Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Eagles’

See this article with photos on Bleacher Report

Michael Vick pulled off one of the most remarkable career turn-arounds in league history this season.  Vick was an other-worldly talent with Atlanta early in his career, making multiple Pro-Bowls and playing the quarterback position like we’ve never seen before.  Then the dog-fighting scandal happened.  Two years out of the league, a stint in Leavenworth and an ugly bankruptcy followed.

Even when given a chance by the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick, with his play, showed little to indicate that he could return to glory as a starting QB.  Kevin Kolb was anointed the starter, then he got hurt in Week 1 against these same Green Bay Packers, Vick came in the game, and the rest is history.

Green Bay started out well enough, 7-3 after ten games and dreams of a division title and a playoff bye looking realistic.  Then they lost three out of four to Atlanta, New England and an embarrassing 7-3 loss to Detroit where Aaron Rodgers got banged up.  Only after coming back to lead Green Bay to big wins over the Giants and the Bears, did Rodgers even get the team into the playoffs at all.

It’s fitting that Green Bay has drawn the Eagles in their first playoff game.  They created Michael Vick, so to speak, or at least created the circumstance that allowed him to get on the field.  If Kolb doesn’t leave that game in week 1, would Vick have even gotten a start this season?  And if so, could things have worked out as well as they did?  They unleashed this guy on the rest of the league, and now it’s up to them to either find a way to stop him or be destroyed by him.  It’s epic, a little like Frankenstein. (more…)

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See this article with photos on Bleacher Report

Three-quarters of the way into the season, and the NFC playoff picture has been whittled down to the few final contenders. There are six teams in the conference with at least eight wins and one of them will definitely not make the playoffs, but which one? And if the AFC South has been far below expectations this season, the NFC West has been simply putrid. To put it succinctly, 4-8 San Francisco still has a realistic shot at winning the division. That’s just bad. (more…)

Like the AFC, there was a lot of changes in the rankings after week three, including a new number one.  Dallas and Chicago moved up the most, each climbing four places, and the Saints, Redskins and 49ers all fell the farthest, three spots each.  Here are the complete NFC rankings for this week.

16.  Carolina Panthers (last week: 15, down one spot, season high 13, season low 16)-  This could be the worst team in the league.  The quarterbacks are a train wreck, the defense is average at best, and the offensive line is so bad that even their typically strong running game can’t get going.  It’s going to be a long, long season in Carolina.

15.  Detroit Lions (last week: 13, down two spots, season high 13, season low 15)-  If and until Matthew Stafford comes back healthy, the Lions are going nowhere.  They have potential, but things just look pretty shaky in Detroit right now.  Rookie phenom Jahvid Best got banged up a bit in Minnesota last week, and that just makes things worse.

14.  San Francisco 49ers (last week: 11, down three spots, season high 11, season low 14)-  I guess all that preseason hype shows what its worth, huh?  After giving away a game to New Orleans, they came out flat and were stomped in Kansas City.  Then they fired their offensive coordinator.  Too bad they couldn’t fire the QB, too.  And the defense.  This team looks poised to completely come apart.

13.  St. Louis Rams (last week: 16, up three spots, season high 13, season low 16)-  Can the Rams actually win the NFC West?  Seattle can’t keep winning games on kick returns, Arizona can’t keep winning on others’ botched field goals, San Francisco simply can’t win against anybody right now.  If Sam Bradford keeps playing like he has, St. Louis has as good a shot as anybody.  And that’s really sad.

12.  Arizona Cardinals (last week: 14, up two spots, season high 11, season low 14)- A big thank you from Ken Wisenhunt and the Cardinals goes out to Oakland for that gift of a win last week.  Now, if only they can get teams to give them six more wins, and they can take the division.  They still move up two places in the putrid lower NFC.

11.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (last week: 9, down two spots, season high 9, season low 14)- Welcome back to reality.  Flying high after the 2-0 start, the Steelers came to town to remind the Bucs who they really are, not ready for prime time.  It will be interesting to see how they respond.  Will Tampa fight back and compete or will the wheels fall off?  It could go either way.

10.  Seattle Seahawks (last week: 10, even, season high 7, season low 10)- Let’s see, Seattle has beaten San Francisco, who now looks like a total fraud, and San Diego, who’s lone win was over Jacksonville.  Plus, they were beaten by Denver, who somehow managed to actually lose to Jacksonville.  Still, they’re likely the favorites in the division at this point.  What are the odds on a 6-10 playoff team?

9.  New York Giants (last week: 8, down one spot, season high 3, season low 9)- So, are these guys any good, either?  Their lone win was an ugly one at home against Carolina.  Since then, they’ve lost to two AFC South teams by a combined score of 67-24.  Eli Manning looks awful, they’re not running the ball, and their defense is getting thrashed.  All that, and they still only dropped one spot.  I’m getting the feeling the NFC is going to be pretty weak this year.

8.  Dallas Cowboys (last week: 12, up four spots, season high 8, season low 12)- The Cowboys got it together in Houston just in time to save their season.  They played fairly mistake free for a change, but will that hold up?  They still got gashed on the run, but Tony Romo played well, and they beat up Matt Schaub.

7.  Washington Redskins (last week: 4, down three places, season high 4, season low 7)- Which Redskins team is for real?  The one who beat Dallas and jumped on Houston in the first half, or the one that blew the lead in the second half and got whipped by the Rams of all teams?  They play Philadelphia this week in an early game for control of the division.  Think there’s any pressure on Donovan McNabb this week?

6.  Minnesota Vikings (last week: 6, even, season high 4, season low 6)- Brett Favre still looks awful, but Adrian Peterson and the defense were enough to run past Detroit.  Fortunately for the Vikings, it doesn’t look like anyone’s capable of running away and hiding in the NFC, so they still have time to figure it out.

5.  Philadelphia Eagles (last week: 7, up two spots, season high 5, season low 9)- What more can be said about Michael Vick?  He’s redemption personified these days.  At least until he does something stupid again.  Even so, he’s playing out of his mind, and this week, he gets a chance to outshine Donovan and make the job well and truly his.  Still, racking up points against Jacksonville, Detroit and even Washington, who has the 32nd ranked defense in the league, is one thing.  I want to see him do it against an elite defense before I’m convinced.

4.  New Orleans Saints (last week: 1, down three spots, season high 1, seasoning low 4)- Sure, the Saints should have won that game against Atlanta last week, but they didn’t, and they have only their own mistakes to blame.  That, along with the fact that the 49ers outplayed them the week before, and you get a three position drop for the champs.  Now there’s the possibility that Drew Brees may be banged up.  They’d better hope it’s not serious or their title defense will be over by mid-season.

3.  Green Bay Packers (last week: 2, down one spot, season high two, season low 3)- Not to belabor a point but the Packers need a running game.  Aaron Rodgers is great and all, but without some balance, they won’t beat the better teams in the league.  And what’s with all the penalties?  Green Bay looked a little slow on Monday night against the Bears.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (last week: 3, up one spot, season high 2, season low 6)- Since losing in overtime to Pittsburgh, all Atlanta’s done is blow out Arizona like they should have and go into New Orleans and gut out a big divisional road win.  With the Saints, along with just about everyone else in the conference, looking vulnerable, Atlanta can stay near the top spot all season as possibly a (very) early favorite for a playoff bye.

1.  Chicago Bears (last week: 5, up four places, season high 1, season low 10)- The last undefeated team in the conference takes over as number one.  But their record isn’t the only reason.  They’re here because the win in Dallas looks much more impressive after the Cowboys pounded Houston.  And they stood toe to toe with Green Bay and looked every bit as good of a team.  Julius Peppers was dominant, and the Bears D came up big every time it was needed.  Of course, Jay Cutler could always turn back into an interception machine at any time, and that would wreck everything.  But for now, Chicago deserves the top spot.

AFC Rankings

Five Players to Watch

After week two of the NFL season, the NFC still looks like the weaker conference by a wide margin.  This week, Chicago and Tampa Bay made the biggest jumps, each moving up five places, and the Giants fell the farthest, dropping five places.  Here are the full rankings for the NFC following week two.

16.  St. Louis Rams (last week: 16, even, season high 16, season low 16)-  The Rams haven’t lost by big points in either game so far, but they haven’t been impressive, either.  Still, there’s a chance they could show some improvement before all is said and done.  But in order to get out of last place, they need to beat someone.

15.  Carolina Panthers (last week: 13, fell two spots, season high 13, season low 15)-  This is another team that, were it not for a horrendous QB issue, could be much higher.  Rookie Jimmy Clausen gets the start this week after Matt Moore lost the spot from poor play.  Last week, they got beaten pretty soundly at home by Tampa Bay.  Can a rookie QB turn things around?  Don’t count on it.

14.  Arizona Cardinals (last week: 11, fell three places, season high 11, season low 14)-  The Cardinals were totally dominated in Atlanta last week, and that may be a sign of things to come.  The defense is bad, the offense is worse.  Their only saving grace is playing in the worst division in football.  The NFC West has yet to beat anyone outside of its division.  Wonder if they can coax Kurt Warner out of retirement?

13.  Detroit Lions (last week: 15, up two spots, season high 13, season low 15)-  The Lions move up two places despite losing to the Eagles.  Still, they scored 32 points, rookie back Javid Best is a star in the making, and this team may have an actual bright future.  Stafford, Best and Johnson could be the second coming of Aikman, Irvin and Smith in the next couple seasons.

12.  Dallas Cowboys (last week: 8, fell four spots, season high 8, season low 12)-  Has anyone been more disappointing this season than Dallas.  They are poorly coached, mistake prone, and probably not quite as talented as people thought.  Losing to Chicago in Dallas last week hurt, and now they visit Houston.  If the offensive line doesn’t get it together, this will be a five-win season, at best.  So much for playing at home in the Superbowl.

11.  San Francisco 49ers (last week: 12, up one spot, season high 11, season low 12)-  If they only could have stopped turning the ball over last week, this team could have beaten New Orleans handily.  But the couldn’t, and they didn’t.  Still, they have the most potential in the west, but can they get it together? They may be the only team in the division who could get above 8-8, but only if they start winning soon.

10.  Seattle Seahawks (last week: 7, fell three places, season high 7, season low 10)-  After soundly beating the 49ers in week one, Seattle went out and stunk it up in Denver.  How many ways can I say the NFC West is just awful?  Last week, the four teams all lost by a combined score of 112-57.  Are we sure every division winner should get in the playoffs?

9.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (last week: 14, up five places, season high 9, season low 14)-  The close win against Cleveland in week one didn’t convince me, but the big road win in Carolina has started to change my mind.  I still don’t think these guys are a playoff team, but Josh Freeman is playing very well, and the Bucs look to be back on the rise.

8.  New York Giants (last week: 3, fell five places, season high 3, season low 8)-  In retrospect, I likely overrated these guys after the win against Carolina.  Peyton Manning and the Colts really exposed them for what they are, a generally middle of the road team on both sides of the ball.  Eli Manning may have a Superbowl ring, but he is a hollow shell of the player his brother is.

7.  Philadelphia Eagles (last week: 9, up two spots, season high 7, season low 9)-  Oh, Andy Reid and his quarterbacks!  Do you think Donovan McNabb is happy to be out of that circus?  Still, Reid made the right call sticking with the hot Michael Vick.  However, the defense was thrashed by the Lions.  No matter how Vick plays, if that doesn’t improve, there will be no playoffs for Philly this year.

6.  Minnesota Vikings (last week: 4, fell two spots, season high 4, season low 6)-  Sure, the Vikings are 0-2 and Brett Favre looks like a turnover machine, but change a few plays, and Minnesota is 2-0 despite their injury troubles.  The defense is playing well, and I have to believe they’ll get it together on offense eventually.  If they somehow lose to Detroit this week, however, and it’ll make for a big drop.

5.  Chicago Bears (last week: 10, up five spots, season high 5, season low 10)-  After a so-so performance against Detroit in week one, the Bears looked to be average or below.  Then they went into Dallas and handled the Cowboys.  Their offense is clicking, Jay Cutler looks like an all pro again, Matt Forte is on track for a great year, and the Bears could take Minnesota’s place as the second best team in the North.

4.  Washington Redskins (last week: 5, up one spot, season high 4, season low 5)-  Yes, they lost last week in overtime to Houston, but they should have won.  A Hail Mary to Andre Johnson, and a Washington missed field goal  Couple that with McNabb’s emergence last week, and Washington may be poised to take control of the East.

3.  Atlanta Falcons (last week: 6, up three spots, season high 3, season low 6)-  The Falcons looked bad against Pittsburgh, but then everyone has so far.  Matt Ryan and the boys got healthy in a hurry against Arizona last week to the tune of 41-7.  That’s the kind of beating that can get a team on a roll.  If they beat the Saints this week, they are on their way.

2.  Green Bay Packers (last week: 2, even, season high 2, season low 2)-  It was tempting to put the Pack in the top spot this week after their blowout of Buffalo and after the way the Saints played in San Fran, but I didn’t.  Blow out a better team than Buffalo, and they’ll get there.  They’ve won their games by a combined score of 62-27, and look for all the world like the best team in the entire league.

1.  New Orleans Saints (last week: 1, even, season high 1, season low 1)-  Until they lose a game, the defending champagne will stay number one.  If they don’t play better than last week, that loss could be coming from Atlanta.  Oddly, it looks like the offense might be the problem this year, and Reggie Bush is set to miss some time.  The Saints are discovering that repeating may be harder than winning it all in the first place.

Yesterday, I went through the superior AFC.  Now it’s on to the NFC.

16.  St. Louis Rams-  Sam Bradford looks like he might be the real deal, but he’s still a potentially injury prone rookie.  And this could be the year Stephen Jackson finally wears down from being the only game in town.  Losing at home to a hollowed out Arizona team is the beginning of another bad season.

15.  Detroit Lions-  Even without Matthew Stafford, the Lions were an absurd NFL catch rule away from beating the Bears in Chicago.  Still, with Stafford possibly missing half the season, Detroit may see a promising year go up in smoke.

14.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers-  The Bucs held on to beat Cleveland in Tampa last week, which is nice and all, but the Browns are awful.  Josh Freeman may end up as a first rate QB, but the rest of the roster is woefully thin on talent.

13.  Carolina Panthers-  If it wasn’t for the quarterback position, these guys could be amongst the top NFC teams.  As it is, they are probably good enough to lose a lot of close games.  Getting whipped by the Giants last week with three interceptions from Matt Moore makes the start of this season look a lot like last year.

12.  San Francisco 49ers-  Here they are, the it-team in the NFC.  After getting unmercilously stomped by what to even the best estimations is a pretty generally lousy Seattle team, so much for that division title.  If Alex Smith doesn’t show something soon, all that preseason hype will result in nothing more than a high draft pick on a quarterback.

11.  Arizona Cardinals-  The Derek Anderson era of Cardinals football started off with a tight win on the road against the worst team in the conference in St. Louis. With those two, and the 49ers troubles, the league may need an emergency realignment to prevent a 5-11 division winner.

10.  Chicago Bears-  The Bears held on (unlike Calvin Johnson) to win against the Lions.  Not exactly inspiring.  On the plus side, Jay Cutler racked up tons of yards and threw more touchdowns than interceptions.  Matt Forte is going to have a monster season in Mike Martz’ offense.

9.  Philadelphia Eagles-  Ain’t America great?  Michael Vick is the savior of the Eagles’ season.  Everyone in the City of Brotherly Love is channeling memories of Randall Cunningham after his second half performance against Green Bay.  The Eagles are going to the Superbowl!  Well, maybe they should win a game first. 

8.  Dallas Cowboys-  The Cowboys offense looked putrid in the preseason, and looked just as bad losing to Washington last week.  If things on the line don’t improve, Tony Romo’s season could be shorter than expected.

7.  Seattle Seahawks-  Big, big win over San Francisco.  Still, the quality of whipping put on by Seattle rates this high a spot.  But can they keep it?  Hopefully, for the western division’s sake.

6.  Atlanta Falcons-  Losing a close game in Pittsburgh, even without Big Ben, isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Still, Matt Ryan and Michael Turner better turn it on to avoid a .500 season.

5.  Washington Redskins-  A big early-season division win over the Cowboys kicked off the Mike Shanahan era.  If the defense plays like that, they’ll be in the playoff hunt all season.  And Donovan McNabb will settle in eventually.

4.  Minnesota Vikings-  Brett Favre was rusty, the receiver corps was decimated and the Vikings still almost won in New Orleans.  Make no mistake, this team will be a factor all season.  The only question is can they keep up with Green Bay in the division.

3.  New York Giants-  The Giants beat Carolina in New Jersey thanks to Matt Moore interceptions.  Still, it was a big win and until they prove otherwise, they deserve a high spot in what looks like a fairly weak conference overall.  But remember, they started 5-0 last year and we know how that turned out.

2.  Green Bay Packers-  The Pack was probably the most impressive team in the first week, at least until Michael Vick started channeling his Falcons days.  They went into a hostile environment and gave it to the Eagles.  They did lose Ryan Grant for the season, and that could be a problem, but they’ll wins lots of games.  This is the season we get a Favre against Green Bay playoff game.

1.  New Orleans Saints-  Holding Minnesota to single digits was impressive but for the Vikings issues on that side of the ball.  The offense didn’t produce like it needs to, but Minnesota is no slouch on defense , either.  I still have concerns about the Saints defense, namely their total reliance on turnovers.  Still, they beat one of the best few teams in the league and they are the defending champions.  Until someone beats them, they’re number one.