Saturday, November 28, 2015

NFL Betting Odds to Make the Playoffs

You know that things are bad when a team is a game and half out of first place in its division and the sportsbooks will not even post any betting odds for its chances to make the playoffs. The 2015 Philadelphia Eagles are one of those teams. Following another blowout loss this past Thursday to a Detroit Lions' team that had won a grand total of three games this season, the Birds have officially gravitated from being a good team playing bad to a bad team playing awful.

Former NFL head coach Jim Mora will always be best known for his animated and exasperated rant about making the playoffs when his Indianapolis Colts team fell to 4-6 in 2001 after a bad loss to San Francisco. I could not bring myself to watch any of the post-game interviews following the Eagles' latest collapse, but I hope that nobody asked Chip Kelly about his team's chances to make it into the postseason this year. The only question I would like to ask is where does he think he will be coaching next season?

Moving on, there are a number of NFL teams in both the AFC and the NFC that have a legitimate chance to get into the playoffs and BetOnline Sportsbook has recently set some betting odds for their chances as a special NFL team prop. Each and every week of the NFL season I put together my "best bet" picks for some of these special props for Doc's Sports and this week I came up with picks for a trio of team's betting odds to extend their regular season into this year's Super Bowl Derby.

The following is the link to this week's piece on Doc's.

NFL Playoff Odds: Picks and Predictions for Three Potential Playoff Teams

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mark Sanchez Set to Start this Sunday for Philly

While Sam Bradford has yet to officially be ruled out of this Sunday's home game against Tampa Bay, it looks more and more like Mark Sanchez will get the call to try and lead the Eagles to what could be considered a "must-win" given last Sunday's unexpected loss to Miami as 5.5-point favorites at home.

Sanchez played a key role in that loss with a late-game interception in the end zone with Philly driving to take the lead. This has been his MO throughout his seven-year NFL career. Looking at his life-time stats first with the New York Jets and in his last two seasons with Philadelphia, Sanchez has thrown 82 touchdowns and 81 interceptions. The one stat I could not find was how many of those interceptions cost his team the game. I do know that he is one-for-one this year.

In retrospect, getting rid of Nick Foles might have been the right move given his woeful play in St. Louis, but head coach Chip Kelly had to know deep in the back of his mind that neither Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez was the long-term answer to lead his team to a Super Bowl title. I am not sure if either of these quarterbacks is even capable of leading this team to a winning record but right now it is what it is.

I would rather see Tim Tebow run around in the backfield trying to make plays then watch Bradford sleepwalk his way through games or watch Sanchez throw games away with costly interceptions. Kelly was between a rock and a hard place this past offseason in his numerous attempts to land Marcus Mariota as his quarterback of the future, but he will not have the luxury of playing it safe this time around as far as finding someone that can run his offense the way it was really designed to work.

It is still too early to give up on this season, but if the Eagles do manage to somehow win the watered-down NFC East and possibly even win a playoff game or two it will be on the shoulders of their much-improved defense. This side of the ball has been the lone bright spot for the future against the grim reality that the Birds' offense has taken a huge step backwards with its current situation at the quarterback position.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Eagles' First Half Report Card

With eight of 16 NFL regular season games in the book, it is time to dole out the grades for the Eagles' first half performance. They come into this Sunday's home game against the 3-5 Miami Dolphins as seven-point favorites and the NFL score predictor on Odds Shark has them winning this matchup 27.9 to 18.1. That would be a great result, but I cannot let this influence my grading for their first eight games.

Overall Grade: C-

Philly was close to pulling a D or possibly even an F after a dismal 1-3 start that included blown leads against both Atlanta and Washington along with a downright ugly showing against Dallas in Week 2. They were able to pull their season out of the fire with three victories in their last four games, but the lone loss to 8-0 Carolina showed just how far the Birds still are from being on of top teams in the NFC.


I may be grading this unit a bit tough, but we are nine weeks into the season and this offense still has trouble playing as a cohesive unit. With Sam Bradford at quarterback it has been hit or miss in almost every game. The offense has gotten off to notoriously slow starts and you never know what you are going to get from one series to the next. Bradford's play in the second half of last Sunday's Dallas game might have been a turning point for the rest of the season so that is why I gave the offense a plus on my D grade.


This side of the ball as been a pleasant surprise this season after being the main root of the Eagles' collapse last year down the stretch. When it comes to the rankings in the NFL, some of the numbers do not support such a high grade. The defense is ranked 21st in the league against both the pass and the run when it comes to total yards allowed, but in the one category that matters most (points allowed) it is ranked 10th; giving-up an average of 20.5 points a game. Another reason why I graded this unit so high is its 20 takeways, which is ranked first in the NFL along with the New York Giants.

Coaching: D+

I am still a big fan of Chip Kelly and I honestly believe that he will be able to pull-up his grade with a better second half, but I had to be tough on him for his team's first half performance. Things are starting to fall into place, but sloppy and inconsistent play along with stupid penalties and costly turnovers (10 interceptions and five lost fumbles) are a tell-tale sign of a team that lacks the necessary discipline to truly be one of the top contenders for a Super Bowl run. Some people might want to give him the benefit of the doubt with so many new faces on this year's roster, but he is the one that made all those changes so that is on him.

This is not the kind of report card that I would want to bring home to my parents, so I am looking for some immediate improvement starting this Sunday when the Eagles bring themselves back home to the Linc. Following the game against the Dolphins, they will home against Tampa Bay and on the road against Detroit on Thanksgiving so the Birds should be able to bring a 7-4 record into Foxborough on Sunday, Dec. 6. Following that probable loss, Philly returns home for three-straight games against Buffalo, Arizona and Washington.

I have Kelly's Heroes winning two of three in that run to bring a 9-6 record into their season finale against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. This will no doubt be the final exam for the season and most likely a title game for the NFC East crown. I win would dramatically improve these grades, but a loss could send the Birds to summer school for the second straight year.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Eagles at Cowboys Sunday Night Football Preview & Free Pick

The Eagles are back in action this Sunday night in a crucial matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in what boils down to a must-win for two teams that have a combined five victories against nine losses on the year. Philadelphia went into last week's bye with a 3-4 record in its first seven games, while the Cowboys' 13-12 loss to Seattle last Sunday was their fifth-straight setback after a promising 2-0 start. The only thing in both of these team's favor is the overall dismal condition of the NFC East this season. New York is holding down first place with an even record of 4-4 so the winner of Sunday night's contest will remain in the thick of things for the division title.

After watching Chip Kelly's new-look Eagles for the past seven games, I actually know less about this team then I did going into that season opener against Atlanta. Consistency is a concept that does not register with this team and while the Birds are probably capable of beating any team in the NFL right now, they have also proven themselves capable of losing to any team as well. The Cowboys can pin their current woes on the loss of Tony Romo, who went down with a shoulder injury in a 20-10 win against Philadelphia in Week 2. It is doubtful that Dallas would have lost all five games if he was still under center, but this team's issues run deeper than losing its starting quarterback.

Sunday night's clash will be a defining moment for each of these teams win or lose. The winner might be able to use this game as a springboard to a NFC East title, while the loser could easily crash and burn over the remainder of the season. I am banking on the Eagles coming out on top, but I am damn sure not betting on it. To catch my official pick for this game, check out the link below for my complete preview of Sunday night's game for Sports Betting Stats.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Betting Pick