Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Eagles’

As the sun begins to set on the 2014 NFL season, the impact of each individual game becomes magnified.

chipperFor the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, two teams that are no stranger to big games between each other, Sunday night’s affair represents the culmination of 14-weeks of grueling play. A year ago, these two franchises met in Dallas for the NFC East championship. That evening, it was Nick Foles and the Eagles who came out on top by 2 points to capture their first division title since 2010. If Philly wants to defend their division crown, they’ll have to do it to Dallas again. This time at home, with 60,000+ screaming Philadelphians behind them from start-to-finish.

Instead of Foles, it will be Mark Sanchez under center, who makes his sixth start for Chip Kelly’s team. So far, the former USC QB has been a bit of an enigma. He’s shown an ability to carve up mediocre defenses. But, the lack of elite arm strength and a propensity for turnovers has left the Eagles 3-2 in his five starts, so far. If Sanchez is going to lead Philadelphia to victory on Sunday, he’ll need to get help from the likes of LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, both of whom had a large hand in the team’s victory over Dallas on Thanksgiving.

MurrayOn the other side, you have the Cowboys. Longtime December choke-artists, Dallas will look to reverse the trend that has cursed them almost every season since 2008. To do so, they’ll need DeMarco Murray to break out, something he was unable to do against Philadelphia’s defense last month. Likewise, Tony Romo will need to get rid of the ball quick against Philadelphia’s aggressive defense. He doesn’t have the best December track record. Though, he certainly didn’t look like the Romo of old in Chicago, where Dallas put up 48-points en route to victory last Thursday.

As usual, the Eagles have the edge on special teams, and that could play a pivotal role in their success. A Darren Sproles return or another blocked punt would be a catastrophic blow to a Dallas team that’s already struggling to stop opponents on defense. The Cowboys may be 6-0 on the road. But, this is Philadelphia, and the Eagles have only lost one game at Lincoln Financial Field this season.

All in all, it promises to be another fantastic week of NFL action, and winner of Sunday night’s affair will move one step closer to capturing the NFC East.

Line: Eagles by 3.5
Prediction: Eagles, 31-27

And now, the rest of the NFL action as we continue the bone chilling month of gridiron action that we call December…

Last Week: 10-5
2014 Season: 95-92

Arizona Cardinals (10-3) AT St. Louis Rams (6-7) – Rams by 5.5

Prediction: Rams, 16-10. St. Louis has recorded back-to-back shutouts against the likes of Oakland and Washington, the NFL’s two ugly stepchildren. While they likely won’t be tested too intensely by Drew Stanton, they’ll have a hard time making it three-in-a-row against an Arizona team who has much more to play for than the aforementioned duo of duds.

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) AT Atlanta Falcons (5-8) – Steelers by 2.5

Prediction: Falcons, 30-28. Atlanta hasn’t exactly set the world aflame at the Georgia Dome (3-3). Still, they have something to play for and know that a win at home is critical to their playoff chances. Pittsburgh cannot afford to lose either. But, the Steelers have already proven this season that they play down to their opponents. They’ve also shown an inability to stop the passing game. Good luck against Julio Jones, who is hotter than any receiver in the NFL.

Washington Redskins (3-10) AT New York Giants (4-9) – Giants by 7

Prediction: Giants, 26-16. A once proud rivalry has been reduced to rubble. As the NFC East’s two doormats get set to play each other one final time in 2014, we remember the days of Mark Rypien taking on Phil Simms in the early-90s. Heck, I reckon these two disasters long for the days of Gus Frerotte and Dave Brown, at this point. In the end, the Redskins are just abysmal enough to lock themselves into a top-five pick in next May’s draft.

Miami Dolphins (7-6) AT New England Patriots (10-3) – Patriots by 7.5

Prediction: Patriots, 27-16. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins with a chance to clinch the AFC East for the 12th time in the last 14 seasons. Betting against Brady and Belichick at home in December against a warm weather team is like taking a Victoria’s Secret model on a date to an all-you-can-eat buffet. It just doesn’t make much sense.

Oakland Raiders (2-11) AT Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) – Chiefs by 10

Prediction: Chiefs, 21-12. Kansas City hasn’t won since they handed Oakland their first win on Thursday night three weeks ago. It’s rare to see an Andy Reid team swoon so hard for three consecutive games. But, that’s where the Chiefs are at this point. A loss to Oakland would end their playoff chances. As it stands, KC likely has to win out to have any hope at another postseason berth. Oakland should provide a nice cushion as they prepare for the home stretch.

Houston Texans (7-6) AT Indianapolis Colts (9-4) – Colts by 7

Prediction: Colts, 34-24. Any hope that Houston has of making the playoffs hinge on this one game. A win in Indianapolis would put the Texans right in the thick of the wild card race, while also giving them an outside shot at eclipsing the Colts for the division title. While the Texans have looked solid against the league’s doormats (two of whom are in their division), they haven’t been able to challenge the league’s elite. I doubt they’ll have many answers for Indy and Andrew Luck on Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) AT Baltimore Ravens (8-5) – Ravens by 14

Prediction: Ravens, 28-13. Another team in the thick of the playoff race, Baltimore can take a giant step towards a division title by taking care of business at home against Jacksonville.

Green Bay Packers (10-3) AT Buffalo Bills (7-6) – Packers by 6

Prediction: Packers, 24-20. Green Bay hasn’t looked as dominant on the road as they have at Lambeau Field. They’re also coming off a short week. That’s the only thing giving me a little faith in Buffalo. Still, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers and the Bills have Kyle Orton. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) AT Carolina Panthers (4-8-1) – Panthers by 3.5

Prediction: Buccaneers, 20-17. With no Cam Newton, the Panthers have no chance at winning the dilapidated NFC South. Meanwhile, the 2-11 Bucs have captured both of their wins on the road.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) AT Cleveland Browns (7-6) – Browns by 1.5

Prediction: Browns, 26-23. These AFC North games tend to be nailbiters. That shouldn’t change on Sunday, when Johnny Manziel makes his first career start for the Browns, who are clinging to their playoff lives. Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s loss to Pittsburgh last week has weakened their stance atop the division. A loss to the Browns would put the Ravens or Steelers on top and throw Cincinnati into a tailspin. Don’t count out the Browns, who have extra motivation after Marvin Lewis called Manziel (6’0) a “midget” during a press conference this week.

New York Jets (2-11) AT Tennessee Titans (2-11) – Jets by 3

Prediction: Titans, 21-16. Anyone that has to watch this game due to NFC broadcasting rules should consider legal action. Two of the worst teams in the league will do battle from The Music City. Honestly, does anyone want to win this game? The loser puts themselves in a better position draft pick wise. So, maybe it’s the case where the loser is really the winner, and vice-versa? I suppose the only real losers are fans of either team, in the end.

Denver Broncos (10-3) AT San Diego Chargers (8-5) – Broncos by 4.5

Prediction: Chargers, 31-30. In my upset pick of the week, I’ll take Philip Rivers and the Chargers to upset the Broncos. A win on Sunday would put San Diego in the driver’s seat for a wild card spot. It would also pretty much cement Denver into the #2 seed. A victory over Denver would be just the momentum builder San Diego would need heading into the postseason.

Minnesota Vikings (6-7) AT Detroit Lions (9-4) – Lions by 8

Prediction: Lions, 28-14. Detroit’s offense has been wildly inconsistent this season. But, the team has been outright nasty at home (6-1) and the defense continues to play well. That’s not a good mix for a Vikings team that isn’t doing much offensively away from Minneapolis.

San Francisco 49ers (7-6) AT Seattle Seahawks (9-4) – Seahawks by 10

Prediction: Seahawks, 24-10. On one hand, San Francisco’s playoff lives are on the line. Similarly, Jim Harbaugh’s job may be on the line. On the other, the likelihood that Harbaugh has already checked out grows by the day, and Seattle is playing better defensively than anyone else in the NFL right now. That doesn’t bode well for a 49ers team that is coming off a loss to the Oakland Raiders.

New Orleans Saints (5-8) AT Chicago Bears (5-8) – Saints by 3

Prediction: Bears, 28-24. Monday Night Football continues to be an absolute eyesore for the NFL. All the great matchups this week and we get stuck watching two massive underachievers battle each other for mediocrity’s reign. Somehow, someway, the Saints will find a way to blow this one and keep the NFC South a cataclysmic disaster.

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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.

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

The home stretch begins with a battle in Big D.

boykinanddezFor the first time since 1989, the Philadelphia Eagles will duel with their wretched rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, on Thanksgiving. The Bounty Bowl, as it’s become known over time, further fueled a century’s worth of hate between these two bitter nemesis. Tomorrow, that storied battle will continue, with new faces joining familiar ones on both sides of the war.

Tony Romo is back. As is DeMarco Murray (the NFL’s leading rusher), Dez Bryant, and head coach Jason Garrett. But, it’s newcomers like OG Zach Martin that have propelled Dallas to a tie atop the NFC East. For the Cowboys, the season’s final 5 games aren’t about merely making the playoffs. It’s about ushering out two decades worth of failure. Since 1997, Dallas has won just one postseason game. That level of mediocrity, especially for America’s Team, has left a sour taste in the mouths of owner Jerry Jones and the Dallas fanbase.

Against Philadelphia, the Cowboys may face their stiffest test all season long. That’s because the much maligned defensive unit has not had the opportunity to do battle with an offense as dynamic as the Eagles’ can be.The best offense the Cowboys have faced this year might be New Orleans, and even that is stretching it considering the Saints’ performance this year. The Cowboys’ wins all come at the expense of teams with bottom 15 passing games. Something that they won’t have the luxury of facing on Thursday.

romo2It’s not as though Dallas can rely on home field advantage getting them by, either. All three of Dallas’ defeats this season have come at AT&T Stadium, including losses in their last two games. The Cowboys may have put up 30+ points six times this year. But, 2/3 of those performances came away from The Lone Star State. For some reason, the Cowboys are being painted by the media as a true contender. Despite the fact that their futility at home has been clear. Upcoming home games against playoff contenders Philadelphia and Indianapolis will do little to remedy the problem.

On the other side, you have the Eagles. Philadelphia’s road woes have been well documented. The Eagles’ last road effort (if you can even call it that), resulted in a blowout defeat at the hands of the Packers. All three of Chip Kelly’s losses this season have come away from The City of Brotherly Love. Granted, two of those three losses came by four or fewer points.

Offensively, the Eagles will rely on the three-headed monster of McCoy, Sproles, and Polk to set up the play action pass for Mark Sanchez. The former New York Jets QB has been efficient for the Eagles. Even if his turnover ratio continues to be consistently disappointing, the Eagles have proven throughout 2014 that they can still escape thanks to a takeaway hungry defense and the best special teams in the NFL. I’d expect a few “Romo Specials” against a hungry Philly D and some fireworks from the special teams, as well. After all, Dallas has some of the worst return and coverage units in the NFL.

All in all, it’s an exciting time at the top of the NFC East and the winner of Thursday’s affair will have a leg up on the loser for the division crown and a home playoff game. For Philadelphia, a victory on Thanksgiving would put them one game up and 3-0 in the division with a home battle against Dallas looming in two weeks. It’s not a must win for either. But, tomorrow’s action will have a large role in the eventual fate of both teams.

Line: Cowboys by 3.5
Prediction: Eagles, 27-23

And now to the rest of Thursday’s action:

Last Week: 7-8
2014 Season: 78-78

Chicago Bears (5-6) AT Detroit Lions (7-4) – Lions by 7

Matthew+Stafford+Chicago+Bears+v+Detroit+Lions+obgu7EAHgmRlPrediction: Lions, 20-14. The spread’s a little large for my liking considering that Detroit hasn’t scored a touchdown in three weeks. It’s a must win game for both, really. Chicago will be virtually eliminated if they lose again. Meanwhile, Detroit returns home after going through the gauntlet of facing the best teams in each conference in back-to-back weeks (Arizona and New England) on road. Matt Stafford’s inconsistency will continue to show. But, it’s the Lions who will escape Ford Field with a much-needed win.

Seattle Seahawks (7-4) AT San Francisco 49ers (7-4) – 49ers by 1

Prediction: 49ers, 17-14. The first rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game pits two Western Division opponents battling for their playoff lives. Each of these teams would love a split in their home-and-home series. But, even that might not be enough to get both into the playoffs in a crowded NFC. Seattle on the road is a much different animal than at home (2-3 record). The 49ers’ defense, meanwhile, is now healthy. I reckon they’re on a similar level to Seattle’s at this point. If Colin Kaepernick can exercise the demons that have haunted him since last January, he and the 49ers will be inching their way back to the playoffs soon enough.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

sprolesHome cooking has been delectably sweet for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. With a record of 5-0 at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles have met and exceeded every expectation of the pundits and the fans. After their 45-21, Monday night massacre of the Carolina Panthers, Mark Sanchez and Co. are riding high and on top of the NFC East. This despite ranking second to last in the NFL in turnover ratio and red zone percentage.

Sanchez, tossed to the wolves by the New York Jets and the Big Apple media, has reestablished himself as a perfect fit for Chip Kelly’s high tempo offense. The 2009 1st round pick is more mobile than Nick Foles, while still possessing the poise and moxie than helped him lead the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship Games earlier in his career. He, along with Darren Sproles (who scored two touchdowns Monday) and Jordan Matthews (two of his own) have proven to be critical offseason pickups as the Eagles continue to fly along without the maligned DeSean Jackson.

Perhaps the most surprising improvement Philadelphia has made this season is in their pass rush. The Eagles are now atop the league in sacks, a fact thought impossible prior to the season, especially with rookie 1st round pick Marcus Smith II held to goose eggs in that category. Conor Barwin (10.5 sacks) and Trent Cole (4.5) leading the way, Philadelphia’s defense continues to wreak havoc on opposing teams. They’re still susceptible to the big play. But, the Eagles’ improvement in that facet of the game is a real testament to Howie Roseman and Bill Davis.

This week, the Eagles will face their stiffest test yet as they travel to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for a battle with the rodgerspackGreen Bay Packers. At 6-3, the Pack are resting right outside the playoff field. But, Aaron Rodgers is coming off of a 6-touchdown performance, and Green Bay’s offensive balance has gotten much more equal as the season has gone on. While Philly’s run defense has been brilliant, stopping the burly Eddie Lacy is a task best left to imagination.

With weapons like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin, Rodgers will have plenty of tools with which to dissect the Eagles’ defense. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s defensive unit had a field day in their blowout win against Chicago. But, that’s not to say that they’re without serious flaw. The Packers’ run defense has ranked in the bottom-3 for most of the season, and that’s unlikely to improve against the Eagles’ running attack and healthy offensive line.

In the end, this promises to be yet another exciting matchup involving Philadelphia. Hence why the game was flexed by Fox into their America’s Game of the Week slot at 4:15 PM. After going with the Eagles all season, Skood Sports is finally siding with the bad guys. While I think the Eagles could win this game, going on the road and beating Aaron Rodgers is something few teams do. It’s also something Philadelphia has never done.

Line: Packers -6.5
Prediction: Packers, 34-30

Now, on to the rest of week 11…

Last Week: 5-8
Best Pick: Dallas, 31-17
2014 Season: 67-60

Buffalo Bills (5-4) AT Miami Dolphins (5-4) – Dolphins -4.5

Prediction: Dolphins, 24-17. I have zero faith in Buffalo’s offense, on a short week, to come up with anything resembling and NFL gameplan. The Bills under Kyle Orton have become very hit-or-miss. Meanwhile, the Dolphins may be hitting their stride at the right time. Despite a tough loss last week, Miami can be right in the thick of the AFC playoff race with a win at home.

Minnesota Vikings (4-5) AT Chicago Bears (3-6) – Chicago -3.5

Prediction: Vikings, 24-21. Remind me again why Chicago is favored here? The Bears have looked like cubs for basically the entire season. They’re also pathetic at home (0-3) and facing a Vikings team coming off of their bye week. Give me Teddy Bridgewater over Jay Cutler as Marc Trestman’s Chicago career continues to go down the tubes.

Houston Texans (4-5) AT Cleveland Browns (6-3) – Browns -3.5

Prediction: Browns, 26-20. Cleveland is 4-1 at home this season. They’re also facing a QB in Ryan Mallett who is making his first career start. That doesn’t bode well for the Texans, who need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. A banged up Arian Foster will get some vigor back in his legs after their bye week. But, it probably won’t be enough.

Seattle Seahawks (6-3) AT Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) – Chiefs -2

Prediction: Seahawks, 19-14. This is a classic, old school battle of two teams with impenetrable defenses and fierce running games. A lot of pundits are drinking the Kansas City Kool-Aid, and not only because Andy Reid looks like the Kool-Aid man in his red Chiefs’ jumpsuit. I like both of these teams. But, I think Russell Wilson is going to be the difference in what should be a stellar affair.

Atlanta Falcons (3-6) AT Carolina Panthers (3-6-1) – Falcons -1

Prediction: Falcons, 28-25. There’s nothing pretty about the 2014 NFC South. A pair of teams with 3 wins after 10 weeks are still right in the thick of things. The sad part is that one of these also-rans is going to host a playoff game against a team with a better record. Regardless, neither of these teams can afford another loss in the division, and after watching Cam Newton last week against Philadelphia, I cannot bring myself to pick the Panthers any time soon.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-3-1) AT New Orleans Saints (4-5) – Saints -7.5

Prediction: Bengals, 33-24. The Saints’ defense didn’t look as bad as it typically does against a 49ers team without a game breaking receiver. That will change this week, when the Bengals will look to avenge a pathetic offensive performance behind AJ Green. If Andy Dalton doesn’t come to play for the second consecutive game, it’s panic time for Marvin Lewis.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) AT Washington Redskins (3-6) – Redskins -7.5

Prediction: Redskins, 36-20. Typically, I make it a point not to pick the Washington Redskins to cover, especially when it’s over 6.5 points. However, Tampa Bay has redefined the definition of “tomato can.” They can’t run. They can’t pass. They can’t defend. It might be one-and-done for Lovie Smith in Tampa, who haven’t been competitive in half-a-decade.

Denver Broncos (7-2) AT St. Louis Rams (3-6) – Broncos -10

Prediction: Broncos, 34-17. The Rams are going back to veteran QB Shaun Hill after two months starting rookie Austin Davis. That won’t make much of a difference against Denver, who will continue to prey on lesser opponents until Peyton Manning and Co. inevitably meet Tom Brady and the Patriots in January.

San Francisco 49ers (5-4) AT New York Giants (3-6) – 49ers -4.5

Prediction: 49ers, 23-20. New York hasn’t won in a month and their season rests on the line this week. Tom Coughlin’s career might, as well. If the Giants are to have any hope, they’ll have to run the ball. The return of Rashad Jennings should help. Still, the 49ers are the better team; and even though they’ll be travelling across the country for this one, they’ll still be in fine shape come Sunday night.

Oakland Raiders (0-9) AT San Diego Chargers (5-4) – Chargers -10.5

riverspPrediction: Chargers, 35-21. It’s been a month now since San Diego was everyone’s flavor of the week. Three losses later, and they seem to have been forgotten in the myriad of AFC contenders. I still think that San Diego is talented enough to make noise if they get to the tournament. Tomato cans like Oakland shouldn’t stand in their way. Another blowout on Sunday and the Raiders continue to inch closer to 0-16.

Detroit Lions (7-2) AT Arizona Cardinals (8-1) – Cardinals -1

Prediction: Lions, 20-17. Neither of these two contenders are without flaw. Arizona’s became magnified with Carson Palmer’s season ending torn-ACL. This promises to be a great, defensive battle between two clubs who still draw skepticism from the pundits. It’s a coin flip in my eyes.

New England Patriots (7-2) AT Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Colts -2.5

Prediction: Patriots, 27-24. The Patriots come into this game underdogs for the second consecutive affair. While Andrew Luck may be having the best season of his career, beating New England’s improving defense will take a Brady-like performance. Speaking of Brady, the Patriots’ veteran QB has put together two months of stellar play. Two more months of vintage Tommy and the Pats should be hosting the AFC Championship Game in January.

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) AT Tennessee Titans (2-7) – Steelers -6.5

Prediction: Steelers, 27-17. Pittsburgh’s offense isn’t nearly as good as it looked against Baltimore. They’re also not as bad as they appeared in New York. Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to avoid the pass rush has kept him upright for years. He shouldn’t have too much to worry about in Tennessee, where the hapless Titans will look to avoid another mediocre performance in front of their home crowd.

For the second consecutive season, the Philadelphia Eagles will return from their bye week for a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals

Also, for the second consecutive season, I’ll be on the road to see my Birds in person as a visiting spectator.

Let’s hope this trip turns out better than last December’s venture to Minnesota did.

At 5-1, the Eagles are near the top of the NFL. But, they’ll get a stiff test this Sunday when they head to University of Phoenix eagleskendricksStadium for a matchup with Bruce Arians’ 5-1 Arizona Cardinals. For Philadelphia, the bye week came at just the right time. With Mychal Kendricks and Darren Sproles both returning to practice this week, the Eagles could return two of their best playmakers on both sides of the ball. If they’re going to overcome a hostile road venue, they’ll need all the help they can get.

The last time Philadelphia took the field, they clicked on all cylinders, blowing the doors off of the New York Giants, 27-0. Philadelphia’s pass rush will get another opportunity against an immobile, pocket passer in Arizona’s Carson Palmer. The 2003 #1 overall pick has been steady if unspectacular for Arians’ club. Arizona will rely on RB Andre Ellington (105 att – 393 yards) and the dynamic receiving duo of Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. Philadelphia hasn’t been tested by big receivers too much this season. So, it will be interesting to see how the much maligned secondary holds up after a strong performance two-weeks ago.

On offense, the story will once again revolve around LeSean McCoy. After a dismal month, McCoy blossomed for 149 yards palmeron the ground against the Giants. When it comes to “Shady,” the offensive line is what matters most. If the Eagles can dominate the LOS (line-of-scrimmage) like they did against New York, this could be a long afternoon for a banged up Arizona defense.

Last year, Philadelphia overcame a late collapse to edge Arizona at Lincoln Financial Field. Arians is still bitter over the defeat, as his post game tirade complaining about the refereeing in that game is still fresh in the minds of the media masses. While both teams look likely to make the postseason this year; it’s clear that the winner of this one will be in a much better position to grab a home playoff game than the team that falls in defeat.

Line: Arizona -2.5
Prediction: Philadelphia, 27-23

Now, onto the rest of SkoodSports’ week eight picks…

Last Week: 7-8
2014 Season: 46-40

San Diego Chargers (5-2) AT Denver Broncos (5-1) – Broncos -8

Prediction: Broncos, 31-21. As if San Diego didn’t have it bad enough. Not only did they lose a tough home matchup against Kansas City on Sunday (an upset, I might add, that SkoodSports correctly predicted). But, now they have to face the NFL all-time touchdown pass king in Peyton Manning and the dominant Denver Broncos. San Diego may see their division hopes crumble in the course of 4-days.

Detroit Lions (5-2) AT Atlanta Falcons (2-5) – Lions -4

Prediction: Falcons, 26-23. In perhaps the most star-studded London game ever, the Falcons and Lions play the first ever 9:30 AM EST Sunday game. It will be interesting to see which of these teams gets the early lead. If it’s Detroit, this game could be over fast. But, Atlanta’s season is basically riding on the line here. I expect Matt Ryan to put together a vintage performance at Wembley.

St. Louis Rams (2-4) AT Kansas City Chiefs (3-3) – Chiefs -7

Prediction: Chiefs, 28-24. Kansas City’s come-from-behind win against San Diego really put a jolt into their season. The Chiefs have now beaten both the Chargers and Patriots over the last month. They’ll get a much easier opponent at home this week. St. Louis was able to salvage a victory against the Seahawks on Sunday. But, it will take a lot more than a couple of gimmick plays on special teams to go into Arrowhead and come out alive.

Houston Texans (3-4) AT Tennessee Titans (2-5) – Texans -2.5

Prediction: Texans, 26-13. The Tennessee Titans’ two victories this season have come against Jacksonville and Kansas City (in week one). They’ve had some close ones but it’s unlikely that veteran backup Charlie Whitehurst is going to lead this team to anything more than a 5-11 record. On the other hand, the struggling Texans have lost three in a row and need to win this one if they have any hopes of a playoff push.

Minnesota Vikings (2-5) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5) – Bucs -3

Prediction: Minnesota, 17-16. This is easily the most unwatchable game of the season so far. On one end, you have the inconsistent play of rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater. On the other, you have a 6’6″ backup QB named Mike Glennon who looks more like Sean Bradley’s ginger cousin than a championship QB. Tampa has dragged defeat from the jaws of victory over-and-over this season. I don’t expect that to change thanks to a bye week.

Seattle Seahawks (3-3) AT Carolina Panthers (3-3-1) – Seahawks -5.5

Prediction: Panthers, 23-20. A lot has been made of how this is going to be the bounce back game that the Seahawks need after two consecutive losses. But, Carolina is another team that is in desperate need of a rebound after they tied Cincinnati and got the doors blown off in Green Bay. The Panthers are still very talented, even if their defense has looked like a shell of their 2013 unit. Upset city, population Carolina. Cam Newton will come to play.

newton

Baltimore Ravens (5-2) AT Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1) – Ravens -1

Prediction: Bengals, 20-17. Cincinnati’s offense has been anemic without AJ Green. The good news is that the former Georgia Bulldog star is back this week against the Ravens’ ferocious defense. If the Bengals have any hopes at a division title, they’ll need Andy Dalton to find Green for at least one score. I think that will happen, and Cincinnati will complete a sweep of the Ravens.

Miami Dolphins (3-3) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) – Dolphins -6

Prediction: Dolphins, 27-10. Even in Jacksonville’s first victory a week ago, rookie QB Blake Bortles looked uneasy. He’ll need to find his stride if the Jags are to get their first winning streak in years. Miami, meanwhile, looked brilliant in rebounding from a debilitating loss to Green Bay when they trounced the Bears in Chicago. The Dolphins saw Ryan Tannehill put together one of the finest games of his young career. Expect more of the same as Miami goes above .500 once again.

Chicago Bears (3-4) AT New England Patriots (5-2) – Patriots -6

Prediction: Bears, 27-24. This has all the makings of your classic “trap game” for New England. Not only do they play Peyton Manning and the Broncos the following week. But, New England also has to deal with the deteriorating health of their defense. Jarrod Mayo was already out for the season. Now, the Patriots will have to make due without their best pass rusher, Chandler Jones, for at least a few weeks. Add into that their already well pronounced inability to stop the run (and the prowess of Chicago’s Matt Forte), and you have a recipe made for disaster. Darrelle Revis showing up late to practices and being sent home by Bill Belichick certainly doesn’t help. Chicago is 3-1 away from Soldier Field. They’ll move to 4-4 overall with all of those wins coming on the road with a win on Sunday.

Buffalo Bills (4-3) AT New York Jets (1-6) – Jets -3

Prediction: Bills, 19-14. Rex Ryan has a new toy in Percy Harvin. But, I wouldn’t expect Harvin to make too much of an impact against Buffalo, whose defense ranks near the top of the league. The Bills have their own problems, with both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller out due to injury. Expect the emergence of Bryce Brown to ensue, as the Bills keep their division title hopes alive with a victory.

Oakland Raiders (0-6) AT Cleveland Browns (3-3) – Browns -7

Prediction: Browns, 31-21. So, Cleveland gets to play winless teams in back-to-back weeks. They’ll have to hope this time around turns out better than last week’s disastrous defeat at the hands of Jacksonville. Brian Hoyer really struggled in Jacksonville. But, he’ll return home to the friendly confines, where he’s played exceptionally well in 2014. Expect a bounce back for Hoyer and continued failures for the soon-to-be 0-7 Oakland Raiders.

Indianapolis Colts (5-2) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) – Colts -3.5

Prediction: Colts, 24-17. The Steelers are coming off a short week, with their Monday night victory over Houston still fresh in the minds of their fans. That won’t help against a Colts team that shutout Cincinnati last Sunday. If Pittsburgh has any hope, it’s getting the run game going with Bell and Blount. They’ll also need to contain Andrew Luck, who has continued his ascent towards the top of the NFL’s quarterback rankings. I don’t see it happening, as the Steelers will likely fall back to .500 despite playing at home.

Green Bay Packers (5-2) AT New Orleans Saints (2-4) – Pick ’em

redskinsPrediction: Packers, 38-27. First off, I really don’t understand how this is a pick ’em game. This reminds me all too well of a 2011 Philadelphia Eagles type of spread. That is, a team that’s so wildly overhyped in the preseason that continues to get the benefit of the doubt until November. The Saints’ defense is abysmal, and the offense hasn’t been all that much better in crunch time. We’re really supposed to believe that they can hang with a red-hot Packers team (winners of four in a row) just because they’re playing at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome?

Washington Redskins (2-5) AT Dallas Cowboys (6-1) – Dallas -10

Prediction: Washington, 27-24. Most will call me insane. They’re probably right. But, there’s something about the idea of Colt McCoy returning to Texas, where he played collegiately for the Longhorns, and beating the Cowboys on their own turf. After all, Dallas has long had trouble with the Redskins at home, regardless of whether their QB was Jason Campbell or Todd Collins. For the Redskins to win, they’ll need to stop the run and pound the rock with Alfred Morris. At least one of those things is likely to occur. That’s good enough for me, especially considering how much I disdain the Cowboys.

The City of Brotherly Love has never been a very loving environment for Philadelphia Eagles starting signal callers. In fact, it’s often said that the most popular man in the city is the backup quarterback in midnight-green. In 2014, that mantra still holds true, and young QB Nick Foles continues to fight through growing pains and growing animosity from the fanbase and the often convoluted Philadelphia media.

foleskellyRandall Cunningham dealt with it. After all, the 1990 MVP award winner “could never read a defense.” Donovan McNabb, the team’s all time wins leader at the position, was booed from the moment he was drafted and considered a “choker” who couldn’t get the job done at the most crucial of times. Ron Jaworski, Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb; the list of gunslingers whose psyches were dented by the vociferous venom of the Philadelphia faithful reaches deep into the franchise’s futile history.

Now, in the midst of the franchise’s most successful season in 10-years, the skeptical nature of Philadelphia’s fans has once against reared it’s ugly head.

Foles, who shattered team records with 27 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in 2013, has undoubtedly seen regression in his stats. Anyone who expected similar numbers would be kidding themselves. After all, defenses learn tendencies of young quarterbacks and it’s up to the player to overcome those adjustments. So far, Foles leads the league in turnovers. Yes, some folessnowof them have been worse than others. But, at 25-years old, these are the mistakes Foles should be expected to make. It’s also no mistake that the team keeps winning despite these flaws. “Culture beats scheme any day,” says Foles’ coach Chip Kelly. It’s that same culture that Foles is apart of that will keep his teammates fighting for him, and vice versa. Now, if only we could convince the fans and media to understand that perfection has its price.

Regression from one-season to another is no surprise for a young QB. One of the best of all time, Saints QB Drew Brees, saw similar regression when he was Foles’ age:

Drew Brees 2002: 320-526 (60.8%), 17 TD, 16 INT
Drew Brees 2003: 205-356 (57.6%), 11 TD, 15 INT
Drew Brees 2004: 262-400 (65.5%), 27 TD, 7 INT

Now, I am by no means comparing Foles to Brees. After all, the former’s numbers in his first season as a starter far dwarfs the future hall of fame’rs statistics. But, it goes to further illustrate that those looking for prolonged perfection from their quarterback are looking for something that just doesn’t happen when the signal caller in question is still enduring his first 25 career starts.

Even the statistical benchmark for quarterbacks, Dan Marino, endured regression from his first full season as a starter to the next:

Dan Marino 1984: 362-564 (64.2%), 48 TD, 17 INT
Dan Marino 1985: 336-567 (59.3%), 30 TD, 21 INT
Dan Marino 1986: 378-623 (60.7%), 44 TD, 23 INT

My, oh my, look at all those Marino turnovers. I don’t think too many people were calling the future hall-of-fame QB a bust or a liability at the time. That’s the type of language reserved for Foles on the Philadelphia airwaves. It begs the question of whether or not Philadelphians are as wise as they claim to be when it comes to their football team. After all, there’s no way that a player like Brett Favre went through these same slumps, right?

Brett Favre 1992: 302-471 (64.1%), 18 TD, 13 INT
Brett Favre 1993: 318-522 (60.9%), 19 TD, 24 INT
Brett Favre 1994: 363-582 (62.4%), 33 TD, 14 INT

All three of the quarterbacks previously listed were entering their second years in the NFL when they became full time starters, just like Foles. Don’t like history? What about a more recent example? Here, we have Brees’ replacement in San Diego and current MVP front-runner Philip Rivers:

Philip Rivers 2006: 284-460 (61.7%), 22 TD, 9 INT
Philip Rivers 2007: 277-460 (60.2%), 21 TD, 15 INT
Philip Rivers 2008: 312-478 (65.3%), 34 TD, 11 INT

Like Foles, Rivers got a chance to sit on the bench and learn. When he finally got his chance to start, the former NC State star brees riversled the Chargers to the postseason. After a statistical slump in 2007, he was right back to his old, aerial assaulting ways in his third year as a starter.

Foles and Rivers each led their teams to the playoffs their first season as starters. Meanwhile, the former has the 2014 Eagles atop the NFC at 5-1. It begs the question, “why so serious,” Philadelphia fans? You have the best record in the conference and a young quarterback who is clearly not afraid to make and learn from his mistakes. The only other thing you could ask for is a Lombardi Trophy. With Foles and Kelly at the helm, that wish might finally come true.