Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chip Kelly Wears-Out HIs Welcome in Philly

The curtain has finally been pulled on the Wizard of Broad Street!

In one swift move this past week, Philadelphia Eagles' owner Jeff Lurie once again changed the entire future direction of his team with the firing of his head coach Chip Kelly. It took Andy Reid 14 seasons to wear out is welcome in the City of Brotherly Love, but despite two 10-win seasons, Kelly was sent packing after fulfilling just three years of a four-year contract.

There are some highly irrational owners in the NFL that like to change coaches like underwear, but Lurie definitely does not fall into that category. He is the type of owner that strives for consistency from one season to next as was evident in Reid's long tenure with the team despite some big ups and downs along the way. The last time I looked, Reid has his Kansas City Chiefs headed to the playoffs for the second time in his three seasons with his new team.

I will go on record as publicly criticizing Kelly for the way he dismantled this team during last year's offseason and I will go on record as publicly praising him for those moves during a very promising preseason. The two things that I have personally learned from this ordeal is that disassembling a winning combination and expecting the same results does not work in the NFL. I have also learned to put absolutely zero stock in whatever happens in the NFL preseason.

I coined Kelly as "The Wizard of Broad Street" and while the name never stuck beyond my blog, I still think the name defines the man. If Reid became known in his press conferences for mysterious answers followed by "the time is yours", Kelly remained extremely aloof with the Philadelphia press and he was always quick to downplay anything negative that was thrown his way.

It appears that his callous and almost arrogant attitude towards the whole situation is what eventually got Kelly fired as opposed to his team's dismal performance on the field in a number of games this season. Lurie has already gone on record as saying that he did not intend to fire Kelly this week in a one-on-one meeting that must have went south in a hurry. When faced with the idea of giving up his role as director of player personnel, Kelly apparently refused and things probably unraveled from there.

My take on the whole situation is that Kelly was not really cut out to be a NFL coach. His desire to control every aspect of his team is better suited in a college environment where he can recruit the players he wants on a continual basis and where constant change is part of the program.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Eagles Look to Stay in the NFC East Title Race

The rubber meets the road this Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field when the 6-8 Philadelphia Eagles play host to the the 7-7 Washington Redskins in what is essentially a playoff game for both teams. If the Redskins win as three-point road underdogs they would sweep the Eagles for the season and clinch the NFC East crown. If Philadelphia finds a way to win, it would control its destiny in the division race. A win in the Eagles' final game of the season against the New York Giants would clinch the second NFC East title in Chip Kelly's three seasons at the helm as head coach.

You get the feeling that this is going to be a three-point game either way, so I would be inclined to take the three points and go with Washington. However, after 14 previous tries I have come to the realization that it is next to impossible to handicap the Eagles (or any team in this division) this year. They change their playing form from one quarter to the next let alone from week from week. Just when you think the offense has turned the corner under the direction of Sam Bradford, it starts to sputter and stall. Philadelphia's defense has done a great job at creating turnovers all season long, but it has also been torched for 40 points or more in three of the team's last five games.

Before last Sunday night's correct and very predictable call that the Eagles would crash and burn against Arizona, I made another bold prediction that the Eagles would win these last two games to clinch the NFC East title. This would most likely set-up the opportunity for the Birds to embarrass themselves in the Wildcard Round against the Seattle Seahawks as their likely opponent. I did go with the Redskins and the points for Saturday night in a game preview for Handicappers Hideaway, but I am sticking with the call that Philly wins both of its last two games straight-up to keep the torture going for one more week.

NFL Week 16 Preview & Pick: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cardinals at Eagles Sunday Night Football Preview & Pick

The good news is that it is Week 15 of the NFL regular season and our beloved Birds are tied for first place in the NFC East Division title race. The bad news is that Philly is 6-7 on the year and facing the 11-2 Arizona Cardinals as a 3.5-point underdog at home this Sunday night.

The Eagles have been one of the hardest teams to figure out all season long, but the basic breakdown of this Sunday night's matchup points to the Cardinals rolling to another fairly easy win after outscoring their opponents by a combined 153 points in their first 13 games. I picked against the Eagles when they played New England and they pulled-off an amazing 35-28 upset, but I also went with them in games verse Detroit and Tampa Bay when they were blown-out by a combined score of 90-31.

The amazing thing about Sunday night's tilt against Arizona in light of the current three-way tie with Washington and New York atop the division is that Philadelphia could lose and still be in solid shape to win the NFC East. To me, this is still a lost season that will end somewhere along the line with another bad loss, but the Eagles do get some extra style points for keeping things interesting.

I am already counting on the Birds to lose to Arizona on Sunday, but as crazy as this may sound, I also believe they can still get past the Redskins and the Giants to finish 8-8 and win the NFC East title. That means the bad loss I am talking about will come in the first round of the playoffs to finally put a very frustrating 2015 campaign to an end.

The following is a link to Sports Betting Stats for my complete preview and pick for Sunday night's game against the Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles ATS Pick

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Betting on LeSean McCoy's Return to the Linc

Last week I wrote a betting piece about Chip Kelly's future in Philadelphia and all indications point towards the Wizard of Broad St. being on the Eagles' sidelines at the start of the 2016 regular season. This week I have turned my attention towards running back LeSean McCoy's return to Lincoln Financial Field as a member of Buffalo Bills for this Sunday afternoon's game against the Eagles.

Bovada Sportsbook has set the "over/under" on McCoy's total rushing yards for Sunday's game at 89.5 with betting odds of -120 for either side. You know that McCoy will be highly motivated to have a big day running the ball and he comes into this matchup in solid form. Shady has racked-up 488 rushing yards over his last five games including three separate outings with 112 yards. I personally think he goes off against the Birds' defense this Sunday so a big wager on the OVER in this prop is the way I would go.

The following is a link to all my special NFL prop picks for Week 14 of the regular season in this week's piece for Doc's Sports.

NFL Props Odds with Expert Betting Picks and Predictions

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Betting on Chip Kelly's Future in Philadelphia

Given the Eagles' 4-7 record heading into Sunday's road game against New England as double-digit underdogs, there has been widespread speculation as to head coach Chip Kelly's future with the team. Some reports have him heading back to the college ranks in light of his very successful stint at Oregon before taking the job in Philly. Some football experts predict that team owner Jeff Lurie will cut his losses and fire Kelly after this extremely disappointing season comes to an end. There has even been speculation that Kelly will be traded to Tennessee so he can finally be reunited with his prized quarterback Marcus Mariota during his tenure with the Ducks.

One of the best things about this kind of NFL drama is that you will usually find a sportsbook that will post betting odds on what the ultimate outcome will be. That is the case this week with Bovada's special NFL props concerning Kelly's future as a head coach. Along with the race for league MVP and Jeff Fisher's future in St. Louis as that team's head coach, I have weighed-in on my prediction for what the Wizard of Broad Street will be doing when Week 1 of the 2016 NFL regular season rolls around.

The following is a link to my weekly NFL prop bet picks for Doc's Sports covering Chip Kelly's future in Philadelphia.

NFL Props Odds with Expert Betting Picks and Predictions