the words, but ignoring it won’t make it go away. After Friday night, the Phillies season may be over.

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Photoshop Fun: Cole Hamels and Ben Francisco In “Beast Mode”

This might be the most strange (yet fitting), @_mattmac-sterpiece so far.

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The Degenerate Week 4: Groundhogs Day – Eagles vs. 49ers Preview and More…

So, Mike Vick is hurting and he might not play. Or maybe he will. We don’t know yet. Hey where have I heard that one before?
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