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[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 09:59:44 EST from rss

Subject: The Saints Losing Was a Gift to the Eagles

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What’s this? What’s this? There’s colour everywhere What’s this? There’s white things in the air What’s this? I can’t believe my eyes I must be dreaming Wake up, Jack, this isn’t fair What’s this? Those are the words of the immortal (literally?) Jack Skellington upon learning of the great joys of Christmas. An unexpected treat,…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/dgMKUT4il2w/the-saints-losing-was-a-gift-to-the-eagles.html

[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 10:45:49 EST from rss

Subject: Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 14

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Helping you pick your lineups.

Disclaimer: Starts and Sits are relative to where a player is ranked on the aggregate. In other words, a “Start” is someone I like more than most, and a “Sit” is the opposite. So if I say to start Jay Ajayi (GD right) and sit Leonard Fournette, that doesn't mean I'd start Jay Train over Leo, it just means I think Ajayi will exceed his expectations while Fournette will underperform his. Cool? Cool. -Seltz

The newest and best app to play weekly Fantasy Football is DRAFT! Sign up now with the promo code BGNR and play a real money game for FREE! You win 80% more on Draft than regular salary cap sites! Don't like it? No problem, they guarantee your money back up to $100 if you don't.

Quick Post Disclaimer Note: Yoooooooo! It's that magical time of year – the time when regular old nobodies become legends and find eternal glory. That's right, it's fantasy playoffs time! Did I oversell that? Yeah, I probably oversold it. Either way, the fantasy playoffs are important to you if you're in them – so I'm going to try and honor that with more starts and sits, and (hopefully) less of my long-winded blabbering. Is blabbering a word? We're already off to a bad start. Let's get into it before I dig a hole I can't pull myself out of – but in case I forget to say it later (I will), good luck in your playoff matchups, I wish you nothing but W's. Lots and lots of Double U's . Alright, let's hit it.

QUARTERBACK

START

Russell Wilson (@ JAX) – I get it, I get, the Jags are really good against the pass and have allowed the least fantasy points to quarterbacks and blah blah blah. Russell Wilson isn't a just a quarterback, he's an everything-back. He does everything for Seattle. He's matchup proof. In spite of this, Wilson is the consensus ranked #7 QB this week and it...is...an... outrage. O-U-T-R-A-G-E. I'm way more angry about this than I should be, but this is the freaking fantasy playoffs we're talking about. It's borderline negligent to give that type of advice in Week 14. Russell Wilson is the safest thing going in fantasy right now, no matter who he's playing – as us Eagle fans know all too well. In other words, Russell Wilson >>> Jacksonville Jaguars. Always and forever.

Josh McCown (@ DEN) – Josh McCown is a boss. Yeah, I said it. He's old, marginally talented, and plays for the Jets – but he's a BOSS. Sorry, I keep yelling and I don't know why, I'll try and rein that in. Where was I? Oh yeah, McCown is a BO...boss. More importantly, he's white hot (638 yards and 6 total TD's over last two games) and faces a Denver defense that has allowed 10 touchdowns through the air over the last four weeks, aka they suck. Yup, the Denver defense sucks. That's where we're at. Start McCown against the Denver defense, because it sucks.

Jimmy Garoppolo (@ HOU) – Last week I said this about Garoppolo: “If there were a fantasy league based on handsomeness, he'd be a top pick.” Update: He's still handsome. Handsome as ever in fact. And he looked good (not handsome this time) playing the quarterback position and leading his team to victory over the Bears last week. This week he gets a Texans defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Obviously Jimmy G is more of a long-shot start this week, but he's in a good spot and could surprise, especially in DFS formats. Also, in case I didn't mention it, he's super handsome. So, you know.

SIT

Cam Newton (vs. MIN) – Cameron Jerrell Newton. Did you know that's Cam's real full name? Well guess what, it isn't! Got you there, didn't I? Well guess what again, it actually is his real full name! Huzzah! I really got you good. You know who isn't good? Cameron Jerrell Newton, that's who. Just kidding again, he is good, just not this week against a stout Minnesota defense.

Kirk Cousins (@ LAC) – I gotta be honest, Kurt Coupons has impressed me this season. He's not as terrible as I thought. Don't get me wrong, he's not good enough to shed his Kurt Coupons nickname; or to not get ripped (constantly and consistently) for awkwardly yelling repeatable phrases at a camera. But he's...decent. Now that I've “praised” him, let me slam him down. The Chargers have allowed the fourth-least fantasy points to QB's and Coupons is playing behind an offensive line that is pulling people out of the stands to field a full unit. In fact, now that I'm talking about it, I'm legit worried Joey Bosa may claim legal ownership Kurt Coupons' soul on Sunday.

Ben Roethlisberger (vs. BAL) – No worries on the soul front for Big Ben, he doesn't have one. Ba dump bump. In all seriousness, Ben is a giant D. But that's neither here nor there, the reason he's here is cause he's facing a giant D this weekend – the Ravens D. Boom. Nailed it. Baltimore's especially good against the pass – second-least points allowed to QB's – and are facing a (soulless) Roethlisberger who, to be honest, has kinda stunk this season. And by kinda, I mean totally and completely. While I'm not ready to say we've seen the last of Home Ben, I'm certainly not expecting to see him this week against the Ravens.

RUNNING BACK

START

Jay Ajayi (@ LAR) – This. Is. The. Week. This is the mother effing week that Jay Ajayi goes OFF. Damn, the yelling is back. My bad. But for reals, this is Ajayi's week. He finally led the Eagles in running back snaps and touches last week, and faces a Rams defense that has allowed the second-most points to opposing RB's. So I'll repeat: THIS. IS. THE. WEEK! What the hell is wrong with me? Let's move on before I burst your eardrums with all this yelling.

Rex Burkhead (@ MIA) – Last week I told you to start both Lewis and Burkhead. What happened? They were both awesome, but Burkhead was the better of the two. Yet this week, he's still lower in the consensus rankings than Lewis (#13 to #16). Regardless, both are starts against an awful Dolphins defense, but if I had to choose one it'd be Burkhead. I guess you could say I'm lurkin' for Burkhead. Nope. I'm jerk...nope. I'm twerkin for Burkhead. Yup, that's the one. Or maybe none of them were the one. Hmmm.

Alfred Morris (@ NYG) – Alf is back! Alfred Morris, that is. Not the tv show about the cat-eating alien from the planet Melmac. Melmac. Hehe. That's a funny word. Anyhoo, Alf...Morris is coming off his best game of the season (127 yards and a tuddy) and is facing a Giants defense that is allowing the most rushing yards per game in the league. Also, the Giants are a dumpster fire. A bigger dumpster fire than the Cowboys (Jerry Jones and Ezekiel Elliott!!!), which is really saying something – and whatever that something is, I can assure you, it's not good. Unless you're an Eagles fan in which case I can assure you, everything is awesome. #SunglassesEmoji

Lamar Miller (vs. SF) – You know what else is a dumpster fire? My attempts at brevity. I swear, on all that is holy, I will try harder to be more efficient with my words. With that in mind, Miller is averaging 19.6 touches over his last three games and is facing a Niners defense that has allowed the most total yards to running backs this season...by 117 yards. Yikes. To put it more succinctly, start Lamar and you'll go far. Again, yikes.

Jamaal Williams (@ CLE) – Speaking of yikes, how about those 0-12 Cleveland Browns! Will they join that one Detroit Lions team that one year as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history? I'm going to say...Yes! They aren't going to win a game. That means, they lose to the Packers and the officially renamed “Better Than I Thought He Was Jamaal Williams” will lead the way. Wait, what's that? Is that Aaron Rodgers' music I hear? On an unrelated note, I'm dripping in sweat and shaking uncontrollably with a fear-induced fever.

Alex Collins (@ PIT) – Speaking of sweat...I got nothing. Let's forget that happened. Alex Collins is good. I told you to start him last week. That worked out ok, no? And yes, I totally snuck that little humblebrag in there on purpose. Sue me. Either way, start him again this week against a Ryan Shazier-less Steelers defense. On that note, thoughts and prayers to Shazier. Watching him go down made me sick to my stomach and I wish him nothing but the speediest of recoveries. Now back to the inane frivolity of fantasy sports.

SIT

Leonard Fournette (vs. SEA) – Look, you're obviously starting Fournette if you own him in seasonal leagues. You have to. Don't get cute in the playoffs. Definitely play the matchups, duh, but don't overthink it. In other words, start your studs. Fournette is a stud. I'd just shy away from him in daily formats considering his recent lackluster showings and a tough matchup with Seattle.

Carlos Hyde (@ HOU) – Houston's defense has been terrible against the pass, but has done a terrific job limiting running back success both on the ground and through the air. Which coincidentally is also the slogan for my future package delivery company: “Jimi's Jets – Successful delivery both on the ground and through the air since 2024.” *Heavy sigh* Hyde is meh and I think he disappoints in Houston.

Kenyan Drake (vs. NE) – Kenyan is the best Drake since Drake. The singer, I mean. And before that, Sir Francis Drake. The explorer, I mean. Alright, this is terrible. I actually like Kenyan Drake. He's been great and is getting a high volume of touches – here's my problem, he's the consensus #11 RB despite a tough matchup with a revived Patriots defense. So in the words of the great (maybe?) Sir Francis Drake, “Kenyan Drake es no bueno.”

*Editor's note: Sir Francis Drake was British. So, yeah.*

Kareem Hunt (vs. OAK) – Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me five weeks in a row, shame if I let it be six. Of course, now that I'm finally bailing on Hunt he's going to be good again. Which makes my sit call of him kind of a start. Which means he's going to be bad after all, right? My brain hurts.

WIDE RECEIVER

START

Adam Thielen (@ CAR) – I said it before, and before that, but it appears I have to say it again – Adam Thielen is a Top 5 wide receiver every week for the rest of the season. Yet, again, he's the consensus #8 WR this week. Not going to lie, I'm starting to get aggravated. Me and the consensus are going to have some words. This injustice can stand no longer...no longer!

Larry Fitzgerald (vs. TEN) – Fitz is ageless, man. It's amazing how this dude keeps trucking along, with a parade of dogshit quarterbacks no less, and never complains while consistently putting up numbers. This week's crap QB du jour is Blaine Gabbert. But Fitz has put up double-digit fantasy points in three of the last four weeks (with Gabbert) and Tennessee's secondary is trash.

Michael Crabtree (@ KC) – Crabtree isn't suspended this week, so that's a good start. Amari Cooper is likely out, also good, and he faces a Chiefs defense that has allowed the second-most points to wide receivers, which is good too. That's a lot of good, which is good enough for me.

Josh Gordon (vs. GB) – I was nervous about starting Gordon last week. Call me crazy for thinking someone couldn't leave the NFL game for over 1,000 days and come back and look exactly the same. I was wrong. Josh Gordon isn't the same species as you and me. Gordon got targeted 11 times last week (4 catches, 85 yards) and faces a dreadful Packers pass defense.

Robby Anderson (@ DEN) – #TempleMade

SIT

Mike Evans (vs. DET) – What's the opposite of a spirit animal? For me, it's Mike Evans and the five straight weeks of crappy fantasy performances. He's disappointed me more than my child will someday when they tell me they hate me for the first time. At least, I'm guessing that will happen. Having said that, I don't even have children so WTF do I know. Alls I'm saying is Mike Evans broke my heart and I'll never forgive him.

Alshon Jeffery (@ LAR) – Look, I hope I'm wrong here, but the Rams are much better defending the pass than the run. I think the Eagles take advantage of that. Alshon could certainly find his way into the end zone, especially if Ertz can't go, but don't expect him to have a big, high-volume day.

Devin Funchess (vs. MIN) – Two words: Xavier Rhodes.

Dez Bryant (@ NYG) – Dez is averaging 53 yards per game and has only scored 5 touchdowns in 12 games. Translation: He stinks. Yup, I went there. Come @ me. Dez is washed up. Plus the Giants defend the pass better than the run, and Dak has a banged up throwing hand.

TIGHT END

START

Evan Engram (vs. DAL) – Explain something to me, the Giants have literally one weapon – this guy – one stinking weapon, and yet that weapon puts up numbers (practically) every week. How does that work? I'll tell you how, it works because Engram is legit. Also, Dallas' defense is not legit. I told you to start him last week and that worked out, let's do it again.

Jason Witten (@ NYG) – No other team in the NFL has allowed more touchdowns or fantasy points to tight ends than the New York Giants. This week, Witten is the lucky recipient of the Giants tight end point palooza. Even a banged up Dak can't screw this up for Witten. Uhhhh, forget I said that. He totally could. Crap. Let's move on.

Hunter Henry (vs. WAS) – Henry is finally a part of the Chargers offense! Well, I think he is. He's had back-to-back strong fantasy outings and received a season-high nine targets last week. Did I mention Washington is horrendous at defending tight ends?

Cameron Brate (vs. DET) – Brate's back from the dead. Not the literal dead, obviously, but the metaphorical “Ryan Fitzpatrick dead.” For some reason the Harvard connection never became a thing. In fact, Brate outright disappeared with Fitzy at the helm. But now that Jameis is back, so too is Brate (2 TD's last week). I wouldn't be shocked if he found the end zone again, against a tight end friendly Lions defense.

Sit:Kyle Rudolph (@ CAR) – Alright, let's finish this bitch out. I'm guessing you're pretty sick of me by now, and same goes for me being sick of me, so let's power through. The Panthers have allowed less passing yards to tight ends than any other team in the league. Rudolph is the consensus #9 tight end. I have him well outside my top 10.

Vernon Davis (@ LAC) – The Chargers have allowed the fifth-least fantasy points to tight ends and Davis has 15 yards receiving over the last two weeks.

Greg Olsen (vs. MIN) – Injury worries and Minnesota's defense. Boom.

Rob Gronkowski (@ MIA) – I'd like to speak for every Gronk fantasy owner on the planet who's heading into a playoff matchup this weekend: EFF YOU GRONK. That is all. Thank you for your time.

DEFENSE

START

New York Jets (@ DEN) – The Jets are the consensus #11 defense. I get it, they're nothing special. You could even say they're horrifically bad. Sure, I'm with you. But Trevor Siemian. #MicDrop

SIT

Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. SEA) – They are the consensus #2 defense. They're not shutting down Russell Wilson. They're just not. So they won't be (close to) the #2 defense. Done and done.

KICKER

START

Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.

SIT

Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for “Start.”

***For more fantasy football advice, CLICK HERE to check out BGN Radio’s This Week In Fantasy podcast!***

The newest and best app to play weekly Fantasy Football is DRAFT! Sign up now with the promo code BGNR and play a real money game for FREE! You win 80% more on Draft than regular salary cap sites! Don't like it? No problem, they guarantee your money back up to $100 if you don't.





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 10:31:56 EST from rss

Subject: Stay in Yo Lane: Five Observations from Lakers 107, Sixers 104

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It was 73-60 when Wu Tang Clan started playing over the loudspeakers at Wells Fargo Center. Seemingly energized by the RZA, the GZA, Old Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, and Raekwon the Chef, the Sixers immediately went on a 10-2 run to cut the Lakers’ lead to five. But instead of closing the gap further to…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/TSabBlOx-J0/stay-in-yo-lane-five-observations-from-lakers-107-sixers-104.html

[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 11:37:57 EST from rss

Subject: Numbers Don

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Let me get the formalities out of the way first, because I have a feeling that what I’m about to write isn’t going to be popular. The Flyers have a three-game winning streak for the first time this season. The Flyers swept the Western Canada road trip, something that’s not easy to do. Michael Raffl…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/GIdS_p_aKcE/numbers-dont-lie-negative-thoughts-despite-a-winning-streak-after-flyers-4-canucks-1.html

[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 12:00:04 EST from rss

Subject: BSH Radio reacts following a 4-1 victory over Vancouver

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Michael Raffl is our baby

And we’re going streaking! The Philadelphia Flyers, yes those same ones, just won all three games on a Western Canada road trip for the first time since 1996. That’s a time period longer than Ivan Provorov’s life. Michael Raffl continued his hot streak with a third game winning goal in a row and BSMF Brian Elliott is providing some stellar goal tending.

A great many topics were covered in the video, but there were two points I forgot:

  • I love that the Flyers players are still friends with Sam Gagner and that he is still helping the Flyers score hockey goals
  • It is time to pick up Brock Boeser in at least one of my fantasy leagues





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 13:04:02 EST from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles make more changes to the practice squad

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Tinkering.

The Philadelphia Eagles have officially announced more changes to their practice squad.

On Thursday, defensive tackle Justin Hamilton was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. The Eagles replaced Hamilton’s spot by signing rookie free agent Winston Craig.

On Friday, the Eagles made some changes to their offensive line situation. Practice squad offensive tackle Dillon Gordon was released in order to make room for guard Darrell Greene.

The Eagles once gave Greene the most guaranteed money of any undrafted rookie free agent following the 2016 NFL Draft. He bounced on and off the practice squad last year before rejoining the team for the entire 2017 offseason. Greene was released in final cuts.

Philadelphia was once high on Gordon; they stashed him at the bottom of their 53-man roster in 2016. But the converted tight end didn’t really stand out this summer. And now he’s gone.

UPDATED LOOK AT THE 2017 EAGLES PRACTICE SQUAD

OG Darrell Greene

DT Winston Craig

C Jon Toth

S Tre Sullivan

WR Rashard Davis

CB D.J. Killings

WR Greg Ward Jr.

CB DeVante Bausby

C/G Josh Andrews

TE Billy Brown

PRACTICE SQUAD INJURED LIST

S Harold Jones-Quartey





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 13:00:01 EST from rss

Subject: Looking at German Rubtsov

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The 2016 first rounder is currently a point-per-game player in the QMJHL

From the moment Ron Hextall and the Philadelphia Flyers selected him 22nd overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, German Rubtsov has been facing adversity. A big reason why the Russian forward dropped in the first round was due to a doping scandal that disqualified the Russian U-18 team from the 2016 World Junior Championship.

Following the fallout from that incident, Rubtsov had to handle moving from Russia to North America, as he joined the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for 16 games last season. To go along with the cultural change, the forward had to deal with several injuries that knocked him out for a good chunk of the 2016-17 campaign: a foot injury in Russia, a broken nose at the WJC, and a hand injury that eliminated him from the QMJHL postseason. Although he’s been fairly healthy recently, he’s had to adjust being dealt from the Sagueneens to Acadie-Bathurst Titan earlier this season.

With all these hurdles in his way, Rubtsov has still managed to post six goals and 16 assists in 21 games this year. He also has 48 shots on goal this season and a 57.58 goals for percentage at 5-on-5 play (5.03 Rel GF%), according to Prospect-Stats. Let’s take a look at how Rubtsov got to these totals.

GOALS

Black = Even Strength, Red = Power Play

To go along with the common characteristics often used to describe him, I think Rubtsov possesses a quick release, but doesn’t get to show it off often. His goal on October 21st against the Saint John Sea Dogs illustrates this, as he beat Alex D’Orio pretty cleanly on a wrist shot from the middle of the circle. Another example of this was his power-play goal against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada a week later, as he ripped a shot between Michael Kemp’s legs and past Emile Samson’s glove for his first in a two-goal performance.

Something both of these goals highlighted is Rubtsov’s patience with the puck in the offensive zone. His goal against D’Orio came after he held onto the puck for another half second while the far side of the net opened up, his first goal against Samson came after he let Kemp position himself as a screen, and his second goal against Samson saw Rubtsov put the puck in a mostly open net as he let bodies converge in the low slot in front of the Armada netminder to take away his vision.

His second goal against Blainville-Boisbriand also showed Rubtsov’s smarts. Vladislav Kotkov took the puck behind Armada’s net and started to look for somebody to pass it to in front. Rubtsov recognized this and immediately gravitated to a soft spot in the slot, which allowed Kotkov to set him up for the goal.

Rubtsov, as advertised, has shown off his hands on a few goals this season. He used a nice forehand-backhand deke on Kyle Jessiman in a 6-3 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on November 4th and redirected a shot past Val-d’Or Foreurs’ Jonathan Lemieux thanks in part to his own screen on December 1st.

SHOTS

Black = Even Strength, Red = Power Play, Yellow = Shorthanded, Filled in = Goal

So far this season, half of Rubtsov’s 48 shots have come from the right circle. He’s totaled 24 shots that are either in the right circle or on the outline of the circle. Nine of Rubtsov’s shots have come between the circles from around the faceoff dots or closer. He has also taken six shots from the left point.

As a player that is in his second season after being drafted, Rubtsov’s 48 shots in 21 games isn’t exactly stellar. According to Prospect-Stats, his 2.29 shots per game is 70th among QMJHL forwards who have played at least 21 games in 2017-18 heading into Wednesday’s action. Wondering why his shot per game rate wasn’t all that impressive, I reached out to Jerome Berube, head scout for HockeyProspect.com, and asked him for his analysis of Rubtsov so far this season. In his limited viewings this season, Berube “didn’t see him passing on shots too much,” and thinks Rubtsov’s shot selection could have been better (something that seems apparent with less than a fifth of his shots in all situations coming in the slot).

ASSISTS
More of these will be analyzed below, but Rubtsov had a few noteworthy helpers with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and for Team Russia in the CIBC Canada Russia Series. He’s had a few secondary assists this season where he actually earned the assist on a play. The best example of this is when he created a play that led to the opening goal for the Sagueneens in a 4-0 win over the Victoriaville Tigres on October 6th. Rubtsov carried the puck around the perimeter of the offensive zone before he hit Samuel Houde with a cross-ice pass, who tapped it to Kotkov for a layup.

Houde was also the benefactor of great play from Rubtsov on October 18th, as the Flyers’ prospect showed great instincts on a pass in the neutral zone. After Olivier Galipeau sent a pass from deep in the defensive zone to Rubtsov at the opposing blue line, the forward quickly slid the puck between his legs to a streaking Houde, who flew past a flat-footed Adam McCormick and beat Kevin Mandolese to open the scoring.

Outside of QMJHL action, Rubtsov’s lone assist in the CIBC Canada Russia Series was an important one. With just under three minutes remaining in the final game of the series, Rubtsov and Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Vitalii Abramov had a 2-on-1 that saw Abramov dish a pass to Rubtsov in the slot. After he drove to the net and made a move on Team QMJHL’s goalie Samuel Harvey, Rubtsov dealt it back to Abramov for a rather easy game-winning tally.

Of his eight primary assists this season (he was given two secondary assists on November 10th, actually had a primary assist and secondary assist), Rubtsov completed a pass on seven of them and had a shot of his lead to a goal off a rebound once. Of the seven passes, three were cross-ice passes and two saw Rubtsov move the puck into the slot.

RUBTSOV-MORAND-MAHER
Since his first game with Acadie-Bathurst on November 3rd, Rubtsov has formed a pretty successful line with Anaheim Ducks’ prospect Antoine Morand and Jordan Maher. In the 13 games since Rubtsov joined the Titan, the Rubtsov-Morand-Maher line has accounted for 15 of the team’s 57 goals. According to Berube, the construction of the line could explain it’s success so far this season:

“(Rubtsov) defintely had the puck a lot in (the games I’ve watched this year). He likes to have the puck on his stick, often carries the puck into the offensive zone. Morand is a good, smart player who is a pass-first player, but he needs good wingers to perform. Maher is more of a shooter.”

The chemistry between these three came through in Rubtsov’s first game with Acadie-Bathurst, as he and Morand completed a pair of cross-ice passes in a span of seconds while cycling before they scored one of the Titan’s six goals in the victory over the Screaming Eagles.

The trio also utilized passes from below the goal line to set up goals on a few occasions this season. Rubtsov started a passing sequence that saw the puck travel below the goal line to Morand, who threw it back to Rubtsov in the right circle, who then fired it cross ice to Maher for a dunk against the Drummondville Voltigeurs on November 10th. Rubtsov and Morand also worked behind the net for a goal against the Armada the following day, as the two passed it back and forth below the goal line a few times before Rubtsov hit Maher with a cross-ice pass for a one-time goal.

As mentioned above, Rubtsov had a secondary assist while playing on this line where he did a lot of the legwork for the goal. In the first period of a win over the Screaming Eagles on November 4th, Rubtsov caused a turnover in the neutral zone and carried the puck into the offensive zone. Once he got below the goal line, Rubtsov threw a pass to Morand in the slot, who backhanded a pass to Maher for an easy dunk.

CONCERNS
Although there are plenty of positives to Rubtsov’s game, there are definitely some concerns. For one, some feel he may not have the skill level of a top-six forward, as stated by The Athletic’s Corey Pronman back in October:

“I’ve been one of those people although have liked him a little more when I’ve watched this season. He’s by no means a zero offensively. I like his instincts and he has quality hands but there is a lack of next-level type of talent that could make him a clear top six forward. He’s a well-rounded guy who has a game that can translate to the pros though.”

Berube also spoke to this concern, and tossed in another issue with his play:

“I would say his desire was lacking in my viewings this year. He didn’t work hard and was a bit lazy on the ice. His toolset is good - skating, strength, shot, and vision - but with that skillset and playing in the Q at 19, I would expect him to be more dominant than what he has been this year.”

The lack of production is a real concern for Rubtsov. According to Prospect-Stats, Rubtsov is 11th with 1.05 points per game and tied for 26th with 0.67 primary points per game among 65 QMJHL forwards who are at least 19 years old and have played 21 games or more this season. He has never been clearly over a point-per-game player in his career unless you count his 16-game stretch last year with the Sagueneens where he racked up 22 points. Points aren’t everything, but it would be nice to see bigger numbers for a first-round pick playing in his draft +2 season.

As for the lack of desire, that could be a concern for Rubtsov. The only argument against this statement is it’s possible Rubtsov’s playing style with the puck is just very methodical. He’s a forward that seems to prefer slowing the game down and holding on to the puck for a little longer than most players to let plays develop. When a player does that often rather than attempting to take on defenders with speed or muscle, it might be misconstrued as a lack of effort. However, Berube does watch a bit of QMJHL hockey, so he probably isn’t saying this lightly.

There are a lot of positives to take away from Rubtsov’s play in the QMJHL over the last two seasons. The player Rubtsov has been advertised as (‘smart player with great hands and instincts’) is evident when one watches him play. Although he hasn’t manufactured a ton of points in any league he’s ever played in, perhaps finally settling down with a contending team will change that fact.





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 13:43:00 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Rams Game Preview: Five questions and answers with the enemy

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Previewing the Eagles’ Week 14 matchup.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams are set to play each other this Sunday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In order to preview the Eagles’ Week 14 game against L.A., I reached out to our friends over at Turf Show Times. The wise Sean Wilkinson kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let's take a look at the answers. (Also don't forget to check out my Q&A exchange over at TST.)

1) How have the Rams been able to turn things around so quickly after going 4-12 in 2016?

It all boils down to Sean McVay. For starters, he's a much, much better coach than Jeff Fisher and he surrounded himself with top talent on the coaching staff. Between John Fassel and Wade Phillips, the Rams have some of the best in the NFL on their coaching staff.

In addition to the coaching staff, the Rams had a tremendous offseason. Dumping Greg Robinson for Andrew Whitworth was the smartest thing the Rams could have done for Jared Goff. The Rams also brought in Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins, and Nickell Robey-Coleman. All of those moves have paid major dividends for the 2017 Rams. Cooper Kupp is just icing on that cake.

The culture that McVay has built in his first year is noticeably different than Fisher's Rams. They have more fight in them, more confidence, and are more prepared for game days. I'm not sure what the opposite of "7-9 bullshit" is, but whatever it is, that's what the Rams are right now.

2) I’m curious about the Rams’ fan base now that the team has been in L.A. for nearly two full seasons. Do people in St. Louis still care about them? How are the Rams being received in Los Angeles? After seeing how Eagles fans took over the Chargers’ stadium, are you concerned that’ll happen at the Coliseum as well?

While I don't claim it anymore because of military service, I was born and raised in the greater St. Louis area and as such I have a lot of friends and family still in that area. While I don't think the Rams have many die-hard fans in St. Louis anymore, the winning has brought many former die-hards back into the fray as casual/bandwagon fans.

As far as LA is concerned, the effects of last season are still being felt in attendance, but the community at large seems to be embracing the team. It surprised me that Rams fans weren't able to fill the Coliseum against the Saints, and honestly I'm looking forward to seeing the stadium full - even if it is 30-40% Eagles fans.

3) If you were responsible for drawing up the Rams’ game plan, how would you attack the Eagles? Then flip it around: how would you attack the Rams if you were the Eagles?

This one is easy, I'd have both sides focus on the Eagles running game. The Rams have struggled to stop the run at times this season, but when they have it really helps the play in the secondary. Especially with the Rams a bit beat up at corner, they are going to need the front 7 to step up and take some pressure off of them.

The Eagles have an amazing stable of backs. Legarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner make for a formidable opponent. If the Eagles can get any of these guys on a roll, Carson Wentz is going to look like the MVP candidate that he is.

4) Jared Goff is playing well this season, but is there any level of regret about the Rams not drafting Carson Wentz at No. 1 overall in 2016? Is there room to question the decision or was Goff 100% the correct choice all the way?

There was a healthy debate in the pre-draft process last year, but most Rams fans were happy with the Goff pick. The Rams have had some luck with small school choices (Trumaine Johnson / Montana) but they have also swung big and missed (Brian Quick / Appalachian State). There was a sense that fans didn't want to gamble with the #1 Overall pick - especially after giving up so much to move up to that spot.

Goff had a rough start to his career, but it turns out that was more about Jeff Fisher than Jared Goff. If I had to go back and make the selection again today, I'd make the same decision.

5) Which one Eagles player would you steal if you could have them on the Rams? If you were FORCED to help Philly, which best Rams player (besides Aaron Donald) would you put on the Eagles?

Since you took the easy answer away, I'm going to go with Andrew Whitworth. You guys lost Jason Peters earlier this season and having a veteran LT does wonders for a young QB. He would elevate the play of your entire OL and hold players accountable. He's the quintessential veteran that can benefit any team.

Bonus: Who wins this game and why? Score prediction?

This is going to be a helluva game. I went 24-22 in favor of the Rams in our roundtable and I'm going to stick by that. This coaching staff is one of the most creative in the league and I think that may be the difference. I think the Eagles will have more scoring opportunities than the Rams, but I'm banking on them capitalizing on their opportunities and employing a 'bend but don't break' defense.

If the Rams can keep the Eagles kicking field goals instead of PATs, it's going to end well for them. If not, Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are going to be playing catchup all day. Either way, this is going to be fun to watch.





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 14:00:02 EST from rss

Subject: The Two O

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Brian Elliott has earned himself this four-day break.

108 - the number of shots on goal that Brian Elliott faced during his three games in Western Canada this week, all three of which were, of course, wins.

Between Michal Neuvirth just outright not being good enough and then getting injured, Elliott — who many expected to share the load with Neuvirth throughout this season — has effectively become this team’s starter. And with a somewhat unreliable backup currently behind him in AHLer Alex Lyon, Elliott was unsurprisingly asked to handle both ends of a back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday, after already bailing the team out of its losing streak on Monday.

Three games in four days is a big ask for any goalie. And the Flyers didn’t make things easy on Elliott here, as he faced a lot of rubber. Flyers opponents during this trip tallied 108 shots on Elliott, who kept all but five of them out of the back of his net.

In this decade, only four other times has a goalie on the Flyers been asked to play three games in four days and then faced more than 100 shots on goal. Two of those occurrences were by Steve Mason in the same week back in March 2016 (Mason played four games in six days, and one of those games was an overtime loss in Columbus wherein he faced 53 shots), while the other two were from Ilya Bryzgalov in his only 82-game season with the Flyers.

Elliott, though, is the first one in that group to actually win all three of those games.

(Here’s your standard disclaimer that goalie wins, as a whole, are a bad way to evaluate goalies, since they don’t take into account so many different team-level factors that are similarly important in determining who actually wins a hockey game. With that said, if a goalie is facing over 100 shots in just three games, you can be pretty confident that he’s playing a crucial role in dragging his team to any wins that come about, as Brian Elliott clearly was this week.)

With Neuvirth out for likely another week or so, Elliott will probably be leaned on even more in the next few games. Hopefully the Flyers can find a way to make his life a bit easier. Enjoy these few days off, Moose, you earned ‘em.





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 13:37:19 EST from rss

Subject: Zaprudering Joel Embiid and LaVar Ball

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Surely you’ve seen the video of Joel Embiid and LaVar Ball encountering each other in the bowels of the Wells Fargo Center after the game last night. If you haven’t, here is the video originally captured by Zach Gelb: Joel Embiid and LaVar Ball talk #Sixers #Lakers @JoelEmbiid @Lavarbigballer @975TheFanatic @76erz_ pic.twitter.com/mhwBM6qS4y — Zach Gelb…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/U0xG3huS8H8/zaprudering-joel-embiid-and-lavar-balls-encounter.html

[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 14:05:51 EST from rss

Subject: Kobe Bryant gives pep talk to Eagles players

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Mamba.

With the Philadelphia Eagles being out in Los Angeles this week ahead of their game versus the Rams, one famous Eagles fan couldn’t help but stop in to check in on his favorite NFL team.

Actually, he did more than just check in. He served as a motivational speaker prior to the team’s Friday practice.

Yes, I’m talking about former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

A number of Eagles players posted clips of Kobe speaking to them on their Instagram stories. Pretty cool for the guys to get a pep talk from an accomplished player prior to a really big game.

Kobe’s never been shy about his Eagles fandom. Well, except maybe recently. But he said there’s a reason behind that.

It’s kinda funny how hospitable Los Angeles has been to the Eagles this week. The Angels have allowed the Eagles to practice in their baseball stadium. Kobe came to motivate his favorite team.

And this is all leading up to Eagles fans likely taking over the Coliseum on Sunday.

It’s been a nice home away from home for the Eagles.

...

(Hat tip to BGN reader @birdgangsoldier)





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 15:42:51 EST from rss

Subject: The Eagles are Still NFC Favorites for the Super Bowl

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Eagles “exposed?” A “must win” game? Panic “setting in?” Seems like we’ve run the gamut of emotional responses to Sunday night’s loss in Seattle, but Vegas isn’t worried about the Eagles’ postseason chances. At betlabsports.com, the Birds are the Super Bowl favorites coming out of the NFC: Fans in Philadelphia might be worried but there…

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/CrossingBroad/~3/t_GD-wZ1qFY/the-eagles-are-still-nfc-favorites-for-the-super-bowl.html

[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 18:15:54 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles-Rams Final Injury Report: Two Philadelphia players ruled questionable

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Final update.

The Philadelphia Eagles released their third official injury report on Friday in advance of their Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Two Eagles players have been ruled questionable: Zach Ertz and Joe Walker.

After missing practice entirely on Wednesday, Ertz was limited on Thursday and Friday. Ertz still remains in the league’s mandatory concussion protocol. He won’t be eligible to play until he passes through.

It’d obviously be a big loss for the Eagles if Ertz can’t play. If Philadelphia’s leading receiver is out, the team will have to rely on increased playing time for Brent Celek and Trey Burton.

Walker has been ruled questionable despite being a full participant in practice all week. If he can’t play, the Eagles will likely rely on Najee Goode to fill his role in the base defense. That’s how the Eagles handled this situation against the Seahawks. Dannell Ellerbe will also be active if Walker can’t play.

Everyone else is ready to play.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (FRIDAY)

QUESTIONABLE

TE Zach Ertz (concussion)

LB Joe Walker (neck)

...

RESERVE/NON-FOOTBALL INJURY

CB Sidney Jones

INJURED RESERVE

OT Jason Peters

LB Jordan Hicks

RB Darren Sproles

S Chris Maragos

K Caleb Sturgis

CB Randall Goforth

DT Aziz Shittu

WR Dom Williams

LOS ANGELES RAMS INJURY REPORT (FRIDAY)

Robert Woods, Alec Ogletree, and Connor Barwin are all questionable to play for Los Angeles. All three players missed practice on Wednesday and Thurdsay before being limited on Friday.

The Rams have been more optimistic about Ogletree’s playing chances compared to Woods and Barwin. But we’ll see. The Rams could potentially be without their leading receiver (Woods) and a starting outside linebacker (Barwin).

Backup cornerback Dominique Hatfield is doubtful to play after getting nicked up in practice this week. Hatfield ranks fourth on the Rams in special teams snaps.

DOUBTFUL

CB Dominique Hatfield (hip)

QUESTIONABLE

OLB Connor Barwin (forearm)

LB Alec Olgetree (elbow)

WR Robert Woods (shoulder)

...

INJURED RESERVE

S Cody Davis

DT Dominique Easley

TE Temarrick Hemingway

FB Zach Laskey

RB Lenard Tillery





[#] Fri Dec 08 2017 22:19:10 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles v. Rams Week 14: Five Friday

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The much-anticipated Goff v. Wentz duel

1) Over-reactions

Here we are, team! In a “must-win game” for Philadelphia.

I’m sorry, but that’s just peak to me. Must-win games have slowly and surely forayed into earlier and earlier weeks over the years: suddenly, 1-3 teams are in must-win games by Week 5. Seeking to augment the gravity of the moment, we can often inflate pedestrian match-ups into straight farces.

This is a very important game for Philadelphia; it is not a must-win game. If Philadelphia wants to have control over their destiny as a first-round bye team in the NFC, they need to win this game, yes—but by the same token, if Philadelphia wanted control over their destiny as a #1 seed in the NFC, they needed to beat Seattle.

But nobody called that match-up a must-win game.

It was an important game, certainly, as is this Rams game—even more important, given the Seattle loss—but Philadelphia needs to go 1-3 over their next 4 games to at least make the playoffs. If we get a must-win match-up at all, we’ll get it on a 5-game losing streak in Week 17.

It’s important for playoff seeding that Philadelphia beats the Rams. If they want to stay in control of the 2nd seed and in position for the 1st seed, they must win this game. But Philadelphia will get into the postseason this year. Must-win games start then.

2) More over-reactions

I’m here to tell you that Philadelphia is still the Super Bowl favorite in the NFC.

A few weeks ago, it was the hot New Orleans Saints and their 8-game winning streak that inexplicably meant more than the hot Philadelphia Eagles and their *cough* 9-game winning streak. After Philly dropped one to Seattle, it’ll be the hot Seahawks or well-rounded Vikings. The narrative doesn’t change: it isn’t fun to talk about the same team at the top. If it were, Brady would win MVP and Belichick would win Coach of the Year every season, and we’d all yawn right through it.

But Philadelphia remains the Super Bowl favorite in the NFC: TopBet NFL Sportsbook has Philadelphia at +250 to win the NFC Championship, with the Vikings next at +375 and the Saints and Rams tied behind at +550. The Rams are currently -2 point favorites at home against Philadelphia (which means Philly would be favored at a neutral site) despite the fact that Philadelphia is coming off of an ugly performance against Seattle.

If the storyline of “Yeah, it still looks like Philadelphia is still going to compete for a Super Bowl” reeled in viewers, we’d hear it. However, “Is Seattle heating up?” and “Are the Rams a dark-horse contender?” hold the audience far more effectively, so here we are.

I’ve been very vocal about not predicting a Super Bowl berth for Philadelphia: plainly, that’s some bad voodoo, and you can’t mess with that stuff. But Philadelphia remains the team to beat in the NFC, no matter if they’re treated like it or not.

3) This conversational pathway

The Browns are in the news once again—of course, for good and productive reasons. After firing executive vice president Sashi Brown, owner Jimmy Haslam and head coach Hue Jackson have seemingly formed the Let’s Go Draft A QB Coalition. Their press conferences following the firing and consequent hiring of ex-Chiefs GM Jim Dorsey? It’s been a bloodbath of blame games and absenteeism, to be frank.

I’ve been outspoken in my belief that I thought Sashi was the best part of that franchise. If the Browns are successful in drafting a top QB and become competitive in 2018, it will be in large part to Sashi’s work in the rebuild. The fact that more power has gone into Haslam/Hue’s hands in this shake-up is, in my opinion, bad news for Cleveland.

Given the recent firing and eternal link between the Browns and Carson Wentz, Cleveland will undoubtedly be mentioned by Troy and Joe in the broadcast on Sunday afternoon. I have constructed, for their benefit, a flowchart detailing the circumstances under which they can discuss the nature of the Browns franchise.

4) Home game madness

There are certainly mitigating circumstances: the Rams have just recently moved to LA, they share the city with the Chargers, etc...

But the fact that the Coliseum is expected to be 50/50 Eagles-Rams fan is truly something else.

Philadelphia is 4-2 on the road this season (only 2 losses on the season, of course), but they played tough games against the Chargers, Redskins, and Panthers and walked out of hostile territory with a win. However, we’ve seen a premier offense sputter to start road games against the Cowboys, Chiefs, and Seahawks—and the Pederson and Wentz duo went 1-7 in road games in 2016. They still have significant questions to answer when they are outside of Philadelphia.

But Philadelphia fans have travelled well this season, and are expected in droves in Los Angeles. If anything speaks to this city’s thirst for a champion, and the belief in these Eagles, it’s that. It’s a great pleasure to watch.

5) Bounce back

A 1-1 split ain’t a bad way to handle two West Coast NFC playoff teams. All things considered—Philadelphia’s recent brush with mortality, their distinct message of improved practice this week, the lack of home field advantage for the Rams, Zach Ertz’s health—I expect the Eagles to handle their business in his must-win clash.

The name of the game is the rushing attack of Philadelphia (2nd in NFL, 143.3 yards/game) v. the rushing defense of LA (27th in NFL, 122.8 yards allowed/game). In an effort to bridge a two-score divide and get Carson Wentz in rhythm, Philadelphia stepped away from an effective ground game. While it was justified, it may have been too drastic a measure. If Philly falls behind early to the best first quarter scoring offense in the league, they cannot afford to become one-dimensional.

I like Jay Ajayi for his first 100-yard game as an Eagle (most of it comes on one carry), and a heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount as well (an actual goal line TD?!) The Rams will score points no matter what; Philadelphia likely will as well. This will come down to game script: the Rams win their best games in pass-heavy, breakneck situations; the Eagles, when they can take a lead into the second half and milk the clock.

Defensively, let’s get an eternally under-appreciated Malcolm Jenkins an interception to bolster his Pro Bowl voting. The Eagles’ pass-rush must disrupt the precise timing of Jared Goff’s dropbacks and progressions to take the air out of Los Angeles’ sails—I expect a low-stat, but high-impact game for Fletcher Cox up the middle, and give Mychal Kendricks a sack and a half as a blitzer (Schwartz will dial up some pressure).

Anyone else want a long Carson scramble tuddy? A 40-yarder with multiple broken tackles and a pylon dive would fit the bill.

38-34, Philly dilly. NFC East locked.





[#] Sat Dec 09 2017 10:29:05 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles News: FOX is casting actors to play Rams fans for the Eagles game

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/9/17.

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

FOX seeks actors to be Los Angeles Rams fans for Eagles game - PhillyVoice
The thing about all that pregame hoopla, though, is the game is in Los Angeles. Viewers probably expect to see, well, Los Angeles fans. But the visiting team has supporters who travel well, and the home team has a player who literally begged fans to show up. FOX sees the impending Eagles takeover coming a mile away. So, what does Los Angeles produce better than sports fans? Aspiring actors! And FOX is seeking them to be Rams fans for Sunday's pregame festivities, according to a casting call online.

Eagles-Rams Game Preview: Five questions and answers with the enemy - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams are set to play each other this Sunday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In order to preview the Eagles’ Week 14 game against L.A., I reached out to our friends over at Turf Show Times. The wise Sean Wilkinson kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let's take a look at the answers. (Also don't forget to check out my Q&A exchange over at TST.)

Bounce Back Week - Iggles Blitz
Pederson has to be himself. He can’t start giving crazy speeches or doing things that are out of character. The players would see that as a sign of panic and it would hurt them. They need Pederson to be the guy he’s been all year. Luckily, Pederson has been aggressive for almost the entire year. He’s gone for it on 4th downs. He’s gone for two. He’s thrown deep (or at least tried to) a decent amount. Pederson isn’t a conventional coach. He’s willing to take some chance. The real key is for him to get his team’s mindset right this week. The Eagles were all over the place in Seattle. They need to relax and play good, aggressive football. Smart football. Pederson said all he right things this week. He seemed relaxed and focused. If he’s any indication, the Eagles should play well on Sunday.

How Are Eagles' Defensive Backs Preparing For Jared Goff? With Carson Wentz, of Course - Sports Illustrated
“As a secondary, you’ve got a guy like Carson who can go out there and hit every throw,” says cornerback Jalen Mills. “No matter what hash he’s on; no matter what route it is. You watch [Goff] on film, you see him doing the same type of things. You see him hitting the deep ball, you see him hitting the short route, you see him hitting the intermediate route. So as far as that goes, going against Carson I think is really going to help us prepare for a guy who can sling the ball down the field.” The deep ball is very much a part of both young quarterbacks’ games. Wentz ranks fourth in the NFL, and Goff seventh, for the percentage of passes they throw 20 yards or more downfield, per Pro Football Focus. Goff averages a little more than eight yards per pass attempt, second-highest in the league, while Wentz averages around 7.5 yards per attempt, ninth-highest.

Kobe Brings 'Mamba Mentality' To The Eagles - PE.com
Friday morning wasn’t like every other morning for the Eagles. Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, an Eagles fan who grew up in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania and played his high school basketball there, addressed the team for about 10 minutes at the team hotel. Bryant’s words, which also included some questions from the players and coaches, had an impact. “Just meeting him and hearing what he had to say, I’ve always respected him and I’m a huge fan of his, but I respect him even more now,” wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “He talked about his mentality and the way he approached the game. He approached everything to kill everything. Attack everything, stay in the moment, stay focused. He gave us some championship knowledge.”

Eagles' game vs. Rams allows Watkins brothers to reunite on different terms than 2015 meeting - PennLive
Two years after the Eagles eked out a 23-20 win over the Bills -- despite Sammy's 47-yard touchdown catch from Tyrod Taylor -- the Watkins brothers will reunite Sunday when the Birds and Rams square off Sunday in Los Angeles. It'll mark their second time playing as NFL opponents. Jaylen remains in a similar role for the Eagles (10-2), while Sammy joined the Rams (9-3) through a preseason trade and has played his part in talented receiving corps. In any scenario, their presence in the same game marks a special moment for the brothers, Jaylen said.

Goff to L.A., Wentz to Philly: How they became the top two picks in 2016 - ESPN
Wentz, a wizard outside the pocket, went to an Eagles team that looked primed for contention and traded up twice, from No. 13 to 8 to 2 to get him. He thrived immediately, then took his lumps in the back half of his rookie season and now looks like an MVP candidate while throwing for an NFL-leading 29 touchdowns and sporting a 72.5 Total QBR. Leading up to their first meeting as pros, we took a look back at the pre-draft process and told that story from the accounts of those who experienced it. The four executives directly involved -- for the Rams, Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns -- declined interviews. But several others shared their memories of the 2016 draft.

32 NFL observations, Week 13 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles: When targeted on third down, wide receiver Nelson Agholor has caught 16-of-22 targets for 342 yards and three touchdowns. His third down catch rate of 72.7 percent ranks third among all players with at least 20 targets on third down, while his near-perfect passer rating when targeted on third down of 154.4 ranks first.

Rams-Eagles Film: Can Philly’s high-scoring offense be stopped twice? - Turf Show Times
The Rams should have taken some notes from their division rival. The Seahawks came at Wentz and had him playing catchup all night.

Eagles Mailbag: Stoutland's call to keep Vaitai at LT, and other nonsense - The Athletic
“He’s a natural left tackle,” Stoutland said of Vaitai. “He’s played it his whole college career. I just felt like, you know Lane is playing at such a high level, why change two positions? So, to me, we’re living in the moment right now. We’re not looking down the road, we’re not looking in the past. We learn from the past, but we’re looking at where we are right now and where we have to get to, and so, to me, and I told this to coach Pederson and Frank [Reich], right now our best thing to do would be to leave Lane where he is and let V focus on left tackle. Because V — I’ve coached other players here, they have a difficult time going from right to left, from left to right, from a balance standpoint. V doesn’t have an issue at all. Actually, he’s probably more comfortable on the left.”

Eagles, Rams a mirror image in many ways - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Who would’ve thought the Eagles would be 10-2 and preparing to face a 9-3 Rams squad when the schedule came out in April? Yet, here were are, waiting for an unlikely Week 14 showdown between two of the top teams in the conference. This is no fluke. The Eagles and Rams both have talented rosters from top to bottom, with ascending, young quarterbacks in the midst of breakout seasons, and outstanding coaching staffs with sharp, fresh minds and time-tested defensive coordinators. In many ways, these teams are like a mirror image of each other when you begin to compare.

Connor Barwin goes from Philly fishbowl to L.A. anonymity - Inquirer
Connor Barwin will always have ties to Philadelphia from his time with the Eagles and through his charity work, but he admits that he has taken a liking to life in California.

Eight teams that missed playoffs in 2016 currently in playoff position - PFT
The Vikings, Eagles, Rams, Saints and Panthers would join the Seahawks, although a Seahawks loss this weekend would push the Falcons into the lone returnee spot. The Titans, Jaguars and Ravens would be the new faces in the AFC and that number could expand to include the Chargers if they can move ahead of the Chiefs in the AFC West. The Bills are also hanging around in the AFC, but they’d only replace another newcomer as a Wild Card.

The most annoying team in the NFC East - Blogging The Boys
Lol.

Who are the NFL’s next head coaches? - SB Nation
Our team sites weighed in on the assistants who could be head coaches soon.

...

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[#] Sat Dec 09 2017 11:42:38 EST from rss

Subject: For Rams game, Eagles will wear the jerseys they haven

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Good strategy, imo.

The Philadelphia Eagles have officially announced their uniform selection for their Week 14 game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

This is great news for the Eagles.

Philadelphia is a perfect 7-0 in the seven times they’ve worn the midnight green jerseys with white pants combination.

Some will point out that the Eagles have a good record in these jerseys because they’re the standard home uniform. And that might be less relevant since the Eagles are on the road this week.

While there’s some truth to that, the Eagles also wore midnight green for their road wins over the Chargers and Cowboys. Also the Eagles are expected to have some significant fan support in L.A. despite being on the road.

Here’s a complete week-by-week jersey breakdown.

Week 1 at Washington Redskins: All white (W)

Week 2 at Kansas City Chiefs: All white (L)

Week 3 vs. New York Giants: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 4 at Los Angeles Chargers: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 5 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 6 at Carolina Panthers: All white (W)

Week 7 vs. Washington Redskins: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 8 vs. San Francisco 49ers: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 9 vs. Denver Broncos: All black (W)

Week 10: Bye

Week 11 at Dallas Cowboys: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 12 vs. Chicago Bears: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

Week 13 at Seattle Seahawks: All white (L)

Week 14 at Los Angeles Rams: Midnight green top, white pants (W)

It’s a good thing the Eagles didn’t go with the all-white this week. They’re 2-2 in those this season.





[#] Sat Dec 09 2017 12:25:20 EST from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles fans are invading Los Angeles ahead of the Rams game

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The takeover cometh.

Philadelphia Eagles fans already took over Los Angeles when the Eagles played the Chargers earlier this season. Now they’re ready for a repeat performance ahead of this week’s Eagles-Rams game.

The large presence of Eagles fans has prompted FOX to cast actors to come to the game as Rams fans. They don’t want it to be a complete Eagles takeover.

That’s kinda sad. But not as sad as Ram Rules!

Old video, but still very cringe-worthy.

Anyway, it’ll be nice for the Eagles to have some significant support on the road in such a crucial game. Eagles fans are the best.


Q. Do you get a sense that this will be like the Charger’s game with Eagles fans traveling out here and all that?

DOUG PEDERSON: Well, you hear different things throughout the week. But I know our fans travel extremely well and there's a lot of fans out here, a lot of fans coming from Philly. Should be a great atmosphere for us, much like-- the Charger venue obviously is a little bit smaller, so it impacted the game a little bit more. But yeah, we're expecting a big Eagles crowd and they show up. It's going to be a good environment.

Q. You've been around the league for a long time, how do you think Eagles’ fans travel compared to other teams’ fans?

COACH PEDERSON: It's a large contingent. It's crazy. Most recently, I can't remember, was it -- one of the hotels we were at on the road here just a few weeks ago, was it the Dallas one? It was the largest amount of fans from a visiting team they have ever seen and it was our fans. And so, we travel extremely well. Our fans are there and support the team and it's exciting to have that kind of support each week, whether you're on the road or at home.





[#] Sat Dec 09 2017 16:00:02 EST from rss

Subject: Previewing the Eagles-Rams game

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Listen to BGN Radio on SportsRadioWIP!

BGN Radio, our site's podcast, will be streaming live on SportsRadio 94WIP this afternoon (Saturday, December 9) from 5:00 - 7:00 PM ET. (Click here to listen to us) We’ll be talking about the Philadelphia Eagles and taking your calls! Join the conversation by dialing 888.729.9494. Tweet at us on Twitter: @BGN_Radio.

John Barchard and James Seltzer will be broadcasting live from the Tastykake Studios to talk about the EAGLES’ WEEK 14 GAME AGAINST THE LOS ANGELES RAMS, Eagles fans taking over L.A., Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, the NFC lEast, NFL picks, and much more.

Listen to the WIP show via online stream by [CLICKING HERE] or turning your radio to 94.1 FM. Listen on your phone by downloading the brand new Radio.com app.

Also stay tuned to Bleeding Green Nation’s official Facebook page (click here) for any live videos we might do.

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[#] Sat Dec 09 2017 23:54:40 EST from rss to ams

Subject: Zach Ertz Injury: Eagles tight end reportedly

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Welp.

Well, here’s some bad news. Philadelphia Eagles starting tight end Zach Ertz end is considered “doubtful” to play against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14 despite officially being ruled “questionable.”

With Schefter saying that the “Eagles will want to look” at Ertz, it sounds like there’s at least a small chance he could suit up. But it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of optimism regarding his playing chances.

This is pretty bad news for the Eagles as they prepare to play in the biggest game of their 2017 season. A win over the Rams allows the Eagles to officially clinch a playoff spot and essentially ensure a first-round bye. A loss makes a bye a lot less likely.

With Ertz potentially out, the Eagles will rely on Brent Celek and Trey Burton to step up in his absence. The Eagles were without Ertz against the Broncos in Week 9 and still put up 51 points. The Rams obviously present a much tougher challenge than Denver does.

Ertz has functioned as Carson Wentz’s safety blanket this season. He’s the quarterback’s go-to guy. It’s up to Wentz to rise to the challenge without one of his best weapons.





[#] Sun Dec 10 2017 00:22:37 EST from rss

Subject: NFL Picks Against the Spread 2017: Week 14 Games

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Here are some suggestions when trying to beat the odds.

Before the 14th 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 14 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 13th week is 93-77-6. Let’s get to the picks.

NFL Week 14 Games

Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5): The Bears suck. It’s not like the Bengals are all that great, either, but Chicago’s just really bad at this point. It’s that simple. PICK: Bengals -6.5

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (-3): Nathan Peterman is reportedly expected to start with Tyrod Taylor banged up. I don’t need to remind you of what happened the last time Peterman started, but I’ll do it anyway: FIVE interceptions. Five! Buffalo might be able to win in spite of him since they’re home and Indy sucks, but I don’t know. I think I’ll cautiously take the points here. PICK: Colts +3

San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans (-3): I have more faith in Jimmy Garoppolo than Tom Savage. Maybe one day I’ll be able to spell Jimmy G’s name without looking it up. But yeah, I’m taking the 49ers to win two games in a row. Call me crazy. PICK: 49ers +3

Green Bay Packers (-3) at Cleveland Browns: This might be the Browns’ best and only chance to win a game this season. It’d be pretty fitting if they got a win only a few days after firing Sashi Brown and hiring John Dorsey. But this Packers team still has something to play for with an Aaron Rodgers return potentially on the horizon. Taking the Pack here knowing that this will probably be the week the Browns win. PICK: Packers -3

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers: This isn’t a tough one for me. The Vikings are looking really good and I don’t think the Panthers are really all that great. They’re kind of a fraud team to me. For the Eagles’ sake, it’d be great if Carolina wins this game. But I don’t expect it to happen. PICK: Vikings -2.5

Detroit Lions (-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It sounds like Matthew Stafford plans on playing. The problem is he’s still banged up. I don’t really trust the Bucs much but this Lions team is on the brink of imploding down the stretch. PICK: Buccaneers +3

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-4): This is the week the Chiefs bounce back! I keep saying this, and then it doesn’t turn out to be true, but for real this game. This is the week. Feel free to laugh at me when I’m wrong yet again. PICK: Chiefs -4

Dallas Cowboys (-4) at New York Giants: There’s part of me that feels like the Giants are going to put up more fight than expected in this one. Eli Manning is back as the starter and Ben McAdoo is gone. The guys are going to be hungry for a win against a division opponent. But then there’s part of me that feels like New York’s poor run defense won’t be able to contain the Cowboys. I’ll pick Dallas and hope I’m wrong about it. Knowing my luck, watch the Giants cover but still lose. PICK: Cowboys -4

New York Jets (-1) at Denver Broncos: Yeah, the Broncos are straight up trash. The Jets don’t have a great roster but at least they fight. Denver’s quarterback situation is just awful. And that’s saying something in a game where they’re playing the JETS. PICK: Jets -1

Washington Redskins at Los Angeles Chargers (-6): Washington is banged up and the Chargers have been hot lately. I like L..A. to win this one as they try to chase the AFC West crown.

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals: Yuck. The Titans are 8-4, but they’re not a very impressive 8-4. They actually have a negative point differential. Arizona is starting Blaine Gabbert, so it’s not like I can take them, but they usually play tough at home. Despite this, I’ll take the Titans because of the Gabbert factor. PICK: Titans -2.5

Seattle Seahawks at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3): I don’t know why people keep underestimating the Seahawks. Russell Wilson has the ability to negate some of Jacksonville’s defensive strengths. Defensively, the Seahawks can still stop the run. Blake Bortles could be good for at least a turnover or two in this one. I like the points here. PICK: Seahawks +3

Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams (-1): The Eagles are going to beat the Rams. Make no mistake, Sean McVay’s squad is really good. Wade Phillips is the best defensive coordinator in the league. This will be a tough battle for Philly. But ultimately I feel like the Eagles match up well against the Rams. The Eagles’ defensive line should be able to get pressure on Jared Goff. The Eagles’ offense should be able to attack a Rams defense that isn’t good against the run. Eagles gonna get that W. PICK: Eagles +1

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5): The Steelers beat the Ravens 26-9 in Baltimore earlier this season. I have a feeling the game will be closer this time around. But I’ll still take the Steelers with home field advantage. PICK: Steelers -4.5

New England Patriots (-11) at Miami Dolphins: Miami showed signs of life last weekend by sticking it to the Broncos. They will do no such thing against New England. PICK: Patriots -11





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