Subject: The NFC East is finally over
The Eagles have won it
There are three games left in the NFL regular season, but for the participants of the NFC East, the season is mathematically over. The Eagles won their 11th game of the year, clinching the division title with ease and before any other team won their division. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember how the Eagles 2017 NFC East title came to be and revisit when their rivals lost their sixth game of the season to retroactively eliminate them, and how they got there in the first place.
Philadelphia Eagles (11-2)
Last Week: The slow, inevitable death of everyone and everything inched closer to completion.
This Week: Visit the Giants in a battle of Week 13’s backup QBs.
Actual moment of clinching: They beat the Rams. Let’s just leave it at that.
Moment where it really started: When they traded up for Carson Wentz. When you see a chance, take it.
Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
Last Week: Dak Prescott threw for 332 yards and 3 TDs, which is more than he did in his last two games combined, to beat a Giants team that is so lifeless they had fired their head coach.
This Week: Visit the Raiders and their exist-in-name-only defense, who should probably fire their head coach.
Actual moment of elimination: Every year the Cowboys host a game on Thanksgiving. Through thick and through thin times, the Cowboys know that everyone will be watching them as the holiday season starts. For Dallas this season, the start of the holiday season was end of theirs, as they put up a pathetic effort against the Chargers and lost 28-6, with Los Angeles gaining over double the yardage Dallas did. Back-to-back wins over the bottom of the NFC East merely kept reality from hitting until Sunday, when the Eagles clinched the division title and eliminated the Cowboys from repeating.
Moment where it really started: The threads of the Cowboys failure in 2017 go back so far that it’s easy to get lost. Years of cap mismanagement shoulder a good deal of blame, Dallas had to turnover a massive amount of starters and contributors and had little money to adequately replace them. They still haven’t learned their lesson. Cedric Thornton has the 9th highest cap hit for the Cowboys in 2017, he was cut in September after one lousy season. Nolan Carroll is the 17th highest cap hit, he played in two (2) games this year. They will combine for $4.5M in dead cap space in 2018, which is less than Alshon Jeffery will count against the Eagles cap in 2018, per Over The Cap. Also taking blame have been their drafts. Their 2015 draft has produced just 1 starter while 3 players are no longer on the roster and another is suspended for at least the season. Their 2016 draft has just as many players suspended. Dak Prescott has a 79.9 passer rating without Ezekiel Elliott, which is worse than Mitch “Mitchell” Trubisky has for the season.
Washington Redskins (5-8)
Last Week: Kirk Cousins threw for fewer yards than Chargers ran for, lost 30-13.
This Week: Host the Cardinals, who are 30th in rushing, so Kirk has his work cut out.
Actual moment of elimination: After a “statement” 17-14 win in Seattle where Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh missed three field goals, the Redskins went on a two game losing streak. The nail in the coffin was 34-31 overtime loss to the Saints after leading by 15 with just under 6 minutes to play. The Redskins high water mark for 2017 was beating the hapless 49ers by 2 off a bye week to improve to 3-2.
Moment where it really started: In March, the Redskins fired Scot McCloughan, the only guy in their front office who resembled competency, after less than two years in charge. Browns-like patience.
New York Giants (2-11)
Last Week: Put Eli Manning back in, still lost
This Week: Face a team that has won as many times as the Giants have lost.
Actual moment of elimination: After notching their first win of the season in Week 6, the Giants followed up any chance of momentum by gaining just 177 yards on offense against the Seahawks, and gave up 425.
Moment where it really started: After back-to-back double digit loss seasons in 2014 and 2015, the Giants decided that cleaning house was the worst move they could make. Ben McAdoo was promoted to head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and General Manager Jerry Reese were retained. 29 games later, after a third double digit loss season in four years, the moldy, hole in the roof, house with a sinking foundation was finally cleaned. McAdoo and Reese were fired, and Spagnuolo is just keeping the seat warm until the season ends. Better late than never?
Tweet of the Week
We should always ignore Skip Bayless, but there are exceptions to rules
I wish Dak Prescott had just ONE of Wentz's top 4 receivers and even half of his pass protection.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) December 10, 2017
Subject: Flyers vs Sabres preview: May the fifth (straight win) be with you
Who would have thought this would happen?
The Flyers head into tonight’s match up with the Buffalo Sabres winning their last four contests, including a thriller over Toronto on Tuesday. The sudden surge by Philadelphia has put them right back in the thick of the wild card race, just four points behind the New York Rangers for the final playoff spot.
Over this four game win streak the Flyers have outscored their opponents 17-7, bringing their goal differential almost back to even, currently -1. Almost everything has been clicking for the Flyers of late, and this is a game where you cannot afford to step off the pedal.
As for the Sabres? I think they’re dunking (?) for Dahlin, if you know what I mean.
(I’ll see myself out now)
Buffalo is currently second to last in the NHL, just two points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes. At this point, one would imagine they could be tanking yet again for a top draft pick as they tried to do for Connor McDavid. This time there’s a defenseman projected to go number one overall, something the Sabres desperately need.
PHI Point Leaders
BUF Point Leaders
Can Elliott stay hot?
Assuming Dave Hakstol continues to ride his hot hand in Brian Elliott, can the NHL’s third star of the week put together another dazzling performance? Elliott has been playing out of this world over the Flyers win streak, stopping 123 of the 130 shots he’s faced. While this is a game where Hakstol might be able to get away with starting rookie Alex Lyon, one would tend to believe he’ll stick with his hot goaltender especially given past experiences.
Flyers CF%: 49.02
Sabres CF%: 47.49
Flyers xGF%: 50.34
Sabres xGF%: 44.30
To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Sabres metrics don’t get any better. This is a game where the Flyers have the clear edge in almost each and every category, so naturally this game will come down to the wire in either overtime or late in regulation. The main key for the Flyers in this game is going to be — as expected — stopping Jack Eichel. While Eichel doesn’t have the best stats this year, he’s clearly one of the more talented players in the game, and the Flyers will have their eyes set on the former second overall pick.
And the models say....
Oh....oh geez that’s just borderline rude to Buffalo. The Flyers on average are favored at a 61% mark. Their highest projection coming in at 62.4 and the “lowest” at 59%.
Flyers Projected Lines
Giroux - Couturier - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Voracek
Weal - Patrick - Weise
Leier - Laughton - Konecny
Provorov - MacDonald
Hagg - Gostisbehere
Sanheim - Gudas
Subject: Jay Ajayi Knew Something Bad Might Happen
Subject: Understanding The Manny Machado Rumors
Subject: NFL Picks Week 15 2017: Predictions by Football Writers
Predicting the winners of this week's NFL games.
The Bleeding Green Nation writers picks are in for Week 15 of the 2017 regular season schedule! Each week we'll predict the winners of each and every NFL game. We'll tally the results along the way and see who comes out on top at the end of the season.
After Week 14, the collective BGN Community is still in sole possession of first place. Way out in front.
Feel free to post your own predictions or discuss the writer predictions in the comments. You can also vote for who you think will win the games. I’ll tally those results in a “BGN Community” column. Vote in the polls beneath the table. (Click here if you can’t see the polls.)
Let's get to this week's picks!
Vote for YOUR picks below. (Once again, click here if you can’t see the polls.)
Subject: Joel Embiid Shuts Down Karl-Anthony Towns on Instagram
Subject: The Two O
The Sabres are bad.
31 — the league-wide rank (out of 31 NHL teams, just in case you forgot) of the Buffalo Sabres, tonight’s opponent, in each of the following offensive measures per 60 minutes played at 5-on-5:
- Total shot attempts taken
- Goals scored
- Expected Goals tallied
- 30th in unblocked shot attempts taken (edging out Vancouver by .05 of those per 60)
- 25th in shots on goal
- 29th in shooting percentage, which you can choose to believe is a sign of bad luck, a a lack of offensive talent/creativity, or a combination of the two — the third one, in all likelihood — but it may be more of the first, since they are also...
- 31st (last) in Expected Fenwick shooting percentage (i.e. the percentage of unblocked shot attempts that you would expect to be goals, based on the location/quality/type of shot taken)
(All numbers above courtesy of Corsica.hockey; shot attempt numbers are adjusted for score, while goals/expected goals/shooting percentage numbers are not.)
Also, they’re 30th in the NHL in standings points percentage, ahead of only Arizona, who spent the entire first month of the season looking for a win.
Just under three years ago, back in January of 2015, the Flyers played the Sabres in Buffalo. In the preview for that game, I wrote this:
* The Sabres are bad! Like holy crap the 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres are really, really bad. It is not in the slightest an exaggeration to say this is one of the worst NHL teams any of us have ever seen. Here is an incomplete list of things that the Sabres currently rank last in the NHL in:
Goals scored per game
Goals allowed per game
Power play percentage
Shots taken per game
Shots allowed per game
Literally any team-wide measure of possession (in fact, they are by far the NHL's worst possession team since possession metrics have been recorded)
So ... y'know ... no pressure, guys.
(If you’re at all curious, the Flyers won that game by a score of 4-3.)
Three years later, the Sabres are ... a bit better? I suppose? Sure, they’re better than that team was, but that was the lowest of possible bars, and this current Sabres team isn’t exactly setting a high one by any other standard at all. They’ve got Jack Eichel, who is very good despite something of a slow start to this season. But some folks out there have been expecting a step forward from them for a couple of seasons now, and while things will inevitably improve at some point, it’s hard to see just how they get there.
On Tuesday night — after a three-game road trip in which the Flyers won every game but weren’t always at their sharpest — the Flyers put forth what was a very strong defensive effort against a high-flying Maple Leafs team. It would be rather disappointing to follow that performance up with a let-down against what is most likely hockey’s most punchless team.
(Then again, “Rather Disappointing” is the default name of the Flyers’ video yearbook, so maybe we should just be prepared for a devastating loss tonight.)
Subject: The Sixers Fourth Uniform Leaked in NBA 2K18 Today
Subject: Eagles Injury Report: Jason Kelce is fine after a scare
Eagles injury situation update.
Jason Kelce is fine after a scare early in practice. He’s not even listed on the injury report.
Jason Kelce not happy about something at practice today. Kicks trashcan, slams door on way out of practice— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 14, 2017
Did come back. Hope he’s ok
For those of you wondering, based on some Twitter reaction, what happened to C Jason Kelce at practice today, you can exhale. He was cleated on his shin and, basically, got PO'd and spiked his helmet. He's fine.— Dave Spadaro (@EaglesInsider) December 14, 2017
Stefen Wisniewski returned to practice after sitting out entirely on Wednesday. Wis was limited, however, which still puts his status in question for Sunday’s game.
If Wis can’t play, it could be Chance Warmack or Isaac Seumalo who gets the start at left guard. That would be bad since both players have really struggled when called upon this year. But playing one of them could be preferable to risking further injury to Wis.
Eagles starting safety Rodney McLeod was a full participant in Thursday’s practice after being limited on Wednesday. McLeod’s on pace to suit up this weekend.
Brent Celek returned to practice on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s session due to the birth of his new son.
Zach Ertz is still set to return to the starting lineup.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES INJURY REPORT (THURSDAY)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Alshon Jeffery (illness)
DE Steven Means (illness)
OG Stefen Wisniewski (ankle)
S Rodney McLeod (quadricep)
TE Brent Celek (not injury related)
TE Zach Ertz (concussion)
DE Derek Barnett (groin)
LB Joe Walker (neck)
NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT (THURSDAY)
The Giants placed Justin Pugh on injured reserve so he’s officially out this week.
Roger Lewis sat out for the second day in a row.
Sterling Shepard and Nat Behre were added to the injury report for the first time this week. Both of them were limited.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
WR Roger Lewis (ankle)
OG Justin Pugh (back)
S Landon Collins (ankle)
DT Damon Harrison (not injury related)
CB Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring)
TE Rhett Ellison (finger)
LB B.J. Goodson (ankle)
WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring)
S Nat Behre (hamstring)
WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger)
Subject: Sixers Notes: Rock Returns, Angry Play, and Clandestine Behavior
Subject: Flyers vs. Sabres lineups, start time, TV, radio, live stream and discussion
After four straight wins, the Flyers head back to the ice to take on the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
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 Buffalo via MSG-B
- Seen or heard elsewhere via NHL.tv, NHL Center Ice, or Sirius XM
Projected Flyers lineup:
Giroux - Couturier - Simmonds
Raffl - Filppula - Voracek
Weal - Patrick - Weise
Leier - Laughton - Konecny
Provorov - MacDonald
Gostisbehere - Hagg
Sanheim - Gudas
Projected Sabres lineup (via):
Pouliot - Eichel - Pominville
Girgensons - O’Reilly - Okposo
Kane - Rodrigues - Reinhart
Wilson - Larsson - Nolan
Scandella - Ristolainen
McCabe - Bogosian
Gorges - Falk
Subject: Bryce Treggs is back with the Eagles
Bryce Treggs is back.
The Eagles signed the former Philadelphia wide receiver to their practice squad on Thursday, according to an official announcement from the team. In a corresponding move, the Eagles released practice squad wide receiver/punt returner Rashard Davis.
Treggs left the Eagles’ practice squad when he was signed away by the Browns in early October. Treggs had five receptions for 79 yards with Cleveland before they released him earlier this week.
It’s nice to see Treggs back with Philadelphia. He arguably played well enough this summer to make the team. The Eagles decided to keep 2017 fifth-round pick Shelton Gibson over Treggs, however.
UPDATED LOOK AT THE 2017 EAGLES PRACTICE SQUAD
WR Bryce Treggs
C Jon Toth
CB DeVante Bausby
C/G Josh Andrews
TE Billy Brown
PRACTICE SQUAD INJURED LIST
Subject: Broncos vs. Colts: How to watch Thursday Night Football
Everything you need to know.
Week 15 of the 2017 NFL season officially kicks off tonight. Including this one, only three more weeks remain in the regular season.
As far as the Philadelphia Eagles are concerned, this matchup doesn’t really matter. Probably better if the Broncos win, though, when it comes to rooting for the Giants to possibly get a worse draft pick.
Find everything you need to know about tonight's game below.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Game time: 8:25 PM EST
Channel: NFL Network, CBS, Amazon Prime Video
Date: Thursday, December 14
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium | Indianapolis, Indiana
Amazon Prime members can stream this game online.
Denver Broncos -3 (-105)
Indianapolis Colts +3 (-115)
SB Nation Blogs
Broncos - www.MileHighReport.com
Colts - www.StampedeBlue.com
Open thread: discuss Thursday's game in the comments below.
Subject: Flyers 2, Sabres 1: That
Travis Sanheim’s first NHL goal highlights another win as the Flyers continue to dig out of the hole they’ve put themselves in.
Nothing could be more Philadelphia Flyers than roping us back in right after spending a month giving us reasons to look away. And surely enough, they’re roping us back in now.
Travis Sanheim scored his first career NHL goal, Valtteri Filppula tallied the game-winner late in the second, Brian Elliott stopped every shot that he was actually in net for (all but one of them, in other words), and the Flyers tallied their fifth straight victory with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Relive the magic with us below, minute-by-minute.
6:52 p.m.: The last time (and only time in 2016-17) that these two teams played in the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to win in a shootout. Travis Konecny scored his first NHL goal. Things got wild. The Sabres, somehow, appear to have gotten worse since that game, so let’s not make this one as interesting as that one was, mmkay?
7:00 p.m.: The Giroux/Couturier line and Provorov/MacDonald pair will start out the game tonight against Jack Eichel’s line.
7:08 p.m.: And we’re underway. As they like to say in hockey ... let’s do that hockey.
7:11 p.m.: Oops. Brian Elliott tries to send the puck around the glass from behind the net, but NHL All-Star Zemgus Girgensons blocks that attempt, centers it out in front before Elliott can get back, and Ryan O’Reilly swats it into the empty net before a Flyer can get to him. That’s just how you want to start against a team like this. 1-0 Other Guys.
7:13 p.m.: And now Eichel rings one off the iron near the right corner. Sabres have controlled things since scoring that goal. Not great!
7:14 p.m.: Cripes. Elliott loses the puck behind the net AGAIN, and fortunately Nolan Patrick is there to cover him at the netmouth this time. Maybe just...hang out where you are, Brian?
7:15 p.m: WE GOT A FIRST NHL GOAL AS TRAVIS SANHEIM EVENS IT UP AT 1 LET’S GOOOOOO
7:16 p.m.: This time, it’s Buffalo whose goalie is irresponsibly playing with the puck behind his net. Dale Weise (Dale Weise!) is back there to force the issue, and then Jordan Weal strips the puck along the boards to get it back to Weise. From there, Weise finds Sanheim, and Sanheim finds the net on the blocker side. I’m a fan.
7:17 p.m.: “Tonight’s key to success: Do not lose to the Buffalo Sabres.” Thanks for that, Chris Therien.
7:24 p.m.: Things have slowed down a bit since those two early goals.
7:29 p.m.: And we’ve got our first power play of the night as Valtteri Filppula is tripped by Kyle Okposo (in the Flyers’ own zone!) shortly after the post-commercial faceoff. Flyers have a good chance to take the early lead here in a game that’s been pretty slow for them, save one shift.
7:31 p.m.: Yikes. Turnover turns into a shorthanded 2-on-1 for Buffalo, and luckily Johan Larsson can’t handle a cross-ice pass from Ryan O’Reilly. Let’s knock this off.
7:32 p.m.: Power play has come and gone without a goal. A couple of nice looks for the second unit — Patrick makes a couple of nice passes to set those up.
7:36 p.m.: Less-than-ideal defensive shift there for the Flyers as a Sanheim turnover leads to another 2-on-1 for Buffalo.
7:41 p.m.: Ghost takes what appears to be a hit he wasn’t expecting (far away from the puck, by the way) and heads off the ice and into the locker room a bit early. Uh oh.
7:44 p.m.: That’s the end of a first period that saw the Flyers do far too much defending and not enough attacking. Fairly underwhelming opening against one of the worst teams in hockey. But we’re still knotted up thanks to Travis Sanheim’s first NHL goal. Not everything is bad!
7:55 p.m.: Shot attempts in the first period (at 5-on-5) were 18-11 Sabres. Though, as our omnipresent Twitter account points out, most of that gap is due to a ghastly start by the Filppula line which was so good during the Canada road trip:
28 (62.5 CF%) - 14 (62.5) - 17 (55.56)— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 15, 2017
12 (10) - 51 (10) - 93 (9.09)
40 (50) - 19 (50) - 22 (50)
11 (60) - 21 (42.86) - 20 (42.86)
8:03 p.m.: We are underway in the second period, which ideally will be better than the first one. Nice shift to start the frame, led by Simmonds.
8:05 p.m.: And the Sabres, intent on helping the Flyers, take their second offensive zone penalty of the evening. Evan Rodrigues trips Nolan Patrick in front of Patrick’s own net, and the Flyers will have another shot at taking the lead.
8:07 p.m.: After a reasonably productive-if-goalless power play for the most part, the Flyers give up another shorthanded rush after Provorov loses his stick. Elliott is there to shut it down, and the penalty expires shortly thereafter.
8:08 p.m.: Ghost is back on the ice this period, by the way. Presumably, this would indicate that the hit he took last period was nothing serious.
8:15 p.m.: Second period kind of playing out like the opposite of the first period. Neither team looks great, but the Flyers are clearly getting the better of the run of play since coming back out of the locker room.
8:19 p.m.: Ooooooh, so close. After a long offensive shift for the Sabres, a heads-up play springs Raffl and Voracek on a 2-on-1, but Voracek’s chance in alone on Lehner is denied. Provorov then has a solid chance blocked shortly thereafter.
8:27 p.m.: Ghost has looked sharp tonight. Nice shift there — long pass to set up a Flyers cycle, then a big hit in the neutral zone.
8:28 p.m.: The Flyers got a 2-on-1! But it was Laughton and Weise. Laughton hung on to it and waited probably just a bit too long to try and get something going. We don’t blame you for that. Still no goals this period.
8:31 p.m.: AND WE GOT A GOAL. Filppula. 2-1.
8:33 p.m.: That was nice. That whole shift came after an icing faceoff. That line had just missed out on a goal about 15 seconds earlier, but a great keep-in and set of passes sent the puck ultimately from Voracek to Filppula, who sniped one up above Lehner’s left shoulder. Purrrrrty.
Filppula slams one home and the Flyers lead 2-1! pic.twitter.com/pRB97DOj84— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) December 15, 2017
8:36 p.m.: And the Flyers will end the period on the penalty kill, as our most recent goal-scorer heads off for holding. First PK of the game for the Flyers.
8:37 p.m.: One brief hectic moment for the Flyers doesn’t end up in a goal, and the Flyers will take their 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Much better second period for the dudes in orange.
8:49 p.m.: Flyers out-attempted the Sabres 22-8 in that period and are now comfortably leading in that measure for the game. That seems more along the lines of what we were expecting tonight.
8:55 p.m.: Third and final period is underway as Buffalo will try to even things up on the power play. Hopefully they will not do that!
8:57 p.m.: They did not do that! Very aggressive penalty killing by the Flyers shuts things down and we’re back at evens.
9:02 p.m.: Things are happening! Travis Konecny barrels through Sam Reinhart in front of the net as he’s trying to shoot. Then, as everyone else is kind of just standing around staring at Reinhart on the ice, the puck gets passed out to Evander Kane at the far-side post, but Elliott gets over in time to make an outstanding save. And then people start punching each other, because of course. On replay, I see why the Sabres took exception there — the hit from Konecny appeared to be clean, but he then falls back into Travis Sanheim, who kind of sandwiches him. Looked uncomfortable. Play on, though.
9:10 p.m.: Sabres come dangerously close to tying the game (they shouldn’t have, as Michael Raffl was hauled down in front of the Buffalo net about 10 seconds prior, but so it goes). A long shot from Girgensons bounces off of Provorov’s stick and hits Elliott in the mask, and Marco Scandella is right there charging the net, but he can’t tip it in. Sabres are threatening after a slow start to the period.
9:12 p.m.: Flyers answer right back with a 2-on-1 chance, but Simmonds doesn’t make the pass to Giroux and only gets off a shot that Lehner is there to easily corral.
9:19 p.m.: Third period for the most part has been pretty slow. Sabres probably getting the better of the action, though.
9:22 p.m.: Flyers are getting a little sloppy here. Defensive zone turnover from Provorov ends up turning into a bit more attack time for the Sabres. If you’re gonna turtle, do it right.
9:28 p.m.: Couturier line has a 3-on-1 with 2:30 left but they get two feeble attempts off. Lehner comes off as the Sabres take the puck up-ice.
9:30 p.m.: Some reasonably good chances for the Sabres, but nothing makes it in, and Buffalo will call timeout with 39 seconds left. Nice work by Giroux earlier in that shift to chase a puck down to the Buffalo end and force them to waste some more time getting the puck out of danger.
9:32 p.m.: And that’ll do it! Some great work by Couturier to send the puck out of the zone multiple times in the final seconds, and the Flyers win a game that they had no business losing by a score of 2-1. Their fifth straight win — and, as the broadcast is kind enough to point out, their fifth straight regulation win, which they haven’t done since November of 2010. That’s crazy. And they’ll get a chance to make it six on Saturday against Dallas. (Dallas sucks.) Go Flyers.
Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Taking the streaking into the weekend
Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...
*FIVE. A Five game winning streak, friends. That’s a nice little streak. JJ said last night it’s the first time they’ve won five in regulation in a row in SEVEN YEARS. That’s nuts. RECAP!!!
*Speaking of Cooter, this is a really nice read about the path that has lead him to the #1C spot here in Philly. [Philly.com]
*Evidently there’s a big movie coming out today? The People seem excited? Anyhoo here’s the latest NHL power rankings with every team as a Star Wars character. [ESPN]
*Remember yesterday we learned about how Joe Thornton is just a big sexy nerd playing Risk online with internet strangers? That was fun. How’s about some other games NHLers can use to kill their free time on the road? [SB Nation]
*And finally, while the subject may be a bit heavy for a Friday, this long read about a former NHL player who is living on the streets is worth your time. [TSN]
Subject: Crossing Broadcast: Manny and Jersey Leaking
Subject: Eagles News: It
Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/15/17.
Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
NFL Week 15 Preview: Eagles at Giants - PFF
RB Jay Ajayi vs. Giants linebackers – With quarterback Carson Wentz ruled out for the season, Philadelphia will rely on their running game, led by Jay Ajayi. Last week, Ajayi led the Eagles’ backfield in snaps and touches for the second consecutive week, generating 80 yards against the Rams. The former Miami Dolphin is starting to heat up with his new club as over the last three weeks, no running back has a higher elusive rating than Ajayi’s 140.0. On the year, the former fifth-round pick has forced 37 missed tackles. Philadelphia’s lead back may be a tough load to handle for New York’s linebackers. Calvin Munson has a lowly 40.0 run-defense grade this season and only six run stops since Week 10. He did, however, earn the second-highest defensive grade on the team during their Week 3 matchup in Philadelphia, of course that was before the addition of Ajayi. Meanwhile, veteran linebacker Kelvin Sheppard has not missed a tackle in run defense since joining the Giants four weeks ago but that could be tested against Ajayi’s elusiveness.
Nick Foles is a Carson Wentz character - BGN
Another reason for Eagles fans to take a breath.
The Season is Not Completely Lost with Foles - BGNRadio.com
Vince Quinn and Brandon Gowton go over how they think the Eagles will adjust with Wentz being out. Doug Pederson is really going show what kinda of coach he really is. What are the expectations vs other playoff teams now? Hope isn't lost but the road is a lot tougher despite potential homefield advantage. Plus they look at this week vs. Giants and a lot more!
Jay Ajayi Could Be Ramping Up At Right Time - PE.com
Lost in everything that happened on Sunday in Los Angeles was the involvement of Jay Ajayi in the Eagles’ running game. Ajayi played 43 snaps, his most in a game since joining the Eagles at the trade deadline in early November, and had 15 carries for 78 yards and looked ready to handle more of the load for the Eagles on the ground ...
Time for Eagles to break out Jay Ajayi - ESPN
It is time to turn Jay Ajayi loose. The 24-year-old back has been brought along slowly by the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff since being acquired from the Miami Dolphins at the trade deadline back in late October. He's averaged under nine carries per game to this point in Philly despite netting 7 yards a pop and flashing the type of explosive running style that earned him a Pro Bowl bid in 2016. That approach has worked out just fine to this point. The Eagles have the No. 2 rushing attack in the league, are tops in points per game (31.1) and have the best record in the NFC. It's a luxury they've been able to afford.
Brandon Brooks: Whatever we have to do, we’ll get it done - PhillyVoice
Obviously after winning that game [43-35 over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday] and punching our ticket at least into the playoffs, I feel pretty good. On the flip side, and I know it’s everywhere, the Carson Wentz deal [being lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee]. I feel bad for the kid. He was having an unbelievable MVP season and it breaks your heart to get the injury the way he did. He’s a strong kid. Everyone saw his video that went out, leaving it in God’s hands and I know he’s going to bounce back stronger than ever. He’ll have an even better season next year than he did this year. I’m looking forward to it.
The Backup Plan - Iggles Blitz
He has never thrown a pass in an NFL game. That means he is about as raw as you can get. Sudfeld has been with the Eagles since cutdown day, when the Skins let him go. The Eagles put him on the practice squad for about half the season. The Colts talked about adding Sudfeld to their roster, but the Eagles ended that idea by adding him to their active roster. The Eagles coaches say they like Sudfeld and see him as a player to develop. I was not a fan of Sudfeld’s when he came out of Indiana. His highlights were good, but I saw a player who was just too inconsistent for me. He does remind me of Nick Foles. Both are big pocket passers with some mobility. Sudfeld has the better arm. I might not be the only one who sees Sudfeld and Foles as similar. For those who don’t remember, Doug Pederson was the Eagles coach who worked Nick Foles out prior to the 2012 draft and who really liked him.
Keys to the Eagles-Giants game | Early Birds - Inquirer
Ride the Jay Train: The Eagles need to give Jay Ajayi the ball. This is not just because they’re playing with their backup quarterback. It’s because Ajayi has been so effective and he can carry the offense. Ajayi averages 7 yards per carry and he’s going against a defense that is 31st in the NFL with 130 rushing yards allowed per game. Ajayi’s playing time has increased the past two weeks, with two consecutive games playing more than 40 percent of the snaps after staying below 30 percent in his first three games. If you have Ajayi on your fantasy football team, play him this week. The Eagles must ride him.
Silva's Week 15 Matchups - Rotoworld
With Carson Wentz (ACL) done for the year, Nick Foles will take over Philly’s offense against a Giants defense that has allowed top-15 fantasy results to 9-of-13 quarterbacks faced and revived Dak Prescott for last week’s QB3 finish following an abysmal month-plus stretch. Foles is a slow-twitch passer short on athleticism and arm strength, but he is entering a high-volume system with elite talent around him. Like it or not, Foles is every bit worthy of opportunity- and matchup-based streamer/DFS discussion. It strongly helps that both Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery are in great Week 15 spots. … An optimal game plan should still feature Jay Ajayi against a Giants defense enemy backs creamed for 127/601/4.73/4 rushing in the last five games. In last week’s win over the Rams, Ajayi’s 16 touches, 47% snap rate, and 22 routes run were all season highs in an Eagles uniform. Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount remain usage threats, but this backfield is trending toward Ajayi’s. He’s an upside RB2/flex play in a plum draw.
Nick Foles Could Be the Key to a QB Streaming Title - rotoViz
In his press conference on Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed the fears of Philadelphia fans in announcing that Carson Wentz had indeed torn his ACL against the Rams. The news removed the gloss of an Eagles victory that sealed the NFC East and brings to an end a campaign that had been a godsend for fantasy owners. But despite the bad news, there is still hope that an Eagles quarterback can carry his team into the postseason…and your fantasy team to glory. Wentz had been playing at an MVP level in his second season in the NFL. His fourth touchdown pass against the Rams (his fourth game with four TD passes) had given him 33 on the season. This marked a single-season record for the Eagles. Among QBs, only Russell Wilson had more fantasy points. Wentz was enjoying the best fantasy season for a QB through 14 weeks of any second-year signal caller since 2010.
No definite timeline for Carson Wentz return, but beginning of '18 a good bet - SDUT
Wentz can certainly play Week 1 but will not be fully himself until mid- or late-season, especially given his running ability. It would probably be good for him to be somewhat limited in what he does outside the pocket early in ’18, as it will take time for him to be his usual mobile self. He will need to regain the confidence to step into throws and will likely wear a prophylactic knee brace for the rest of his career, similar to what Tom Brady and other quarterbacks wear.
Jalen Mills On Rankings Leaving Eagles Out Of Top 10: ‘Ya’ll Silly’ - CBS Philly
Heading into Week 15 in the NFL, the Eagles and Steelers are the only teams to clinch a playoff spot, as Philadelphia won the NFC East last week with their win over the Rams. Unfortunately, they lost their star QB Carson Wentz to a torn ACL, which is presumably the reason they were left off this list by The Score. Eagles CB Jalen Mills didn’t appreciate the slight, and had something to say about it on Twitter.
Philadelphia Eagles' Nate Sudfeld says he's as ready as he can be for new role - PennLive
Sudfeld said his day-to-day life won't change much now that he's the Eagles' backup quarterback. He said practices will be the same as when he was on the practice squad and serving as the third-stringer on the roster (the Eagles promoted Sudfeld last month to keep him from signing with the Colts), except that he'll take a handful of repetitions with the starters. Other than that, he'll go through positional drills and film study just like he has all year.
Ten questions: What to expect from Nick Foles and the Eagles - The Athletic
The other concern with Foles is how he sees the field. Every week, in every game, the film shows plays where receivers think they're open and wave their hands as the ball doesn't get thrown to them. But over the years, there have been too many of these plays with Foles. Whether it's not going through his progressions, rushing his mental clock or failing to recognize what he's seeing from a coverage standpoint, Foles leaves too many plays on the field.
Roob Stats: A salute to Carson Wentz's incredible season - NBC Sports Philadelphia
OK, this is really sad. It's also really incredible. With Carson Wentz's season officially over, we can look back at just how insanely great he was these past 13 games. He went 11-2, completed 60 percent of his passes, threw a franchise-record 33 touchdowns to just seven interceptions and finished with a 101.9 passer rating, fifth highest in NFL history by QBs 24 or younger.
Giants vs. Eagles: Five things to watch Sunday - Big Blue View
An appearance from Eli Apple? The 2016 first-round pick has been inactive for the past four games. Maybe his absence has been injury-related, maybe it’s been more about other issues. Don’t know. Curious to see if he plays, how much and well he plays if he’s active, and how his teammates react to him. That last one is key, especially after his back-and-forth this week with safety Landon Collins.
NFL picks 2017, Week 15: Experts expect Steelers upset, Rams road win - SB Nation
Can’t miss picks for every game in Week 15 from our panel of nine experts.
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Subject: The best photos from the Flyers win against the Sabres
Subject: Fantasy football start/sit advice guide: Best and worst picks for NFL Week 15
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 Nick Foles and sit Matthew Stafford, that doesn't mean I'd start Foles over Stafford, it just means I think Foles will exceed his expectations while Stafford will underperform his. Cool? Cool. -Seltz
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.
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Nick Foles (@ NYG) – Pro Bowl MVP. He left the field with the lead. 27-2. #Next
Aaron Rodgers (@ CAR) – If Aaron Rodgers is playing (which he is), you have to start him. Don't worry about rust or any of that garbage – he's Aaron friggin' Rodgers and he's facing a Panthers defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to QB's over the last month. However, in spite of all this, he's the consensus #6 QB heading into the weekend. That's hogwash. Yup, hogwash.
Case Keenum (vs. CIN) – I often make jokes about Keenum's name. I mean, duh, right? But (I'm on the) Case (study) Keenum deserves better. He's been...awesome (multiple TD's in five of his last six games) and the Bengals just gave up 33 points to the Bears. THE BEARS! That's so embarrassing. Keenum is going to have his way with those Indian Tigers. Get it? Because a Bengal is a tiger from India? Yeah, you're right, not my best work. I vow (to try) to be better.
Matt Ryan (@ TB) – I'm torn (TM Natalie Imbruglia) on this one. On the one hand, Ryan stinks. On the other hands, Tampa's defense blows. Stinks vs. Blows. An all-time conundrum, but I'm going with stinks over blows. Stinks over blows for sure.
Blake Bortles (vs. HOU) – Bortles has been a top 10 fantasy quarterback three weeks in a row and faces a Houston defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to QB's. He also...nope. No way. I can't do it. Eff that. Don't start Bortles. He's Blake freaking Bortles. I feel dirty.
Alex Smith (vs. LAC) – You know what else will be dirty? Alex Smith's uniform on Sunday after Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have their way with him! Boom. In all seriousness, Smith was atrocious last week in a cake matchup vs. the Raiders, and should be equally horrendous against a Chargers defense that is outstanding against the pass.
Matthew Stafford (vs. CHI) – Stafford is banged up and facing a Bears defense that has done a decent job defending the pass. He won't be a terrible fantasy play thanks to volume (aka the Lions literally cannot run the ball), but he won't live up to his lofty expectations. And yes, they're lofty. Trust me, I'm a lofty expert. It's my life's work. I have spent years and years analyzing what is lofty and what is not lofty. Stafford's expectations this week: 100% lofty.
Jared Goff (@ SEA) – I know it's chic to say Seattle's pass defense is bad now, but they're really not. Don't get me wrong, they're not the legion of boom anymore, but they're not the legion of doom either. They're more like the legion of mediocre. You know who else is mediocre? Jared Goff. Nailed it.
Jay Ajayi (@ NYG) – The Jay Train is leaving the station to embark on a trip to Minnesota. First stop, New York. Well, it's New Jersey to be honest, but who cares. Either way, THE JAY TRAIN IS RUNNING RIGHT OVER THE GIANTS.
Kenyan Drake (@ BUF) – No more yelling. I promise. Well, except for this, KENYAN DRAKE IS THE TRUTH! Ok, now I'm done. I'm all about the Kenyan Drake hype train – not to be confused with the Jay Train. Drake is good at football. The Bills run defense is bad...at everything. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, eat some cake with Drake. Nope. Make a break (for it) with Drake. Again, no. Get on the take for Drake. Still no. Start Drake. Yup, that's the one.
Alex Collins (@ CLE) – I don't need to get on the Alex Collins hype train because I've been on it for a while. In fact, I've been on so long my butt is starting to hurt. I've been sitting in this seat on the train so long that my butt freaking hurts. That's how long I've been on the Alex Collins train. Guess what, the butt keeps hurting this week – Collins is going to drop trow on the Browns. Quick sidebar, was the “drop trow” thing weird? It was, wasn't it? Dammit, my bad...again. I promise to keep any and all trow un-dropped.
Mike Davis (vs. LAR) – The Rams are horrendous at stopping the run. How horrendous, you ask? Really, really, really horrendous. They are bottom five in rushing yards allowed, yards per carry average, and touchdowns yielded on the ground. Conversely, Mike Davis is better than I, or you, or anyone thought. He's aight, and incredibly undervalued this week (consensus #25 running back). Also, he has a sweet name. Mike Davis. Classic unforgettable name.
Mark Ingram (vs. NYJ) – Look, if you own Ingram in a seasonal league and he got you to the playoffs, you have to start him. But I'd shy away in daily formats against a better-than-you-think Jets run defense with Alvin Kamara back in action.
Lamar Miller (@ JAX) – Lamar Miller, more like you are chiller. Amirite? Let me explain, the Jags have the best defense in the league and Miller is playing with T.J. Yates at quarterback. Miller ain't going to be chiller on Sunday, hence you are chiller than him. That may have been the worst, dumbest thing I've ever written and I'm sorry for it.
Samaje Perine (vs. ARI) – Arizona's run defense is stout. Like, Guinness stout. Washington's offensive line is the opposite of stout. They're skinny. Well, not literally, they're NFL offensive lineman. None are skinny. But skinny is an antonym for stout so...just sit Perine and stop giving me lip. I've had just about enough of it.
Adam Thielen (vs. CIN) – How many times do I have to say it?! Adam Thielen is a Top 5 WR every week until the end of the season – and yet, the consensus continues to refuse to rank him as such. I am outraged and I will not stand...wait, what's that? He's the consensus #5 WR this week? Oh. Well, I guess I don't have to be outraged about this anymore. So, yeah. Start Thielen in all formats...obviously.
Jordy Nelson (@ CAR) – For the lucky few of you (if any) who drafted Jordy in the first or second round and still are somehow alive in your fantasy playoffs and haven't decided to drop him at any point during his horrendous season – it was all worth it! In case you hadn't heard, or in case you didn't read the “Quarterback” section about 13 paragraphs ago, Aaron Rodgers is back. That means Jordy Nelson is also back. Well I guess he never really left, but whatever, you know what I mean. Point is: Jordy + Rodgers = Good. Plus, the Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers over the last month. So, as Hal McRae once so eloquently put it, “put that in your effing pipe and smoke it.”
Mohamed Sanu (@ TB) – You don't need me to tell you to start Julio Jones. Especially considering he put up 253 yards and 2 TD's three weeks ago against this trash Buccaneers defense. Obviously you're starting Julio, but I think you should also give Sanu a look. He's averaging 7 targets per game over the last three weeks and faces the aforementioned trash Bucs defense. How trash you ask? They've allowed the most fantasy points to WR's this season. They also let Sanu throw for a TD last time they played. Don't expect another one of those, but Sanu should exceed his expected value nonetheless.
Marquise Goodwin (vs. TEN) – What the hell happened? I was doing so well with the brevity thing and now I'm a long-winded mess. I'm refocusing myself on being efficient with my words, you have my...word. Alright, let's put that plan into reality, word? Lol. I'm the worst. In the two games with Jimmy G at the helm, Goodwin is averaging 10 targets, 7 catches, and 102.5 yards. Yes, I know it's a small sample size, but it's all we got and I'm buying into it. The G-to-G connection is real, and it's spectacular. The spectacularness (not a word) continues this weekend against a crappy Titans secondary.
Mike Evans (vs. ATL) – I hate Mike Evans. He took my 2017 fantasy hopes and dreams and took a dump all over them. A big, smelly, steamy dump. Which coincidentally is exactly what he's done on the field all season. Don't continue to allow this man to Cleveland Steam you. No more. NO MORE! To quote The Who, “We Won't Get Fooled Again.” And yes, I am absolutely the first person to quote The Who and Hal McRae in the same column.
Tyreek Hill (vs. LAC) – Tyreek Hill has been way better, and more consistent, this season than I ever expected. He's been awesome. You're not sitting him if you own him in seasonal leagues. But I'd shy away in daily formats – the Chargers' pass defense is legit. LAY-JIT. How legit? They've allowed the fewest fantasy points to WR's over the last month and are playing at a really high level. #TooLegitToQuit
Stefon Diggs (vs. CIN) – Thielen stole Diggs' soul. Thielen rules, Diggs drools. What I'm trying to say is, Thielen is worth starting and Diggs is not. You got that, right? No? Man, I'm off my game. Let's get through the rest of this before I embarrass myself any further...if that's possible.
Chris Hogan (@ PIT) – Just because Hogan is back in New England's lineup, doesn't mean he should be in your fantasy lineup. Yeah, that's right, your lineup is better than New England's lineup. Suck it, Patriots. Seriously though, Hogan had 1 catch for 1 yard last week (with Gronk out no less) and faces a Steelers defense that has been stingy against the pass. Stingy is a funny word, isn't it? Stingy. Hehehe. Dingy is a funny word too. Stingy and dingy. See, I told you I could embarrass myself more. Never doubt my ability to embarrass myself! Also, what the hell is wrong with me?
Zach Ertz (@ NYG) – Alright, let's tighten this ish up. Ertz has cleared concussion protocol and will be back on the field against a Giants defense that has yielded the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. By a lot. Also, Ertz was an Eagle in 2013 and 2014, so he should have better chemistry with Foles than anyone else on the field. For whatever that's worth.
Evan Engram (vs. PHI) – Engram may be the only bright spot in the Giants' dumpster fire of a season. No joke, I think he's the only one. Seriously. That's nuts hahaha. And awesome. And I love it. What I don't love, is Engram squaring off against the Eagles' linebackers in coverage. But still, LOL Giants.
Cameron Brate (vs. ATL) – I actually agree with the consensus tight end rankings (for the most part) this week, so I don't feel strongly about this call. But the Falcons have defended tight ends well and Brate is super touchdown dependent. Those are the kind of strong takes you get here.
Austin Hooper (@ TB) – Speaking of strong takes, this is not one of them. I'm guessing no one is starting Hooper in their fantasy playoffs. But I'll lobby for you to avoid him in daily formats as well. Tampa Bay only does one thing well on defense, and that's cover tight ends. They literally suck at everything else. Thus, Hooper sucks too. Don't question it, just roll with it.
Philadelphia Eagles (@ NYG) – Win it for Wentz. Also, Eli Manning.
Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA) – The Bills are the consensus #7 defense this week. That's way too high for a defense that's terrible. Yes, the Bills are terrible. They are the #22 fantasy defense this season aka terrible.
Some guy who's playing in a dome or who's on a team with a good offense.
Any guy who doesn't qualify the above set standard for “Start.”
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