As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #4: Eagles at Broncos

Last Thursday, a guy was talking to an attractive woman in a bar, and she was giving him every hint that she would gladly give him her number, and he never took the bait.

Did this really happen?  No (at least not last Thursday), but it’s the best analogy I could use to describe last week’s Eagles – Chiefs game, which resulted in a 26-16 Eagles loss, leaving the Birds at 1-2 on the young season.

The Chiefs were basically GIVING the Eagles the game, but the Birds just wouldn’t take the bait.  Early on, Kansas City couldn’t move the ball on offense, and the Eagles were moving it against a team with an above average defense.  Yet the Birds would constantly shoot themselves in the foot, be it a bad pass, center snaps hitting players’ body parts, or the inability to make a fair catch on a punt.

During the 1st two weeks of the season, it looked like Michael Vick had donned a red cape to play the role of Superman, but he was much more like Clark Kent against the Chiefs, as his ability to make accurate decisions was greatly diminished due to the unrelenting Chiefs pass rush and some bad decisions on his part.

Add to that the pomp and circumstance at halftime, when, instead of the fans having to wait in long lines in the stadium concourse for food, they were treated to a helping of extra value meal #5 – One D-Mac, a side order of pretentiousness, and one large ego…make that super-sized.

I have no argument that Donovan McNabb’s number should be retired – McNabb was the greatest quarterback in Eagles history in my opinion.  But after his “rousing” halftime speech when he was basically preaching to the crowd about how “#5 loves you”, I am now lobbying to change Whitney Houston’s 1992 hit song “I Will Always Love You” to “5 Will Always Love you”, (as mentioned by McNabb in the 3rd person, which was strange in itself).

At least for Donovan’s sake, he had Brian Dawkins as the MC, who is easily the most revered Eagle in modern history, and his presence helped to mask any boos that may have rained down from the crowd when McNabb was introduced.

As for the Birds, they now head to Denver, where Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will be looking to zip passes past them in the thin, light air of Colorado without much interference.  The difficult job of covering Manning’s receivers will fall on the shoulders of the Eagles secondary and much-maligned safety Nate Allen, who couldn’t cover a hoagie tray with saran wrap.

Having said that, I don’t think it will be a blowout the way many are predicting.  The Eagles have played two straight sloppy games and still had the chance to win both in the 4th quarter.  And while the Broncos may be a superior opponent than both the Chargers and the Chiefs, their defense is very suspect.

The Eagles will put points on the board against the Denver defense, their defensive line will put enough pressure on Manning to mask the deficiencies of the secondary, and with ten days to prepare, they will SHOCK THE WORLD!   Birds win 37-34 in a nail-biter.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless otherwise noted):

Seahawks at Texans  1:00 PM FOX – If this game was played between utilities, it would be a clash of “gasoline against green energy”.  A possible Superbowl preview?

Bears at Lions  1:00 PM FOX – A showdown of two teams in the NFC “Snowbelt” division…pre-snowfall that is.

Jets at Titans  4:05 PM CBS – Hard to fathom that one of these teams will be 3-1 as of Sunday night, barring the ever popular overtime tie.

Dolphins at Saints  8:40 PM ESPN (Mon) – A showdown of two 3-0 teams as South Beach invades the French Quarter.

The Last Word – Speaking of Miami, am I the only person who thinks of “Miami Vice” (the TV show, not the movie) whenever a Phil Collins song from the ’80’s comes on?

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As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #3 2013: Eagles vs Chiefs

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #3 2013:  Eagles vs Chiefs

The Honeymoon is Officially Over….

Chip Kelly and the Eagles fans were on a week-long getaway to a remote resort island which included sun and fun, a plethora of activities, dinner and dancing in the evening, and romance at night.  Then, after returning home, Chip forgot to clean the dirty dishes left in the kitchen sink overnight, and chaos ensued.

Talk of a long and joyful union turned to frustration on a sun-soaked Sunday afternoon, as the Birds lost in the closing seconds, 33-30.

While the offense ran up and down the field, scoring on six drives, their three field goals that couldn’t be converted to touchdowns eventually sealed their fate due to a porous defense that couldn’t stop the Chargers for most of the day.

In Week #1, the Redskins began to mount a comeback but eventually ran out of time.  The Chargers, showing no signs of rust, ran roughshot up and down the field from the 1st quarter, as if there were only plastic tackle dummies standing in the secondary.

The good news is that the Eagles won’t have to let this loss linger in their minds for long, as the Chiefs come into town for a Thursday night affair.  The bad news is that there might not be enough time to figure out exactly what went wrong.

Not only will Thursday’s game feature the return of former coach Andy Reid, but also a ceremony to retire former quarterback Donovan McNabb’s number, which will no doubt add some intrigue to Reid’s return.

When Terrell Owens returned to Philadelphia as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, the slogan was “Get your popcorn ready”.   So perhaps this week’s slogan should be “Get your cheeseburgers ready”?

When Andy Reid was the head coach in Philadelphia, he never hid his affinity for an all beef patty on a bun, invoking memories of Wimpy from the Popeye cartoon.  And while the Birds had a great run for most of their fourteen years with Reid at the helm, whenever it came to the NFC championship, it seemed that the opponent was eating Popeye’s spinach to bypass the Eagles on the way to the Super Bowl.

And while Donovan was one of the greatest quarterbacks in Eagles history, perhaps it was the “special sauce, lettuce, cheese” that caused him to get sick during the two-minute drive in the Super Bowl, which seemed more like a five-hour drive to Boston in rush hour traffic.  Either way, those two will forever be joined at the hip, as Reid drafted McNabb and both enjoyed success together during their early years in Philadelphia.

As for the game itself, the Chiefs come in at 2-0 and are much improved from their 2-14 season of a year ago.  The Eagles have an offense that is capable of winning the Super Bowl, but a defense that is capable of going 0-16.  With only four days to prepare, the Birds will score a lot of points but will fall short, losing 37-34 to “Big Red”.  Andy Reid heads back to KC with his team at 3-0 and celebrates by enjoying some Kansas City barbecue.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless otherwise noted):

Packers at Bengals  1:00 PM FOX – The Cheeseheads invade the Queen City in a intra-conference matchup.

Texans at Ravens 1:00 PM CBS – The Ravens probably won’t repeat as Super Bowl champions, but at least the number of statements made by a Ravens player that make absolutely no sense will decrease significantly now that Ray Lewis has retired.

Falcons at Dolphins 4:05 PM FOX – Buckhead vs South Beach.  Miami is usually a favorite hotspot for fans of the road team, but not sure if that applies to Atlanta, where Georgia Tech and any SEC team is more popular than the Falcons.

Colts at Niners  4:25 PM CBS – The coach of the 49ers plays against the team that he almost guided to the Super Bowl as a quarterback.

The Last Word:  Chris Berman of ESPN, who seems to have a “man crush” on Andy Reid, went out of his way last Sunday to mention that Chip Kelly should thank Reid for all of the playmakers he has on offense.  Berman conveniently forgot to mention that Kelly has no playmakers on defense due to a series of bad drafts when Reid was the coach of the Eagles.

“As Broad & Pattison Turns”: 2013 Week #2 – Eagles vs. Chargers

The much-anticipated Chip Kelly “magical mystery” tour finally took off on Monday night, passing “GO” several times but not bothering to stop and collect $200 – it was going way too fast.

It didn’t bother to pick up any inexpensive properties on Mediterranean or Baltic Avenues, nor any high-end properties on Park Place or Boardwalk either.

Instead, much like the Acela Express rumbling down the Northeast Corridor, the Eagles offense rumbled through the Redskins defense as if they were a local DC Metro station that wasn’t equipped to handle them.

The Redskins tried to make a game of it in the 2nd half, but luckily for the Birds, the “rustoleum” didn’t peel off of RG3’s legs until it was too late, and the much maligned secondary, held together with some bobby pins and some scotch tape, managed to hold on just long enough.

So there you have it…a team that went 4-12 last season got off to a start like no one envisioned, but one that every “Iggles” fan will gladly take.  What does this all mean?   I have no clue…one game does not a season make, and before Eagles fans start making Superbowl proclamations on WIP & 97.5, there is still ample time for the opponent to figure out exactly what Chip Kelly is doing, and also ample time for the secondary to show their true colors.

An interesting observation from our seats during Monday night’s game was watching Chip Kelly on the field an hour before his first NFL game.  When his team was initially the only one practicing, he stood and watched as any other coach would.  But as soon as the Redskins took their side of the field to practice, Chip stood at the 50-yard line, arms folded, and stared stoically at the Redskins practice for the whole 30-45 minutes they were on the field, as if he was mentally taking in every play & every formation they were running through osmosis.

I have to give credit where credit is due – it wasn’t I who observed Chip’s intense focus on the Redskins but my father, who pointed it out and quickly remarked, as a distraught Eagles fan,  “you would NEVER see Andy Reid doing that”.  Sure, I was sitting right next to him the whole time, but I was focused on other important matters, such as whether my next adult beverage would be a Hefeweizen or the lower calorie Miller Lite (I chose the Hefeweizen).

Last week’s win was very reminiscent of the season opener in 2000, when the Eagles flew to Dallas and surprisingly spanked the Dallas Cowboys, 41-14 in the famous “pickle juice game”.  However, the following week, they looked lifeless and lost in their own home opener against the New York Giants, losing 33-18.

The G-Men were the eventual NFC representative in the Super Bowl that year, losing to the Baltimore Ravens.  And while no one expects the San Diego Chargers, this week’s opponent, to be as formidable a foe as the Giants were, it would be foolhardy for the Eagles to overlook this game and look ahead to Andy Reid and the Chiefs coming to town for a Thursday night clash on a short week.

Looking into my crystal bill this week, my “alter ego”, Nostrada-mit, sees an easy Eagles victory, with the Chargers scoring late to make it somewhat respectable, 35-21.  I just hope the Chargers batteries go out before my cellphone’s does…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless otherwise noted):

Vikings at Bears 1:00 PM FOX – The Vikings play their 2nd straight on the road, trying to avoid going 0-2 on the young season.  The Bears play their 2nd straight at home, trying to go 2-0 (also on the young season).  Then again, the Bears always seem to get off to a fast start, only to falter in the 2nd half of the season, so maybe they should lose instead?

Broncos at Giants 4:25 PM CBS – Another edition of the “Manning Bowl”.  Should be a dandy.  If big bro Peyton beats ‘lil bro Eli, and the Birds beat the Chargers, we’ll have a two game lead on the Giants two weeks into the season.  SWEET!!!

Niners at Seahawks 8:30 PM NBC – The NFC West used to be known as the “NFC Worst”, but with these two powerhouse teams vying for the NFC crown, that has now changed.  The Seahawks will try to get a leg up in the battle for the NFC West, and their home field “12th man” will surely come into play.    Won’t be a shock if the Seahawks win, but will be a shock if the sun comes out in the depressing Pacific Northwest weather.

The Last Word – This week’s blog, boys and girls, is sponsored by the number “5″ due to the following:

1)  Since 2009, the Eagles opponent in their home opener (Saints, Packers, Giants, Ravens in chronological order) has gone on to win the Super Bowl that season.  That streak will end at 5 since the Chargers will not win the Super Bowl this year.

2) After the Eagles upset victory over the Redskins on Monday night, the Birds are now 5-0 in road games that my father has attended.  Go figure….

 

Week #1 – Eagles vs. Redskins

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year….

While the 1963 Andy Williams hit is a popular staple during the Christmas season, and also part of a humorous advertisement by an office supplies store, it will also apply to this coming Sunday as far as I’m concerned.

On that day, I won’t walk downstairs to the kitchen but “PRANCE” (and prance is not a word I would often use unless referring to Fred Astaire).  On that day, the eggs for breakfast will taste just a little better. The sun will be shining no matter how dreary the forecast may look outside.  Even the sound of the neighbor’s dog barking won’t sound as annoying.

The start of football season, 2013 edition in Philadelphia represents an “out with the old and in with the new” philosophy.  Gone are the Nnamdi’s, the DRC’s, the Jim Washburn’s, the wide-nine, the Howard Mudd’s, and most importantly, the head coach, Andy Reid.

In is Chip Kelly, who brings a new way of thinking, and a brand new coaching staff to boot.  Like an old dishwasher that just can’t do the job any more, the Eagles of the past have been discarded and replaced with a 2013 model with all the fancy bells, whistles, and latest gadgetry.   Of course, while the packaging looks pretty and shiny from the outside, only time will tell if it actually works properly.

Most Eagles fans will unfortunately have to enjoy the Week #1 Sunday slate of games merely as an “appetizer”, since the main course, their beloved Birds vs. the Washington Redskins, won’t get underway till Monday night at approximately 7:10 PM.   But what’s an extra day when we’ve waited a whole offseason?

The 2012 edition of the Washington Redskins, like the Eagles, were both 3-6 and going nowhere fast when the two teams met on Nov. 18, 2012.  But the Redskins won that game and never looked back, winning seven straight en route to a 10-6 record and their first NFC East divisional title since 1999.

The 2013 success of the Redskins will hinge on the health of Robert Griffin, III (RG3), who tore his ACL in the wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks back in January.  Griffin has been cleared to play and will most likely start, though there is always the chance he could be quite rusty coming off such a serious injury.  If he falters, backup Kirk Cousins showed last year that he can step in and lead the team to victory.

The Eagles would do well to get a steady pass rush on RG3, which might rattle him and also help to disguise the lack of playmakers the team has in the secondary.

On the offensive side, the Eagles have the playmakers to move the ball and score, but what happens now that other teams will actually be game planning for Chip Kelly’s offense?

This will be one of only two primetime games the Eagles will have this season, (with the other coming in week #3 against the Kansas City Chiefs).  Considering that every team gets at least one primetime game (if you’re REALLY bad, the NFL Network will still put you on their Thursday night schedule at least once), a team like the Eagles that was accustomed to playing before the national spotlight multiple times every season will have to prove to the network executives that they are deserving of reclaiming that stature.

Of course, if the Eagles get off to a good start and are in playoff contention late in the season, one of their last six games could always be “flexed” (moved) to the Sunday night NBC primetime game.  But what is the likelihood of that happening?

If the Eagles finish the season at 7-9 or 8-8, it would be a noble improvement and give their fans hope for the future.

9-7 would be a pleasant surprise and a record that many fans would probably sell their soul to achieve.

Not sure what 6-10 would mean, but anything less than six wins and the offseason would be spent questioning if the Chip Kelly hire was a wise one.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy the ride of the 2013 football season.  Anything’s better than watching reruns of 1980’s sitcoms…or the Phillies.

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week (all times in EST and on Sunday unless otherwise noted):

Ravens at Broncos 8:30 PM NBC (Thurs) – This game is a rematch of last year’s Divisional playoff, which the Broncos had all but wrapped up until the “Nightmare at Mile High” took place and Jacoby Jones slipped past two Denver defenders to snag a game-tying touchdown with 31 seconds left, eventually leading to a Ravens victory in the 2nd overtime.

This was traditionally supposed to be a home game for the Super Bowl champions and a chance for the hometown fans to revel in the team’s prior year success. Instead, with baseball’s Baltimore Orioles and the football Baltimore Ravens having a scheduling conflict, the Ravens were forced to start their season on the road.

My prediction – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Orioles owner Peter Angelos won’t be meeting for crabs and beer in Fells Point anytime soon.

Bengals at Bears  1:00 PM CBS – The Bengals made it to the 1st round of the playoffs the last two years and are hoping to take the next step this year.  The Bears started strong the last two years but faltered in the 2nd half, missing the playoffs both years.   Being early September, at least wind should not be a major factor in the “Windy City”.

Packers at 49ers 4:25 PM FOX – An intriguing matchup pitting one veteran quarterback (Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) against another who seemed to arrive last year in 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.  But can Kaepernick deliver in 2013 now that there are actually EXPECTATIONS for him to do so?

Geographically, this game also represents the “Valley of the Wines” against the “Land of the Cheeses”.  Strange – and all this time I was told by the wine connoisseurs that wine and cheese go TOGETHER??

Giants at Cowboys 8:30 PM NBC If it seems like the Cowboys are always on Sunday night during week #1 of the NFL season, you are right…they areThis year will make it three out of the last four, and when they weren’t on Sunday night last year, they still faced off against the Giants in the traditional 1st game of the season on NBC (for reference, see Ravens vs. Broncos above).

Guess that’s the exposure you get when you are labeled “America’s Team”.  But are you really still America’s Team when you keep choking in the final game of the regular season?  Or when you’ve only won one playoff game in the last sixteen seasons?

The Giants are getting older but still have a reliable Eli Manning at quarterback.  And these games are usually close contests so should be a good one.

Let the NFL season commence!