Saturday, February 22, 2014

Eagles Offseason Report- Potential Free Agents

The Eagles head into free agency in pretty good shape, but there will still be some hard decisions concerning which of their 10 potential free agents they should try and resign or let test the open market. The decision at the top of this list involve wide receivers' Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.

Early reports suggest that resigning Maclin is the top priority over Cooper, but he is coming off his second ACL surgery which has to be of some concern. The likely scenario would be to sign him to a one-year deal and go from there. Cooper emerged as Nick Foles' favorite target in Maclin's absence and he also established himself as a quality blocker. There may not be room for both of these players from a money standpoint, but I think they would actually complement each other in a Chip Kelly offense that is predicated spreading the ball around.

The next big decision is what to do with Michael Vick? He would probably want to test the free agent market given the lack of quality veteran quarterbacks that will available. The Eagles would probably love to have him as a backup to Foles, but are they willing to fork over the money needed to keep him in the fold?

There is a trio of safeties set to become free agents next month. The most notable name is former second-round draft pick Nate Allen, who finally showed signs of living-up to his draft status in his fourth season in the league. You get the feeling that Philadelphia might be willing to part ways with Allen in an effort to completely rebuild a defensive secondary that was clearly the weakest point of the team. The other two potential free agents are Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. Both have shown value on special teams, but neither is suited to fill the role at safety as a starter. Of the two, Coleman has the best shot at coming back next season.

Punter Donnie Jones is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, but look for the Eagles to work something out before the March 11th deadline. Favorable field position was a key factor in quite a few games this past season and Jones was a huge part of that success with his ability to consistently pin opposing teams deep in their own territory.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

2013 NFL Money Makers and Bankroll Busters

There is no doubt that the Eagles were one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch this past season with an offense that was ranked second in the NFL in total yards (417.2) and fourth in points (27.6). Their defense had its issues defending against the pass, but it was vastly improved at stopping the run and it ended the regular season ranked in the middle of the pack in points allowed (23.9). The net result was a 10-6 straight-up record and a trip to the playoffs as the NFC East Division Champion.

For anyone who likes to bet on the NFL, Philadelphia proved to be costly at times especially at home. It went an even 8-8 against the spread with a 3-5 ATS record at the Linc. During the Birds' second-half 7-2 SU run to the division title, they were slightly better ATS at 5-3-1, but nowhere close to money maker status. The one area you could have made some money betting the Eagles was the total line in their eight road games given that six of the eight went OVER the closing line.

The following link is to a recent article I wrote for Sporting Charts covering the NFL's top money makers from last season and well as which teams were just one big drain on the bankroll.

NFL Against The Spread and Total Standings 2013-14 Season

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Philadelphia Eagles 2014 Futures Odds

It did not take the sportsbooks all that long to release their NFL futures odds for Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix next February as well as for each conference champion. The good news is that the Eagles have the best odds of any other team in the NFC East on BetOnline's current board, but they are seventh on the list to win the NFC at +1500 and they have been opened at +3000 to win it all, which is also well down the list.

Philadelphia should once again have a very potent offensive attack, especially with Nick Foles firmly in place as its starting quarterback, However, if Seattle's dominating 43-8 win over Denver this past Sunday proved anything, it proved that defense still wins championships. The Eagles did make major strides in that area over the past season, but they still have a ways to go to work their way to the top of list, especially when it comes to defending against the pass.

Another key to winning a Super Bowl is to win enough games to lock-up a first round bye. While a few of the past champions have taken the wildcard route to a title, it is getting harder and harder to win playoff games on the road. The good news is that next season the Birds face the AFC South, which is a bit more manageable than an AFC West Division that produced three playoff teams this past year. However the downside to winning the NFC East adds Green Bay and Carolina to next year's schedule and they will face the entire NFC West which has developed into the toughest division in the league. The net result on paper from last season slate to next season's schedule is a much tougher road to hoe. As the eternal optimist, I still think Philly can squeeze 12 wins out of this schedule and that just so happens to be my magic number to secure of the top two seeds in a very competitive conference.

My two big takeaways from this past season is that Foles is the real deal at quarterback and Chip Kelly has what it takes to be a successful head coach in the NFL. It may still take a year or two to climb to the top of that futures odds list, but I am going to take a flyer on the Eagles' longer odds right now to make that jump all the way to the top in next season.