Posts Tagged ‘Mark Sanchez’

Following perhaps their most impressive of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles have no time to rest on their laurels.

sanchizecarrollThis Sunday, the defending champions come to town, as the City of Brotherly Love plays host to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (8-4). After a subpar start to their title defense, Seattle’s defense has heated up. Like Terrance Knighton at a buffet line, the Seahawks are tearing through teams with reckless abandon. Like the Eagles, Seattle put together an impressive 19-3 victory on Thanksgiving. This came on the heels of a 19-3 triumph vs. Arizona a week prior.

At 8-4, the Seahawks still have division championship hopes, especially with the Cardinals’ recent swoon. A win on Sunday in Philadelphia would put Seattle much closer to that goal. Three divisional matchups to end the season will help them in their quest to gain home field advantage, a critical aspect of their championship defense considering their mediocre road performance.

Three of Seattle’s four losses this season have come away from the Pacific Northwest. Which lends credibility to the idea that Philadelphia could actually come out of this affair victorious. Also suggesting success is the fact that Seattle has allowed over 100+ yards of team total rushing in four games this season. All four of those instances resulted in defeat.

connorbarwinThe last few weeks, Shady McCoy and Darren Sproles have led the Eagles’ running game back to fruition. If Philadelphia has any hopes of walking away from Lincoln Financial Field at 9-3, they’ll need that duo to come to play. Mark Sanchez has been impressive. But, the thought of “The Sanchize” having to throw 35+ times on The Legion of Boom brings nausea to this writer’s gut.

In the end, the Eagles are going to need Sanchez to limit the turnovers that have plagued him throughout his career. While most believe this game is a lost cause for Philadelphia; the strengths and weaknesses of both teams suggest otherwise. All season, the Eagles’ defense has been solid against the run but weak against the pass. Seattle, meanwhile, comes into this one with the top ranked rushing offense and the 29th ranked passing offense. Philadelphia already proved it could limit the NFL’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray. Who’s to say that the same story won’t be written Sunday when Marshawn Lynch attempts to wreak havoc on the Philadelphia front-seven?

It’s a tale of two cities, both with championship aspirations in 2014-15. For the Eagles, that championship dream will be
deeply affected by their success on Sunday. At 6-0 in Philadelphia, home field advantage is critical to Chip Kelly’s success come playoff time. The same could be said for Seattle, who comes into this affair 3-3 away from Washington. This is the toughest game I’ve had to pick all season, and it could go either way (as evidenced by the one point spread). In the end, I’ve got to believe that the Eagles keep their undefeated home record alive by sending the streaking Seahawks back to Seattle with their feathers between their legs.

Line: Eagles by 1
Prediction: Eagles, 24-22

And now on to the rest of the picks for this exciting week 14:

Last Week: 6-7
2014 Season: 85-87

Dallas Cowboys (8-4) AT Chicago Bears (5-7) – Cowboys by 4

Prediction: Cowboys, 27-24. Typically, I’d find any way not to take the Cowboys in December. But, this game is probably the exception. Chicago’s season is over, and they really don’t bring much to the table other than talent laden roster with no poise, character, or determination. Even Dallas’ best effort to lose this one probably won’t be enough. Still, I’ll take Da Bears to cover, barely.

Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) AT Cincinnati Bengals (8-3-1) – Bengals by 3.5

Prediction: Steelers, 23-20. Pittsburgh might have the best shot at triumphing over the lowly Bengals for this division’s championship as they still get to play Cincinnati twice down the stretch. While the Steelers weren’t exactly enthralling in their narrow loss to New Orleans last week, the Bengals were even less inspiring, beating out the brutal Buccaneers thanks to a 12-man call late when Tampa had a chance to win the game with a field goal. Andy Dalton will find some way to blow this one, I just know it.

St. Louis Rams (5-7) AT Washington Redskins (3-9) – Rams by 3

Prediction: Rams, 27-20. The Rams seem like the world’s greatest 5-7 team. The opposite could be said for Washington, whose offense might be a bit more consistent with Colt McCoy under center. But, the Redskins’ defense remains a dumpster fire. Even on the road, I’ll take St. Louis to continue the NFC West’s dominance of the NFC East. Watch out for Tre Mason, who ran wild on the Raiders last week, to continue his spectacular freshman season.

New York Giants (3-9) AT Tennessee Titans (2-10) – Giants by 1.5

Prediction: Giants, 25-22. It’s the first annual Toilet Bowl between two teams who find more ways to beat themselves week after week. The Giants looked impressive in the first halves of each of their last two affairs, only to go down in flames like only an Eli Manning led team could. Meanwhile, there’s really nothing positive to say about the Titans, who look like they’ve just about packed it up and are booking January tee times. Ken Whisenhunt, who was hired just last winter, looks like he’s going to be another classic one-and-done coach for a Tennessee franchise that hasn’t made the postseason since George W. Bush was in office.

Carolina Panthers (3-8-1) AT New Orleans Saints (5-7) – Saints by 10

Prediction: Saints, 30-24. Speaking of dumpster fires, check out the 2014 Carolina Panthers. If this team looked more old and decrepit, they’d be starring in Life Alert commercials at 2:00 AM. Cam Newton should actually consider that career change, because his performance as a QB this season has been uninspiring to say the least. Meanwhile, you have the Saints. A big victory in Pittsburgh on Sunday was enough to put them in the driver’s seat in the NFC South. If New Orleans can win out, they take the crown. Not saying that will happen. But, a victory over a free falling Carolina squad should be expected. Even if that 10-point spread is a bit too large for my tastes.

New York Jets (2-10) AT Minnesota Vikings (5-7) – Vikings by 6

Prediction: Vikings, 26-7. Buzz, your girlfriend! Woof! There are some really ugly games this week. The Jets’ passing game is a joke. Rex Ryan is already fielding broadcasting offers. I’ve got to go with Teddy Bridgewater’s Vikings merely by default.

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) AT Miami Dolphins (7-5) – Dolphins by 2.5

flaccotannehillPrediction: Ravens, 24-17. This is more like it. A battle between two teams battling for the last two wild card spots in the AFC. Miami wasn’t exactly awe inspiring last week in their 16-13 victory over the Jets. But, they return home for week 14, which should put a bit of a pep in their step. On the other hand, you have the Ravens flying south for the winter coming off a brutal, last second loss to the Chargers. It’s a relative must win for both, and I’ll take the experienced Ravens to overcome the oft-choking Dolphins in a good one.

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) AT Cleveland Browns (7-5) – Colts by 4

Prediction: Browns, 27-24. This just seems like the type of game that this year’s Browns will come out on top of. At 3-2, the Colts haven’t exactly been special on the road this season. In a cold, knock down, drag out December affair, I’ll take the team with the better running game, which right now is clearly Cleveland. Brian Hoyer also has a career to save, with the footsteps of Johnny Manziel getting louder by the play in his rearview mirror.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) AT Detroit Lions (8-4) – Lions by 10

Prediction: Lions, 34-14. I’ve been picking against the Buccaneers for weeks and they continue to let me down by playing solid defense and limiting their opponents due to turnovers. Which makes me think I’ll regret the decision to go with Detroit -10 here. But, the Lions’ offense is dynamic enough that Tampa Bay should have no shot at keeping up. One or two Josh McCown turnovers will help, as well.

Houston Texans (6-6) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) – Texans by 6.5

Prediction: Texans, 27-20. Don’t expect any more six touchdown performances by Ryan Fitzpatrick. But, the goliath that is JJ Watt could go in for yet another touchdown this week against a Jaguars defense that, while improved, is still wet behind the ears.

Buffalo Bills (7-5) AT Denver Broncos (9-3) – Broncos by 10

Prediction: Broncos, 28-14. I want to pick the Bills to cover. I really do. Then, I looked at the QB matchup. Peyton Manning (at home, mind you) against Kyle Orton. Puke city. Take Denver minus the points and win yourself a few bucks this Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) AT Arizona Cardinals (9-3) – Pick ’em

Prediction: Chiefs, 20-10. Talk about two mudslides colliding. Both of these teams have lost two-in-a-row and have seen their playoff hopes take a serious turn for the worst. Kansas City is probably more desperate in a crowded AFC wild card field. They also have the better running game and QB. The Cardinals are in danger of missing the playoffs after starting the season 9-1.

San Francisco 49ers (7-5) AT Oakland Raiders (1-11) – 49ers by 9

Prediction: 49ers, 23-10. Not even the woeful 49ers’ offense can find a way to blow this one, right? For Oakland, the question is whether or not they’ll take Marcus Mariota with the #1 overall pick; or should they stick with Derek Carr?

New England Patriots (9-3) AT San Diego Chargers (7-5) – Patriots by 4

bradycrazyPrediction: Patriots, 34-21. If there were ever a more secure feeling, it’s almost got to be that of a Patriots’ fan this week, right? I mean…Bill Belichick and Tom Brady coming off a loss? That’s about as much of a sure thing as Bobby Boucher showing up at halftime and the Mud Dogs winning the Bourbon Bowl. Take New England now. Thank me later.

Atlanta Falcons (5-7) AT Green Bay Packers (9-3) – Packers by 13

Prediction: Packers, 30-20. While I also think a Green Bay victory at home in this one is a guarantee. I’m not so secure on the 13-point spread. After all, the Falcons, despite their deficiencies, are in the playoff race. Green Bay is also coming off an emotionally hard fought victory over New England. A let down seems possible. Still, the Packers’ sheer talent level dwarfs that of Atlanta, and that’s hard to turn a blind eye to.

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Below is Skood Sports’ take on the major sports stories of the day for 12/2/2014:

1. Kevin Durant returns to the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight vs. New Orleans

At 5-12, it’s been a tumultuous start to 2014-15 for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The loss of Durant and PG Russell Westbrook for a significant chunk of the season’s first month put them on ice early. But, both superstars are back. Just in time for their visit to Philadelphia to take on the 0-17 Sixers on Friday.

Despite their early woes, OKC is only 4.5 games out of a playoff spot. So, the return of KD tonight should be enough to see this team rise from the ashes and eventually reach the playoffs yet again.

durantOh, and tonight’s game is being played at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. Is there a worse name for a stadium/arena than that? Besides, I thought Chip Kelly was the smoothie king.

2. New College Football Playoff rankings come out tonight

I’m not huge on the new College Football Playoff. Mostly because four teams is just not enough to truly find the best team in the country. When teams like Ohio State can beat up on Tuskegee University while playing only 1 or 2 ranked teams during their entire schedule, how can they truly be considered an elite program?

If I had to make my choices, the top four would be Alabama, Oregon, FSU, and TCU. But, you know two SEC teams will get into the dance, even though one of them (Mississippi State) won’t even be playing for their conference’s championship.

In other CFB news, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze signed a new 4 year contract worth $4.5 million per season. Is there anything more pathetic than the amount that D-1 coaches are being paid these days? Freeze not only got a $1.5 million raise with this extension. But, it also rips up a previously agreed upon contract just after the first year it took affect.

3. Phillies’ Papelbon puts $6.9 million condo up for sale

papelbonerThere’s no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies want to get younger and shed salary. One way of doing that would be to unload their $13 million closer. But, despite his success on the mound, interest in Jonathan Papelbon has remained dim. Whether it’s his antics off the field; or his declining peripherals on the diamond; Ruben Amaro has found it difficult to find a taker for the veteran right hander.

Despite the fact that Papelbon is in the process of selling his home, I would be surprised if Philadelphia unloaded him this offseason. A more apropos tactic would be to hang onto “Pap” until the trade deadline, when desperate contenders would be more willing to take on the remainder of his salary.

4. Can the Flyers’ ship be righted?

Everyone knew that the Philadelphia 76ers were going to be monumentally bad this season. However, there remained a sliver of hope that the city’s hockey team, the Flyers, would be able to lift the fanbase’s morale out of the doldrums of winter blues.

With the team mired in a four game losing skid, that fairy tale appears to be dwindling fast. At 8-12-3, Philadelphia sits in 5th place in the Metro Division. As predicted, they can’t play a lick of defense. Also on the forecast was the continued decline of former star Vincent Lecavalier. Tonight, Philadelphia has decided to bench the defensively (and now offensively) challenged forward against San Jose.

Philadelphia hasn’t won in 8 consecutive road affairs. Meanwhile, San Jose is one of the worst home teams this season at 3-4-2. Something tells me tonight is the night that Philadelphia gets things turned around (at least for a day).

5. When Nick Foles returns, who starts for Philadelphia Eagles?

Mark Sanchez has been astounding since his emergence as starting quarterback of the Eagles following Nick Foles’ broken collarbone. But, has the “Sanchize’s” performance been good enough to warrant continued playing time after Foles is cleared to play?

Doctors have said that Foles could return within 2-4 weeks. Of course, that’s a flaky timeline. Two weeks would put the 3rd year pro in line to start in Washington in week 16. Four would mean he couldn’t be ready to go until the playoffs. Would Chip Kelly feel comfortable throwing Foles to the wolves in a potential make-or-break playoff game, having not played a down since week 9? Or, would the offensive guru stick with the gunslinger who got him there?

In my opinion, it all depends on when Foles is ready to go. If he can come back against Washington, Kelly should consider going back to the former Arizona Wildcat. It would give Nick at least two weeks to prepare (barring a potential bye week) for a playoff run and would eliminate the controversy of someone losing their job to injury. Granted, Foles wasn’t exactly mimicking his masterful 2013 campaign. But, he’s still this team’s starting quarterback and was, up until a month ago, believed to be their best bet for the future.

Of course, if Sanchez plays like he did on Thanksgiving and is able to beat Seattle and Dallas, all bets are off. Having two quarterbacks you’re comfortable with is a good problem to have, and Chip Kelly will do everything in his power to make sure that the right man for the job is under center when the playoffs begin next month.

Weekly NFL Playoff Predictions

(These playoff seeding predictions are based upon projections for all remaining games. Top six teams make the playoffs. Tiebreakers determined by ESPN Playoff Machine)

AFC

1. New England Patriots  – 12-4
2. Denver Broncos – 12-4
3. Indianapolis Colts – 12-4
4. Cincinnati Bengals – 10-5-1
5. Kansas City Chiefs – 10-6
6. Baltimore Ravens – 10-6
7. San Diego Chargers – 9-7
8. Pittsburgh Steelers – 9-7
9. Miami Dolphins – 9-7
10. Buffalo Bills – 9-7
11. Houston Texans – 9-7
12. Cleveland Browns – 8-8

NFC

1. Green Bay Packers – 13-3
2. Philadelphia Eagles – 12-4
3. Arizona Cardinals – 11-5
4. Atlanta Falcons – 7-9
5. Seattle Seahawks – 11-5
6. Detroit Lions – 10-6
7. Dallas Cowboys – 10-6
8. San Francisco 49ers – 10-6