As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #5: Eagles vs. Jets

Three games in and the natives were understandably restless.

A team that looked like it had the talent to make a run at another Super Bowl had stumbled to two consecutive losses against mediocre competition, and faced an uphill battle having to go to Green Bay on a short week against the Packers.

And when the Pack got off to an early 10-0 lead, that uphill climb seemed more like climbing Mount Everest. Aaron Rodgers, after all, was only 59-0 when his team held a double digit lead at Lambeau Field.

Perhaps the 2019 Eagles, much like the 2019 Phillies, were merely overrated and didn’t have the talent to live up to the hype that was bestowed upon them. Perhaps Doug Pederson won the Superbowl during the 2017 season because he had Frank Reich as his offensive coordinator, and with Reich moving on to the head coaching job with the Colts last season, all of Pederson’s flaws would now be exposed.

But following the Packers early ten point lead, things began to change when Miles Sanders took the kickoff 67 yards, giving the Birds great field position at the Green Bay 34. The kickoff seemed to be the catalyst the team needed to awaken them from their slumber, as five plays later, they were in the end zone, cutting the lead to 10-7.

From then on, the Thursday night contest turned into a dogfight, with Philadelphia eventually taking a 21-20 and then a 34-27 lead for good with three minutes left in the third quarter.

But twice in the final 18 minutes of the game, Green Bay countered with long drives of 78 & 86 yards, respectively, which usually generates some points on the scoreboard for your team.

On the first of those drives, the Packers actually had 1st & Goal at the 1-yard line and looked to be in great shape to tie the game at the very least. But Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur must have thought that Halloween had arrived, as it was then that he decided to do his best Andy Reid impersonation and treat running the ball as if it was a felony. The result was the Packers coming up empty after four straight incomplete passes.

But while the Eagles, to their credit, managed to get out of the shadow of their end zone following their goal line stand, moving the ball 50 yards to the Green Bay 49 before having to punt, their inability to score on that drive meant that Aaron Rodgers would get one more shot at redemption.

The final 5:02 of that game seemed like an eternity, with the Delaware Valley watching on pins and needles and biting their nails like there was no tomorrow. But much like that magical 2017 season, when it seemed that someone would always step up to secure a victory in crunch time, it was the combination of linebacker Nigel Bradham, and little used cornerback Craig James (playing in only the 3rd defensive snap of his CAREER), who made the critical tackle on Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling that resulted in the game-ending interception by Bradham.

But while the game was one for the ages, there are issues with this team that could linger for the near future.

For starters, Davante was having his way with Avonte all night (as in Packers wide receiver Davante Adams and Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox). Adams ran roughshod, catching 10 passes for 180 yards before injuring his foot late in the game. Maddox will probably be out this week, considering he was in the injury protocal after the scary hit he took last Thursday. Add to that the fact that Ronald Darby is still out and starting cornerback Sidney Jones seems to be hurt every week, and the Birds may need their mascot Swoop to play cornerback this Sunday.

The Eagles also seem to have a bad habit of getting off to slow starts, falling behind by at least 10 points in all four of their games thus far. To their credit, they’ve come back to win two of them, but this trend can’t continue.

This week, the Birds come back home to face the NFL’s version of the “Little Sisters of the Poor”, the New York Jets. The Jets are not only bad, but they’re injured at the quarterback position, with their starting quarterback, Sam Darnold, still suffering from mononucleosis, and their backup QB, Trevor Siemian, out for the year.

With all their injuries, the quarterback duties will fall on 3rd stringer Luke Falk, who has not conjured up memories of Joe Namath based on his limited action thus far.

The Birds should win this game without much fanfare, 30-20. An easy win this week will be vital, since they will then embark on a tough three game road trip which will take them to Minnesota, Dallas, and Buffalo.

A win this week and two of three on the road would be ideal, as that would put them at 5-3 at the halfway point of their season.

As for the Jets quarterback, with a name like Luke Falk, I suspect that he could have a brilliant career on TV’s “General Hospital” should his NFL dreams not pan out.

The Last Word:

Aaron Rodgers 59-game winning streak when leading by double digits at home was the 2nd longest streak of its kind in the Super Bowl era.

The longest streak belongs to Tom Brady and the Patriots, who had an 80 game winning streak…until the Eagles beat them in Foxboro in 2015.

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

Rams at Seahawks 8:20 PM (Thurs) FOX/NFL Network

Bills at Titans 1:00 PM CBS

Buccaneers at Saints 1:00 PM FOX

Packers at Cowboys 4:25 PM FOX

Colts at Chiefs 8:20 PM NBC

As Broad & Pattison Turns Week #8: The Enchanted Season continues

The quarterback, about to be pancaked to the turf, throws a pass into the corner of the end zone with the perfect trajectory and accuracy.  Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who is not only living out his dream of playing in the NFL, but doing so for his hometown team, makes a difficult, against the shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

The Enchanted Season continues…

Rookie kicker Jake Elliott, sitting on the Cincinnati practice squad because he could not win their placekicker’s job, joins the team and makes eleven consecutive field goals, including a 61-yarder with no time left on the clock to defeat the New York Giants as the crowd erupts into a frenzy.

The Enchanted Season continues…

Injuries continue to decimate this team, especially on the defensive side.  The situation gets even worse last Monday night, when nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters, a stalwart on the offensive line, and Jordan Hicks, the quarterback of the defense, have to be helped off the field with what turn out to be season ending injuries.

The team that had the least number of injuries in 2016 has now had the law of averages catch up to them.  Yet, the “next man up” philosophy has continued to operate effectively, with the injuries not causing the team to skip a beat.

The Enchanted Season continues…

With the Eagles nursing a precarious seven point lead at the start of the 4th quarter, the quarterback drops back to pass and is met with a ferocious pass rush in a play that surely looks to be a sack.  Suddenly, out of a pile, the QB miraculously  appears like Houdini, turning what should have been a 9-yard loss into a 17-yard gain.  Even one of Jon Dorenbos’s magic tricks never looked so good.

The Enchanted Season continues…

With a 6-1 record, the Eagles sit atop the NFL with the league’s best record, while visions of a Super Bowl slowly began to dance in their fans heads.  But even a 16-game season is a long one, and there still remains nine regular season games left to be played.

Nine games for more injuries to mount.  Nine games for the Eagles to have a letdown.  Nine games to allow the Cowboys to beat them twice and creep back into the NFC East race.

The Eagles currently hold a 2.5 game lead in the NFC East, with both the Cowboys and Redskins in their rearview mirror at 3-3.   A division title is certainly in the Eagles grasp, which guarantees you a #4 seed at worst and a home playoff game in the first round of the playoffs.  But while the Eagles would have been thrilled with that at the beginning of the season, their aspirations are much higher considering what has transpired thus far.

The race to a Super Bowl begins with securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  And in a sport where playing at home gives you an advantage unlike any other, having that #1 seed is the best way to do so.  But even with a 6-1 record, the Eagles have both the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams hot on their tail at 5-2, as well as the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks at 4-2 (since they’ve both already had their bye week).

The Eagles will have a tough stretch of road games come December, when they will face the Seahawks on December 2nd followed by the Rams the following weekend.  These two games could be HUGE in determining the NFC playoff picture, assuming that all three teams continue at their current rate of success.

This week, the San Francisco 49ers will come to town, which will mark the 41st time in NFL history that the team with the best record in the NFL will face the team with the worst record.  San Francisco is not only one of two teams in the league that still remain winless (the other being Cleveland), but they have also lost 19 straight games played on Sundays, a losing streak which is also second only to the Browns, who have lost 24 straight on Sundays.

But even though the Niners are still in search of their first win, they are also the only team in NFL history to lose five straight games by 3 points or less.  That last stat reveals that the Niners are not to be taken lightly.  They are a team that has not yet learned how to win, much like the Eagles from last season.

The Birds will have Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle filling in for the injured Jason Peters (say that name three times over without screwing up). “Big V”, as he is known for simplicity purposes, had extensive on the job training filling in for Lane Johnson last year and, after some first game jitters, performed admirably for the Eagles.  He may have to fill the void for the remainder of the season with Peters being out.

On the defensive side, the Eagles, as they usually do, will probably go with only two linebackers on the field for the majority of the snaps, with Nigel Bradham taking over Jordan Hicks’ spot as the quarterback of the defense and Mychal Kendricks most likely taking the other starting spot.

Kendricks was not getting as many snaps as either Hicks or Bradham, but whenever he has been in the game, he has had a favorable impact.  And while the only time Bradham had the responsibility for making sure the defense was in the right alignment was when Jordan Hicks was hurt in the Panthers game, he actually played pretty well in Hicks’ absence.

Once again, I don’t think this game will be a blowout (I know, I know…I always say that) as the Niners have played it close in so many games.  Expect a wet and stormy day filled with the natives in ponchos and some rain soaked Chickie & Pete’s crab fries, as the Birds win, 28-17, and go to 7-1.

The Enchanted Season continues…

Amit’s Marquee Matchups of the Week:

Steelers at Lions  8:30 PM  NBC

Broncos at Chiefs  8:30 PM  ESPN