Even against one of the best teams in football, this loss was hard to swallow.
On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles gave it their all, falling just 4-points short in Glendale, Arizona. At 5-2, Philadelphia is still in good shape for a playoff berth. Though, their schedule won’t get much easier from-here-on-out. Sunday’s affair, a game in which SkoodSports was present and accounted for, Philadelphia saw a late lead evaporate thanks to a blown coverage by Cary Williams and Nate Allen. Philadelphia neglected to improve their inconsistent secondary before Tuesday’s trading deadline. So, they’ll have to rely upon the same crop of characters when they head to Houston this weekend to take on the Texans.
As usual, much has been made of Nick Foles’ two turnovers. Though, somehow rookie WR Josh Huff escapes blame for his embarrassing redzone fumble in the first half that cost the team the game just as much as Foles did. What about Chip Kelly’s refusal to challenge the call on Chris Polk’s goal line run in the 4th quarter? Or, the continued reluctance on shotgun run plays inside the opponent’s 3-yard line.
In the end, the blame is shared. Foles had some ugly moments. But, he also threw the ball 62 times and completed a team record 36 passes. If Philadelphia could have gotten just one stop in the second half, this game would have been theirs. Typically in Philadelphia, the QB is the first to be blamed. We’re seeing that in droves. But, just as typical as that is the fact that fans and media are almost always wrong.
This Sunday, the Eagles take on the Texans. JJ Watt and Houston’s defense should present some mismatches for the Eagles still banged up offensive line. Jason Kelce’s status for this game will be determined on Saturday. Meanwhile, RG Todd Herremans is expected to play despite tearing his bicep during Sunday’s loss.
If Philadelphia is going to triumph on the road, they’ll need McCoy to run for over 100-yards again. Likewise, the defense needs to contain Texans’ RB Arian Foster, who has returned near the top of the NFL’s rushing leaders. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, while a solid game manager, isn’t going to be the one to beat the Eagles. It’s going to be up to Foster and the run game to wear down Philly’s defense. Something that no running game has done since their week 4 loss to San Francisco.
Line: Eagles -2.5
Prediction: Eagles 26-17
And now on to the rest of SkoodSports’ week nine picks:
Last week: 10-5
(Best picks: Redskins by 3, Browns by 10, Bengals by 3)
2014 Season: 56-45
New Orleans Saints (3-4) AT Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) – Saints -3.5
Prediction: Panthers, 34-31. In a dome, the Saints would likely roll over what is a very inconsistent Carolina team. However, New Orleans is 0-4 on the road, and has not played well outside of the Mercedes Benz Superdome since Drew Brees arrived. I’ll take the home team here in a close one, atypical for Thursday night. Bet the over if you’re into that sort of thing.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) AT Cleveland Browns (4-3) – Browns -7
Prediction: Cleveland, 26-14. Doug Martin has been brutal for Tampa this season, and the third year RB is likely out for a while now due to injury. He’ll be replaced by Bobby Rainey with a potential cameo from rookie 3rd round pick Charles Sims. They won’t have enough to overcome Cleveland, whose last place schedule has aided their ascent from the depths of the AFC.
Arizona Cardinals (6-1) AT Dallas Cowboys (6-2) – Cowboys -3
Prediction: Cardinals, 26-23. Dallas looks like they’re going to play Tony Romo, who’s one bad hit in the back away from his career potentially ending. The real story here is Arizona, whose staunch run defense (Shady McCoy’s 80+ yards last week were the most allowed all season by the Cardinals) gets a true test in the form of the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray. Dallas’ defense is beginning to erode. Expect Arizona to take advantage and win this one in a close affair.
New York Jets (1-7) AT Kansas City Chiefs (4-3) – Chiefs -10
Prediction: Chiefs, 38-14. This is as close to a lock as possible despite the double-digit spread. Michael Vick replaces Geno Smith as New York’s starter and who better to get it started against than Andy Reid. Vick is a shell of his former self and the weapons around him are nothing more than pedestrian. Alex Smith (25-29) was as efficient as it can be last week. That spells disaster for a pathetic New York pass defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) AT Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1) – Bengals -11
Prediction: Bengals, 24-16. I’m not really sure what to make of the Bengals. They’re as streaky as they come this season. I do know, on the other hand, that Jacksonville stinks. The problem with this spread is that Cincinnati is likely missing Giovanni Bernard this weekend, and the Jaguars’ staunch run defense should make it difficult for Jeremy Hill and the Bengals to run out the clock if they have a solid lead. Take the Jags with the points.
San Diego Chargers (5-3) AT Miami Dolphins (4-3) – Dolphins -1.5
Prediction: Chargers, 27-20. One of the more interesting spreads this week that is more than likely influenced by San Diego travelling cross country and playing at 1:00 PM. While that may help Miami out, the Chargers are still the more talented team and they’ll be aided by the extra rest (haven’t played in 10-days since a Thursday night loss in Denver). In the end, I’ll take Philip Rivers over Ryan Tannehill despite the latter’s recent upswing in performance.
Washington Redskins (3-5) AT Minnesota Vikings (3-5) – Vikings -1
Prediction: Redskins, 27-17. How ’bout them Redskins? A week after Washington made myself and Gregg Rosenthal the two smartest people in the world (we were just about the only people picking them to upset Dallas), the boys from DC get RG3 back after missing the 3rd year QB since opening day. While Griffin remains a question mark, he’s still good enough to beat a massively mediocre Vikings team.
St. Louis Rams (2-5) AT San Francisco 49ers (4-3) – 49ers -10
Prediction: 49ers, 35-21. San Francisco is coming off a bye week and playing a St. Louis team that can’t stop anyone. The Rams are also banged up on offense. This game could be over early. Keep an eye on Frank Gore, who should get plenty of touches for a surging 49ers bunch.
Oakland Raiders (0-7) AT Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – Seahawks -15
Prediction: Seahawks, 29-17. If there was ever an opportunity to galvanize this hapless bunch of Raiders, this is it. Not only are you playing the defending champs in their home stadium. But, you’re massive 15-point underdogs as well. I think that Derek Carr has enough poise to keep the Raiders within the line of this spread, even if it takes a late touchdown to do so. The last time I picked the Seahawks at home against a winless team, they almost lost the the Bucs last season. I’m going with Oakland to cover.
Denver Broncos (6-1) AT New England Patriots (6-2) – Broncos -3.5
Prediction: Broncos, 28-24. I really want to pick the Patriots here. What with Brady’s history at home against Manning and the fact that Denver has only played 2-road games this season so far (losing one of them). But, I just can’t do it. Denver has 10-days to prepare, a red hot offense, and one of the best pass rushing units in the NFL. Couple that with the losses that New England has suffered (Ridley, Jones, Mayo) and it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards this week despite the Pats’ 4-0 home mark. It will be close, and this matchup is must see TV.
Baltimore Ravens (5-3) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) – Ravens -1.5
Prediction: Steelers, 20-17. Speaking of must see TV, the rematch of this heated rivalry sees two hard nosed clubs go up against each other for division supremacy. There’s rarely a dull moment between the Steelers and Ravens, so expect a lot of physical play and a few scores as well. In the end, I’ll take the home team, as Pitt salvages a split with Baltimore.
Indianapolis Colts (5-3) AT New York Giants (3-4) – Colts -3.5
Prediction: Giants, 28-25. Monday Night Football has become a bastion for upsets this season. That trend will continue as the Giants improve to .500 with a win against Andrew Luck’s Colts. I really think Indianapolis’ pass defense was exposed last week, and a second consecutive road game in subpar weather will be less than advantageous for them. Meanwhile, the Giants are coming off a bye-week in what is a relative must win game to stay afloat in the uber-competitive NFC East.