Subject: Flyers vs. Penguins preview: Rolling on through the Metro
Do we still like divisional games? Are we still excited?
*taps microphone* He-hello? Is anyone still out there? Is anyone still reading these things, watching this team?
The Flyers have dropped their last seven games, four of which in either the shootout or overtime, in case you needed reminding. It’s been a lot of close hockey, with the Flyers losing five of these past seven by just one goal. They’ve kept in it, just couldn’t close. The performance hasn’t been atrocious, per se, but they’re looking to tighten it up, still.
The Penguins currently sit at sixth in the Metro, five points ahead of the Flyers. They’re rested, after their win over the Lightning on Saturday, but also figure to be without Evgeni Malkin, who is listed as day to day with an upper body injury.
There’s been shuffling galore happening in Flyers World, so let’s dive into a few of the key changes and moves.
1. Veteran reappearances and secondary scoring
One of the silver linings of Friday’s loss was the strong performances by veterans Wayne Simmonds and Shayne Gostisbehere. After a scoring drought and rough showing in Brooklyn, respectively, the two both notched goals over the evening at home, and looked to be getting back on track.
But the team still remains carried by its first line, as all other scoring came from members of the Ginger Line. Simmonds’ goal made for a bit of secondary scoring, and the rest of the bottom nine got some good looks over the course of the game, but just couldn’t capitalize. It seems, if nothing else, like a move in the right direction, if only they can keep moving in that direction.
2. AMac returns(?)
And a potential change to the lineup! After being out with a knee injury after blocking a shot at the end of the game against Edmonton last month, tonight looks promising for Andrew MacDonald to return to play. He practiced with the team yesterday, and Hakstol praised his performance, therein. Coach and teammates alike seem excited for his return, for the stability and veteran presence he brings. And say what you want about his performance to date; given a team that’s been so much in their heads of late, maybe just what they need is to think that they’re gaining back a key piece, in order to get things going again. Maybe.
3. RIP the Honey Bees
This isn’t the first game where we’ve seen the Flyers doing some shuffling of the fourth line, but now they’ve really taken that to another level. For some reason, they decided to meet one of the faster teams in the league with a fourth line of Lehtera, Laughton, and Weise.
Yeah, I don’t know, either.
But the narrative surrounding the team this weekend has been that of need for veterans to show up and work to both produce and stabilize the team. This move seems a gesture towards that—hoping that Weise and Lehtera can provide some sort of veteran stability to an admittedly somewhat volatile young team—even if it is at the expense of some speed.
The models over at Corsica favor the Penguins pretty distinctly in this one, giving the Flyers a high of 47.7 percent and average of 43.1 percent chance of winning.
You can check out the Flyers’ projected lineup below.
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Martel - Patrick - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Konecny
Lehtera - Laughton - Weise
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim - Manning
Subject: Eagles open as big favorites against the Seahawks IN Seattle
The Eagles have been dominating their opponents lately; three straight wins of 28-plus points.
The odds-makers have taken notice.
Philadelphia opened up as 5.5 point favorites against the Seahawks in Seattle this week. 5.5 point favorites!
That’s the most points a road team has been favored by in Seattle dating all the way back to 2012. Six years ago!
Now, the line has shifted since opening late on Sunday. It immediately jumped to 3.5, which indicates a lot of money was coming in on the Seahawks. Now it’s back to up to 4 in most places, according to the SB Nation odds page.
Even though the Eagles are really good, I can’t fault people for betting on the ‘hawks. Seattle is 42-8 in their last 50 home games. As the Eagles have experienced first-hand, Pete Carroll’s team is not easy to beat there.
Then again, the Seahawks are looking more vulnerable than ever. They lost their last two games at home (Redskins, Falcons). It could’ve been three losses in a row if not for a last-minute comeback against the Texans.
Seattle is dealing with a number of key injuries lately. Star cornerback Richard Sherman is out for the year. Starting safety Kam Chancellor is also expected to miss the rest of the season. That’s two members of the Legion of Boom gone right there.
That’s not to suggest the game will be a walk in the park for Philly. Russell Wilson’s mobility could negate the Eagles’ defensive line pressure to some extent. Seattle will also be playing with desperation since they’re currently not projected to make the playoffs in the NFC playoff picture. The Seahawks are only one game back on the Rams so the NFC West is still there for the taking.
Sunday’s night game should be a good one. It’s always fun to see the Eagles crush opponents like they’ve been doing, but it wouldn’t hurt to see how Philly fares against a more competitive team.
Subject: Only the Media Could Find Fault in a 28 Point Drubbing
A pretty funny moment took place during Doug Pederson’s press conference on Monday. In a question about Carson Wentz’s development, a reporter from the Daily News used the phrase “premature explosion.” The Philadelphia Eagles head coach couldn’t help but laugh.
If Pederson doesn’t have your Coach of the Year vote by now, what else do you need to see?!
Here’s a full transcript of the exchange.
MARCUS HAYES: Jeffrey [Lurie] said at the beginning of the year that a young quarterback, when he starts his first year, he learns what he learns. The second year, he makes a few more steps. But his third year and fourth year is when he kind of explodes. Have we seen, maybe, a premature explosion? Or is there still ...
DOUG PEDERSON: (cracking up) Umm ... (laughing) let’s regroup here (losing it).
JEFF MCLANE: It wasn’t me, Doug. It wasn’t me.
PEDERSON: (still laughing) I know. I know. Um. Hoo boy. Alright. Um. (getting serious) No, I do think, though, that this year, obviously, we wanted to see, as coaches, we wanted to see those increases from a year ago. We wanted to see that incremental increase with Carson and his development and his growth and that’s what you’re seeing. Is there room for improvement? Yes, yes, there is. And just continue to get better. You know, I know phrases like ‘you gotta know where every bone is buried’ offensively. So when we call pass routes, when we call run plays, and understanding fronts and coverages, I want Carson to know where everything is buried. I want him to know when he gets this coverage, [he knows he can go] backside on a particular route combination. And there’s where he can continue to grow as a quarterback. And continue to get better. You see a lot of the great quarterbacks, and he’s on that track, but you see a lot of the great quarterbacks knowing exactly where everybody’s going to be. And then based on what the defense presents, being able to get to that. Maybe it’s the third option or fourth option on a particular route. And that’s where the growth comes.
Doug really used a phrase like “bury the bone” after being asked about a “premature explosion.”
Subject: Doug Pederson Loses It on a Question about
Subject: Doug Pederson
Subject: Checking out the competition: Pittsburgh Penguins with Kaitlyn Dividock
Let’s talk about hockey with our mortal enemies!
- What it’s like to have a good and smart hockey coach in charge
- The wonderfulness of Phil Kessel
- Terrible penalty kills
- The Penguins’ very bad bottom six
- Sean Couturier: so great even Pens fans love him.
Tonight’s game airs at 7PM on NBC Sports Net Philly; let’s go Flyers!
Subject: Ben Simmons Is Probably Playing Tonight
Subject: Even the Eagles think Carson Wentz and Prince Harry look alike
Are we sure they’re not the same person?
Some pretty big non-sports news was announced earlier today: Prince Harry is now engaged so there’s going to be a royal wedding.
But maybe that IS sports news, after all? I mean, are we sure Prince Harry and Carson Wentz are actually two different people?
Any body else think Carson Wentz and Prince Harry are brothers ? pic.twitter.com/VD1BknE7HY— Justin Daniel (@Stickkodkid) November 27, 2017
Even the team’s official Twitter account sees the resemblance.
Congrats on the engagement, “Prince Harry.”
Subject: Eagles Modestly Release Playoff Ticket Information
Subject: Flyers at Penguins lineups, start time, TV, radio, live stream and discussion
Andrew MacDonald is back as the Flyers try to curb their seven-game winless streak when they square off with their cross-state rivals.
Tonight’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. ET and can be:
- Seen locally via NBC Sports Philadelphia (or via stream on the NBC Sports App)
- Heard via radio locally on 97.5 The Fanatic
- Seen in Pittsburgh via AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
- Seen or heard elsewhere via NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA, or Sirius XM (be forewarned, as NHL.tv will presumably be blacked out)
At this point, we do not know today’s starter in net for the Flyers; otherwise, we are expecting more or less the same lineups on each side as we saw on Wednesday night in Brooklyn.
Projected Flyers lineup:
Giroux - Couturier - Voracek
Martel - Patrick - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Konecny
Lehtera - Laughton - Weise
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim - Manning
Projected Penguins lineup (via):
Sheary - Crosby - Hornqvist
Guentzel - Sheahan - Kessel
Hagelin - Rowney - Rust
Kuhnhackl - McKegg - Reaves
Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Ruhwedel
Hunwick - Schultz
Subject: Ravens vs. Texans How to watch Monday Night Football, game info, live streaming, odds, more
Watch MNF here.
This game has some interest for the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s been reported that the Eagles-Rams game in Week 14 — currently set to start at 4:25 PM ET — could be flexed to Sunday Night Football with a Baltimore loss. The Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are currently set to play on SNF that week.
Just to update: Got moved to MIN/CAR if this happens. Ravens def don’t want to move out of my that spot either. Breathe easy earlier risers. https://t.co/NwTRyE7B2z— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) November 27, 2017
Find everything you need to know about tonight's game below.
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens TV Schedule
Game time: 8:30 PM EST
Date: Monday, November 27
Announcers: Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Location: M&T Bank Stadium | Baltimore, Maryland
Online Streaming: WatchESPN
Houston Texans +8 (-115)
Baltimore Ravens -8 (-105)
Open thread: discuss Monday night’s game in the comments below.
Subject: Eagles work out two tight ends and a quarterback
Doing their homework.
The Eagles worked out three free agents on Monday, according to NFL insider Adam Caplan. Philadelphia hosted tight end Gabe Holmes, tight end Jevoni Robinson, and quarterback Matt Simms. Here’s some more info on each player.
The 26-year-old Holmes measures in at 6-5, 255 pounds. He played college football at Purdue and signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015. Holmes didn’t play in a regular season game but he hung around with the Raiders until he was waived prior to the start of this season. Preseason stats from 2015-2017: seven receptions for 38 yards. Holmes spent 13 days on the Seattle’s practice squad in September. The Eagles play the Seahawks this Sunday.
Robinson isn’t a football player. The 25-year-old played college basketball for North Carolina State before transferring to Barry University (Division II) as a senior in 2014-2015. Robinson measures in at 6-8, 225 pounds. This isn’t the first time the Eagles worked out a basketball player. They reportedly did that earlier this summer as well.
Simms is the son of former NFL quarterback and current NFL sportscaster Phil Simms. The 29-year-old has spent time with the Jets, Bills, and Falcons since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!
It’s a little interesting that the Eagles worked out two tight ends since Trey Burton missed Philly’s Week 12 game with a back injury. But Holmes and Robinson aren’t necessarily reliable players who are ready to contribute now. The Eagles could be working them out in the interest of signing them to offseason deals. Note that Burton is set to be a free agent this offseason and Brent Celek could retire or be cut for cap savings.
As for Simms, the Eagles already have three quarterbacks on the roster, so maybe this was just about them doing a favor to get his name out there. Or maybe the Eagles were picking his brain on the Falcons, since Simms spent time with them from 2015-2017.
Subject: Connor Barwin Injury: Rams defensive end might miss Eagles game
The Eagles and Rams are scheduled to face off in L.A. in Week 14 on December 10.
Philadelphia released Barwin, who turned 31 in October, earlier this offseason in an effort to save cap space. Barwin was a good player for the Eagles who made great contributions in the community during his time in Philly from 2013-2016.
Through 11 games with the Rams, Barwin has recorded 25 tackles and four sacks. He ranks tied for second on the team in sacks.
Our friends at Turf Show Times have more info on Barwin’s replacements.
Expect to see more of rookies Samson Ebukam and Ejuan Price, and second-year player Matt Longacre. Ebukam was the main beneficiary of the Barwin injury, and capitalized his time with his second career sack.
In other injury news, Robert Woods may or may not be ready to return in time for Week 14. The Rams’ leading receiver is dealing with a shoulder issue that kept him sidelined in Week 12.
Subject: Penguins 5, Flyers 4: The arch-enemy extends the losing streak to eight games
Flyers blow 3-1 lead with 20 minutes left with their arch-enemy sinking them in OT.
When it rains, it pours, and Sidney Crosby continued to rain on the Flyers’ parade as the noted Flyers killer notched the game-winning goal to give the Penguins a 5-4 win in overtime on Monday night to extend the Flyers losing skid to eight games.
The Flyers blew a 3-1 lead in this one, marking the fourth time in their last six games that they’ve squandered a two-goal lead in a loss. Brian Elliott made 47 saves on 52 shots in the losing effort, having to face 21 shots in the final 23 minutes of this one.
Though the Penguins forced the action in the third period and beyond, the Flyers did just about everything you’d expect of a team blowing a two-goal lead late. Bad penalties and turnovers fueled the Penguins’ comeback in this one and highlighted mistakes that were preventable.
There was a nice early chance for the Flyers, but Ivan Provorov’s blast at the 3:09 mark was met by Matt Murray, who then made a couple of nice saves in close as Wayne Simmonds and Danick Martel buzzed shortly after.
Pittsburgh’s first scoring chance would be started by none other than Sidney Crosby, leading the rush and setting up Conor Sheary for a bad angle shot and then a follow-up chance for Patric Hornqvist on a rebound. Brian Elliott was there for both, though, keeping things scoreless six minutes in.
The Flyers would grab the game’s first penalty as Carter Rowney would go off on a minor for slashing Travis Konecny at the eight-minute mark. The power play would be short-lived as Sean Couturier would take a minor just 23 seconds into the man-advantage for a slash in front of the Penguins net.
With 3:57 left in the first it would be the Penguins to strike first as Jake Guentzel picked the blocker-side for his 10th goal of the season to make it 1-0.
Guentzel’s goal would be the lone tally in the first, a period that saw Pittsburgh pepper Brian Elliott with 17 shots. Matt Murray turned aside all 10 Flyers shots at the other end.
The Flyers would get the first chance of the second as Provorov led a two-on-one, but was turned aside by Murray calmly in the first minute.
Back-to-back penalties to Pittsburgh put the Flyers up two men for 1:21, creating a golden chance to tie things up.
Shayne Gostisbehere wasted no time, ripping a one-timer past Murray just a seconds after the two-man advantage started to tie things up at 1-1. Time of the goal came at 3:40 and was assisted by Nolan Patrick, who put it on a tee for Ghost, and Claude Giroux.
With that assist Giroux moved to a tie for ninth on the Flyers’ all-time scoring list with Rod Brind-Amour at 601 career points.
Pittsburgh would get a chance to grab the lead back as Jori Lehtera sent them to a man-advantage with 10:53 left in the middle frame but the Flyers were able to get a key kill and keep a dangerous Penguins power play from getting setup in front of Elliott.
With just 4:55 left in the period the Flyers would grab their first lead of the game thanks to Brandon Manning’s point shot off Travis Konecny to make it 2-1. Michael Raffl and Manning picked assists on the goal, which ended a 13-game goal scoring drought for the second-year forward.
So Teeks scored a goal... pic.twitter.com/et6Qzd8sp3— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 28, 2017
Less than a minute later Matt Murray would be removed after Jake Voracek ended up sliding into the goaltender on a clean breakaway. Voracek made the move but lost an edge and slammed into Murray.
In for the injured Murray, Tristan Jarry came up with a heck of a save to deny Wayne Simmonds but he wasn’t able to survive the last 30 seconds as Sean Couturier fired home his 14th of the season to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead headed to the third.
Sean Couturier puts the Flyers up 3-1! pic.twitter.com/qR2cEgh6bk— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 28, 2017
An Andrew MacDonald penalty put the Penguins on the power play and they didn’t waste any time as Patric Hornqvist —who drew the penalty —scored to make it 3-2 just 1:07 into the third.
Less than a minute later the Penguins would tie things up at 3-3 as Bryan Rust took advantage of a turnover by Shayne Gostisbehere at the Pittsburgh blue line. Rust was denied by Elliott on the initial save but the puck floated up and over the goalie and just crossed the line.
Bad turnover by Ghost, bad bounce for the Flyers. This game is tied. pic.twitter.com/1OZoZvnMeJ— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 28, 2017
With the team in front of him collapsing Elliott came up with a this time on Rust with 14:02 left after the Flyers defense lost him in front.
Robert Hagg would put the Penguins back on the power play some 20 seconds later, with momentum firmly tilted towards Pittsburgh. A strong penalty kill ensued for the Flyers, culminating with a sprawling save by Elliott.
Down the stretch the Penguins continued to throw pucks toward the Flyers net and Elliott, gaining a massive edge in shots as the third dragged on.
With 3:41 left Michael Raffl’s outstanding individual effort would give the Flyers the lead back at 4-3. Raffl stripped Phil Kessel of the puck and then went to the backhand to put the puck calmly by Jarry for his second of the season.
WHAT A GOAL! MICHAEL RAFFL! OH MY GOSH! pic.twitter.com/HHKoGB3fhY— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) November 28, 2017
Elliott would come up with a massive stop on Sidney Crosby with 1:09 left and every Flyer on the ice dead tired following a long, long shift. The Penguins racked up nearly two minutes of zone time and were able to get Jarry off to setup the man-advantage but Elliott was there in the end.
The terrific effort from Elliott would be for naught, as the Penguins would knot things up at 4-4 off the ensuing draw, when a point shot found its way to the back of the net off of Guentzel.
Pittsburgh kept the Flyers pinned in their own zone after the tying goal and drew a delay of game penalty to Jake Voracek that would carry over to the overtime session.
That overtime session was largely thanks to Brian Elliott, who racked up 46 saves in regulation alone in this one.
With 3:12 left it would be Crosby doing in the Flyers as he tipped home a shot to give Pittsburgh the 5-4 win.
Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Everything is pain
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
* Oh, who cares. RECAP.
* Travis Sanheim’s dad, in particular, was loving the trip: [Courier-Post]
* Elsewhere: how are pre-season predictions looking as we’re past the one-quarter mark of the season? [SBNation]
* And how are some coaches currently on the hot seat looking? (Yes, a certain Philadelphia coach shows up on here.) [ESPN]
* Gabe Landeskog was suspended four games for cross-checking. It’s his third NHL suspension: [Mile High Hockey]
* Finally, a wrap-up of last weekend in hockey, featuring Matt Duchene’s unimpressive start in Ottawa: [Sportsnet]
Subject: Eagles News: Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Graham earned some extra money
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/28/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Lucky 7: Eagles' Brandon Graham nets $250K with sack vs. Bears - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham set a new career high by registering his seventh sack of the season Sunday against the Chicago Bears -- and earned some extra scratch in the process. As ESPN's Field Yates reported in August, the Eagles amended Graham's contract to give him a chance to earn a raise over the next two seasons through incentives and salary escalators. By taking down Mitchell Trubisky for his seventh sack, he triggered a $250,000 escalator for his 2018 salary. He will get an additional $250,000 if he reaches nine sacks and another $250,000 on top of that if he gets to 12 [...] He wasn't the only one who got some extra cash Sunday. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery hit a $250,000 bonus by catching his seventh touchdown of the season against his former team.
Eagles-Bears Final Score: Ten things we learned from Philadelphia’s 10th win - BGN
Fortunately for the Eagles, the Bears are so bad that they were unable to capitalize on Philly’s miscues. But that obviously won’t be the case every week. The margin for error decreases as the Eagles face higher quality opponents.In a way, it’s nice to know the Eagles have some things to work on so that they don’t just start to take their foot off the gas after blowing some teams out. The coaching staff can stress that there’s room for improvement.
This Eagles' Defense Is Special - BGNRadio.com
John Barchard and James Seltzer break down a sloppy, but dominant Eagles' 31-3 win over the Bears. The guys revel in the Eagles' 10-1 start, discussing the chemistry and #culture that makes this team so special. Another reason this team is special is Carson Wentz. The fellas analyze another strong outing from Wentz, and talk about what it is that makes him so special. The defense was the true star of the day. The guys examine the defense's commanding performance, while also eulogizing the career of Mitchell Trubisky and much more!
We Were Right Before Christmas: A Live Podcast With Rights To Ricky Sanchez and BGN Radio - RTRS
As much as this is a live pod, it's also a huge holiday party, we will be there before and after drinking beers (or sodas) with you. We're so excited. It's going to be a blast. Also, it's happening on one of the biggest going-out nights of the year, so you have no excuse. We're lining up some special guests, and there are like 87 people in the BGN Radio crew (in addition to John Barchard, James Seltzer and Retweet Armageddon Congressman Brandon Lee Gowton).
Eagles are historically dominant in the trenches - PhillyVoice
On the season, the Eagles have rushed for 1622 yards. They have allowed just 716 rushing yards. That would be a difference of 906 yards in the Eagles' favor through 11 games. In other words, the Eagles are averaging 82.4 more rushing yards per game than their opponents so far this season. Obviously, you and I can look at that stat and know it's good. I was curious exactly how good it was from a historical standpoint, and came up with just seven teams since 1983 (the year after the strike-shortened season) that out-gained their opponents by more than the 2017 Eagles have so far.
The Messenger - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles have a 10-1 record and they are blowing teams out at a record pace. Life is good and everyone can be happy. Doug Pederson should have nothing but good things to say about his players. That’s not what we heard from Pederson on Monday. “Unacceptable” is the way Pederson described his team’s four fumbles and 11 penalties from the win over the Bears. He talked about how winning can cover up mistakes. My favorite way of putting that is that winning is the great deodorant, making all the unpleasant stuff go away. I was happy to hear Pederson be critical of his team. This is exactly the message they need. Every person in Philly or on social media will be singing the praises of the players. They need some humble pie. That’s not to say this team is cocky or complacent, but they are human. These players need someone to remind them that blowing out the Bears won’t mean squat in January. You play good, clean football or you go home.
West Coast Trip Signals Big Next Step - PE.com
Enough with the preliminaries. December is here and the season takes another turn as the Eagles head to Seattle for the start of a three-game road trip that will be testing, will be telling, and will take an outstanding effort to defeat ...
Upon further review: Ten thoughts on the Eagles-Seahawks matchup - The Athletic
I was surprised that the Eagles opened as six-point favorites (the line has since moved down to four). They've outscored their last seven opponents by a total of 149 points, or an average of 21.3 points pre game. Overall, they have a plus-160 point differential, which is tops in the league and impressive when considering recent historical context as well. So why am I surprised? The Seahawks are an incredibly difficult out — especially at home. They've held a lead or been within one score in the fourth quarter in 113 of their last 115 games; the two exceptions were on the road. With Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson, they are nearly impossible to put away. I'll be stunned if this isn't a competitive game in the fourth quarter.
With Bears win behind them, Eagles turn attention to Seahawks - Inquirer
You might have noticed injured left tackle Jason Peters walking out for the opening coin flip on Sunday. The presence of Peters, one of the most respected players in the locker room, was not lost on his teammates. “It’s awesome,” center Jason Kelce said. “It was great having him back in here for the pregame and everything like that. His presence and the way he carries himself, the leader that he is for this team, it’s just awesome having him around. It kind of hurts you that he’s not out there. He’s been through a lot. I’ve been here my whole career with him. Right now we’re having the best start since I’ve been here, certainly since he’s been here. He really deserves to be out there.”
Eagles' unselfishness reaches new heights with Ertz - NBC Sports Philadelphia
"When I was at 9-for-98, they were telling me, 'Hey you just need one more catch, just get one more catch,'" Ertz said postgame. "So we said on third down, I was going to go in there if it was a pass. "I knew I was getting the ball. I knew it. There was no way I wasn't getting that ball, that last one. It's fun. I mean, I think it shows how close these guys are, how much we truly care about one another. Everyone is happy for the other man's success. I think that's a testament to this team."
Philadelphia Is Feeling Good About Football, and It’s Weird - Wall Street Journal
The Philadelphia Eagles are very good. I know: I’m really going out on a long limb of courage here, after the Eagles improved to 10-1 following Sunday’s 31-3 demolition of Chicago. I can’t be the only person who’s been quietly waiting for an Eagles implosion, which has yet to happen—and may not, because this Philadelphia outfit is balanced and confident. It has an MVP fave in tall person and second-year quarterback Carson Wentz; It has one of the league’s highest-rated defenses; There’s a giddy optimism around the club that feels, well, un-Philly-like.
Philadelphia Eagles' Steven Means, with a small adjustment, leaves imprint on win over Bears - PennLive
For Means, the play carried significance. A crowded roster boxed him out of the lineup in the previous four games, and he was itching to make a play that caught the attention of his coaches and teammates against Chicago. Means pressured Bears punter Pat O'Donnell into a shabby kick after the Bears' first drive of the game, and finally got his hands on the kick inside Chicago's end zone on that play early in the second quarter.
Eagles Present South Philadelphia School With A $10,000 Grant - CBS Philly
Kids at E.M. Stanton Elementary School in South Philadelphia welcomed some special visitors on Monday: a couple of Philadelphia Eagles, cheerleaders and mascot, Swoop. “It was a great opportunity to be with the kids and see how energetic they were to exercise and learn about eating well,” said Eagles rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins. The school received a $10,000 grant as part of the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, which encourages children to be active for sixty minutes per day and eat healthy foods.
The Seahawks defense has held up well without their 2 secondary stars - Field Gulls
It is a small sample, but early returns suggest that the Seahawks defense may still be good, and perhaps even very good, despite missing Sherman and Chancellor (not to mention Cliff Avril and Shaquill Griffin). In any case, the defense hasn’t fallen off a cliff like it did last year after the loss of Earl Thomas. Next up are the Philadelphia Eagles, who were #3 in offensive DVOA coming into this week’s games and are averaging 5.7 yards per play on offense. Last year, Seattle shut down rookie Carson Wentz and the Eagles, allowing seven points through three quarters below allowing a garbage time touchdown. Will this game bring more of the same?
Bears vs. Eagles: Notes from a cringeworthy blowout - Windy City Gridrion
This was the worst game the Bears have played all year. Their offensive line was absolutely atrocious, which made the ground game horrendous as a result. Trubisky made a lot of very bad throws. Their receivers couldn’t get open. Their defensive line barely put any pressure on Wentz all game, and their linebackers weren’t anything to call home about. Even their secondary, which at least had a few good plays, had its fair share of terrible plays. The Eagles were the better team heading into this game, and it showed. Chicago never stood a chance.
NFL Week 12 Sunday Standouts: Offense - PFF
Seeing 43 snaps in pass protection, Eagles guard Brandon Brooks, allowed just the single hurry, giving him a 98.3 pass blocking efficiency rating. Like Osemele, Brooks also stood out as a run blocker, with a 89.5 PFF run blocking grade in the win over the Bears.
Sean Taylor gave a generation of Washington fans a reason to love football - SB Nation
“Everyone felt that,” Khalifa says of his death. “Whether they liked [Washington] or not, everyone felt deeply remorseful for that loss and felt for this organization. He was one of those guys that you had to respect because he was just that good.” As an Eagles fan, I agree completely. I went to college in D.C. — enemy territory home to both Washington and Cowboys fans. I watched more Washington games than I did Eagles games as a result, so I saw a lot of Taylor’s brief career. And the more I watched him play, the more I loved the way he played.
With Ravens winning, it’s a reasonable bet that Dec. 10 Eagles-Rams remains Fox national game in afternoon, and Rams-Seahawks gets flexed to SNF the next week. We’ll see.— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) November 28, 2017
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Subject: NFL Power Rankings 2017: Week 13 Edition
Ranking all 32 NFL Teams.
Week 12 of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule is in the books. Now it's time to see where all 32 teams rank. For reference purposes, here is a link to last week's NFL Power Rankings.
BLG's WEEK 13 NFL POWER RANKINGS
1 - Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 1) - Nine wins in a row. The Eagles rank first overall in point differential at +160. The next closest team is 37 points away. Dominance.
2 - New England Patriots (LW: 2) - The Patriots easily beat a Miami team that ranks No. 32 overall in DVOA.
4 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 4) - Pittsburgh is winning games, but they sure aren’t doing it in super impressive fashion. Just a few weeks ago the Steelers needed a comeback to beat Indianapolis. This week they barely held off an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay team that got shut out last week and was playing on the road.
5 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 7) - The Rams picked up a big win over New Orleans to maintain their lead in the NFC West. Sean McVay’s Coach of the Year campaign continues.
6 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 3) - The Saints’ winning streak is over. The New Orleans defense has looked vulnerable in recent weeks. It didn’t help that they were without both starting corners in L.A.
7 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 8) - After losing to Chicago by 17-3 in late October, the Panthers have bounced with four straight wins. They can still win the NFC South.
8 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 10) - With two games still to play against New Orleans, the Falcons are also in the mix for the NFC South crown. Atlanta has been heating up lately. The Falcons finding their 2016 form would certainly make other NFC playoff teams feel uneasy.
9 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 11) - Seattle is currently on the outside looking in on the NFC playoff picture. They’ll be desperate to try to earn the NFC West lead back.
11 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 17) - Don’t look now but the Bolts have won their last two games by a combined score of 82 to 30. With the rest of the AFC West struggling, they have a claim to being the best team in the division.
13 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 13) - Baltimore is really not fun to watch. Their offense just sucks. Their defense and special teams units are the only reason they’ve been able to stay alive.
14 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 15) - The Titans actually lead the AFC South right now. They’re so uninteresting that you might not have noticed that.
Kirk Cousins says the field has long been an issue in the 2nd half of seasons: "It probably doesn't look like a professional NFL field should." #Redskins— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 24, 2017
Kirk Cousins, responding to @RapSheet report that Redskins brass wants to see more: "If you still need five more games, or five-plus, to make a decision, so be it, but I’d like to think that I’ve played a lot of football here." https://t.co/rpr1ilZ3qs— Chris Lingebach (@ChrisLingebach) November 27, 2017
17 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 14) - Dak Prescott without Ezekiel Elliott: 58/88, 500 yards, 0 TD, 5 INT, 57.0 passer rating. Not even a little bit surprised. Cowboys fans are calling for Dallas to #BenchDak.
18 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 20) - Classic Marvin Lewis season. Doing just enough not to get fired, but not doing enough to actually be good or meaningful.
19 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 21) - Green Bay showed good fight in Pittsburgh. Aaron Rodgers was throwing some passes prior to the game on Sunday night, which is terrifying. With games against Tampa and Cleveland next, the Pack aren’t totally dead yet.
22 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 12) - I haven’t been harsh enough on the Chiefs lately. They deserve a big drop after losing five out of their last six games. Here’s a good summary of the Chiefs’ problems:
#Chiefs struggle in the pass game, run game, run defense, and pass defense. Easiest summation of why they're 1-5 in last 6.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) November 27, 2017
23 - New York Jets (LW: 18) - Not unlike the Chiefs, New York has lost five out of their last six. Now they play each other this week.
24 - Houston Texans (LW: 19) - Going nowhere fast with Tom Savage. Sounds like a novel.
25 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 22) - Ryan Fitzpatrick’s limitations always end up costing his team eventually.
26 - Chicago Bears (LW: 26) - Chicago has done a good job of playing teams tough this year. That wasn’t the case in Philadelphia as they got blown out by the Eagles.
27 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 27) - ?????
28 - New York Giants (LW: 28) - This team is painful to watch. They’re horrible. Every time I looked at the screen, I swear Eli Manning was throwing a terribley inaccurate pass. And when he wasn’t, his receivers were dropping it. I don’t think I saw a single completion.
29 - Denver Broncos (LW: 29) - John Elway can’t be criticized enough for how he botched the Broncos’ quarterback situation. Seven losses in a row now for Denver.
31 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 31) - Are we sure Adam Gase is a good head coach?
32 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 32) - You know what time it is.
The Cleveland Browns are 1-26 since passing on Carson Wentz.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 26, 2017
Subject: Your Tuesday Morning Roundup
Subject: Penguins 5, Flyers 4: There are no words
What do you even say after losing this exact game again?
I just ...
...what? How? Why?
(Poor Sean Couturier, by the way. Maybe he should stop scoring go-ahead-by-2 goals.)
Generally speaking, in our observational pieces here at BSH we don’t spend too much time making guesses about the mental side of the game, since we’re not these players, their coaches, or their shrinks. We tend to lean most on what’s concrete and right in front of us, typically via some combination of what we’re seeing with our eyes and what the numbers are telling us. And we could talk about that as it pertains to this game and this team. In fact, we will, if you’ll wait a couple of paragraphs.
But mentally, how could this team be anything other than totally fried right now? No, they haven’t looked like a team that’s been thoroughly outclassed or outplayed every time they’ve been on the ice, but losing game after game that you know you should be winning might be even more exhausting than just playing badly from start to finish. Losing one game because your team can’t play defense with a lead like this is draining; losing four in the span of 12 days — all in the midst of an eight-game losing streak — seems almost impossible to do and even harder to handle.
What could Dave Hakstol possibly even say or do in the locker room after another one of these losses last night? And if he knew what to say or do, why didn’t he say or do it two weeks ago to make sure it didn’t happen three more times in the following week and a half?
This team — everyone on or involved with this team — needs a win in the absolute worst possible way right now. And while they will inevitably, at some point, get one, I don’t know how exactly they get there with the way things are going right now.
Two key numbers:
Minus-23 — the Flyers’ raw shot-attempt differential in the third and final period of yesterday’s hockey game (via Natural Stat Trick). The Penguins, in total, sent 32 pucks in Brian Elliott’s general direction during the third period, while the Flyers sent just nine towards Penguins replacement goalie Tristan Jarry.
If you look just at shots on goal, the Pens edged the Flyers out 20-5. If you only look at 5-on-5, total attempts were 24-6 while total shots on goal were 14-4. There is no measure by which the Flyers looked anything short of putrid during the final frame.
And while it’s true that this was another blown-lead game, the Flyers can’t blame score effects — the tendency for trailing teams to outshoot leading teams — for this wide of a gulf. The Flyers’ lead entering the third period evaporated within 1:46 after the frame began, and the time between Michael Raffl’s go-ahead goal late in the period and Jake Guentzel’s equalizing goal was just 2:37. The third period was tied for 15:37 of its 20 minutes, and the Pens just continued to run the Flyers over in the period.
There are a multiple possible explanations, none of which are particularly good or reassuring ones, or ones that reflect very well on anyone from the skaters to the coaches. Maybe the team mentally turtled a bit after giving up a power-play goal and a flukey-bounce goal early in the third, and lost the confidence to attack this Penguins defense; of course, that mentality will never end well against a team with as much firepower as Pittsburgh. Maybe the team was just tired after an exhausting first two periods, but that’d still be pretty hard to explain, considering that they had two days off prior to this game.
The pessimist would say that a team that can’t bring itself to attack and fight while either tied or ahead in the third period against its biggest rival, all after having lost its previous seven games, is just mentally drained and defeated. It’s taken just too many gut-punches in the past couple of weeks to believe that things are going to end well., and its play in the most dire of situations possible shows that. This is why Dave Hakstol’s comment about how the team had picked up a point in seven out of its last 10 games following Friday’s loss seemed so out of place (and was ridiculed by fans and observers alike after it happened). Look at the way this team played in the third period last night and tell me with a straight face that this is a team that is in the right place mentally.
The optimist, though, would say ... hahaha, can you imagine? The optimist? Talking about this team? That’s funny. I’m funny.
11.48 percent — the share of Pittsburgh shot attempts that were blocked by Flyers skaters before they reached the net at 5-on-5. As a team, the Flyers blocked seven shots on 61 attempts by Pittsburgh. In terms of percentage of shots blocked, that’s a season-low by the Flyers; for context, their season-average in this category is 24.52 percent. In other words, in an average game the Flyers block the puck before it reaches and/or misses the net a little more than twice as much as they did last night.
Some of this is a matter of circumstance and opponent, in all likelihood. Pittsburgh’s speed, creativity, and offensive talent are tough to get in the way of, so to speak. Only two teams this season (Florida and Detroit, oddly enough) have done a better job of getting their shots through than the Pens have this season.
Still: when your goalie faces 50 shots on goal in regulation and 52 in total, at some point he’s going to start looking around and asking where his help is. There could be a mental aspect to this, too — to tie this to our first number in this section, why else wouldn’t the Flyers be jumping in front of every shot they possibly could in the third period of a tie game against a rival? This is probably just a blip on the radar, but it’s worth monitoring tonight against San Jose.
Three Flyers of note:
Yes, we must begin with none other than the man making his long-awaited (well, arguably) return to the Flyer lineup. MacDonald played for the first time in five weeks on Monday night after getting injured blocking a shot in mid-late October, and Dave Hakstol wasted absolutely no time getting him back into the swing of things: MacDonald played 23:56 last night, second to only his defensive partner Ivan Provorov.
And MacDonald was ... well, he was Andrew MacDonald. He had his good moments, such as some generally sound defensive work here and there as well as a nice diving poke to Provorov that send Jakub Voracek in on a breakaway in the second period. There were also downsides; he was taken off the puck for a turnover and odd-man rush at one point, and a failed zone exit gave Phil Kessel a chance in the second period. Plus, as mentioned above, MacDonald’s influence didn’t do wonders for the Flyers’ ability to block shots, as one might have guessed it would.
Still, despite the heavy minutes, MacDonald’s overall impact didn’t exactly push the needle in either direction for the Flyers last night. He was actually +7.48% in shot attempts relative to his teammates, and while his raw numbers still weren’t much special (+16/-19), they were fine enough for a Flyers team that had bigger problems on the night.
2. Brian Elliott
It was a truly bizarre night for the Flyers’ main goaltender, who clearly has the confidence of his team’s coaching staff right now considering that he was on the ice for the third straight game despite giving up five and four goals in his last two appearances. It’s not often that you’re talking about the great effort of a goalie who gives up five goals in a game, but don’t take it from me. Here’s NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz, a Pittsburgh-slanted national reporter, observing from PPG Paints Arena last night:
Brian Elliott has made a stunning amount of huge saves for a goalie that has given up three goals in this period.— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) November 28, 2017
To be clear, not everything was peachy for Elliott last night. While Pittsburgh’s first goal was scored on a beautiful shot by Jake Guentzel, Elliott was very aggressive in playing it and there’s an argument to be made that it’s a shot he could have stopped. On Pittsburgh’s second goal, the puck was straight-up in Elliott’s glove before it popped out, allowing Patric Hornqvist to eventually tip a rebound past Elliott. But there were a number of massive saves he made, particularly in the aforementioned third period, and it’s pretty tough for the goalie to be doing that when the team in front of him spends the entire third period deciding that actually playing hockey is optional.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to say a game in which the goalie allowed five pucks past him was a true sterling performance. But having faced both an obscene amount of volume (52 shots) AND quality (per Corsica.hockey, Elliott actually faced 5.4 Expected Goals’ worth of shots on the night), Elliott’s probably much closer to being the near-hero of last night’s game than he was the goat of it.
Rarely does the guy who got the least ice time of anyone on the team get singled out as a player of note, but Martel’s third career NHL game deserves some further scrutiny, mostly for what it wasn’t.
Martel played just 8:20 last night, a marked drop-off from each of his first two pro games, in each of which he was around 12 minutes played. An outstanding shift by his line (alongside Nolan Patrick and Wayne Simmonds) in the first period set the tone, as each of them had a crack at scoring on Matt Murray on the shift. Through the first two period, the Flyers tended to get the better of the ice with the diminutive rookie on the ice.
Then the third period came around, and Martel was suddenly glued to the bench. He only played two shifts the rest of the way — one immediately after Pittsburgh tied the game early in the period, and one just before the period’s halfway mark, at which point he and his line were hemmed into the Pittsburgh zone for long enough for Pittsburgh to tally four shot attempts. He wouldn’t see the ice again.
Had the Flyers been leading in the third period, I’d have understood leaning less on a rookie whose defense may not be up to snuff at the NHL level. In a tie game, though? In a period in which very, very little went right for the Flyers and they couldn’t generate anything in the way of offense? It’s not hard to think of this as a potential case of Hakstol trusting his veterans to keep things safe, at the expense of young players who may make mistakes. But given the overall lackluster performance the Flyers put up in that third period, the lack of Martel out there is a tough pill to swallow.
Four leftover thoughts:
- One game after playing a near-career high in ice time on Friday against the Islanders, Brandon Manning was back to being a third-pair defenseman last night — at least at 5-on-5, where he played just 11:55. So Manning’s ascent to top-pair status was, indeed, brief, and not something we should count on when this team is fully healthy. That said, part of why Manning’s TOI was as low as it was may have been his partner, as Travis Sanheim played a strikingly low 10:22 in last night’s game. This was Sanheim’s second straight substandard game defensively, so in some ways, I get it, but it’s not like the rest of the team was doing much defensively last night, and giving three shifts in the third period to a guy who’s already one of your most gifted offensive defensemen is another point under the “we’re playing scared to win” column.
- Officially, the Flyers’ penalty kill gave up just one goal out of five chances last night, though Sidney Crosby’s game-winner in overtime came mere seconds after a Jakub Voracek delay of game penalty ended and was for all intents and purposes a 4-on-3 power play goal, while another of the Pens’ power play “opportunities” lasted just 20 seconds. Still, it wasn’t a bad night for the new-look penalty kill, considering the fact that they were facing arguably hockey’s most dangerous power play. For all of the (justified) criticism we’ve had of the Flyers’ third period, the PKers came up big on a kill early in the third, in which Pittsburgh wasn’t allowed a single shot attempt for the entire two minutes.
- The Flyers’ “new-look” fourth line that consisted of Dale Weise and Jori Lehtera flanking Scott Laughton was about what you’d expect it to be, which is to say underwhelming. The trio actually had a couple of solid shifts in the offensive zone where it was able to get the cycle game going, but they just weren’t able to actually get there very often. Two guys with the skating ability of Lehtera and Weise don’t work overly well with Laughton, who was probably looking around wondering where his other, quicker linemates were. The trio was unsurprisingly the Flyers’ worst in shot attempts on the evening, and it didn’t make a great case for staying together beyond its first act.
- Closing with some quick hits: It’s a damn shame that this loss overshadowed that goal Raffl had in the third period, because man, that was pretty. He’s good for two or three goals like that a year where he just overpowers whoever’s on him, and then the goalie. Beeeeeautiful ... Gostisbehere’s goal in the 5-on-3 early in the second was noteworthy because of who fed him the puck: Nolan Patrick. Patrick appears to be a fixture on the top 5-on-3 unit in Sean Couturier’s stead (our old pal Charlie O’Connor has some thoughts here on why), and if that perfect spot to Ghost from the goal line was any indication, I do not expect him to be taken off of it any time soon ... The Flyers hit four posts and crossbars yesterday. I hate this game ... Travis Konecny finally ended his goalless streak off of a Brandon Manning point shot that bounced off of him and past Tristan Jarry, and while that’s maybe not the way he drew up the end to his goal drought, he’ll take it all the same ... I didn’t mention Couturier’s goal at all earlier, but at this point, his scoring is barely even noteworthy any more, y’know? He’s one goal off of a career high following a beautiful snipe on Jarry in the second period ... Here’s hoping Matt Murray, who took an awkward (and yes, obviously, not intentional) collision from Jakub Voracek on a second-period breakaway attempt and left the game favoring his knee, is alright ... finally, for a guy who plays a physical game and should in theory be good at staying on his feet, Patric Hornqvist sure does fall to the ice pretty easily, huh?