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NFL Week 16 2009

By: Nick Popyack

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

       During this time of holiday, I’ve decided to take a ‘break’ from my normal endeavors. I will be posting a much shorter blog this week [and probably next week as well], but I’ll be back in time for the playoffs! Enjoy this post mainly about the Eagles, with my picks at the end. Enjoy your time with your families!


       The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. Well, probably. With the majority of the playoff spots already locked up, few of those teams are playing as well as the Eagles.

       The teams that do the best in the playoffs are usually those that finish the season well. In 2005, the Colts started off their season with a 13 game winning streak, but dropped two of their last three games. Sure, they claimed the top seed in the AFC that year, but were eliminated in their first playoff game by the Steelers, who had finished their season with a four game winning streak [They won the Super Bowl that year, by the way].

       Many teams that are slated to make the playoffs this year are looking very vulnerable after strong starts. The Colts, top seed in the AFC, have, of course, won all of their games, but haven’t had a truly convincing win since week seven, and allowed a lot of points against the Jaguars last Thursday. The Bengals were dominating the league before playing pathetic games against the league’s worst teams, then losing their last two. The Patriots had a mental collapse after their defeat in Indianapolis, and lost two straight. Sure, now they’ve won their last two, but teams that they should have blown away still had many chances to take down the Pats in their last two. The Broncos, after a stunning 6-0 start, have since gone 2-6, and have dropped their last two. None of the teams that are at 7-7 look like they would go far if they made it into the playoffs.

       The only teams that look serious right now in the AFC are the Ravens and the Chargers, but there’s plenty of flaws there, too. The Ravens have dominated their previous two opponents, but those opponents are the bottom two teams in their division. The Chargers are riding a nine game winning streak, but haven’t won convincingly since playing the Chiefs four weeks ago. Their last three victories have been decided by seven points or less, and look vulnerable.

       In the NFC, things aren’t looking much better for most teams. The Saints, of course, hold the current top seed in the conference, but were exposed last Saturday against the Cowboys. After a dominating performance against the Patriots on Monday night, they won their next two by a total of six points, and would have lost against the Redskins if they weren’t... The Redskins. They’ve scored less and less points every week, leading to their 24-17 loss against the Cowboys, the team that can’t win in December. The Vikings seemed like they could actually contend for homefield advantage, but have been lost on offense when teams have taken away Adrian Peterson. Their last two losses have come with Peterson’s worst two rushing games of the year, gaining 19 and 35 yards in the losses. The Cardinals, after dissecting said Vikings, looked like the team to fear in the NFC, but couldn’t score more than nine points the next week, and almost lost to the Lions last week.

       There are few teams in the NFC that are playing serious football right now. The Cowboys may have proven they’re motivated, after beating the previously unbeaten Saints, but were left furious when their kicker, Nick Folk, missed a chip shot field goal, reminiscent of the missed opportunity the Redskins had against the Saints. They cut him, but signed Suisham, the kicker who literally lost two games for the Redskins before he was cut. With so many of their games being decided in the fourth quarter, they need a kicker that can come through for them, and Suisham has proved he is anything but reliable in the clutch. The only other team that has looked decent in the NFC are the Packers, but lost to the Steelers, who had lost six straight losses going into last Sunday’s game. The Packers also had a very stout defense, but proved that they can be beat by an elite quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 500 yards against them. There is only one team in the playoffs that is playing their best football right now:

       The Philadephia Eagles. They have fought injuries this whole year, but are proving that they have the depth to win in spite of their handicap. In the midst of a five game winning streak, they are sitting at the top of their division at 10-4. Though losing close games has been their trademark for the past two years, they started their current streak with two wins in which they were losing in the fourth quarter. They’re playing as a complete team right now.

       Their defense may have allowed over 500 yards of offense against the Giants, but it also proved that it could win games for them in that very same game. If you remember correctly, it wasn’t the Giants who scored on New York’s first offensive possession; the Eagles stripped Brandon Jacobs and ran the fumbled ball all the way down to the endzone. The game ended in similar fashion, with Chris Clemons forcing another Giants turnover on New York’s final offensive possession. In their other games, the defense has forced the necessary turnovers to win the game, whether that’s been throughout the whole game or in the fourth quarter, when it matters.

       The offense hasn’t been slacking, either. Behind the arm of Donovan McNabb, who has a quarterback rating of 91.5 in their winning streak, the Eagles offense has been electric to say the least. Mix in the running game, with Leonard Weaver, LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy, and Brian Westbrook [who has been cleared to play after missing the last five games], and the Philadelphia offense is at its best. And that’s without accounting for Michael Vick, who has scored his only three touchdowns of the season during their current streak.

       That brings me to the special teams, led by DeSean Jackson, the most exciting player in the NFL right now. With eight touchdowns of more than 50 yards, he is certainly a big play threat, and teams still can’t figure out how to stop him. His pure speed has given him the second highest punt return average in the NFL at 17.3 yards per return. Without a doubt, the Eagles are playing as a complete team right now.

       The Eagles have been one of the most dominating teams of the decade under Andy Reid, reaching the playoffs eight times in the past ten years. While they haven’t won a Super Bowl for their city yet, the way the Eagles are playing right now certainly indicates that they’ll reach the big game, and with enough steam to perhaps win Philadelphia’s first Lombardi trophy. With the way the rest of the teams in the league are playing currently, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. Here’s week 16.


San Diego Chargers @ Tennessee Titans
[Friday 7:30]

       Both teams have been playing their best football as of late, but it’ll be San Diego’s healthy defense that will win them a Christmas Night showdown.
San Diego Chargers

Buffalo Bills @ Atlanta Falcons
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Bills don’t have the offense to match the Falcons.
Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Bengals have lost two straight, but the Chiefs have lost their last four.
Cincinnati Bengals

Oakland Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
[Sunday 1:00]

       Neither team is that good, but the Browns have a healthy quarterback.
Cleveland Browns

Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Packers will bounce back with a strong defensive effort against the struggling Seahawks.
Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins
[Sunday 1:00]

       Matt Schaub has been playing well, but the Dolphins will win a close one.
Miami Dolphins

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
[Sunday 1:00]

       They almost beat the Ravens without their franchise quarterback when they last met.
Pittsburgh Steelers

Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Giants’ offense has been playing too well to pick against.
New York Giants

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Jaguars will win with a long week and an offense that has recently been outperforming the Patriots.
Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Saints will finally claim homefield advantage throughout the playoffs against the Bucs.
New Orleans Saints

St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
[Sunday 4:05]

       The Cardinals will not lose to the worst team in the league.
Arizona Cardinals

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers
[Sunday 4:05]

       Drew Stanton will not be able to outscore the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers

Denver Broncos @ Philadelphia Eagles
[Sunday 4:15]

       The Eagles have been rolling, and the Broncos have been fading.
Philadelphia Eagles

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
[Sunday 4:15]

       The Indianapolis ‘D’ will harass and overwhelm Mark Sanchez.
Indianapolis Colts

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
[Sunday 8:20]

       Shaun Suisham will have his revenge against the team that cut him.
Dallas Cowboys

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
[Monday 8:30]

       The Vikings have been fading, but they can still blow out the Bears.
Minnesota Vikings

Recap:
San Diego Chargers
Atlanta Falcons
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers
Miami Dolphins
Pittsburgh Steelers
New York Giants
Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles
Indianapolis Colts
Dallas Cowboys
Minnesota Vikings

Last week’s winner: Kavik [10]

Season totals:

Kavik: 142
Pat: 141
Nick: 141


Fantasy Football: The story of Team Nate Kaeding [3-10]

Won my first ‘playoff’ game. Ok, it wasn’t a real playoff game, but I came out on top in a two week long contest. I now go into another two week long game against the second highest seed in the loser’s bracket. Not very impressive, but it’s something for a team that drafted a kicker in the first round. Next year, I’ll show everyone what I can really do. I won, 146-138.

In my Yahoo! league, I regrettably lost my playoff game. Now, I’m playing for third place. I lost, 103-96.

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

You can contact me at:

Nick.Popyack@gmail.com



This week’s unfounded rumor: Shaun Suisham wasn’t brought into Dallas to just kick field goals. He’s also expected to add to their powerful rushing game, passing game and receiving corps. He’s supposed to be like a modern day Kordell Stewart, right in time for the playoffs.

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