Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview

It is time to start getting serious about the NFL preseason heading into Week 2 of a four game schedule. This week the starters for all 32 teams should see more playing time so at least for the first half of the games we should get our first taste of what to expect in the regular season.

Last week the Eagles did a good job moving the ball against Indianapolis with both Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow taking the majority of the snaps at quarterback. This Saturday night we will get our first look at Sam Bradford in a home game against Baltimore. I would have to presume that if he is healthy enough and stays that way over the next few weeks that he will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 of the regular season against Atlanta. Mark Sanchez is probably still in the mix to fill that role, but I am really looking forward to seeing just how well Bradford can run this high-powered Eagles' offense.

The one conclusion that I did draw from that Week 1 win was that Philadelphia should be just fine without its No. 1 receiver from last season Jeremy Maclin. Both Jordan Matthews and rookie Nelson Agholor made a couple of nifty catches including Agholor's 34-yard touchdown reception from Sanchez towards the end of the first quarter that gave the Eagles a lead they never relinquished. We are still waiting for the debut of running back DeMarco Murray, but the Birds also did a good job running the ball last Sunday with 123 yards rushing on 32 carries.

The Ravens' defense should provide a much better test against the new-look Birds so it will interesting to see how well this offense can move the ball on Saturday night.

I just starting writing weekly articles for a new site so the following is a link to my preview and picks for a few of the better matchups on this week's preseason slate including the Ravens vs. Eagles game.

NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview & Predictions

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Eagles Preseason Week 1 Thoughts and Musings

The Eagles will share the spotlight with the Indianapolis Colts as the featured Sunday game in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL preseason. I have already stated in numerous preseason articles that Philadelphia without a doubt is the most intriguing team in the league heading into the new season.

All 32 NFL teams have made numerous changes to their roster this past offseason in pursuit of a Super Bowl title, even the reigning champion New England Patriots. The Eagles took that task to a whole new level over the past few months behind the Wizard of Broad Street, Chip Kelly ( I am hoping that nickname sticks beyond just my blog). You would think that a team that won 10 games in each of its last two seasons would look to tweak things a bit with its roster to try and add those two to three more victories that would probably result in home field advantage for the playoffs.

Not Kelly, not by a long stretch. He decided to blow things up by trading away his starting quarterback and All-Pro running back while letting his top receiver sign with another team. He has also reassembled his offensive line, linebacking corps and defensive secondary. He probably even changed ball boys and cheerleaders behind the scene.

All I can say is that I am pumped to see what the Wizard has come up with! This Sunday will not show us all that much with the starters seeing little action, but I do predict that the Eagles will still score more points on their own than the total score in almost every other preseason game this week. My bold prediction for the game is that Tim Tebow throws and runs for a score (remember you read it here first).

Kelly has put the FUN back in football and he could care less what anyone else thinks. Eagles fans have not seen the likes of this type of swagger from a head coach since Buddy Ryan roamed the sidelines at Veteran Stadium. When Reid was in town the time was ours. Kelly knows that the time is his and he is hell bent on making the most of it!

Friday, August 7, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football the Eagles' Way

Training camps all over the NFL are in full swing and the preseason schedule gets underway this Sunday with the annual Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio. That means it is time to get serious about drafting your fantasy football team for the 2015 season. I managed to finish dead last in my league last year with a healthy dose of Eagles on my roster, but that is not going to stop me from loading-up this year's squad with a few of the top fantasy football players that are new to the nest for 2015.

The top-ranked Eagle on FantasyPros list heading into the 2015 fantasy football season is running back DeMarco Murray at No. 15. Interestingly enough the back he replaced, LeSean McCoy is just two spots lower at No. 17 so it should be a great back-and-forth battle between these two players all year long. I missed out on drafting McCoy last season as one of the top three players on the list, but I should be able to get Murray with my first round pick.

The next Eagle on the list at No. 37 is wide receiver Jordan Matthews. As a rookie in 2014, he caught everyone's attention as the team's second-leading receiver with 67 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns. The receiver ahead of him on the stat sheet was Jeremy Maclin, but he decided to jump ship to Kansas City to be reunited with Chiefs' head coach Andy Reid. This makes it a no-brainer to take Matthews with my second pick since he should still be on the board.

Current Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly decided to trade away last season's starting quarterback Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams for their starter Sam Bradford. Looking at the rankings for this season there are 16 quarterbacks ahead of Bradford on the list, but that is not going to stop me from adding him to my fantasy football team as my starter.

I will definitely try and add tight end Zach Ertz and possibly even Ryan Mathews as a back-up running back. When it comes to picking a defense I can almost guarantee the Philadelphia will still be available in the later rounds. If you are going to be the ultimate homer then you might as well go all the way.

The one thing I never liked about fantasy football was having to root against your favorite team because you had the opposing team's quarterback as your starter. My draft strategy may ensure another last place finish in my league, but you cannot call yourself a die-hard fan if your do not walk the walk no matter how much money is on the line.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

NFL 2015 Win Total Odds - Best Bets

I have already talked at length about the Eagles' projected wins for this upcoming season and while I am bullish on their chances to exceed the 9.5 total that most sportbooks have on their board, they are not one of my top picks given all the question marks that still surround the "new-look" Birds.

Philadelphia is the kind of team that could blow everyone's doors off if everything goes according to plan, yet they also have the potential to crash and burn if injuries start taking their toll with any of their new additions. The opening of training camp is right around the corner and in just seven weeks we will know exactly what we are dealing with in a Monday night opener on the road against Atlanta.

BetOnline recently updated its betting odds for all 32 NFL team's projected win totals and the following is a link to an article I recently wrote for Sports Betting Stats with my "over/under" picks for the top four teams on the list.

NFL Win Total Lines - Betting Picks

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2015 NFL Season Win Totals Picks: Philadelphia Eagles

I saved the best for last in my tour around the NFC East with my preview and prediction for Philadelphia's win total this season. In two years under Chip Kelly as the Birds' head coach, they have posted back-to-back 10-6 records. The projected win total for 2015 with most of the sportsbooks stands at 9.5 with the moneyline odds trending towards the UNDER.

The Eagles could actually be the most intriguing team in the NFL heading into the 2015 season given their complete makeover on offense. They will kick things off with Sam Bradford as their new quarterback, DeMarco Murray in the backfield as their primary runner and second-year wide receiver Jordan Matthews as their No. 1 target in the passing game. The offensive line has a few new faces as well and the entire defensive secondary has been rebuilt from the ground up. The only constant with Kelly is constant change in pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

The bottom line with Philly is that this season could end with a deep run in the playoffs if everything goes its way, or with a step backwards from double-digit wins if players like Bradford and Murray cannot stay healthy. As always, I remain rather bullish on their chances, but that should not come as a big surprise to anyone who follows this blog.

Below is a link to my complete preview and prediction for this season in an article that was previously posted on Doc's Sports.

2015 NFL Season Win Totals Picks: Philadelphia Eagles