Thursday, October 27, 2011

NFC East Game Previews- Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

This Sunday night the Cowboys and Eagles renew one of the best and most heated rivalries in the NFL. As an added bonus, this is basically a must-win game for both teams as the loser would find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the NFC East division race.

The Eagles are coming off a bye, which bodes well for the Birds as Andy Reid's teams are a perfect 12-0 after a week off during the regular season. If there ever was a year when this streak could end, this would be it after a shaky start has the Eagles at 2-4 on the year. The turnaround hopefully started with a pre-bye 20-13 victory over Washington, but if they are going to have any chance of coming anywhere close to living up to the incredible expectations that were placed on this team before the season started, a win against the Cowboys is imperative to say the least.

Below is a link to my full preview of Sunday night's game as originally posted on Cappers Picks

NFC East Game Previews- Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

NFC East Game Previews – Miami Dolphins vs. New York Giants

The NFL schedule makers did not realize that they game the New York Giants back-to-back byes this season, but this week's game against Miami basically equates to having three full weeks to prepare for next week's game against New England in Foxborough.

I get the whole "any given Sunday" concept, but the Giants coming off a week's rest and playing at home almost ensures that the Dolphins remain winless on the year. A win would run their record to 5-2 and keep them in the lead in the NFC East no matter happens in the Cowboys-Eagles game. This game will also be their last as doublle-digit favorites for quite awhile with a brutal stretch of games coming up. After going to New England next week, New York stays on the road to face the surprisingly good San Francisco 49ers. It returns home to host the Eagles, goes back on the road to play New Orleans, and then comes back home to welcome the Green Bay Packers to East Rutherford.

Below is a link to my complete preview of Sunday's game as originally posted on Cappers Picks

NFC East Game Previews – Miami Dolphins vs. New York Giants

NFC East Game Previews- Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills

The Washington Redskins early sprint to the top of the NFC East is in serious danger of turning into a long, downhill marathon to the division's basement after not only losing their last two games, but losing their tight end, Chris Cooley and best running back, Tim Hightower to season-ending injuries. Wide Receiver Santana Moss is out until at least mid-November and several other key players remain questionable for this Sunday.

This team is simply not deep enough to absorb that many injuries and still be able to win enough games to keep pace in the East. The other issue at hand is at quarterback where John Beck has replaced Rex Grossman as the starter after Grossman imploded against the Eagles with four interceptions. Neither of these QB's is going to strike fear into any defensive secondary in the league which makes the injury to Hightower that much more devastating.

This week the Redskins head north of the border for a late Sunday afternoon game against Buffalo at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Below is a link to my complete preview of the game as originally posted on Cappers Picks

NFC East Game Previews- Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eagles Bye Week Review

This post will be shorter than expected as I never imagined that the Eagles would be a paltry 2-4 heading into their bye week. The highlights of the first six games have been few and far between and my hopes for a glorious trip to Indianapolis this Winter have been dashed on the rocks of broken dreams. I still think the Birds will salvage this season with an NFC East title and return trip to the playoffs, but they are not the stuff of Champions in their current state and it is very doubtful this will change over final 10 games of the season.

What this debacle has done is force me to go back and look at my preseason predictions for the first six games just to see how far off-base I actual was. My prediction for a 12-4 season is still alive, but on life-support with a hand on firmly grasp around the plug that is ready to pull the cord at any minute.

As they say, 'read it and weep'

Week 1 – September 11, 2011 – at St Louis (1:00 PM) 24-17 W
31-13 W

Week 2 – September 18, 2011 – at Atlanta (8:20 PM) 30-13 W
35-31 L

Week 3 – September 25, 2011 – vs New York Giants (1:00 PM) 34-31 W
29-16 L

Week 4 – October 2, 2011 – vs San Francisco (1:00 PM) 27-10 W
24-23 L

Week 5 – October 9, 2011 – at Buffalo (1:00 PM) 20-13 W
31-24 L

Week 6 – October 16,2011 – at Washington (1:00 PM) 24-21 L
20-13 W

Friday, October 14, 2011

NFC East Game Previews- Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins

Before last week's game against Buffalo, I was using phrases such as 'now or never' and 'do or die' to describe the importance of that game. After witnessing another mess of mistakes, costly penalties, and a slew of turnovers that dropped the Eagles into a 1-4 hole with a downright ugly 31-24 loss to the Bills, I am at a loss for words to describe the importance of this week's game against Washington.

To quote Bruce Springsteen, one of my favorite musicians in the world, this week I am going to "stand back and let it all be". Everyone from Andy Reid down to the water boys fully understand the significance of Sunday's game. This team will either pick itself up and play to the level it is capable of, or it will once again flounder its way to a fifth-straight loss.

At this point, even a sloppy win would be exceptable, but if the Eagles are to have any chance to once again become relevant in the conversation of legitimate playoff teams, they need to make a statement like they did in last season's trip to FedEx Field.

Below is a link to my complete preview of Sunday's game as originally posted on Cappers Picks.

Philadelphia vs. Washington

NFC East Previews- Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants

The Giants are 3-2 this season and playing true to form with a couple of solid performances and a couple of head-scratchers that have plagued this team over the past few seasons.

They opened the season with one of those head-scratchers in a 28-14 loss to Washington that made the Redskins look much better than advertised. After a predictable 28-16 romp over St. Louis, the G-Men put it to our Eagles with a strong second-half in a 29-16 win. Last week against Seattle, New York and Eli Manning were up to old tricks with a couple of untimely turnovers that resulted in a 36-25 loss to a team it should have beaten.

This week the Giants take-on the upstart Buffalo Bills, who are 4-1 and fresh off a 31-24 beatdown of our beloved Birds last Sunday. This is another game that New York should win as the Bills are ripe for a letdown especially on the road. Whether or not the Dr. Jekyll version of this Jekyll and Hyde team shows up remains to be seen.

Below is a link to my complete preview of Sunday's game as originally posted on Cappers Picks

Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants

Friday, October 7, 2011

Eagles vs. Bills Game Preview & Predictions

The 2011 NFL regular season is only four weeks old and we are already resorting to clich├ęs for this Sunday's game such as 'now or never' and 'do or die' for an Eagles team that has played woefully below its expectations in its last three games.

Last week's collapse against San Francisco was especially disturbing given Andy Reid’s past ability to have his team ready to play after a bad loss, which just so happened to be the 29-16 loss to the Giants the week before after blowing a 10-point lead in a 34-31 loss to Atlanta in Week 2. The last time the Eagles lost three games in-a-row was in 2007, when they ended the season 8-8 and out of the playoffs. They are clearly headed in the same direction unless something dramatic happens this Sunday in Buffalo. Even if they find a way to snap this losing streak, the Birds have a long way to go before working their back up the ladder as one of the elite teams in the league.

I will be the first to admit that I was one of the first in line to drink the cool-aid when the team went on an offseason spending-spree in an attempt to add the missing pieces for a Super Bowl run. The unfortunate reality is that all the high-priced talent in the world will not make all the underlying problems with this team go away.

The offense is still on solid footing despite the fact that the line has been basically been rebuilt from scratch. It needs to eliminate the mistakes and turnovers that have worked against it so far, but, as a whole, this unit has played well enough to be ranked fourth overall in the NFL and 10th in scoring.

The defense is a whole other story. The ‘Juan Castillo experiment’ has gone horribly wrong so far, as you have to really question the former offensive line coach’s ability to be a coordinator on this side of the ball. I have said it numerous times before and will say it again, this defense has not been the same since the death of former coordinator Jim Johnson and the departure via free agency of safety Brian Dawkins. Nobody can do anything about the tragic loss of Johnson, but last time I checked, Dawkins is still playing in the league.

What Reid failed to take into consideration when letting the future Hall of Fame safety walk away after the 2008 season is that attitude is often way more important than ability. Since Dawkins departure, nobody on this team has stepped up to supply the necessary intensity he provided on a weekly basis. This year’s squad, on paper, may be the most talented one assembled in recent memory, but right now they are also the softest one that I have ever witnessed in all my years of following the Birds.

Everyone loves watching Michael Vick run around and make big plays, but if this team is going to have any chance to turn things around, it is going to have to learn how to keep punching a team in the mouth once it has them down.

Below is a link to my complete preview and prediction forSunday’s game as originally posted on Cappers Picks.

Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills