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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Vick’

Both the Packers and the Eagles were favorites to win the NFC Championship at some point this season.  They met week one in Philadelphia.  Kevin Kolb, who was expected to be the star quarterback for the Eagles, got hurt in that game opening the door for Michael Vick, who became the star quarterback for the Eagles.

Green Bay Packers hearse

Will the Eagles' championship hopes be taken away in a vehicle that looks like this?

With all the injuries that they’ve had, it’s impressive that the Packers were able to win 10 games and make the NFC playoffs.  They’ve played particularly well as of late with back-to-back wins over the Giants and Bears.  Aaron Rodgers, when not concussed, has been spectacular and the Green Bay defense has been mostly stellar.  It’s second in the NFL in both sacks and interceptions.

The Eagles rebounded from that week one loss and went on to win 10 games and the NFC East title.  Vick was brilliant for parts of the season, working his way into the MVP conversation but then working his way back out of that conversation.  Philadelphia also showed a potent running game but struggled some on the defensive side of the ball.

The Packers win if: They can get Vick uncomfortable early.  It may seem counterintuitive but Vick has actually been a much more effective quarterback while throwing from the pocket than on the run.  Green Bay will most likely focus on making Vick move to his right, making it much more difficult for him to throw the ball as a lefty.

The Eagles win if: They contain the Packers passing game.  Let’s face it, Green Bay does not have a running game to speak of.  The Eagles need to either confuse Rodgers by changing up their defenses (more likely) or  individually excel in their assignments (less likely). 

Who do I like: Packers 27-20

Why: It’s really tough to go against the home team Eagles.  Especially when you consider that Andy Reid’s teams are 7-1 in playoff openers.  For me what it comes down to is this – I just think the Packers have more playmakers on both sides of the ball and I really like their defense, which was second in the NFL in allowing only 15.0 points per game.  I think Rodgers will be steady and the Green Bay defense will prevent the Philadelphia offense from doing what they want to do.

Do you agree or disagree with my analysis of this matchup?  Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Photo source: kevindooley

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Earlier in the week I mentioned the two big NFC matchups in the NFL’s week twelve and previewed the Packers-Falcons game.  The second of those two battles for NFC supremacy features the Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Chicago Bears.  Like the first game, this one features two teams on winning streaks.

Philadelphia Eagles mascot Swoop

How will the Eagles respond in enemy territory on Sunday?

Led by dynamic MVP candidate Michael Vick, the Eagles have won three straight.  Most recently they beat the New York Giants in a critical NFC East matchup.  After a ridiculously outstanding performance against the Redskins two weeks ago, last week Vick managed the game well.  The key was the defense, which forced the Giants into five turnovers.  The Eagles are becoming a multiple threat team that always has one unit that carries it to the win.

The last time we saw the Bears was when they scored a strong statement win in Miami for their third straight victory.  Because of the perception that they have a weak schedule and a less than efficient offense, Chicago has not been taken seriously as a contender.  But after their domination of the Dolphins it may be time to reconsider.

The Eagles win if: They can manufacture yardage on the ground.  Whether it is Vick, LeSean McCoy or reverses to DeSean Jackson, the Eagles need to get a running game going.  The Bears have given up more than 100 yards rushing in each of their three losses and have held their opponent under 100 yards on the ground in each of their seven wins.

The Bears win if: They don’t turn the ball over.  Chicago is at their best with a ball control approach that depends on the defense.  Chances are there will be a substantial amount of pressure on Jay Cutler.  He has to take care of the ball and throw it away when necessary.

Who do I like: Eagles 20-13

Why: Two weeks ago Philadelphia went into Washington and destroyed the Redskins.  This shows that they can go into hostile territory and win.  Now clearly the Bears have a much better defense than the Redskins, but I like the Eagles to find enough ways to move the ball to get multiple scores.  I also like the Philadelphia defense in their matchup against Chicago’s offense.  The Eagles lead the NFL in interceptions with 19 and they have also found a lot of ways to get to the quarterback.  The Bears offensive line has improved but I’m betting the Eagles pass rush is still able to exploit their deficiencies.

How do you see this game playing out?  Do you agree with me that the Eagles will win?  Or do you see the Bears defending their home turf?  Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Photo source: SoCalSuperEagle

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At 6-3 the Giants and Eagles are tied atop the NFC East, but after last weekend they seem to be going in completely opposite directions.

After winning five in a row the Giants crashed and burned against a left-for-dead Dallas Cowboys team.  The Cowboys had a number of big plays and forced the Giants into three turnovers.  The game changed on a red zone interception Eli Manning threw that was returned 101 yards for a touchdown.  The Giants defense, which has been very dependable while ranking fourth in the NFL against the pass and third against the rush, gave up more than 300 yards passing and 100 yards rushing.

Eli Manning Throwing vs. Texans

Will Eli Manning have enough time to exploit a weak Eagles secondary?

Led by Michael Vick, the Eagles had a phenomenal Monday night performance, beating the Redskins 59-28.  Vick was 20 of 28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns.  He also ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.  With Vick at the helm Philadelphia has proven to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. 

The Giants win if:  They can stop the Eagles early.  In their last four wins Philadelphia has scored in at least their first two possessions.  Against Indianapolis they scored on their first three possessions.  Last week against the Redskins they scored touchdowns on their first five possessions.  New York must do whatever it takes to prevent the Eagles from scoring early.

The Eagles win if:  They win the battle of the trenches, especially on offense.  They’ve used a lot of max protect schemes to give Vick time and/or holes to find for the run.  They must continue to provide that time for Vick and to open up running lanes for LaSean McCoy.

Who do I like: Giants 27-24

Why: Mostly because of this – every time this season seems to start making sense, something crazy happens.  Everything points to the Eagles winning this game.  Yet, just two weeks ago, many were considering whether the Giants were the best team in the NFL.  Now, the same is being said of the Eagles.  I think the Giants D-line can force some chaos that slows Vick down.  When the Giants have the ball I expect the offensive line to give Manning just enough time to take advantage of a poor Philadelphia secondary.

Let me know who you think is going to win this huge NFC East matchup and why by posting a comment below.

Photo source: AJ Guel Photography

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With storylines galore the NFL week 10 Monday night matchup will not be lacking for drama.  After beating his former team in Philadelphia, how will Donovan McNabb play against them this time?  How will McNabb respond after getting pulled from the Redskins last game?  Can Michael Vick continue his very high level of play?

Philadelphia Eagles Mascot

How happy will this guy be on Monday night?

This of course is a rematch of the week four game in which the Redskins beat the Eagles 17-12.  Washington ran for 169 yards, well above their average per game mark of 94.6.  But, the key to the game was Vick’s injury.  Even though Kolb played okay after coming in, the game plan was built for Vick, an obstacle that is hard to overcome.

Since then the Eagles have been on a roll, winning three of four.  The only blemish came in a fourth quarter fold in Tennessee with Kolb at the helm.   Vick was outstanding last weekend in a win over the Colts.  He threw for 218 yards on 17 of 29 passes and added 74 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Washington is 2-2 since the win in Philadelphia.  They had an excellent win over Green Bay but then a bad loss at Detroit.  McNabb has not been great.  In fact,  I ranked Washington 25th in quarterback production for the first half of the season.  In the Lions game, which was their last before the bye, they were dominated in all three phases. 

The Eagles win if:  Vick stays accurate with his passes and finds the receivers in space underneath.

The Redskins win if:  They can protect the passer, whoever it may be.  They gave up seven sacks to Detroit and are 27th in the NFL in sacks allowed.  The Philadelphia defense is tied for fifth best in the NFL with 24 sacks.

Who do I like:  Eagles 24-20

Why: I’m sure the Redskins offensive line has been working on their issues over the past two weeks but I don’t think it will be enough.  I think the Eagles will get to the quarterback.  Philly is susceptible to the passing game but I don’t think Washington has the weapons to take advantage of that.  When they have the ball, the Eagles should be able to move up the field with a well-balanced attack.

Who do you like in this game?  Let me know who and why by posting a comment below.

Photo source: mel_rowling

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The NFL is a quarterback-driven league.  Most often, the teams with the best quarterbacks are the teams that have the best records.  This is especially true in today’s pass happy NFL.  In the past couple of decades it has been a very rare occasion that a team without a star quarterback has won the Super Bowl.

Lombardi Trophies

You need a great QB to win one of these

So at the halfway point of the 2010 NFL season what teams have gotten the most out of the quarterback position?

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning
    Without much run support and with an average offensive line at best, Manning has led the Colts to a 5-2 record while throwing 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions.  He’s also made the most of an injury-plagued receiving corps.  Even though he may have lost a tick he’s still the elite quarterback in the NFL.
  2. San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers
    Although he’s not one of my favorites, Rivers deserves his props.  While his team has struggled to a 3-5 start he’s been steady, leading the NFL with an average of 331 yards passing per game.  Like Manning, he’s had to deal with a receiving corps that’s been decimated by injury.  Still, he’s put up the third best quarterback rating (98.9) in the NFL through the first eight weeks.
  3. Denver Broncos – Kyle Orton
    Orton’s been nothing less than spectacular for the Broncos.  He’s second to Rivers in averaging 314 yards per game.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns with only five interceptions against defenses that have not had to respect the Denver running game at all.
  4. New England Patriots – Tom Brady
    Efficiency is the key for Brady.  He’s completed 65% of his passes.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions.  But, he’s averaging only 229 yards passing per game.  Maybe most importantly though he’s led New England to the best record in the NFL.
  5. New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees
    He’s thrown a frightening 11 interceptions but Brees has also completed 71% of his passes and has thrown a league leading 16 touchdowns while trying to make up for the loss of the Saints top two running backs.
  6. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan
    Ryan’s quiet consistency has been a key to Atlanta’s 5-2 start.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 62% of his passes for an average of 245 yards per game.
  7. Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb
    Combined Vick and Kolb have thrown for 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions.  They’ve completed nearly 63% of their passes.  Two of the Eagles three losses have come when one of the quarterbacks were knocked out of the game.  With two quarterbacks with such differing skill sets as Vick and Kolb it is hard to adjust the game plan on the fly if one has to substitute for the other.
  8. Tennessee Titans – Vince Young and Kerry Collins
    The Titans have not exactly been racking up the yards through the air.  They rank 24th in the NFL at 187.6 yards passing per game.  But Young and Collins have combined for 14 touchdowns and five interceptions while helping Tennessee start the season at 5-3.
  9. Houston Texans – Matt Schaub
    Schaub has been steady but not spectacular and has not matched up to his 2009 season.  He’s completing 63% of his passes but only has 10 touchdowns compared to six interceptions.
  10. Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco
    Playing against top competition gets Flacco the benefit of the doubt.  His numbers are just okay – 59% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, six interceptions and 236 yards passing per game.
  11. New York Giants – Eli Manning
    His 11 interceptions send off sirens, but in fairness to Manning many of them went through his receivers hands or were tipped.  Otherwise, he’s completing an excellent 66% of his passes while throwing 14 touchdowns and averaging 255 yards per game.
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson
    Freeman has a very impressive six 4th quarter comebacks in just 16 starts, including two in a row.  He’s only thrown three interceptions to eight touchdowns while leading the Bucs to a 5-2 record.
  13. Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Cassel
    He hasn’t lost games for the Chiefs but he really hasn’t won games for them either.  He does have a respectable 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.  He’s only completing 59% of his passes though while throwing for 171 yards per game.
  14. Detroit Lions – Shaun Hill, Matthew Stafford and Drew Stanton
    The trio has combined for 14 touchdowns and an average of more than 250 yards per game.  To the negative they’ve thrown nine interceptions.
  15. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
    It’s hard to believe that Rodgers could be this low but he’s thrown nine interceptions to only 12 touchdowns while completing 61% of his passes for an average of 251 yards per game.
  16. Cincinnati Bengals – Carson Palmer
    He was pretty atrocious early on but Palmer has rallied some through the middle of the season.  He has 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon
    Roethlisberger’s four game suspension necessitated the starts for Batch and Dixon.  Roethlisberger has played quite well but their production at the position in the first four games was putrid.
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars – David Garrard, Todd Bouman, Trent Edwards and Luke McCown
    This foursome has thrown 15 touchdowns while completing nearly 64% of their passes.  The key contributor of course has been Garrard who has completed 68% of his passes for 13 touchdowns.  But his interceptions are high (7) and his yards per game are low (157).
  19. Miami Dolphins – Chad Henne
    As he continues to find his rhythm with Brandon Marshall, Henne is developing into a solid NFL quarterback.  He’s completed 63% of his passes for an average of 238 yards per game.  Interceptions have been his achilles heel.  He has seven, compared to eight touchdowns.
  20. New York Jets – Mark Sanchez
    He’s a polarizing figure among NFL talking heads and Sanchez has probably seen more ups and downs than any other quarterback in the league.  His nine touchdowns to four interceptions ratio is good but he’s only completed 53% of his throws for an average of 194 yards per game.
  21. St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford
    As I’ve written before, one thing is for sure, when he actually has some weapons Bradford is going to be nasty.  The fact that he’s led the Rams to four wins in eight games counts for a lot.  He’s already thrown 11 touchdowns.  His eight interceptions are not good nor is his 59% completion percentage.  However, much of that can be put on that receiving corps.
  22. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards
    There’s a lot to like about Fitzpatrick.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns to just five interceptions.  He’s completed 60% of his passes for 240 yards per game.  But the outings of Edwards have to count here and so does the Bills 0-7 record.
  23. Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo and Jon Kitna
    Maybe this isn’t fair to Romo.  After all he did complete nearly 70% of his passes, threw 11 touchdowns and had numerous drops by receivers.  But Romo also threw some critical interceptions, Kitna has been less than mediocre and the Cowboys are 1-6.
  24. Oakland Raiders – Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski
    Campbell and Gradkowski have combined to throw 10 touchdowns and average 197.5 passing yards per game.  Their interceptions are high (8) and their completion percentage is low (54.8) but they have led the Raiders to four wins.
  25. Washington Redskins – Donovan McNabb
    It pains me to put McNabb this low but the stats are the stats.  He’s only completing 57% of his passes and has thrown eight interception to seven touchdowns.
  26. San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith, Troy Smith and David Carr
    Across the pond the 49ers got a good performance from Troy Smith.  Alex Smith has been mediocre at best, completing 59% of his throws for nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.  Carr was predictably awful in a short relief stint.
  27. Seattle Seahawks – Matt Hasselbeck
    The Seahawks are 4-3 but Hasselbeck has played predominantly poorly.  He’s completed only 57% of his passes.  He also has seven interceptions to just six touchdowns.
  28. Minnesota Vikings – Brett Favre and Tavaris Jackson
    It’s hard to believe Favre is the same guy who threw 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season.  He’s already thrown 11 interceptions through seven games with only seven touchdowns.
  29. Cleveland Browns – Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme
    I’ve been saying this for years – Delhomme is just plain awful.  Wallace has been decent and McCoy has been okay in managing games.
  30. Chicago Bears – Jay Cutler and Todd Collins
    Collins set quarterback play back centuries in just one game.  Cutler has been brutalized but is completing 61% of his passes and averaging 247 yards through the air per game.  He’s evened up at seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
  31. Arizona Cardinals – Derek Anderson and Max Hall
    These two have been atrocious.  They’ve combined to complete less than 53% of their passes and have thrown 12 interceptions with five touchdowns.
  32. Carolina Panthers – Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen
    After the past few years Panthers fans are used to poor performances at quarterback.  This season they are at an all time low though.  Moore and Clausen have thrown a league-worst 13 interceptions and have completed 52.2% of their passes, also worst in the NFL. 

What do you think of my list?  Who would you rank higher and who would you rank lower?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo source: daveynin

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4.  Philadelphia Eagles at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 1:00 pm

Vince Young on the sideline

Is this the most we'll see of Vince Young on Sunday?

Both the Eagles and Titans are coming off of big wins, but both are also dealing with injuries that will affect their success this week.  Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick is likely to miss another game, his third since hurting his ribs against Washington.  Kevin Kolb has filled in very nicely in Vick’s absence helping the Eagles win two games.  He was especially good last week against the Falcons, throwing for 326 yards while completing 23 of 29 passes for three touchdowns and one interception.  But the Eagles will be without two key offensive players, wide receiver DeSean Jackson and tackle Jason Peters.

Tennessee dominated Jacksonville on Monday night football but lost quarterback Vince Young to a knee/ankle injury.  It looks as if Young will be a game time decision so it’s unlikely that he’ll play.  Of course, they have a very able backup quarterback in Kerry Collins.  However, Collins did not leave the Jaguars game unscathed either.  He sustained a finger injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. 

The Eagles win if: They can protect Kevin Kolb.  They did an excellent job covering for Peters against the Falcons, only allowing one sack in the win.

The Titans win if: Chris Johnson tears up the Eagles defense.  In Tennessee’s two losses, Johnson had a total of 87 yards on 35 carries with no touchdowns.  In each of their four wins he’s run for at least 111 yards with a touchdown.

This is a good matchup of 4-2 teams.  To me the biggest battle will be the Eagles offensive line against the Titans defensive line.  Philadelphia may have been able to use smoke and mirrors to keep the Falcons defense off of Kolb but I don’t think they’ll be able to repeat that performance against Tennessee who leads the NFL in sacks.  I also think CJ will have an explosive game against the Eagles 22nd ranked rush defense.  I’m picking the Titans to get the win.

Do you think my prediction will be right or wrong?  Let me know in the comments section below.

 Photo source: Ray Montgomery

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It’s been a very enjoyable NFL Sunday for me.  The Rams got a solid win over the Redskins and looked pretty decent doing it.  As luck would have it I even got to watch the game due to some odd scheduling choices of our local affiliates. 

I was very impressed with Sam Bradford.  With Steven Jackson out of the lineup in the second half, Bradford took over the game.  He made good calls at the line of scrimmage and utilized quick passes in place of runs.  He showed poise in the pocket and often times threw the ball right where it needed to be even if the receiver could not hold onto it.  His touchdown pass to Daniel Fells was a beautiful play as he drew in DeAngelo Hall on the bootleg and then threw a gorgeous touch pass from a few yards out.  It’s clear to me that he is going to be a special player and that makes me extremely excited for the future.  The Rams are still missing a lot of pieces but I feel very comfortable that they are now on their way up.  It’s the first time I’ve been able to say that in a while.

On to the Average Guy’s NFL Week Three Awards (before the Sunday night game):

Most Impressive Win

Kansas City Chiefs – 31-10 over the San Francisco 49ers

Kansas City Chiefs logo psychedelic

Who predicted the Chiefs would be 3-0?

Most Important Win

Dallas Cowboys – beat Houston Texans 27-13

Worst Loss

San Francisco 49ers – 10-31 to Kansas City Chiefs

Biggest Surprise

St. Louis Rams

Biggest Disappointment

New York Giants

They Are Who We Thought They Were

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offensive MVP

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles – 17 completions 31 attempts 291 yards 3 TDs 119.2 QB rating 4 carries 30 yards 1 rushing TD

Defensive MVP

DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys – 3 sacks, 6 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss

Special Teams MVP

Leon Washington, Seattle Seahawks – 101-yard kickoff return TD and 99-yard kickoff return TD

Most Surprising Performance

Peyton Hillis, Cleveland Browns – 22 carries 144 yards TD 7 receptions 36 yards

Most Disappointing Performance

David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars (2nd week in row) – 13 completions 30 attempts 105 yards 1 interception

Offensive Rookie

C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills – 95-yard kickoff return TD 4 carries 29 yards 3 receptions 10 yards 1 TD

Defensive Rookie

Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks – 2 interceptions 6 tackles

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos – 37 completions 57 attempts 476 yards 1 TD 1 interception 89.5 QB rating 2 carries 11 yards

Quick Takes

  • One more thing about the Rams – their offensive line did a superb job of protecting Sam Bradford.  He was only sacked once and hit twice.
  • Impressive job throwing the ball by Kyle Orton and the Broncos offense.  The Colts came into the game fourth in the NFL in pass defense, giving up only 117.5 yards per game.  The Broncos hung 472 on them.
  • The Patriots defense is going to have to step their game up if they hope to achieve anything this year.  The Bills averaged 176 yards of total offense per game in their first two games but gained 374 against New England.
  • Atlanta needed to run the ball with purpose in order to beat the Saints.  They did (50 carries for 202 yards) and they did.
  • I almost chose the Baltimore Ravens as the biggest disappointment.  Their game was way too close against a Cleveland team that was missing their best defensive player, starting quarterback and starting running back.  I expected the Ravens to destroy the Browns.  They fell far short of that.
  • I watched most of the Bengals-Panthers game.  I’ve got to say that Carson Palmer was pretty awful.  I thought Cincinnati’s playoff loss to the Jets was caused mostly by a lack of options and the Jets defense.  Today I was surprised by the lack of accuracy on Palmer’s throws as well as his mismanagement of the clock to end the first half.  The Bengals have high hopes, but if they are going to go anywhere they need Palmer to recapture his lost game.
  • Good to see Beanie Wells make his season debut today.  I expected him to have a big year but injuries have slowed him so far.

One BIG Question

Is it too late for the 49ers?

After an exciting Sunday of NFL action what are your thoughts? Who scored the most important win in your eyes?  What individual performances impressed you?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo source: MOmilkman – Darin House

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