Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Eagles’

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 01:  LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks at the podium during a press conference for the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year in the Super Bowl XLVI Media Center at the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on February 1, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 01: LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks at the podium during a press conference for the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year in the Super Bowl XLVI Media Center at the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on February 1, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)

It’s getting Shady in Buffalo; the Eagles coach is missing a Chip off his block

Five days after the Philadelphia Eagles traded 26-year-old, All Pro running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso, Buffalo signed McCoy to a 5-year, $40 million contract that includes $26.5 million in guarantees. The deal will be finalized today.

Alonso finished his rookie season with 159 combined tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, four interceptions, and 11 pass deflections. That was a prolific season for a rookie.

But that was in 2013. Alonso missed all of 2014 after he tore his ACL training in Oregon, the city of his former University where he played under his new head coach, Chip Kelly.

McCoy had the highest percentage of the Eagles yards from scrimmage last season with 22 percent, according to ESPN Stats&Info. Since joining the league in 2009, McCoy ranks third in total rushing yards (6,792) and fourth in touchdowns (44). He led the NFL with 1,607 rushing yards in 2013.

The Eagles, I mean Kelly, traded a legitimate top-5 running back in the NFL for a player coming off a torn ACL. And honestly, he traded for Alonso because he played at Oregon. Kelly now has nine former Oregon Ducks on his roster. He is a year removed from trading away DeSean Jackson because of alleged “gang ties” that went unproven.

And on Sunday, now ex-Eagle Jeremy Maclin reunited with former coach Andy Reid and has singed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The McCoy trade screams arrogance. It screams “I am Chip Kelly and you’re not.”  Kelly has immense trust and faith in his system and believes you can plug in players and still have success. This is the NFL where talent triumphs. Some sort of power struggle is spilling over in the city of Brotherly Love, and Kelly is the one who tipped over the cup.

Kelly is either a genius or insanely arrogant. I’m leaning towards the latter.

The masked triple-doubler

Remember when rumors were circulating of a possible trade for Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook?

Not only has the thunderous guard catapulted himself into MVP conversations, he’s arguably the best player on his team over Kevin Durant, and Westbrook is unquestionably playing at the highest level of any player in the NBA right now.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook wearing a face-protection shield.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook wearing a face-protection shield.

In Westbrook’s last 10 games without the injured and reigning MVP Kevin Durant, Westbrook is averaging 34.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 11.3 AST per game, a triple-double.

Let me put this into perspective: In the last 50 years, the only players to average 33 PPG, 10 REB, and 10 AST over a 10-game span in a season are Michael Jordan and Russell Westbrook, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

How about one more for good measure? In Sunday’s 108-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors, Westbrook compiled an unworldly 30 points, 11 rebounds and 17 assists.  He became the first player with 30+ points, 11+ rebounds and 17+ assist in a game since Magic Johnson in 1988 (32-11-20).

Without Westbrook, the Thunder would be a lottery team at this juncture of the season. Instead, he has them clinging on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference, clinging on to a one game lead over Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Westbrook has the tenacity and aggressiveness to take the Thunder further in the playoffs than Durant could.

If I’m Steph Curry and the No. 1 seeded Golden State Warriors, I’d want no part of Westbrook in the first round.

Not-so Sexy Rexy

Speaking of LeSean McCoy earlier, newly hired Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan acquired one of the most gifted running backs in the NFL. The acquisition of McCoy allows Ryan to revert back to the ground-and-pound days that brought him immediate success during his first two seasons as the New York Jets head coach, including an AFC Championship appearance in his second year.

Rex Ryan has big plans for the Bills. (Getty Images)

Rex Ryan has big plans for the Bills. (Getty Images)

Ryan also formed a stingy and formidable defense during his tenure as the Jets coach. He has inherited a more-talented and versatile defense in Buffalo headlined by Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, and Stephon Gilmore. McCoy and the Bills’ defense matches the blueprint of Ryan’s DNA.

But like in New York, Ryan is missing the centerpiece of a beautifully prepared roster, a quarterback. You can’t have a proper Thanksgiving feast with only dressing, you need the prized turkey.

During Ryan’s time as a head coach in the NFL, the following are the quarterbacks he has started under center: Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Matt Simms, an aged Michael Vick, Greg McElroy and last but not least, Tim Tebow.

That list looks a lot more like bologna than a Thanksgiving turkey.

And who does Ryan have playing quarterback in Buffalo? A regressing former first-round pick in E.J. Manuel who was benched in favor of journeyman Kyle Orton. The Bills flirted with signing Josh McCown who failed miserably last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but opted to sign Matt Cassell.

Nothin about that list of names sounds enticing either.

Rex, we’ve tasted this recipe before and it left a sour taste in the mouths of the fans and the organization. I’ll be the first to sign my name in the Shady McCoy fan club, but he’s not going to deliver you a clutch first down pass on 3rd-and-8 with a 1:22 left to go in the fourth quarter.

You need a viable option at quarterback, and it’s not Cassell or Manuel.

Who will win the battle for the AFC North crown? Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Who will win the battle for the AFC North crown?
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)

This is the last week of 2014-15 NFL regular season.

The season has flown by with numerous storylines.

The two most talked about prospects in the 2014 NFL draft in the No. 1 overall pick in Jadeveon Clowney and 26th overall in Johnny Manziel, didn’t come within a mile of their expectations.

Clowney appeared in only four games and registered seven total tackles before a knee injury sidelined him for the season. Clowney is currently facing a recovery process that will last eight to nine months, jeopardizing the start of his 2015 season.

Manziel flashed in his brief late game appearance Nov. 26 against the Bills, but didn’t get his first start until week 15 in a forgettable debut. The former charismatic, Texas A&M star finished the season, 18-of-35 for 175 yards with zero touchdown passes and two interceptions. He finished with 29 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

The Steelers are the first team in NFL history with a 4,500 yard passer, a 1,500 yard receiver and a 1,300 yard rusher.

And to date, the 2014-15 season is the best rookie wide receiver class in NFL history starring Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG), Mike Evans (TB), Sammy Watkins (BUF), Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) and Jarvis Landry (MIA).

I can go on forever, but those are a few that raised eyebrows.

In any case, NFL.com has released likely scenarios and possible seeding for the playoffs. This scenario grabs my attention:

The winner of Lions-Packers will have a first-round bye and can find themselves with home-field advantage. Meanwhile, the loser is assured the No. 6 seed.

Here are the Final Picks for the regular season:


Week 16 Prediction Results

Brooks: 10-6; Overall: 154-85

Perez: 11-5; Overall: 167-72

Wooten: 8-8; Overall: 142-81


Week 17 Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
CLE @ BAL BAL(W) BAL(W) BAL(W)
DAL @ WAS DAL(W) DAL(W) HOU(W)
IND @ TEN IND(W) IND(W) IND(W)
JAX @ HOU HOU(W) HOU(W) HOU(W)
SD @ KC SD(L) SD(L) KC(W)
NYJ @ MIA MIA(L) MIA(L) MIA(L)
CHI @ MIN MIN(W) MIN(W) CHI(L)
BUF @ NE NE(L) NE(L) NE(L)
PHI @ NYG NYG(L) PHI(W) PHI(W)
NO @ TB NO(W) NO(W) NO(W)
CAR @ ATL CAR(W) ATL(L) ATL(L)
DET @ GB GB(W) GB(W) GB(W)
OAK @ DEN DEN(W) DEN(W) DEN(W)
ARI @ SF SF(W) ARI(L) ARI(L)
STL @ SEA SEA(W) SEA(W) SEA(W)
CIN @ PIT PIT(W) PIT(W) PIT(W)

 


 Brooks Bits

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5)

The battle of the AFC North will be decided between two of the streakiest teams in the NFL this season.

Both the Steelers and Bengals are tied for the league’s second-most wins since Week 8, accumulating a record of 7-2 in that time frame.

Pittsburgh began the season at a modest 3-3 record with spurts of excellence, yet dumbfounded at times.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 yards twice in a single game Oct. 26 against the Colts.He also threw for six touchdowns that game along with another half a dozen the following week against the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers scored 94 points in that two week span only to stumble to a 20-13 loss to a 1-9 Jets team at that time.

For the Bengals, forgive me if I’m repeating myself, but on paper, Cincinnati is most talented team in the NFL on both sides of the ball. But they continue to perform under their Jekell and Hyde M.O.
After giving up 25 points in the fourth quarter in a 42-21 loss in their first defeat to the Steelers Dec. 7, Cincinnati blanked the Browns 30-0 and forced four interceptions in a 37-28 Monday night victory over Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

A key to Sunday night’s game is the health of Bengals’ All Pro receiver AJ Green. He hauled in 11 catches for a career-high 224 yards against the Steelers the first-go-round. Green has been questionable all week, but now is expected to play after suffering a bruised right biceps Monday.

Since 2001, the Steelers lead the all-time series 20-8 against the Bengals, and won five the last seven. The Bengals have created a habit of folding under the pressure in big games and both Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis have yet to win a playoff game.

In the battle for the AFC North title, the Sunday night matchup will have a playoff atmosphere, a moment the Steelers relish and the Bengals falter.
Steelers 35-24

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Detroit Lions (11-4) @ Green Bay Packers (11-4)

The Detroit Lions will head to Lambeau Field and battle the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title. Both teams are at 11-4. The Lions are undefeated within the division. The Packers have a lone divisional loss, to the Lions.

The Packers will be able to avenge that loss this week. Aaron Rodgers leads a 7th ranked passing offense. They also have a pretty good rushing game behind Eddie Lacy. The Lions are tops against the run, only allowing 63.8 yards per game. Detriot is 13th against the pass as well; all in all, not too shabby.

Green Bay’s overall offensive attack might be too much for Detroit, especially playing on the road.

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (7-8)

The San Francisco 49ers (7-8) are out of the playoff picture, but it does not mean they cannot help shape how that picture ends up developing.

The Arizona Cardinals (11-4) started off on fire but have since cooled off a bit. Once atop of the NFC West, now they are tied with the Seattle Seahawks. They need to do their part and win to make sure they are not bumped down to a wild card team.

Despite playing at home, this will be a hard game to win for the 49ers. They are on a four game losing streak, including a tough overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers in Week 16.

The Cards, coming off a loss as well, will be looking to bounce back. They will succeed against the 49ers.

Words From Wooten

Arizona Cardinals (11-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (7-8)

With Jim Harbaugh’s job up in the air, he will need to win this game against their division rival Cardinals. The 49ers didn’t have the greatest season due to multiple star players being injured, but they did what they could. As for Arizona, Ryan Lindley needs to come out and show that he can lead the team to victory.

Which NFC South quarterback will lead his team to victory to shake up the division? Matt Ryan (2) left; Drew Brees (9) right.

Which NFC South quarterback will lead his team to victory to shake up the division? Matt Ryan (2) left; Drew Brees (9) right.

By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)

Ok, maybe I jumped the gun a little believing Johnny Manziel would flash his cape in his NFL debut.

A stat line of 10 of 18 for 80 yards with two interceptions and 13 rushing yards on five attempts in 30-0 drumming is not what the former Heisman Trophy envisioned.

Manziel needs to cash in on some points instead his patented money gesture.


Week 15 Predictions Results

Brooks: 13-3; Overall: 144-79

Perez: 13-3; Overall: 156-67

Wooten: 13-3; Overall: 134-73


Week 16 Matchups Brooks Wooten  Perez
TEN @ JAX JAX(W)   TEN(L)  JAX(W)
PHI @ WSH PHI(L)  PHI(L)  PHI(L)
SD @ SF SD(W)  SF(L)  SF(L)
MIN @ MIA MIA(W)  MIA(W)  MIA(W)
BAL @ HOU BAL(L)  BAL(L)  BAL(L)
DET @ CHI DET(W)  DET(W)  DET(W)
CLE @ CAR CAR(W)  CLE(L)  CAR(W)
ATL @ NO NO(L)  NO(L)  NO(L)
GB @ TB GB(W)  GB(W)  GB(W)
KC @ PIT PIT(W)  PIT(W)  PIT(W)
NE @ NYJ NE(W)  NE(W)  NE(W)
NYG @ STL STL(L)  STL(L)  NYG(W)
BUF @ OAK BUF(W)  BUF(W)  BUF(W)
IND @ DAL IND(L)  DAL(W)  DAL(W)
DEN @ CIN DEN(L)  DEN(L)  DEN(L)

 

Brooks Bits

Indianapolis Colts (10-4) @ Dallas Cowboys (10-4)

The Cowboys have sole possession of the NFC East after grounding the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night. But if America’s team wish to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009, a win over the NFL passing touchdown leader (38) in Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts is vital.

However, the Cowboys are already at a disadvantage with the status of MVP candidate DeMarco Murray up in the air as he battles back from surgery on a broken bone in his hand. The Cowboys haven’t ruled Murray—the NFL rushing leader with 1,687 yards—out, but you’d’ have to think playing on the hand he had surgery on just three days ago is troubling for a running back who also has a league high of five fumbles.

The hand issue is troubling enough for Dallas, but playing at home has oddly been their Achilles Heel. The Cowboys are 7-0 on the road, but are 3-4 at home. Like Dallas, the Colts are also road warriors winning six of seven on the road.

If Murray can’t run the same way he has all season, I’d trust the arm of Luck over Tony Romo.

 

Atlanta Falcons (5-9) @ New Orleans Saints (6-8)

The NFC South could send a 6-10 team to the playoffs (if you include the 5-8-1 Carolina Panthers who are second in the division).

The last time this happened was in the 2010-11 season when the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks became the first team in NFL history to advance to the playoffs with a losing record and miraculously defeated the 10-6 Saints in the Wild Card.

As pathetic and comical the NFC West played that year, I’m inclined to believe that Seahawks team could’ve won at least nine games in the 2014-15 NFC East.

On paper, both the Falcons and Saints are two of the more talented teams in the NFL. Dress Brees has gluttony of targets in New Orleans and Matt Ryan has a top-5 wide receiver in Julio Jones.

But the offense isn’t the issue with these two teams. It’s their defenses. The Saints and Falcons are ranked 31st and 32nd respectively in overall defense. In other words, first to 50 wins.

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Tennessee Titans (2-12) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

Wow. Thursday Night Football has not been much to watch this season, but this game takes the cake.

Both teams are 2-12 and share the AFC South cellar. Both are vying for the top pick in the 2015 Draft (along with the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Bucs). The difference between the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars? The Jaguars have their quarterback of the future in rookie Blake Bortles. Bortles has solid receiving options in rookies Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Marquise Lee. Also, the Jags two wins have come at home. Give me Shad Khan’s team.

Seattle Seahawks (10-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (11-3)

Arizona made a “statement” last week against the St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals will not be able to do the same this week. The Cards struggled against a “pretty good” St. Louis defense. The Seahawks are coming into the desert as one of the top defensively ranked teams. Seattle is first against the pass and fifth in run defense. Ryan Lindley will struggle mightily in his first start.

The Seahawks will be able to shut out the Cards and score points on the ground with Marshawn Lynch. Do not disregard Russell Wilson either. Despite their 31st-ranked passing offense, Russell will make key throws.

Words From Wooten

Detroit Lions (10-4) @ Chicago Bears (5-9)
It doesn’t get any better for the Chicago Bears. After a devastating loss at home against the Saints, now the Lions are coming into town with a top-5 defense to come take care of business.
Unfortunately for the Bears, Jimmy Clausen is now the starting quarterback after the benching of Jay Cutler. Of his 15 starts in his career, he has only won one game.
Brandon Marshall is injured so his weapons are not fully restored to where they should be. All in all, this will not be a pretty one for the Bears yet again.
Philadelphia Eagles @ at Washington Redskins (3-11)
The Philadelphia Eagles are looking to bounce back from a loss last week to their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles had the lead and blew it. Now they’re going up against a Redskins team whose entire organization is questionable.
Mark Sanchez isn’t the best quarterback, but he seems to be holding his own against many teams he played this season. Look forward to him connecting on a few deep throws against the Redskins secondary.
Johnny Manziel (2) will get his first start of the season as the Cleveland Browns (7-6) hopes to make a late playoff push.

Johnny Manziel (2) will get his first start of the season as the Cleveland Browns (7-6) hopes to make a late playoff push.

By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)

In the words of Jack Nicholson in famed movie “The Shining,” Here’s Johnny!

The Cleveland Browns will start the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 draft, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

And quite frankly, it was time. Brian Hoyer led the Browns to a 7-6 record, but has been atrocious as the Browns’ starting quarterback recently. In the past eight games, Hoyer has thrown four touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He was thrown zero touchdowns passes to seven interceptions in the last three games. In the Browns last 26 drives on offense, they have scored only one touchdown.

Cleveland’s seven wins have been in spite of Hoyer, not because of Hoyer. In the Browns’ 25-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck was in a Christmas giving spirit as he tried his best to gift wrap the game to Cleveland. Luck threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. One interception was returned for a touchdown and so was his lost fumble.

The Browns scored just 10 points on offense.

It’s time for Manziel. It’s time for the player who I deem as the most exciting quarterback to enter the league since Michael Vick to become the new face of the franchise for a Browns’ team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2002.

It’s no better time for Manziel to make his presence felt than to travel on the road to face the division leading Bengals. He’s going to have his bumps and bruises, but Cleveland made the right choice in handing over the reigns to Manziel.

But enough of that. Here are this week’s game picks


 

Week 14 Predictions Results

Brooks: 9-7; Overall: 131-76

Perez: 12-4; Overall: 143-64

Wooten: 12-4; Overall: 121-70


 

Week 15 matchup Brooks Perez Wooten
ARI @ STL STL(L) STL(L)  STL(L)
PIT @ ATL PIT(W) PIT(W)  PIT(W)
WSH @ NYG NYG(W) NYG(W)  NYG(W)
MIA @ NE NE(W) NE(W)  NE(W)
OAK @ KC KC(W) KC(W)  KC(W)
HOU @ IND IND(W) IND(W)  IND(W)
JAX @ BAL BAL(W) BAL(W)  BAL(W)
GB @ BUF GB(L) GB(L)  GB(L)
TB @ CAR CAR(W) CAR(W)  CAR(W)
CIN @ CLE CLE(L) CIN(W)  CIN(W)
NYJ @ TEN NYJ(W) NYJ(W)  NYJ(W)
DEN @ SD DEN(W) DEN(W)  DEN(W)
MIN @ DET DET(W) DET(W)  DET(W)
SF @ SEA SEA(W) SEA(W)  SEA(W)
DAL @ PHI DAL(W) PHI(L)  PHI(L)
NO @ CHI NO(W) NO(W)  NO(W)

 


Brooks Bits

Minnesota Vikings (6-7) @ Detroit Lions (9-4)

Quietly, the Vikings are a game under .500 and Teddy Bridgewater has been the best rookie quarterback not named Derek Carr.

The media has been all over Vikings’ park, and rightfully so in the issue of the child abuse case of star running back Adrian Peterson. Even in his absence, Minnesota has mustered a competitive team.

Bridgewater started off shaky in his first few starts throwing zero touchdowns and three interceptions and battled through nagging injuries, a concern going forward for a wiry 210 pound quarterback.

But he has settled in recently throwing for six touchdowns to two interceptions in his last three games. The Vikings are 2-1 in those contests. It’s highly likely the Vikings won’t make the playoffs in the NFC North behind Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and a talented Lions’ team.

But Minnesota is headed on the right track behind Bridgewater.

As for the Lions, this is a must win game. If the playoffs started today, the Lions would be the sixth seed and face the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card. Capturing their 10th win of the season is vital to keeping the lurking 9-4 Dallas Cowboys at bay.

Detroit will have to win out to keep grasp of the sixth seed in the NFC.

Cleveland Browns (7-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1)

If you took the time to read the opening statements, then you may have drawn the conclusion that I’m rolling with Money—I mean Johnny—Manziel and the Browns over the see-saw Bengals.

On paper, Andy Dalton and the Bengals are the most talented team in the NFL. But they are an enigma. One minute they appear to be a legit Super Bowl contender and the next they look like a bottom feeder team in the NFL.

AJ Green, Mohamed Sanu, Jeremy Hill, Jermaine Gresham and many others, the talent is there on the offensive side of the ball. The same on defense with Leon Hall, Vontaze Burfict (now out for the season), Geno Atkins and Reggie Nelson.

It starts with Dalton and head coach Marvin Lewis. Both have had success in the regular season, but falters in the playoffs. And to make matters worse, Lewis went on the air and was asked by WLW-AM in Cincinnati Monday night about facing the 5-feet-11 Manziel.

Lewis responded: “You’ve got to go defend the offense, you don’t defend the player.”

After a short pause, Lewis then added: “Particularly a midget.”

He later apologized, but it was an immature statement by a NFL head coach.

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Arizona Cardinals (10-3) @ St. Louis Rams (6-7)

St. Louis is riding a two-game winning streak. What is more impressive is the Rams have held their last two opponents to a grand total of zero points. Yep, the Rams have pitched a two-game shutout.

The Cardinals are the crème de la crème this season. Even without former Pro-Bowler Carson Palmer, Arizona is still capable of winning. With backup Drew Stanton under center, the red birds are 4-3. However, St. Louis is a scary place to play at right now. That defense is EATING! Give me the Rams.

Dallas Cowboys (9-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9-4)

These two teams are literally fighting it out for the NFC East. Both teams are 9-4, but the Eagles are 3-0 within the division – the Cowboys are 2-2. Their first meeting went to the Eagles (duh, they are undefeated within the division). That Eagle-victory came in Jerry’s house. Philadelphia sure as hell won’t find it too hard to beat Dallas again, this time at home.

Words From Wooten

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (5-8)

This is looking to be a good game between both teams. A healthy Julio Jones is a deadly Julio Jones. Going for 250+ yards against Green Bay’s secondary, but look for the inconsistencies of the Atlanta Falcons to come into play, particularly on defense.
With Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, both are top-5 in yards gained at their position. Atlanta is giving up 122 rushing yards per game on the ground, so you’re in for a treat if you’re a fan of Bell. On the other hand, the Steelers defense hasn’t been the greatest as of late.
With veteran players coming back from injury, they can use their leadership to help the younger players through the game. Look forward to the Steelers offense to keep them ahead in the game.
San Francisco 49ers (7-6) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-4)
San Francisco hasn’t been looking the same over the past few games, losing to subpar teams. Kaepernick isn’t looking like the $100 million man that the 49ers thought he was.
The entire Seahawks team is clicking like they should be. With the Seahawks rushing attack and Marshawn Lynch causing chaos to any front seven that he runs into, you can’t expect for him to have another good game. The Seahawks defense is back to their physical selves. Michael Bennett anchoring the front four and Richard Sherman being a shutdown corner that he is, and Kam Chancellor as the hard hitting safety, it’s hard to do anything against them.
Can Mark Sanchez (3) and the Philadelphia Eagles knockoff a surging Seattle team at home?

Can Mark Sanchez (3) and the Philadelphia Eagles knockoff a surging Seattle team at home?

By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)

All for one and (no) one for the NFC South.

All but one division in the NFL has at least two teams posting a .500 record. There are three divisions with three teams hovering over .500 and the AFC North is the only division in the NFL where every team has a winning record. Every team except for the Cincinnati Benglas in the AFC North has a 7-5 record or better. The Benglas are 8-3-1, narrowly escaping defeat over the abysmal Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Speaking of the Bucs, agains, they reside in the lone division with no team has a winning record. The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints are “tied for first” with a 5-7 record. Cam Newton hasn’t been 100 percent all season, leading the Panthers to a 3-10 record. And the 2-10 Bucs are battling with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Only four weeks remain in the regular season. You know the drill. Let’s get to the picks


Week 13 Predictions Results 

Brooks: 11-5; Overall: 121-70

Perez: 10-6; Overall: 131-60

Wooten: 9-7; Overall: 109-66


 

Week 14 Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
DAL @ CHI CHI(L) CHI(L) CHI(L)
PIT @ CIN CIN(L) CIN(L) CIN(L)
STL @ WSH STL(W) STL(W) STL(W)
NYG @ TEN NYG(W) NYG(W) NYG(W)
CAR @ NO NO(L) NO(L) NO(L)
NYJ @ MIN MIN(W) MIN(W) MIN(W)
BAL @ MIA MIA(L) BAL(W) BAL(W)
IND @ CLE IND(W) IND(W) IND(W)
TB @ DET DET(W) DET(W) DET(W)
HOU @ JAX HOU(W) HOU(W) HOU(W)
BUF @ DEN DEN(W) DEN(W) DEN(W)
KC @ ARI KC(L) ARI(W) ARI(W)
SEA @ PHI SEA(W) SEA(W) SEA(W)
SF @ OAK SF(L) SF(L) SF(L)
NE @ SD SD(L) NE(W) NE(W)
ATL @ GB GB(W) GB(W) GB(W)

 


 

Brooks Bits 

Seattle Seahawks (8-4) @ Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)

I have no idea who would win a real life bird battle between a seahawk and an eagle, but on a 100 yard field where men go to war in the trenches, I’d place my bet on the new found confidence in Seattle.

With the Arizona Cardinals ailing without starting quarterback Carson Palmer, the Seahawks know the NFC West is theirs for the taking. Seattle has won five of their past six games, with the lone loss falling in the hands of questionable play calling by coach Pete Carroll. Now, the 1st-ranked rushing team in the NFL (168.6 ypg) rumbles into Lincoln Financial Field who held the league’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray to 73 yards on 20 carries.

Like Philadelphia, Seattle also has a formidable run defense, concerning news for a team with Mark Sanchez under center. If Seattle can corral the elusive LeSean McCoy, it all but seals a Seattle win on the road. Sanchez has rejuvenated himself in the City of Brotherly Love, but I don’t trust the turnover-prone quarterback to throw the ball 30 to 40 times while Richard Sherman—fresh off a two interception game—Earl Thomas, Byron Maxwell and Kam Chancellor are on patrol.

Kansas City Chiefs (7-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (9-3)

Every NFL player, head coach, or general manager will look you square in your eyes and say, “We’re going to take it one game at a time.”

But I’m neither.

Arizona has lost two straight and squeaked by Detroit in a 14-6 win in week 11. The Cardinals’ most recent lost was against the 5-7 Atlanta Falcons from the lackluster NFC South. If the Cardinals can’t soar over the lowly Falcons, than how can they expect to win their last four games?

This is the Cardinals remaining schedule: Kansas City at home against Jamal Charles, at St. Louis on Thursday night against a stingy defense, Seattle at home, then the Cardinals will finish off the season on the road in San Francisco.

The Cardinals could very well finish the season on a six game losing streak and miss the playoffs. I know about their 13th overall ranked defense, which sixth in rushing and tied for fourth in points per game (18.7). But the Cardinals are not a Super Bowl contender with Stanton at quarterback. Period.

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

St. Louis Rams (5-7) @ Washington Redskins (3-9)

The St. Louis Rams are riding high after the 52-0 drubbing they put on the Oakland Raiders. This week, the Rams face the Washington Redskins . The Rams should win this game. The only obstacle is playing on the road, which is never easy. The Rams’ defense, however, should make this game a breeze.

Indianapolis Colts (8-4) @ Cleveland Browns (7-5)

The Cleveland Browns are still in the playoff hunt. At 7-5, they are tied with Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North, behind the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns need the victory to keep their hopes up. Cleveland is coming off a tough loss against the Buffalo Bills; a game in which starting quarterback Brian Hoyer got benched in favor of rookie Johnny Manziel. Not exactly what Cleveland was looking for, especially with the Indianapolis Colts (8-4) coming into town.

The Colts are sitting pretty atop the AFC South. Andrew Luck should have no worries coming into this game. The Browns are shook. The Colts can easily cement their post-season seed with this win.

Words From Wooten

 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10) @ Detroit Lions (8-4)

It just doesn’t feel good to be Lovie Smith or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The losses won’t stop.

This weekend the Buccaneers are going up against the Detroit Lions with a healthy Calvin Johnson. Look for him to catch a few touchdowns against a struggling Bucaneers defense. Let’s not forget about Golden Tate either, who has over 1,100 receiving this season.

Now to talk about the Bucaneers… Well, what could I possibly say that would be a nice? Well, at least they can look forward to drafting a quarterback in the 2015 draft or even someone in the secondary to help them out. All in all, look for this one to be a bad one for the Bucs.

Atlanta Falcons (5-7) @ Green Bay Packers (9-3)

Green Bay has been on a hot streak as of late winning four of their past five games. The Packers have even gone up against playoff contending teams and proving that they have what it takes to get a win without their notable DT B.J. Raji, who has been on IR the entire season due to a torn bicep.

With Clay Matthews playing middle linebacker, it changed the way teams would approach their running game against the Packers. They are 28th in the league in rush defense, but lately, the front seven has been doing their job to minimize the run game of opposing teams.

Aaron Rodgers proved that he can use other weapons than Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to get the job done, but with the accuracy that Rodgers possess, he can throw to anybody. Ask Darrelle Revis. Look for this one to be a blowout while Atlanta may keep their No. 1 spot in the NFC South playoff hunt with a soon to be 5-8 record on the season.

Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning: Clash of the Titans. Who will win?

Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning: Clash of the Titans. Who will win?

@BrooksWeekly

We have the AFC North—Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, Browns—with each team posting a record above .500. And then there is the surprisingly, awful NFC South that sent two teams playoffs last season in the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.

This year?

No team in the NFC South has a winning record. The Panthers and Saints are both 3-4, a deep and talented Atlanta Falcons team in 2-6 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-6. The season is still young, especially for New Orleans with Drew Brees under center.

But sending a team to the playoffs with a .500 record or worse is an embarrassment, but if you win your division, you in, but it appears no team in this division wants to win.


 

Brooks: 7-8; Overall: 74-46

Perez: 13-2; Overall: 83-37

Wooten: 11-4; Overall: 65-40


 

Week 9 Matchups Brooks Perez  Wooten
NO @ CAR NO(W) NO(W)  CAR(L)
TB @ CLE CLE(W) CLE(W)  CLE(W)
PHI @ HOU PHI(W) PHI(W)  PHI(W)
NYJ @ KC KC(W) KC(W)  KC(W)
JAX @ CIN CIN(W) CIN(W)  CIN(W)
ARI @ DAL ARI(W) ARI(W)  ARI(W)
WSH @ MIN WSH(L) WSH(L)  MIN(L)
STL @ SF SF(L) SF(L)  SF(L)
DEN @ NE DEN(L) DEN(L)  NE(W)
OAK @ SEA SEA(W) SEA(W)  SEA(W)
BAL @ PIT PIT(W) PIT(W)  BAL(L)
IND @ NYG IND(W) IND(W)  IND(W)
SD @ MIA SD(L) SD(L)  SD(L)

 


 

Brooks Bits

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots 

The two future Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks have faced each other 16 times, dating back to Manning’s Indianapolis Colts days. The last time these two titanic quarterbacks met, Manning toppled his prolific counterpart in a 26-16 victory in the AFC Championship.

Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns. The Patriots went into the offseason with a mindset to derail Manning’s explosive offense by signing cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

The Broncos added defensive stalwarts of their own in CB Aqib Talib, safety TJ Ward and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware who have all gelled.

Denver also added wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders who has excelled with Manning as his quarterback. Sanders is fresh off a nine catch, 120 yard, three touchdown performance against San Diego.

According to ESPN Stats&Information, Manning and Brady Manning each went 4-0 in October with their teams winning by roughly 18 points per game (Broncos +18.5, Patriots +17.8). They each completed 100 passes and had the top two QBRs in the league, while throwing 14 touchdowns.

The debate of who is the top quarterback of the century between Brady and Manning won’t come to a conclusion even after they retire, but on Sunday, Manning will come out on top on the road in Foxboro.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ New York Giants

That 51-34 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers had nothing to do with Luck.

No seriously, it had nothing to do with Andrew Luck. Ben Roethlisberger delivered the Colts defense one of the most masterful games in NFL history with 522 yards and six touchdowns.

In fact, Roethlisberger is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 yards two times in his career.

Luck too had himself a game with 400 yards passing with four touchdowns through the air, but he also added two interceptions. Like Roethlisberger, Luck faces another two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback from the 2004 NFL draft in Eli Manning.

The Giants have loss two straight after reeling off a three game winning streak. They’ve lost their star in Victor Cruz for the season and have a brutal schedule the rest of the way with San Francisco, Seattle and Dallas next in line. If New York (3-4), doesn’t pick up a win against Luck and the Colts Sunday, the Giants might be in for a downward spiral the rest of the way.

 

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys

The Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFC at 6-1. They will look to keep it that way by going into Arlington, TX and pouncing on the Cowboys.

The Cards have a strong defense and a more than capable offense. Carson Palmer has three dangerous targets in receivers Michael Floyd, rookie John Brown, and the still lethal Larry Fitzgerald. Running back Andre Ellington ain’t too shabby either.

The Cowboys are among the conference’s top teams as well. Running back DeMarco Murray is a total beast, but he’s going up against a stingy run defense. Quarterback Tony Romo is also coming off a back injury, and nobody knows how well he will perform.

Cards win.

 

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots 

I’ve clamored about top quarterbacks battling it out before. I’m dead serious this time – Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are thee top signal callers of this generation.

Plain and simply, the Broncos have a few more offensive weapons than the Patriots. Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders. Who do the Patriots have, Rob Gronkowski?

Broncos got this.

Can the Seattle Seahawks bounce back from back-to-back losses?

Can the Seattle Seahawks bounce back from back-to-back losses?

We’re already at week 8, the halfway point of the NFL season. Time sure flies by, when you’re winning.

Quick Power Rankings of the top-5 teams in the NFL:

1. Denver Broncos (5-1) 2. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) 3. Indianapolis Colts (5-2) 4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) 5. Green Bay Packers (5-2)

No Tom Brady or MVP candidate Philip Rivers. Rivers has arguably been the best quarterback this season after tallying off five straight wins since the opening season loss to Arizona. Rivers is third in passing yards (1,961), fifth in completion percentage (67.4), and fourth in touchdown passes (17).

Coming off a disappointing loss against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, Rivers faces a more daunting task in trying to keep pace with Peyton Manning who just became the NFL’s all time leader in touchdown passes with 509.


Brooks: 11-4; Overall: 67-38

Perez: 10-5; Overall: 70-35

Wooten: omit; Overall: 54-36

 


Week 8 NFL Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
SD @ DEN DEN(W) DEN(W) DEN(W)
DET @ ATL DET(W) DET(W) ATL(L)
STL @ KC STL(L) KC(W) KC(W)
HOU @ TEN HOU(W) HOU(W) HOU(W)
MIN @ TB MIN(W) MIN(W) TB(W)
SEA @ CAR CAR(L) SEA(W) SEA(W)
BAL @ CIN BAL(L) CIN(W) BAL(L)
MIA @ JAX MIA(W) MIA(W) MIA(W)
CHI @ NE NE(W) NE(W) NE(W)
BUF @ NYJ NYJ(L) BUF(W) BUF(W)
PHI @ ARI PHI(L) PHI(L) ARI(W)
OAK @ CLE OAK(L) CLE(W) CLE(W)
IND @ PIT IND(L) PIT(W) PIT(W)
GB @ NO GB(W) GB(W) NO(L)
WSH @ DAL DAL(L) DAL(L) DAL(L)

Brooks Bits

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers 

A rematch of the 2013 divisional game isn’t the main attraction in the box office.

The Seahawks are losers of two straight and hoping to avoid its first three game losing streak in three years. The Panthers have had similar, but strange outcomes the past two weeks. Carolina and Cincinnati ended in a 37-37 tie and followed with a 38-17 loss at Lambeau Field in a game that was over in the third quarter. Cam Newton and the Panthers were 38-3 at that point.

Russell Wilson is coming off a career day throwing for 313 yards and adding 106 yards on the ground, albeit on a loss. The offense is averaging 26.5 ppg, but defense is surprisingly the low point on the season. Seahawks allowed 14.4 points last season during their Super Bowl run. But this year? They have giving 23.5. The Legion of Boom is losing its physical nature on defense.

Now turmoil is staring to creep into the locker room with reports of racial criticism towards Wilson. When everything goes well, not a whisper of doubt seeps out if Seattle. But when losses come piling in, locker room chatter is or more boisterous than the 12th man of CenturyLink field.

St. Louis Rams @ Kansas City Chiefs

Optimistic and hysteria is flowing through Rams’ nation. A trickery 28-26, special teams win over the defending Super Bowl champions has spectators wondering why St. Louis isn’t 4-2 instead of 2-4. Even retired, soon to be Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has taken a notice, a bias notice.

Since former Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis has taken over for the often injured Sam Bradford, Davis has passed for 1,517 yard, 9 touchdowns and posted a 94.3 passer rating. Davis broke all of Favre record at Southern Miss. Here’s what the future Hall of Famer said about Davis:

“Not to sound off my rocker, but [Davis] — in my mind — can be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner.

High praise for the underrated quarterback as Davis and Favre are the only two quarterbacks to start an NFL game from Southern Miss. I won’t go that far, but Davis has looked good in each of his start as he is also auditioning for next season as the Rams’ starting quarterback. After facing Seattle, Davis now travels to Arrow Head stadium to take a stingy 2nd-ranked Kansas City Chiefs defense.

If Davis can pull off a win on the road against the Chiefs defense, Favre might be on to something.

 

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals

The 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles fly into the desert for an aerial matchup versus the 5-1 Arizona Cardinals.

This writer has lauded the Cards as a legitimate playoff contender. The Cards are not overly superior in one facet of the game, but Bruce Arians’ team wins. Sure, Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald are a force, but Arizona is ranked 21st in passing yards.

Chip Kelly’s Eagles also win. Unlike the Cardinals, however, Philly has a high-octane offense. The Eagles are ranked 7th in the passing game. This will be the deciding factor in this matchup. The Eagles will be too much for the red birds to overcome.

Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints 

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. These two quarterbacks going back and forth at each other should be reason enough for you to tune in to this game.

The Saints are amongst the league’s worst defending the pass, but they are ranked 11th against the run. The Packers are top 10 in pass defense, but that is due to their league’s worst run defense. Whichever offense is able to pick apart the opposing team’s weakness will win.

The Packers defense showed a knack at getting after the quarterback last week versus the Panthers. Julius Peppers & Co. will look to continue causing havoc for opposing QBs. Aaron Rodgers will air out the ball. I like the Packers on the road.

Words From Wooten

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals 

With AJ Green’s status still in the air, I’m going to assume that he isn’t playing this Sunday. Even if he was playing, I still don’t think the Bengals would beat the Ravens. The Ravens have been on a hot streak since they travelled to Tampa Bay and almost shut them out. All in all, this won’t be a pretty one for Andy Dalton. Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumerveil and Haloti Ngata all have a knack for getting to the quarterback.

New Orleans Saints @ Pittsburgh Steelers 

I’m not sold on the Saints defense. They do nothing when they are on the road. It is as if they don’t exist because they have yet to get a win on the road this season.

On the other hand, Roethlisberger loves how Antonio Brown can create space and get open. He uses his route running ability and speed to his advantage. With Le’Veon Bell back, we will see the Steelers running game improve against a struggling Saints defense.