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[#] Sat Oct 28 2017 19:56:52 EDT from rss

Subject: How will the Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks injuries impact the Eagles' season?

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A special bonus episode of BGN Radio!

[#] Sat Oct 28 2017 22:56:54 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2: Bouncing back on Hockey Night in Canada

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The Flyers got help up and down the lineup tonight and received a great effort from Brian Elliott as they ended their two-game skid in Toronto.

Tonight, the Flyers headed up to Toronto to try and snap a two-game losing streak as they face the Maple Leafs. And they’d do just that! Solid work by the team’s top line and its goaltender gave the Flyers a 4-2 win, one which should help get rid of the bad taste in the mouth that Thursday’s loss in Ottawa clearly left. Below, you can read as we relive this one via my minute-by-minute thoughts, sort of.


6:50 p.m.: The Flyers have lost two games in a row and given up 11 goals in doing so. Their second and third lines are close to nonexistent, and their goaltending has been ... well, it’s been Flyers goaltending. And they’re facing off with the highest-scoring team in hockey in Toronto.

So ... they’re totally winning this one, right?

6:55 p.m.: Strange start to the year for Brian Elliott. Pretty much every game’s either been above-average or terrible by the numbers — not a whole lot of in-between. Tough task for him tonight against a lot of offensive talent in Toronto.

6:58 p.m.: Also, the World-Destroying top-line of the Flyers gets one of its toughest tests of the young season tonight. Auston Matthews and William Nylander ain’t no joke here.

7:10 p.m.: Remember when they said this was going to be a 7 p.m. start? That was fun. (We’re still waiting.)

7:16 p.m.: And we’re FINALLY underway. Flyers’ top line out against Toronto’s third to start it out.

7:22 p.m.: The much-maligned middle-six off to a solid start. Good shift by the Lehtera line early on, with Konecny getting a couple of chances in close.

7:29 p.m.: Oof. Offensive-zone penalty on the Flyers as Sean Couturier trips Connor Brown coming out of the zone. Late whistle there by the ref. Big test early after what’s been a pretty strong start by the Flyers.

7:31 p.m.: And Brian Elliott is really called upon for the first time tonight — and he answers, stopping a wide open Marleau in front on the PK. Marleau beat Hagg to that spot.

7:32 p.m.: Flyers kill the penalty aaaaaaaaaaaand it’s 1-0 Toronto. Matthews sneaks behind Provorov, goes cross-ice to Kadri who beats Elliott. Those kinds of things will happen.

7:34 p.m.: On replay here, Laughton gets caught behind here, but perhaps more curiously what exactly is Gudas doing all the way over on that side of the ice?

7:35 p.m.: And now Marner streaks down the opposite side and rips a dangerous shot that goes high and wide. Things have been going poorly for the Flyers basically ever since that initial penalty by Couturier.


* That was a goal. Come on. We all know it.

7:39 p.m.: In plain English: We’re tied 1-1 as Brandon Manning puts the Flyers on the board. Raffl with the pass from the neutral zone to spring Leier, then Laughton makes the cross-ice pass to Manning who whips it home. That’s how you bounce back.

7:43 p.m.: Leafs have been threatening since the Flyers evened things up. This team creates offense out of nowhere about as well as any in the league.

7:49 p.m.: Awwwwwwww, here it goes. Jake’s back. Second goal in two games. 2-1.

7:50 p.m.: What a classic power move by Voracek in front. Put Morgan Rielly and Freddy Andersen on a dang poster.

7:53 p.m.: 2-1 Flyers through one period. Ebb and flow of this one shifted around a bit, but all three goals here were pretty quick strikes. That’s the kind of game you’re going to get in against this team, and so far the Flyers seem up for it — they bounced back well following the first shift or two after Kadri opened the scoring.

8:11 p.m.: We’re underway in the second after a long intermission. Seriously what’s with the long delays bookending periods here? Are Canadian minutes like Canadian dollars where one minute here is like 1.2 minutes there? Do people really want to hear Don Cherry that much in the year of our lord 2017?

8:13 p.m.: Kasperi Kapanen — yes, that one — denied on a 2-on-1 right in front as Elliott slams the door on him. Kapanen beat Sanheim to the front of the net there. Elliott’s been good while facing a number of chances and hectic situations already -

8:14 p.m.: Shayne Gostisbehere takes what we’ll describe as a “good penalty to take”, as he slashes Matthews right in front to prevent what would probably have been a goal otherwise. Do whatcha gotta do, Shayne.

8:16 p.m.: Aaaaand then the Flyers will go on a brief 3-on-5 as another minor is called. Robert Hagg will head to the box as he held Nazem Kadri in the offensive zone, I guess? Kadri — an asshole, for the record — hit the ice reeeeeeal easily there. I get the call, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

8:17 p.m.: What a start to the second PK by Couturier. Wins the faceoff and immediately fires it down ice, then turns around Matthews after he enters the zone again and gets the puck out. 5-on-3 is over.

8:19 p.m.: Outstanding extended penalty kill there by the visitors. A couple of chances by Toronto but about as good of an effort as you can ask for. Featuring a half-decent chance by Scott Laughton, who pinged one off the upper-left corner of the cage.

8:21 p.m.: Nifty shift there by Konecny, who gets the puck in the offensive zone, gets dumped by Polak, and still moves the puck out to the point from his butt to help create a scoring chance.

8:27 p.m.: Sheesh, Auston Matthews is good. Hagg and Manning are right up in his face as he hits the blue line and he still manages to create a chance for himself down near the circle on a shot that pings off the crossbar and out of play.

8:29 p.m.: Jordan Weal shoots up the left side, Sanheim creeps down low and hits Filppula RIGHT IN FRONT OF AN EMPTY NET AND he can’t push it home. Delay of game called on the Leafs, though, and the Flyers will go on the man advantage for the first time this evening as we hit the halfway mark of the contest.

8:32 p.m.: Naturally, right after Filppula blows an easy one in front, he comes back and fires one from the top of the circle that makes it past Andersen and lands bar-down. I guess he heard me? And how does Andersen not stop this? 3-1 good guys.

8:33 p.m.: That goal, by the way, came not long after Ghost was pretty flagrantly boarded (and un-called!) by Leo Komarov. Ghost was a bit slow to get up after the hit, but he had the stretch pass that started that goal so hopefully he’s fine? Something to keep an eye on. (AFTER-THE-FACT UPDATE: Here is that hit. Cripes.)

8:35 p.m.: And there’s your bounce-back. Voracek tries to push Rielly over at the blue line, it doesn’t work, a point shot rebounds out in front and is pushed to Elliott’s right, Ghost gets completely lost, and Kadri beats him to the rebound and gets his second goal of the evening. We’re back within one. Let’s get back to ahead by two? I liked that more?

8:40 p.m.: Leafs’ forecheck has been all over the Flyers on these past couple of shifts since the goal. Don’t let things snowball here.

8:41 p.m.: They won’t! An absolutely obscene pass from Voracek’s own goal line makes it off the boards and out to Giroux at the opposite blue line, Giroux outraces Kadri (GOOD) towards the net, and wires one top-corner past Andersen, who is not having a very good night. Back up two as it’s 4-2, The Philadelphia Team.

8:47 p.m.: Pretty quiet in the few minutes since that goal. The Flyers haven’t won the overall shot-attempts battle this period, but in terms of hitting the net, they’ve outshot Toronto 15-6 so far in the middle frame. Great to see.

8:50 p.m.: A couple of good chances in the final push of the second period as Laughton and Provorov both get shots in there, teaming up with Simmonds and Filppula to get a nice cycle going, but there’s no goal and we’ll go to the third up 4-2.

9:09 p.m.: Getting going here in the third period. 20 minutes away from a really good win against a really good team, but if anyone’s gonna charge back from down in the third period, it’s Toronto. Don’t give ‘em an inch.

9:15 p.m.: One nice chance for Zach Hyman that went off the bar and out, but otherwise a pretty slow start to this third period. How the Flyers would prefer it, you’d think.

9:16 p.m.: Wellllllllp.

The Flyers surely won’t tell us more on the matter here, but with how that hit went, it could be darn near anything that’s sidelining Ghost here. A concussion? A shoulder? Who knows? He played in multiple shifts after the hit on Komarov. Hopefully this is precautionary.

9:18 p.m.: What a spinning pass by Nylander back to Hyman, who proceeds to ... put another one off the bar and out of play. Not his period so far.

9:22 p.m.: Another scrum in front that Elliott covers up quickly. Shot from the point by Rielly was gobbled up before Matthews or Hyman could get to the rebound.

9:24 p.m.: Nearly-broken play following a nice carry up-ice by Couturier still leads to a quality chance by Giroux, who gets a swat at a rebound from Voracek. This line is fun. I like this line.

9:28 p.m.: Defensive pairs sans-Gostisbehere are all over the place. It looks like Manning is taking Gostisbehere’s spot next to Provorov, and Hagg is being used to spell guys on both of those pairs.

9:31 p.m.: What a dang shift by Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds to eat pretty close to a minute by just hanging around in the neutral and offensive zones playing keepaway.

9:33 p.m.: Per a graphic on the NBCS Philly broadcast, 19 of the Flyers’ 28 shots on goal tonight have come from defensemen. That’s very 2016-17 of them. Though, per Natural Stat Trick, they’re still getting some solid volume from right in front as well.


We’ll ... talk about that defense some other time, I suppose.

9:36 p.m.: Man, if they don’t come back that top line of Toronto is going to see this period in its nightmares tonight. A lot of close chances gone by the wayside.

9:40 p.m.: Another good shift by that Weal/Simmonds/Filppula line, which has had a pretty nice night even without any goals (at evens).

9:42 p.m.: Babcock pulls Andersen with about 3:20 left. Like the move from Toronto’s end, I gotta say. Shoot your shot(s).

9:44 p.m.: Brian Elliott makes a big stop through traffic with 1:31 left and this has definitely been one of his better games in net for the Flyers. His overall numbers — 25 saves on 27 shots as of this moment in time — are good, and while he hasn’t made a ton of ten-bell saves on the evening, he’s looked as poised and controlled as he has at any point in this young season — no small task against this Leafs team.

9:46 p.m.: Top line — with Voracek! — out with Provorov and Hagg for the draw in the final minute. Well-deserved, too.

9:47 p.m.: Game. 4-2 is your final. The home crowd boos (man who let all the Philly fans in am I right?) as the Flyers bounce back from a clunker and a heartbreaker with a big win against one of the East’s best teams.

We’ll have more on this one for you in the morning. Otherwise, the Flyers are back at it on Monday at home against the winless Arizona Coyotes, so be prepared for a demoralizing and inexplicable loss. Until then, go Flyers.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 02:41:40 EDT from rss

Subject: Know Thine Eagles Enemy: 49ers Film Review

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Kyle Shanahan is remarkably good at his job

We’ll be going a slightly different direction with the film review today.

No San Francisco defensive clips made it—why? Because their defense is crummy. They don’t have the secondary personnel to run their scheme of choice (the 4-3, Cover 3 a la Seattle). DeForest Buckner, their monstrous DT, is pretty fun to watch—besides that? No bueno.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense, on the other hand? Still kinda crummy—but that has way more to do with personnel than it does with scheme. And it’s that scheme that we’ll put under the microscope.

In this film review, I’d like to highlight Shanahan’s strength as a play-caller: his ability to sequence similar looks/alignments/designs to consistently attack a defense’s weakness. The hallmark of a nuanced and dangerous offensive mind is not the pre-scripted play sheet, but rather the in-game acuity to dissect, diagnose, and expose a defense, while maintaining enough balance and misdirection to keep that defense honest.

In other words, Shanahan excels at that which Atlanta is currently missing with their new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian. The Falcons’ offense, high-flying only a year ago, has limped through the season with timid, unimaginative, and frankly arbitrary play-calling. While San Fran’s offensive stats likewise don’t impress, a look at their tape shows that improved weaponry and quarterback play will likely flip that narrative in the years to come.

Let’s get it poppin’.

San Francisco v. Indianapolis: I-Right TE Flip

I don’t know what ol’ Shanny calls this formation, but I would have learned it as I-Right TE Flip.

I-formation details the HB directly behind the QB, who’s under center. “Right” indicates that the FB is offset to the right. Now, TE is naturally to the strong side of the formation (right side of the offense), but the “Flip” call tells me he’s off the line of scrimmage, in a 2-point stance. He’s what is designated as an “H-back” now.

What does the H-back alignment mean for this play? Practically nothing.

The Niners run a toss to the strong side. The TE (#88, Garrett Celek) would have been in a better position to make his block had he been up on the line of scrimmage. Which begs the question—why was he lined up as an H-back?

It’s important to note that he didn’t start there. He actually motioned to the H-back spot from a true TE alignment. You can see that in the beginning of the clip.

While this motion does little to affect the play, it’s still an important tag: Shanahan loves pre-snap motion. He will use it to force you to declare your coverage scheme on every gosh darn play he can.

Don’t believe me? Just watch. (C’mon!)

FB Kyle Juscy—Kyle Juszy—Kyle Juszczyk motions in from the boundary on this play. As the Colts defense settles, they clearly define a single-high coverage. Meanwhile, a blitzer off the weak side flashes in Hoyer’s vision.

QBs in Shanahan’s scheme have a ton of at-the-line autonomy. Because Shanahan’s formations and pre-snap motion reveal so much about the defense before things get kickin’, a veteran QB like Hoyer can easily adjust this play to attack the void that will be left behind the blitzer.

So Hoyer audibles to attack the weak side, with an over route from the strong side receiver behind a clearout route from the weak side receiver. You can even see the defense rotate to the strong side a little bit, as the CB moves to press at the line of scrimmage—that only plays into Shanahan’s hands.

Hoyer executes a quick, or light, play-action fake. He doesn’t fully commit to the fake, but rather flashes the ball juuust enough to hold the defense, then plants and fires to the over without even reading the field. The defense has reacted hard to the strong side flow and is in no position to cover the weak side pass.

And that blitzer? Split-zone action from the H-back prevents him from closing on Hoyer. Split-zone action that couldn’t have been achieved from a regular TE alignment.

Easy money.

But here’s the really cool part: this play was ran from I-Left TE Flip, and it came just two plays after the running play (which was called back for offensive holding) of I-Right TE Flip. Shanahan gamed the Colts with a running play that technically didn’t even happen.

And, two plays after that...

Eight in the box, single-high, tight man on the weak side receiver? Even easier money. This time, a Bang-8 post behind the clearout from the strong side receiver.

Watch again how the pre-snap motion impacts the linebackers, who instinctively start to flow with Juszczyk as he moves to I-Left TE Flip. The FB now flows to the back side to protect against edge pressure, as San Fran picks up more chunk yardage by manipulating defensive flow with alignment, pre-snap motion, and audibles.

These plays essentially accomplish the exact same defensive conflict as RPOs. However, when the QB turns his back to the linebackers, it forces them to react to the run—unlike an RPO, during which the quarterback’s eyes are up and reading the defense. Shanahan is essentially manufacturing a pre-snap RPO here.

And folks, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

San Francisco v. Dallas: Weak Side Manipulation

Two weeks later, San Francisco faced a highly motivated, post-bye Dallas team. They’ve spent the past two weeks chowing down on Shanahan film. With distinct intention, Rod Marinelli’s defense aligned heavily to the strong side, freeing their linebackers from the responsibility to flow hard to run action. With a rookie QB at the helm in C.J. Beathard, the audible game took a serious step back, and San Fran’s offense sputtered.

Their limited success came when Shanahan decided: “Okay, if I can’t attack the strong side, I’m just going to attack the weak side.”

After opening the game with a 3-and-out, Shanny kicks off the second drive with this inside zone run weak. You can see how heavily Dallas has committed their defensive line to the strong side, so it isn’t difficult for the offensive linemen to climb to the second level on the weak side and seal off the linebackers for an easy 12-yard gain.

San Fran drives down the field, kicks a field goal, and eventually gets the ball back at their own 10 yard line. That’s less than ideal—but Kyle Shanahan has laughed and danced his way out of far tougher spots than this.

With a rookie QB against one of the league’s most productive pass rushes, Shanahan dials up a play-action shot play.

That’s what we call cojones, gang.

Shanny knows what he’s doing. The left side of the line down blocks toward the strong side, while the RB and RG work to the weak side. This is a classic misdirection look, and you can see how it conflicts the LBs. Linebackers, as you very well know, are not supposed to go in two opposite directions on a “running” play.

Watch as Sean Lee (the weak side LB) has an “Oh, snap!” moment, realizing he just got sucked in by play action. Behind him, the 49ers receivers are rather poorly executing a Post-Cross concept in front of two-deep safeties. Beathard throws a great ball as the safeties, also quite confused, cross. Tack on the YAC, and this was by far San Francisco’s best play of the day.

Fast forward to the opening drive of the second half (noticing a theme here?) and guess what you find...

Almost the exact same play. This clip I include, not to re-teach you a concept you already learned, but to hammer home the point: Shanahan will keep coming back to the well. If he couldn’t catch the Cowboys on strong side play action consistently, he was going to take advantage of their commitment and force them to bite on weak side play action. On crucial plays and to kick off crucial drives, he did just that.

Which of course, begs the question: why didn’t San Francisco go to that well all game long? Well, it’s very tough to run an offense through the weak side when you’re outmatched on a talent level. Number advantages and the manipulation of schemes can only take you so far.

On top of that, you have to “keep a defense honest” by running other plays. If you could just attack one weakness, schematically, all game long, life would just be Four Verts and Madden. Wouldn’t that be grand?

San Francisco v. Washington: Utilizing Reduced Splits

While our first two chapters may have better investigated how Shanahan may sequence plays/looks to attack Philadelphia, this final installment is more indulgent.

While watching San Francisco tape, I was struck by the frequency of reduced splits in Shanahan’s offense. When a WR has a “reduced split,” he’s lined up closer to the ball, inside of the numbers. In the ever-prominent spread style of offense, viewers are far more accustomed to seeing WRs in “plus splits,” or outside of the numbers.

Reduced splits do just that—they reduce the horizontal area of the field. That spits directly in the face of the commandments of the venerable spread system. Safeties can play closer to the line, and cornerbacks closer to linebackers, making it far more difficult to run the football.

And as such, another question is begged: why use reduced splits?

This is Utilizing Reduced Splits: Level One. By running a common hi-lo passing concept—Flat-7—from a reduced split, you naturally increase the space in the flat. The moment you see that CB back off the line of scrimmage, you know it’s very unlikely he’ll buzz into the flat zone area. Any other defender has far too difficult a path to close on the TE in time.

This is a prime example of Shanahan’s offense deciding the outcome of the play, pre-snap, by alignment. Were the WR in a plus split, that corner could disguise his true intentions (man, deep zone, flat zone). This Flat-7 read is easy-peasy; catching the ball, apparently, is not.

Let’s upgrade. Utilizing Reduced Splits: Level Two.

Alright, pre-snap determination: that corner near the line of scrimmage? He could take the flat.

However, that single-high safety is sitting about 15 (and eventually 20) yards off the ball. We already know Shanahan (and Hoyer, back under center) will attack that area with the Bang-8 post behind the linebackers. Hoyer calls the audible.

Because the receiver lined up in a reduced split, he has an immediate leverage advantage to the inside of the cornerback. Think about those go routes down the sideline, during which the CB squeezes the WR against the sideline, using the boundary as a 12th defender. CBs can do that to plus split WRs, because there is a limit to how far outside of the WR the ball can be thrown.

But, in a reduced split, the CBs primary help comes from that single-high safety, in the middle of the field. If he plays with inside leverage, he relinquishes all of the space between him and the sideline. The QB could potentially place a fade route on the outside shoulder of the WR, and there’s no way the CB can defend it.

As such, the 49ers wideout capitalizes on his natural leverage with the Bang-8 (notice how the shallow crosser holds the LBs in place). The CB (Josh Norman) does well to anticipate and close, but a better-thrown ball is an easy completion.

One final question remained: How does Shanahan account for the reduced split disadvantage in the run game? Making the box so thick with bodies plays into the defense’s hands.

But Shanny, the wily fox, uses the reduced split to his advantage.

Linebackers are better run defenders than cornerbacks—these are only facts. They are bigger and more willing to hit.

On a typical running play between the tackles, the WR may run a route, or half-heartedly block his CB, as the OL and RB do battle with the DL and LBs. Not Shanny’s receivers.

With a crackback block on the free linebacker by his reduced split WR, Shanahan forces the LB and CB to switch their run responsibilities. Instead of the linebacker scraping into the gap and plugging it, the corner is now responsible for stepping up to the full-steam-ahead runner and making the tackle.

Now, to be a corner in the NFL, you must be able to do this—but, as I said, you likely don’t do it as well as a LB. The RB here, Carlos Hyde, steamrolls the corner on his way to the ground, turning a gain of three into a gain of five.

Doesn’t sound like much, but two yards is two yards—not to mention, force that CB to act like a LB for a few plays, and he’s going to start to hate life mighty quick.

Be sure to keep an eye on that end-around WR too. If the LB gets crackbacked, and the CB is swept in by the play action, there’s a lot of green over there.

That’ll do it for the Shanahan love, folks. Scheme is pretty, and it’ll certainly lead to some positive plays against a fearsome Eagle defense. But at the end of the day, eleven men line up across from another eleven men, and frankly, the boys in green are bigger and badder than the boys Burgundy? I dunno.

Keep on eye on Shanny’s Niners, though. They’re a-comin’.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 03:40:24 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Picks Against the Spread 2017: Week 8 Games

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Here are some suggestions when trying to beat the odds.

Before the eighth Sunday of the 2017 NFL regular season kicks off, let’s have some fun by taking a look at the spreads for today’s games. (Click here for NFL Week 8 picks without regard to the spread.)

Here are suggestions when trying to beat the odds. You can find all of today’s NFL betting lines and more via SB Nation. My regular season record after the seventh week is 48-47-3. Let’s get to the picks.

NFL Week 8 Games

Minnesota Vikings (-9.5) at Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson is starting turnover machine DeShone Kizer in Cleveland’s neutral field game against the Vikings. Mike Zimmer’s defense will surely be able to take care of business against the winless Browns. The Vikings potentially getting Stefon Diggs back this week will only help their cause. PICK: Vikings -9.5

San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-12.5): This one’s a little tricky. On paper, there’s no reason why the Eagles shouldn’t soundly beat the 49ers. There’s a big talent disparity here. Philly’s top-ranked run defense has the potential to shut down the 49ers’ run game, which means San Fran will have to rely on C.J. Beathard’s arm to win. That’s not a winning formula. But it might not be that simple. The rainy weather expected for this game complicates matters. Perhaps this could be a low-scoring, sloppy contest. I’m still going with the Eagles here since they’re at home, but I don’t feel as confident as I would if the weather wasn’t a factor. PICK: Eagles -12.5

Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-7.5): The Patriots have seemingly found their groove after some early season struggles. It’s going to be tough for the Chargers to travel across the country for a 1:00 PM start in Foxborough. L.A. hasn’t completely rolled over, so they might put up some fight, but how could you bet against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at home? PICK: Patriots -7.5

Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-3): Another West Coast team making a 1:00 PM start. The good news for the Raiders is they have extra rest heading into this game after playing on Thursday Night Football, but I’m not sure that it’ll matter. Buffalo is undefeated at home this year and the feeling here is it stays that way. The Bills are 4-1-1 ATS this year. PICK: Bills -3

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5): After a pathetic effort in a 17-3 loss to the Bears last week, it feels like Carolina is due for a bounce back game. The Panthers aren’t super inspiring right now but honestly neither are the Bucs. Jameis Winston reportedly reinjured his shoulder last week so it seems like he’ll be playing at less than 100%. Tampa Bay is 1-4-1 ATS in 2017. PICK: Panthers +1.5

Atlanta Falcons (-6) at New York Jets: The J-e-t-s can’t get no r-e-s-p-e-c-t. It’s not like New York is a great team or anything, but they’re not dreadful. The Falcons, meanwhile, haven’t looked so great recently. Atlanta has lost three in a row. They were inches away from losing in Detroit to make it 0-4 in their last four games. As is the case with the Eagles-49ers game, the weather has the potential to make this tilt sloppy. I’ll go with the points here. The Jets are 4-2-1 ATS this season. PICK: Jets +6

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-10.5): The Bengals beat the Browns by 31-7 in Cleveland earlier this month. The Colts without Andrew Luck really aren’t that much better than the Browns. This game is in Cincy so Marvin Lewis and co. should be able to take care of business at home. PICK: Bengals -10.5

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-9): You may be surprised to know the Bears are 5-2 ATS this season. This record will be 5-3 after Sunday. The Bears have won their last two games, yes, but it’s been totally unsustainable. Mitchell Trubisky completed a combined TWELVE passes in those two games. That’s some Tim Tebow ish. The Saints have won four in a row; they’re playing well. New Orleans takes this game comfortably at home. PICK: Saints -9

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5): Really interesting situation here given the comments made by Texans owner Bob McNair. Do the Texans play pissed off with something to prove? Or has the situation become a distraction? Either way, this is a tough spot for Houston. Seattle is just so good at home. Deshaun Watson has played well as a rookie but this is his toughest test yet. I’ll take the Seahawks here. PICK: Seahawks -5.5

Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Washington Redskins: As far as the Eagles are concerned, it’d be great if Dallas loses this game. Unfortunately for them, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Washington is too banged up right now. Getting Josh Norman back is ideal, but the offensive line injuries are concerning. I’ll take Dallas to win. If I’m wrong, everyone can be very happy. PICK: Cowboys -2

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Detroit Lions: Football Outsiders has the Steelers ranked as the No. 1 overall team in DVOA. Detroit, meanwhile, checks in at No. 12. The Steelers’ defense will provide a tough matchup for the Lions’ offense. The Lions are coming off a bye, so that’s something to consider, but I feel good enough about Pittsburgh to take them on the road. PICK: Steelers -3

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-7): The Broncos have scored a combined 10 points in their last two games. It’s not like they’ve played some defensive juggernauts, either. They struggled against the Giants at home before getting shut out by the Chargers on the road. Yikes. Things have been so bad that some Broncos fans have seriously called for Chad Kelly, the last pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, to start. The Chiefs aren’t going to drop three games in a row. KC will bounce back this week. PICK: Chiefs -7

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 04:38:24 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Two Philadelphia offensive assistants drawing head coaching buzz

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/29/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

NFL assistant coaches on the rise; five big questions for Week 8 -
John DeFilippo, quarterbacks coach, Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz said he was excited the Eagles blocked DeFilippo, 39, from interviewing for the Jets' offensive coordinator job, and why not? People who know him say he's energetic, passionate and fun to work with. One former colleague with the Raiders recalls DeFilippo even embraced trying to get something out of all-time bust JaMarcus Russell (who had his only modestly functional season with DeFilippo as his QB coach in Oakland in 2008). He's highly motivated to be a head coach and has a plan. He's a bit of a wild card, because he only has one year of experience as a coordinator, on a doomed staff in Cleveland in 2015. The 49ers interviewed him the following January.

The unsung hero behind Eagles' offensive success -
Peter Schrager says Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich could be a head coaching candidate this offseason.

Know Thine Eagles Enemy: 49ers Film Review - BGN
We’ll be going a slightly different direction with the film review today. No San Francisco defensive clips made it—why? Because their defense is crummy. They don’t have the secondary personnel to run their scheme of choice (the 4-3, Cover 3 a la Seattle). DeForest Buckner, their monstrous DT, is pretty fun to watch—besides that? No bueno. Kyle Shanahan’s offense, on the other hand? Still kinda crummy—but that has way more to do with personnel than it does with scheme. And it’s that scheme that we’ll put under the microscope.

Five over/unders for Eagles vs. 49ers - PhillyVoice
The Eagles have already done a great job limiting Wentz’s pass attempts this year. In his last five games, he’s thrown an average of about 29 times, compared to the 42 he averaged in his 12 previous games dating back to Week 8 of last season. And I don’t see that changing this week, especially since the 49ers are 30th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. Add in the wet field conditions that could create a problem for Wentz and his receivers, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a run-pass ratio similar to what we saw when the Eagles played the Giants or Chargers. While I don’t see this game being a blowout, largely due to the weather, that’s another way the Eagles can limit Wentz’s attempts in this one. Should they go up by a few scores early, there’s a good chance we see very little out of him the rest of the way. After all, they don’t have Jason Peters protecting his blindside anymore. Why risk it?

Game Preview – SF at PHI - Iggles Blitz
RT Trent Brown will likely miss the game, which doesn’t help their offense. The OL isn’t strong on the inside and that means Fletcher Cox and the DTs could be collapsing the pocket on a regular basis. Brandon Graham will be shooting off the edge and giving the RT fits. Beathard is going to have to handle pressure well. The Eagles faced Kyle Shanahan’s offense last year when he was the OC for the Falcons and the Eagles won that game 24-15. They should have a good feel for what he wants to do. Beyond that, it is similar to what the Skins do and the Eagles just faced them so that could help a bit.

Answering Week 8's biggest fantasy football questions - ESPN
Nelson Agholor's routes and targets have increased in recent weeks. Is it fair to say he's locked in as the No. 3 target? Yes. The former first-round pick appears to have worked through his confidence issues and is beginning to realize his potential after a slow start to his career. He has caught 24 balls of 35 targets for 366 yards and five touchdowns. Tight end Zach Ertz is Carson Wentz's go-to receiving option, followed by Alshon Jeffery, but Wentz has shown no hesitation firing it Agholor's way. Given the success rate, there's no reason to think that won't continue.

Lawlor: Sunday Is Doug Pederson's Chance To Shine -
Find the right coach. Jeffrey Lurie appears to have done that when he tabbed Pederson to take over the Eagles back in January 2016. Pederson had the Eagles in the playoff hunt last year and the team is 6-1 this season. He's got a 13-10 record so far and that could get better if the Eagles continue to win. Andy Reid wasn't three games over .500 as a coach until mid-November of his third season. That should give you an idea that Pederson has this team ahead of schedule. Pederson is starting to get some attention at the local level, but I don't get the sense that the national media appreciates what he's done as much as they should. That will change if the Eagles continue to win as the season moves along. Sunday's game could be one that will help Pederson get more positive attention.

Wulf's Den: Chris Long is no angel - The Athletic
“I don’t hate football. I just don’t like practice and I don’t like meetings. I enjoy my teammates, but it’s not a big deal … There’s some guys that live, eat, sleep (football). I wanna get away from it when I’m away from it [...] I love being competitive. I love trying to be my best every week, every Sunday. And sometimes you have to do stuff you don’t enjoy. Some people, you know how there’s those guys, this guy loves practice. I don’t like practice. I don’t like any of that stuff.”

Eagles' players react to Texans owner Bob McNair's "inmate" comments; praise Jeffrey Lurie -
Lurie's support for his players has not gone unnoticed in the locker room. "I love it. That is one of the biggest reasons why we are playing so good," Jalen Mills said. "When you see a guy like Mr. Lurie, going to these meetings with Malcolm, Torrey and Chris. Showing the league that he has their back, and by showing he has their back, he has our back too. It makes you want to play for that guy even more, play for that guy even harder. That makes the love more mutual. It is true, and it is genuine."

After studying and admiring Jason Peters, Halapoulivaati Vaitai now replaces him on Eagles' offensive line - Inquirer
“Nobody replaces Jason Peters,” Vaitai said. “It’s going to be hard to do. But I’ve got an opportunity to play, so I’m going to take this time and play for JP and use what I’ve been taught and play for him.” Some of what Vaitai has been taught has come from Peters, who is known to help apprentice young players. When Peters sat in the cart after the injury on Monday, Peters already started sharing tips with Vaitai and offering feedback to offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. On Tuesday morning, with the knowledge that his season was finished, Peters sought Vaitai. He offered the same advice that he gave Vaitai in the Dallas shopping mall and during the post-draft phone conversation.

Roob's Random Points, Part 1: Wentz's historic start, incredible run defense, Philadelphia A's - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Most of the run defense numbers the Eagles are putting up are insane, but the one that amazes me the most is that opposing teams have run the ball only 123 times all year against the Eagles. That's 17.6 attempts per game, and that's the second-lowest figure ever against any NFL team through seven games! The only lower figure was against the 1991 Saints (119 carries through seven games). The Eagles have been so dominating against the run, opposing teams aren't even trying to run the football! And Kareem Hunt remains the only opposing running back to reach even 40 yards against the Eagles this year. That's crazy!

Alshon Jeffery is no Terrell Owens – and that’s good for Eagles - FanRag
Jeffery, who has 13 career 100-yard games and two 200-yard games, hasn’t hit the 100-yard mark yet. Maybe it will come Sunday against the winless 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field, where heavy rain is expected, which often creates favorable passing situations. You’d think there would be some hint of jealously, discontent or impatience for Jeffery to become as involved as his teammates, especially given his contract situation, but Jeffery insisted he’s not focused on financial ramifications. “I think that’ll take care of itself,” he said. “I’m not worried about no contract. I’m just trying to play football, trying to win a championship.”

From Philly with love: 49ers' Matt Breida back in parents' home town - The Sacramento Bee
Matt Breida doesn't pronounce water as "wooder," doesn't use the phrase "youse guy" and like most Americans would struggle if asked to spell the Schuylkill River. But the 49ers rookie running back has Philly hard-wired into his system and will have a gaggle of screaming relatives in the stands Sunday wearing his red, No. 22 jersey. His parents are from North Philadelphia -- "Philly born and bred!" Terri Breida says with oomph -- and he was raised watching the Eagles on Sundays. Like most Philadelphians, the Breidas loved Brian Westbrook, cheered Donovan McNabb and, in the words of his father, Mike, thought Terrell Owens was "a butthead, but also a heck of a player."

NFL Week 8 Preview: 49ers at Eagles - PFF
QB C.J. Beathard vs. pressure — Beathard’s 46.7 overall grade after just shy of two games of action would be the league’s second-worst if he had enough snaps to qualify, topping only DeShone Kizer, and the third-round rookie has struggled in a number of areas. Chief among those has been his play under pressure, where Beathard is the only quarterback with at least 30 dropbacks under pressure to average less than 4.00 yards per attempt, a mark he clears by more than a full yard (2.96). On Sunday, he’ll be facing an Eagles defense that has pressured opposing quarterbacks on 38.8 percent of snaps this season, the fourth-best rate in the NFL. If that weren’t enough, Philadelphia brings that pressure quicker than all but two defenses — 29.3 percent of their pressures reach the quarterback in 2.0 seconds or less.

Better Rivals podcast: “Is C.J. Beathard going to die?” - Niners Nation
Lol, check out this title!

The days of the NFL one-dimensional pocket passer are over - SB Nation
Survey the NFL quarterbacks who lead the league in touchdown passes: It’s Carson Wentz (17), Tom Brady (15), Alex Smith (15) Deshaun Watson (15), and Dak Prescott (14). Wentz, Smith, Watson and Prescott are among the league’s finest in mobility, and Brady for nearly two decades has proved a master at the pocket sidestep with his nuanced ballets in nimbleness. NFL quarterbacks thus far this season who own the highest passer ratings and nearly all of the division leaders feature effective, planned and impromptu quarterback movement in the passing game.


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[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 05:25:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Ronald Darby OUT for Eagles-49ers game, report says

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Not a big surprise.

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby will NOT play in Philadelphia’s Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Rapoport notes Darby is “still working back into football shape.”

This news doesn’t come as a surprise.

Darby has been a limited participant ever since returning to practice last week. The Eagles’ starting corner is still making his way back from a dislocated ankle injury he suffered in Week 1.

There’s really no need to rush Darby back for this game. The Eagles can’t take the 49ers lightly but the reality is they’re not a great opponent. Plus the field will be wet today due to the rain. No one needs to see Darby slipping and sliding out there.

Perhaps Darby will be ready to return in time for the Eagles’ Week 9 game against the Broncos. If not, he should almost definitely be back in time for the Eagles’ Week 11 game against the Cowboys, which follows Philly’s Week 10 bye.

In the meantime, the Eagles will likely start Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson at outside cornerback depending on the matchup. Rookie third-round pick Rasul Douglas has been taking snaps as well when Robinson moves to the nickel spot.


In other injury news, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is reportedly expected to be active despite being questionable to play due to a back injury. Goodwin was limited on Wednesday before sitting out on Thursday. He was then limited again on Friday, so it seems like the 49ers’ deep threat is not 100%.


For more information on the Eagles-49ers injury situation, [click here].

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 05:12:31 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-49ers game will be impacted by rain: Weather forecast

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Weather report!

If you haven’t heard by now, it’s going to rain during the Eagles vs. 49ers game in Philadelphia today.

Here’s an update from AccuWeather:

A wet, mild day is forecast in south Philadelphia as the Eagles welcome the 49ers to town.

Temperatures will remain in the middle to upper 60s during the game, but combination of wind and rain will keep AccuWeather ReelFeel® Temperatures in the 50s.

Fans will need to bring jackets and appropriate rain gear to the game and any tailgates they are attending before kickoff.

The wind will be from the southeast at 12-22 mph with stronger gusts. Teams driving toward the southern end zone will be at a disadvantage kicking and passing into this gusty wind.

In addition to the wind, the steady rainfall will make it more difficult to gain traction and cleanly handle the football at times.

Here’s an hourly forecast via

For those wondering -- and I’ve received some questions about this — no, the Eagles game will likely not be canceled or postponed because of the rain. There is a possibility of delay, however, if there are significant lightning strikes.

But how will the weather impact the game itself? That’s an interesting question.

The Eagles are obviously heavy favorites (13 points) headed into this matchup, as they should be. They have the best record in the NFL. The 49ers are tied for the worst record.

In theory, the inclement weather could favor the Eagles. If the rain forces the 49ers to run the ball more often, that would seemingly favor Philly’s top-ranked run defense. On the flip side, the 49ers ranked third-to-last in run defense. The Eagles could get their ground game going in the wet weather.

The rain will prove to be another test for second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. The North Dakota native isn’t unfamiliar to harsh conditions, but Wentz infamously struggled to throw a wet ball at his pro day last offseason. Hat tip to r/Eagles for digging up this story:

After the workout, [Pep] Hamilton doused the ball again with water, just like he did to Cal's Jared Goff last week. The first pass skipped into the ground, and he was a little inconsistent with the rest of the wet-ball throws, but the scripted part of his workout, including 65 throws, was excellent.

Wentz acknowledged that his first wet-ball throw was a "duck'' but didn't fret about it. "It happens. It was pretty doused,'' he said. "It would've had to be a torrential downpour.''

Well, Carson, Sunday just might fit those conditions.

The reality is that both teams will have to deal with the weather. Perhaps it won’t even have a huge impact on outcome of the game. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said he doesn’t expect the weather to majorly change how he prepares for the game.

Not necessarily the game plan, but going into the game, knowing that it could rain, it might change how you call the game just a little bit. It just depends on the amount of rain.

But it's something, too, that we don't let -- try not to let it be a distraction for us. Okay, we know it's going to rain, so we still have to go play and execute. But it doesn't change necessarily the way we game plan, per se.

But it does cause at least a little concern. In a normal game environment, there’s really no reason to be worried about the Eagles losing to the 49ers. San Francisco is struggling this season. They’re traveling from the West Coast to play a 1:00 PM game. Their offensive line, which isn’t that great to begin with, is dealing with a lot of injuries and going up a strong Eagles defensive line. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is in his second career start.

All these factors are reasons to feel good about why the Eagles should win and advance to 7-1 today. B

The only problem is the weather adds an unknown element into the equation. Maybe the game becomes closer than expected and there’s some kind of fluke turnover or something. Who knows.

Great teams are able to overcome adversity. The Eagles have had to overcome factors such as bad officiating, a blown lead, a rough start, etc. Now the weather will be their newest challenge. Once again it’s time to see what these Birds are made of.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 06:25:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-49ers game TV coverage map

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Check to see if you get the game.

IT’S GAME DAY - time for Philadelphia Eagles football! But can you watch their NFL Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers from where you are? If you live in the BLUE on the television coverage map below, you’re in luck (via

If you live in the blue, you can watch the Eagles-49ers game on FOX starting at 1:00 PM ET. The four major areas getting this game include Philly (Eagles), San Francisco (49ers), Dallas (Cowboys - NFC East rivals), and North Dakota (Carson Wentz).

Kenny Albert (play-by-play) and Charles Davis (color analyst) are on the call. Alternatively, you can turn on SportsRadio 94WIP to listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick during the game.

If you DO NOT live in the blue, you’re likely either stuck in the red, green, or yellow. The red represents the Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints game. Green is the Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets. Yellow? That’s the Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For more information on how to watch today’s Eagles game, CLICK HERE.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 06:58:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. 49ers 2017: Game Predictions

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Who will win this week?


That’s what some are saying about the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers set to take place today.

I’m not so sure.

Again, a trap game is defined by a team feeling too good about themselves and and looking ahead to the next week. The Broncos are an AFC team that hasn’t even played well recently.

As far as the “feeling too good about themselves” part is concerned, it’s not lost on the Eagles that they suffered two major injuries on Monday night against Washington. Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks are now out for the year. Those are big losses. Players know they’ll have to step up in order to make sure those losses don’t sink what has the makings of a promising season.

To be honest, I also think the trap game angle is something we talk about because we trick ourselves into thinking things can never be as straightforward as they seem. I get it — it’s Any Given Sunday. And the Eagles have lost some games when they’ve been heavily favored (Joe Webb, John Skelton, etc.).

But this team really just does feel different. It’s not a fluke that the Eagles have the best record in the NFL. They’re winning games because they’re legitimately good.

The 49ers, meanwhile, are losing games because they’re legitimately bad. Just look at their roster and you can see it’s not exactly loaded with talent primed to win now.

This tilt could be as simple as: the Eagles are the better team and they’re going to beat an inferior opponent at home. That’s the goal.

Now, just because the 49ers are bad doesn’t mean they’re totally incapable of winning. They’re obviously shown some fight this season, becoming the first team to lose five games in a row by three points or fewer.

When you look at this game from a matchup perspective, however, the 49ers just don’t seem primed for success. The Eagles rank No. 1 in run defense. Carlos Hyde is one of San Francisco’s best offensive options. If Philly can shut Hyde down, there will be a ton of pressure on rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard to throw the ball a lot. The 49ers just aren’t going to win this game if Beathard has to pass something like 40 times.

Beathard can’t hold a candle to the level of play the Eagles are getting right now from their quarterback: Carson Wentz. Wentz is playing like the league MVP and he’ll have a chance to solidify his campaign this Sunday against a 49ers defense that’s vulnerable to giving up plays through the air. San Francisco ranks 28th in yards allowed per pass attempt.

The one X-factor in this game is the weather. It’s possible the rain could make no real difference. But maybe things get ugly and sloppy, which could close the gap between the Eagles and the 49ers. Maybe Wentz, who played in a dome in college, isn’t going to thrive in these conditions. Or maybe all these conversations about the rain will look dumb by the time he’s thrown five touchdowns through the third quarter.

I really think the Eagles will win this game. Their defensive line inspires so much confidence, especially since the 49ers might be playing without both their starting right guard and right tackle. Philadelphia should be able to get to Beathard, who was sacked five times last week.

Even if the Eagles don’t have a great offensive performance, their defense (and special teams) can do enough to make sure they still get that W.

Here's who the BGN writers are predicting to win. Here's advice when picking against the spread.


Suggested format:

Score prediction:

Bold prediction:

My predictions:

Score prediction: Eagles win, 27-10.

Bold prediction: Alshon Jeffery catches two touchdowns today.

Your predictions:

Leave your own predictions in the comments. Vote in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it).

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 07:48:14 EDT from rss

Subject: 3 Eagles numbers that matter for the 49ers game

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Previewing this week’s rainy matchup.

Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8.

67 - Rushing yards per game allowed by the Eagles defense — fewest in the NFL.

I know, I’ve sounded like a broken record about this. But the Eagles are really, really good at stopping the run.

How good are they? Per Reuben Frank, the 2017 Eagles have faced the second fewest rushing attempts through seven games since 1952. In other words, teams aren’t even trying to run the ball against the Eagles because they know it just won’t work.

The Eagles have a very simple defensive formula. Once they’re able to shut down the run, Jim Schwartz unleashes his pass rushers upon the opposing quarterback. Rookie C.J. Beathard is going to face a tough task today — more on that in the next section of this post.

For now, I want to stick with the run numbers. San Francisco is actually a little better running the ball than you’d realize. The 49ers only rank 23rd in rushing yards per game (96) but they’re actually tied for ninth with Philly in rushing yards per attempt (4.3.) Carlos Hyde is a talented player who can do some nice things. The Eagles should still be able to shut him down, but he’s a player to watch.

On the flip side, running the ball could be key to an Eagles victory in this tilt, especially if the rainy/windy weather hampers the passing game. Philadelphia currently ranks fourth in rush yards per game and tied for ninth per rush attempt. San Francisco, meanwhile, ranks 30th in opponent rush yards per game but only 12th in opponent rush yards per attempt.

With that said, the 49ers are prone to allowing big plays on the ground. Per Pat Thorman, San Fran’s defense has allowed the third most rushes of 10+ yards this season. They’re only one run away from being tied for first. The bad news for the Niners is that the Eagles rank third in runs of 10+ yards. LeGarrette Blount has the third most of any running back in the NFL. This could be a great opportunity for the Eagles to pound the rock with him.

Carson Wentz has played so well lately that the running game has taken a back seat. It could resurface as a key factor in today’s game.

4th - The Eagles have the fourth-best pressure rate in the NFL at 38.8%.

If the Eagles are able to effectively shut down the 49ers’ rushing attack, San Fran will have no choice but to throw the ball with their rookie quarterback making his second career start.

Beathard will be facing an Eagles pass rush that’s better than the sack numbers would indicate. Philly has been generating a lot of pressure this season. Here’s some good info from Pro Football Focus.

QB C.J. Beathard vs. pressure — Beathard’s 46.7 overall grade after just shy of two games of action would be the league’s second-worst if he had enough snaps to qualify, topping only DeShone Kizer, and the third-round rookie has struggled in a number of areas. Chief among those has been his play under pressure, where Beathard is the only quarterback with at least 30 dropbacks under pressure to average less than 4.00 yards per attempt, a mark he clears by more than a full yard (2.96). On Sunday, he’ll be facing an Eagles defense that has pressured opposing quarterbacks on 38.8 percent of snaps this season, the fourth-best rate in the NFL. If that weren’t enough, Philadelphia brings that pressure quicker than all but two defenses — 29.3 percent of their pressures reach the quarterback in 2.0 seconds or less.

Right side of 49ers OL vs. Edge Brandon Graham and DI Fletcher Cox — Complicating matters further, the 49ers may be without both starters on the right side of their offensive line after Trent Brown and Brandon Fusco left last week’s game against the Cowboys with injuries. Should neither player be available in Philadelphia, San Francisco will likely be inserting Zane Beadles (RG) and Garry Gilliam (RT) into the starting lineup, who have combined to allow eight total pressures on 72 pass-block snaps this season. That could spell potential disaster against one of the best defensive lines in football, particularly on the left side where Graham and Cox spend the majority of their time. Graham is one of just seven edge defenders with an overall grade of 90.0 or higher (90.2), and his 90.1 pass-rush grade trails only Melvin Ingram. Cox’s pass-rushing prowess hasn’t been far behind, with his 86.1 pass-rush grade ranking fourth among interior defenders.

This Eagles defensive line has looked so dominant at times. They could really terrorize Beathard today.

49ers fans are fully expecting this, too. There’s literally a headline on Niners Nation that reads: “Is C.J. Beathard going to die?


This matchup is what makes me very confident in an Eagles win today. The gap between Beathard and Wentz figures to be huge in this game. Even if Wentz isn’t on his A-game, he should still find himself in a much better situation than Beathard is.

95.8% - The Eagles’ current chances of making the playoffs, per Football Outsiders.

The Eagles are in great shape at 6-1. They’d be even better at 7-1.

Handling business against the 49ers is obviously important. But the other big game that Eagles fans should be paying attention to is the Cowboys-Redskins matchup in Washington this week.

According to ESPN, this is the highest leverage game of the week. A Cowboys loss would drop their playoff odds by 25%. A Washington loss would drop theirs by 17%.

Rooting for Dallas to lose is the right move today. They’re potentially the biggest threat to the Eagles. Philly already owns a head-to-head tiebreaker over Washington so they’re much less dangerous.

The problem is that Washington probably won’t win today. They’re dealing with too many injuries on the offensive line; starting left tackle Trent Williams is out today. Going to be a tough one for Kirk Cousins.

If Kurt can somehow pull off the upset and the Eagles can beat the 49ers, this will be a great Sunday for Philly. The NFC East race is kind of almost over already, but it’d be even more so if Dallas loses to Washington and the Eagles win.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 09:30:04 EDT from rss

Subject: No Ghost for Halloween? Seven Takeaways from Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 2

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I spent Saturday night on the couch under a blanket, with my head pounding and everything seeming foggy as I drifted in and out of consciousness rather than attend a Halloween party. I can only imagine that’s what Gostisbehere is experiencing right now (minus the chills) after he had to leave the Flyers impressive 4-2…

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 09:00:44 EDT from rss

Subject: 49ers-Eagles Predictions

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The Eagles are back in action after defeating the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football just six days ago. They’ll take on the winless San Francisco 49ers at home. To recap, here’s where the staff stands after three weeks: 1: Bob (7-0) 2: Tyler (6-1) T3: Chris, Coggin, Kevin K, Kevin L, Kyle, Tim (5-2)…

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 11:11:29 EDT from rss

Subject: Roger Goodell gets contract extension despite Jerry Jones

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Jones still miffed about suspension and anthem protests

Roger Goodell and the league have agreed to a contract extension “as a practical matter” despite Jerry Jones’ efforts to “hijack” the negotiations, reports Jason La Canfora of CBS.

There have been differing accounts of Roger Goodell's contract extension in the media, but the reality is the language on the commissioner's extension with the NFL is finalized. "The deal is done," according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, and no owner is delaying the matter.

Jones, still miffed about the Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga and Goodell’s handling of the anthem protests, had attempted to torpedo the extensions. Other owners are displeased with other aspects of Goodell’s tenure, most of which align with the general public:

Among the issues some owners are unhappy with include the performance of Goodell and certain NFL employees, the league's situation with relocating teams back to Los Angeles, and other concerns that date back to Ray Rice's domestic violence case and how that was handled.

The Los Angeles relocation of the Rams and Chargers has gone horribly, but after years of billionaire owners threatening to move to Los Angeles unless taxpayers gave them a new stadium, they sound like hypocrites, which they are. The complaints about the league’s disciplinary actions for domestic violence are justified, with Goodell and his office handing out inconsistent punishments.

Those are legitimate league-wide issues that have embarrassed everyone in the league and infuriated fans. A Goodell contract extension, expected to be announced during Super Bowl week, is sure to displease many fans. Jones’ reasons are petty and vindictive, a Goodell contract extension is sure to displease him as well.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 12:05:42 EDT from rss

Subject: Calvin Johnson Trade Rumors: Retired NFL wide receiver spotted on plane to Philadelphia

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Let me start this off by saying the Philadelphia Eagles are (probably) not trading for Calvin Johnson.

With that said, I just can’t help but note how funny it was to see this tweet about Johnson being spotted on a plane headed to Philly this morning ...

... followed up by this tweet ...


Calvin Johnson to the Eagles, confirmed. There’s no other possible explanation.

Just kidding. There’s obviously a lot of other explanations. Johnson could be on a connecting flight. He could be visiting a friend or relative. Who knows.

It goes without saying that it’d be hard to see the Eagles trade for a wide receiver prior to the 2017 NFL trade deadline. If the Eagles were still employing last year’s group of awful receivers, then maybe there would be something to all of this. But they seem to like what they have right now.

And that’s not even mentioning that: the Eagles are light on future draft picks, Johnson is 32 years old, he’s been out of football for quite some time now, his contract would eat into the Eagles’ limited cap space, etc.

It’s just not happening.

But wouldn’t it be fun if it did? The Eagles are 6-1 and playing really good football. Carson Wentz is performing at an MVP level. He doesn’t lack receiving weapons, but could you imagine adding Megatron to the mix? Whew.

The NFL trade deadline is set for 4:00 PM ET on Tuesday, October 31. It’ll likely pass with Johnson remaining retired or playing for a team that isn’t the Eagles.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 12:17:53 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers 4, Leafs 2: What we learned from a statement win

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More like Flyers Night in Canada am I right??

The Corsi Report:

You know the drill by now, let’s get into to some fancy stats.

1st line: Claude Giroux / Sean Couturier / Jakub Voracek

Giroux: Raw (43.75) / Adjusted (49.27)

Couturier: Raw (45.45) / Adjusted (50.90)

Voracek: Raw (44.83) / Adjusted (50.52)

It wasn’t a dominating effort by the first line to say the least, but the line was on the ice for two of the Flyers 5-on-5 goals, one scored by Giroux and one by Voracek. This line which was thought of as a crazy experiment during the preseason has now become easily the Flyers’ best line.

2nd line: Jordan Weal / Valtteri Filppula / Wayne Simmonds

Weal: Raw (45.83) / Adjusted (51.46)

Filppula: Raw (50) / Adjusted (55.73)

Simmonds: Raw (51.85) / Adjusted (57.68)

Without a doubt I can say this was Filppula’s best game of the season so far. He wasn’t spectacular, but he got the job done and drove play at a fairly solid rate. Simmonds had a rare dominating play-driving night, coming in fourth on the team in xGF with a mark of 0.58, 0.10 higher than his linemate Filppula.

3rd line: Travis Konecny / Jori Lehtera / Matt Read

Konecny: Raw (56.25) / Rdjusted (59.64)

Lehtera: Raw (53.33) / Adjusted (56.89)

Read: Raw (56.25) / Adjusted (59.64)

Despite seeing the least amount of time on the ice at 5-on-5 with each player not seeing more than nine minutes, the makeshift line put together a solid performance against the high octane Leafs squad. While this isn’t a line I want trotted out there night in and night out (and it won’t be when Patrick returns), they showed some promise.

4th line: Taylor Leier / Scott Laughton / Michael Raffl

Leier: Raw (35.71) / Adjusted (41.23)

Laughton: Raw (41.18) / Adjusted (47.03)

Raffl: Raw (33.33) / Adjusted (38.42)

When I saw the numbers for this line I was shocked. It didn’t look as though they played that poorly of a game by just using the eye test. Then, when you dig a little a deeper, you see this line had the misfortune of facing Toronto’s second line which featured Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau. A tough task for a “fourth line”.


1st Pair: Ivan Provorov / Shayne Gostisbehere

Provorov: Raw (50) / Adjusted (55.97)

Gostisbehere: Raw (52.17) / Adjusted (57.06)

Despite the loss of Ghost in the 3rd period, this duo was fantastic all night long. Their performance is even more impressive when you realize they had to face the Matthews line for the majority of the night — and they held their own against that line. Provorov also lead the Flyers on the night with an individiaul expected Goals For of 0.75.

2nd Pair: Robert Hagg/Brandon Manning

Hagg: Raw (44.44) / Adjusted (50.28)

Manning: Raw (28.57) / Adjusted (32.94)

About the only “good” thing about Ghost’s injury was that Hagg got to spend some time away from the ten-ton anchor that is Manning. Despite getting a 5-on-5 goal on a really well-executed play by the Flyers, it was a bad night for Manning, who was the team’s worst at 5v5 CF%. Hagg would spend the majority of the 3rd with Provorov, and his CF% went from 36.84 with Manning to 63.64 with Provy.

3rd Pair: Travis Sanheim/Radko Gudas

Sanheim: Raw (61.11) / Adjusted (65.24)

Gudas: Raw (48.39) / Adjusted (53.47)

Just a fantastic game for Sanheim and Gudas. After a horrific play by Gudas that resulted in Toronto’s first goal, he really settled in from then on and put together a solid game. As for Sanheim, he went mostly unnoticed defensively which is a good thing, and offensively he was letting that powerful shot go at will.

Team stats

Flyers Raw CF%: 46.59

Leafs Raw CF%: 53.41

Flyers Adjusted: 51.93

Leafs Adjusted: 48.07

As expected, the Flyers win the adjusted battle due to them leading for a little over two thirds of the game.


Flyers on offense: Not too shabby!

Flyers on defense: OH LORD WHAT IN THE HELL IS THAT.

Obviously, Philadelphia needs to get better at protecting the front of the net and eliminating chances from that area. The two 5v5 Leafs goals were scored in or on the edge of that gigantic red spot right in front of the net. They won tonight, but this is something that needs to be fixed in the near future.

Five Takeaways

1. Auston Matthews is really freakin good

I’m sure all of you are sick and tired of hearing about this, but it needs to be said. Matthews got the scoring started blowing by Ivan Provorov and AT THE LAST POSSIBLE SECOND making a perfect pass to Kadri. I don’t think this guy is capable of making a poor decision on the ice.

2. Jakub Voracek is the Flyers MVP through the 11 games

After a disappointing 2016-2017 season, Jake the Snake has put together a stretch to begin the season that reminds you of the lockout shortened 2012-13 Voracek, who was just two points shy of being point per game, and the 2014-15 Voracek, who finished just one point shy of reaching the point-per-game plateau.

In his first 11 games, Voracek only has two goals, but his 13 assists have put him on a career-high pace that we have desperately craved from him since he received his eight year contract extension before last season.

3. Shayne Gostisbehere injured

After this vicious hit by Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov, Ghost took a few more shifts to close out the second period but would not return for the entirety of the third.

Gostisbhere was ruled out due to the extremely descriptive and always-appreciated “upper body injury”. Obviously the first thought that arises is a concussion.

However considering the hit, it could very well be shoulders, neck/upper back etc. While, yes the possibility of a concussion for Ghost is absolutely there, the fact he completed a few shifts after the hit would lead me to believe it’s not. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

4. Brian Elliott bounces back

After a poor showing by Elliott in his last game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, he was on his game tonight. Solid positioning, and great reflexes, the BAMF was ready for the challenge of the Toronto offense and stepped up huge.

5. Sean Couturier is my first line center

Ever since he was a rookie, I have been extremely fond of Couturier and become somewhat of an apologist for him. Consistently thinking he was better than what the basic stats say, and thinking he has the potential to be a top center in the National Hockey League. We are only 11 games into this season, and Sean Couturier is on a point per game pace with 13 points in those 11 games. Coots has never surpassed 39 points in his career, despite dominating more often than not in the underlying metrics. Now who knows what the rest of the season has in store for him, but as of right now he is playing the best hockey of his career alongside the best linemates he has ever had. All I can say is #CouturierForSelke.

All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick,, and

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 11:30:06 EDT from rss

Subject: 49ers-Eagles Week 8 Live Thread

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After a short week from a win against the Washington Redskins monday night, the Eagles return to the Linc to take on the winless San Francisco 49ers in what could be a game that features plenty of runs and short passes. On the injury front, Ronald Darby (ankle) is the only player listed as questionable. But…

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 12:35:22 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-49ers Inactives: San Francisco missing multiple starters

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Look who’s in and who’s out.

The Philadelphia Eagles officially announced their inactives list for their Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

There are no real surprises among the inactives. Ronald Darby is OUT, as reported earlier this morning. Perhaps he’ll be able to return next week.

Jordan Hicks is the other player out due to injury. The Eagles will likely officially place him on injured reserve this week.

Darby and Hicks are the only two injured players who are inactive. Everyone else is a healthy scratch.

Taylor Hart is inactive after re-signing with the Eagles earlier this week. Isaac Seumalo is expected to be the top backup to both Halapoulivaati Vaitai (left tackle) and Lane Johnson (right tackle). Chance Warmack is back to being active after being a healthy scratch last week.

Here’s a look at all seven inactive names.

Philadelphia Eagles Inactive List

CB Ronald Darby - Injury.

LB Jordan Hicks - Injury.

OT Taylor Hart - Depth offensive tackle.

DE Steven Means - Fifth defensive end.

DT Justin Hamilton - Fifth defensive tackle.

DT Elijah Qualls - Sixth defensive tackle.

WR Shelton Gibson - Sixth wide receiver.

San Francisco 49ers Inactive List

The 49ers will be without starting right tackle Trent Brown. Starting slot cornerback K’Waun Williams is also out. Starting linebacker Reuben Foster is also out. Starting wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is active today.

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 12:59:03 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-49ers 2017: Updates, time, TV schedule, predictions and more

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Everything you need to know about the game!

Welcome to NFL game day! The Philadelphia Eagles are set to face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8 of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule. The matchup kicks off at 1:00 PM ET on Monday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read on for live updates from the game. [Click here for how to watch the Eagles vs. 49ers game via online streaming.]

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 12:59:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. 49ers 2017: First quarter score updates

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The Philadelphia Eagles kick off their 2017 season schedule with a game against the San Francisco 49ers.

IT’S TIME FOR PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FOOTBALL! The Eagles are kicking off their eighth game of the 2017 regular season schedule with a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Today’s game begins at 1:00 PM Eastern.

The Eagles can advance to 7-1 by beating the 0-7 49ers. This is an opportunity for the Birds to extend their win streak to six in a row.

Check out the Eagles-49ers BGN Radio pregame show below (click here if you can’t see it). Stay tuned for the postgame show in the recap thread immediately after the final whistle.

BGN Radio Pregame Show! #Eagles vs #49ers

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Sunday, October 29, 2017


Here is some basic information to help guide you through the game:


(Note: if the Twitter feed isn't showing up for you, click here.)

Use this open thread as a place to discuss the first quarter!

[#] Sun Oct 29 2017 12:52:36 EDT from rss

Subject: Messed with Texas: Four Observations from Sixers 112, Mavericks 110

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That works. It wasn’t pretty at the end, but this was a nice bounce back win for a team that suffered a brutal home loss Wednesday night. This was a much better fourth quarter than what we witnessed in the Houston defeat. Saturday night, the Sixers led 107-102 with 2:31 remaining on the clock. This…

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