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NFL Week 7 2009

By: Nick Popyack

[Have a comment? Click the title of this article and go crazy!]

       The trade deadline has passed and all the speculation is finally over, because… Nothing happened. Well, almost nothing. Very few teams made those final trades and it looks like their rosters aren’t going anywhere. This can either be looked at as confidence in their own players or stinginess with their draft picks. Or, there might be a really good draft next year. Take your pick; here are mine for week 7.

Green Bay Packers @ Cleveland Browns
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Packers have one of the most consistent offenses in the league. They have yet to score less than 21 points in a game, but that’s not the only thing that makes them consistent. Aaron Rodgers getting sacked an average of five times a game, and that really bothers me. I know he has the ability to put up big numbers, and he has the pieces around him to make big plays, but they just can’t block anyone up front. He’s ninth in the league in passing yards, but has been sacked 25 times already. I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again for emphasis: Imagine how effective they’d be if they could just block people up front. I don’t think they’ll have a problem this week outscoring the Browns, but if they don’t fix their offensive line, they’ll end up losing when it counts.
Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts @ St. Louis Rams
[Sunday 1:00]

       Peyton Manning is having such a good year. It doesn’t matter if the Colts have only beaten one team on that’s currently on the plus side of the .500 mark; they’re scoring early and keeping their foot on the gas pedal. The Colts have proved that they made the right move in letting Marvin Harrison go with the emergence of their young wide receivers: Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, and Anthony Gonzalez. Couple in their offensive success with the fact that they’ve only allowed six touchdowns on defense and you get 5-0. The Rams, on the other hand, have only scored six touchdowns themselves, none of them on the ground. When Steven Jackson, undoubtedly the best offensive player on the Rams, isn’t getting the ball near the goal line, you can believe that St. Louis will continue that trend. This one will be easy for the best quarterback in the league against the worst team in the league.
Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[Sunday 1:00]

       In the NFL’s annual game not played on American soil, Tampa Bay gets screwed over and loses a home game. While I think it’s great that the NFL has a game overseas once a year, I have to say how angry I’d be if the limited number of times I had to go to a home game was cut down by one. Regardless, two teams that missed the playoffs on the last weekend of the regular season last year face each other, but their stories couldn’t be more different. While the Patriots are making a strong case for the playoffs, the Bucs are struggling to win their first game. Most of this is due to Tampa’s inability to stop their opponents. Opposing teams have been able to run all over the Bucs and run up the score on them, turning their offense one-dimensional. The Patriots picked up a lot of steam last week and will face another winless team on Sunday. Don’t expect much different results.
New England Patriots

Minnesota Vikings @ Pittsburgh Steelers
[Sunday 1:00]

       At first glance, you see the similarities between these teams: Punishing defenses, and powerful, multidimensional offenses. Then you look deeper, and what is revealed are two very different teams. The Steelers, known for being a running team for years, have the league’s leading passer in Ben Roethlisberger. The Vikings, with future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre under center, have the league’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson. When it comes to yards gained, the Steelers win by far. However, what speaks volumes to me is how efficient Minnesota is, having the second highest scoring team in the league despite being middle-of-the-pack in yards gained. However, with all this offense, it’ll really come down to defense in the end, and despite getting Troy Polomalu back on the field, the Steelers defense has been let up in the second half. This will be a close on, and the team that’s won a bunch of close ones this year is the one I’m taking.
Minnesota Vikings

San Diego Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
[Sunday 1:00]

       Congrats, Todd Haley. You got your first win, though you probably should have gotten it four weeks ago. Actually, the Chiefs are a few solid tackles and incomplete passes away from being 3-3. The thing about the Chiefs is that they’ve simply been unable to stop anyone [Besides the Redskins] on the ground or through the air, being one of only five teams to allow double digit passing touchdowns so far this year. The Chargers have been the worst rushing game in the league, but against a Chiefs team that is allowing 130.3 yards per game, I expect them to get their ground game back on track. That is, if Kansas City doesn’t turn this game into a shootout.
San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers @ Houston Texans
[Sunday 1:00]

       After much waiting, and even more controversy, the 49ers will finally have Michael Crabtree in their starting lineup. While they’ve been effective enough to win games with a steady balance of Vernon Davis, Glenn Coffee and Frank Gore, they’ll need all they have to beat the high-flying Texans. One might argue that the 49ers have been spectacular on defense this year, but they were really exposed two weeks ago against the Falcons, who threw the ball all over them. The 49ers might be a different team after their bye week, but I doubt they’ll be too different. The Texans should have their way this week.
Houston Texans

Buffalo Bills @ Carolina Panthers
[Sunday 4:05]

       Something that won’t help the Panthers try to reclaim their top spot in the division is Dante Wesley, who launched himself early at Clifton Smith while gunning on a punt. I understand the desire to impress on special teams, but that was the top bone-headed act of the year. The problem I have with this situation is the resulting disciplinary action. A one game suspension? That’s it? I completely understand that Wesley is a veteran that hasn’t played maliciously, and football is a violent game, but suspending a player for one game doesn’t seem effective to me. What’s stopping other players around the league from trying to time a hit if the only penalty if they misjudge is not playing for one game? Two games would’ve been a much more effective punishment, and I want to see the NFL issue more lengthy penalties for dirty play. Anyway, the Panthers are finally getting back on track. They realized Jake Delhomme was struggling, they remembered where the strength of their team was, and Jonathon Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have carried Carolina to two consecutive wins. The Bills weren’t able to stop the run last week, and I’m guessing the Panthers will take advantage of that. Don’t expect Delhomme to throw a lot in this game. Not to mention Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting for the Bills.
Carolina Panthers

New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders
[Sunday 4:05]

       Here’s a surprise: The Jets come into this matchup after losing three straight, and the Raiders are only a game behind them after beating the Eagles last week. Richard Seymour took one look at the remaining schedule and said, “We’re making the playoffs!” Taking a look for myself, I see them winning 0-2 more games. It’s not that I don’t think Richard Seymour and the Raiders defense will have a bad year; it’s their offense. They have one of the worst offenses in the league, and an offense that bad and that prone to turnovers will lose games for their team. The Jets offense, though, turned over the ball six times last week, and it just doesn’t make sense to me. When you rush for over 300 yards against a team, why do you even try to pass in the first place? And pass deep, too. The Jets simply outsmarted themselves, and Rex Ryan better get back to running the ball and passing sparingly, because Mark Sanchez has only one interception in their last three losses, compared to eight interceptions. None of this should matter, however, against the team with the least offensive yards in the league.
New York Jets

Atlanta Falcons @ Dallas Cowboys
[Sunday 4:15]

       The Falcons have come out of their bye week firing, and their defense has held three of their first five opponents to 14 points or less. Atlanta looks like they mean business, and Dallas better bring their “A”-game if they plan to stop them. One thing that interested me was the Cowboys’ receivers. While it’s sometimes important to look at stats, I’m think about ignoring those of the Dallas receivers. They’ve had a few great games, but have disappointed, with the exception of Miles Austin, in the clutch. Without his 250-yard receiving day against the Chiefs, he only has six receptions for 61 yards. Another thing I thought would dictate the outcome of this game was the amount of sacks on each team. DeMarcus Ware, the league leader last year, is on pace for only 6.5 sacks, and his team has only ten, the same amount as the Falcons. What’s the big stat that I’m holding back? Tony Romo has been sacked twice this year, and Matt Ryan [Or Matty Ice] has been brought down twice.
Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints @ Miami Dolphins
[Sunday 4:15]

       Another week, another win for the Saints. They have been completely dominating on offense and, more importantly, defense. Their defense has been the unit that’s won them games. I’m not trying to take anything away from Drew Brees and the newly powerful running game in New Orleans, but they’re tied with the Eagles with a league-leading eleven interceptions. That is absolutely huge for a team that’s had an offense for a few years, and the addition of Darren Sharper has to be one of the top offseason acquisitions of 2009. However, they’re facing the top ranked rushing attack in the league this week in Miami. If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the Dolphins don’t really care if they’re winning or losing; they’re running the wildcat, and teams have still been unable to stop them. I expect the Saints to figure it out and run up the score on the Dolphins just like they’ve done to other teams.
New Orleans Saints

Chicago Bears @ Cincinnati Bengals
[Sunday 4:15]

       The Chicago Bears have a problem. It’s Matt Forte’s sophomore slump. After a great rookie season, in which he gained 1,715 yards from scrimmage and scored 12 total touchdowns, he’s averaging 3.4 yards a carry this season and has one touchdown. He was their go-to guy last year, and now the pressure is on the receivers, none of which have proved to be legit threats [Besides Devin Hester’s speed]. On the flipside, the Bengals have given new life to Cedric Benson, the former Bear, and he’s currently third in the league in rushing yards. You know he’s looking for some revenge, and he has a perfectly capable team behind him. Purely on the running game, I’m taking Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals

Arizona Cardinals @ New York Giants
[Sunday 8:20]

       The Giants were absolutely humiliated last week against the Saints. They held the Giants to just 325 yards, while piling 493 yards on the number one defense in the league. Needless to say, they didn’t play like a number one defense last week. The fact we learn from last week’s game is that the Giants can be picked apart by a premiere passing offense. What does Arizona have? Just that. The trouble with the Cardinals is they’ve allowed almost as many passing yards as they’ve gained. Though they’ve been spectacular against the run, that’s not enough against a multidimensional attack like the Giants have. This is going to be the key to winning the game, though it’ll be close.
New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
[Monday 8:30]

       Pathetic. That’s the only word I can use to describe how these two teams have been playing lately. Just pathetic. The Eagles, one of the highest scoring teams in the NFL going into last week, couldn’t put up enough points to beat the Raiders. They couldn’t outscore the Raiders! When I think about it, there’s plenty of blame on both sides of the ball, but I’ve got two big beefs with Andy Reid right now. The first is the decision to bring back MLB Jeremiah Trotter. He was at fault on the two biggest plays of the game. The first, an 86-yard completion for a touchdown, was his fault because he couldn’t cover the tight end. The second was the final first down of the day, in which he, once again, couldn’t cover the full back and allowed a twelve-yard catch and run. While he’s the biggest disappointment on defense, I’m equally peeved with the play selection. When the Eagles spend so much time working on and hyping up the “Spread Eagle” offense, it comes as a real surprise when they hardly use it at all, because 14 runs against 52 passes is not the way to run a balanced attack. They need to commit to it like the Dolphins have or ditch it completely. Anyway, these two teams have tough defenses despite both losing last week. In a defensive battle, I’ll take the team with the most forced turnovers.
Philadelphia Eagles


Recap:
Green Bay Packers
Indianapolis Colts
New England Patriots
Minnesota Vikings
San Diego Chargers
Houston Texans
Carolina Panthers
New York Jets
Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints
Cincinnati Bengals
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles

Bye weeks: Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans

Last week’s winner: Pat [10]
Season totals:

Nick: 57
Kavik: 54
Pat: 51

Every week, I participate in 610 WIP’s “Suicide Pool”, in which you must pick a team every week that you think will win. The only catch is you can only pick each team once the entire season, meaning, if you last the entire season, you will have picked 17 different teams. Last week, my pick was:

Week 6 Suicide Pick: Philadelphia Eagles

… Meaning, I’m out of the race. Oh well.

History of Picks: San Diego, Minnesota, Baltimore, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia

Fantasy Football: The story of Team Nate Kaeding [0-6]

Dropped K Matt Prater and TE Mercedes Lewis for RB Ricky Williams and Colts D/ST. I looked at my previous opponents’ scores, and I noticed that all but one week, my opponents have topped 100 fantasy points. Last week, I did that as well, but was bested by Tom Brady. I lost, 101-142. This week, however, I’m going against the other team without a win, and he only scored 39 points last week. I’m pretty confident that this week, I’ll finally get my first win.

For those of you unfamiliar to my blog, I post every week on Eaglesmix and my Facebook page. Thanks for your support! Follow me here:

http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/Nick-Popyack/158180878321?ref=ts



This week’s unfounded rumor: Still not satisfied with the play from the middle linebacker position, the Philadelphia Eagles plan to bring in another former Eagle linebacker: Chuck “Concrete Charlie” Bednarik, age 84. A Hall of Fame linebacker and center, he plans to teach the Eagles offensive line a thing or two about blocking as well.

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