Tag Archives: Kelvin Benjamin

Eagles-Panthers: Five Numbers I Hope to See in the Box Score Around Midnight

Last week we hit on three of these numbers as the Eagles evened their road record to 2-2 down in Houston.

Tonight, Mark Sanchez will try to channel his inner Jeff Garcia, as the Eagles aim to improve their home record to 5-0 against the somewhat struggling Carolina Panthers. In fact, prefacing ‘somewhat’ before the word struggling might be a bit generous here.

The Panthers have not won since October 5 and have averaged 12 points in their past three contests, all losses. Let’s hit the five numbers I believe could push the Panthers losing streak to four and the Eagles to a 7-2 record:

  1. Cam Newton completing less than 60 percent of his passes — The Panthers are 1-1-1 and averaging 26.7 points per game when their quarterback completes more than 60 percent of his passes this season. They are 1-4 in games where he does not. In a Monday Night game at the Linc back in 2012, Newton carved the Eagles mess of a secondary up, completing 64 percent of his passes. Hold him below the 60 benchmark tonight, and the Eagles should be in good shape.
  2. Less than 70 receiving yards for Kelvin Benjamin — The Panthers rookie receiver is an absolute stud. He was my favorite receiver in a stacked draft class, and despite guarantees by some doubters that he would be a bust, Benjamin’s rookie year has been very solid so far. I hate that I have to root against him, but he’s the one player on the Panthers offense who scares me. The Eagles secondary has surprised before against big receivers (think back to them holding Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey in check last season). Hopefully they can do it again.
  3. At least six receptions by Jordan Matthews — Sanchez loved throwing to the rookie receiver in the preseason and looked his way on his third pass last Sunday for a nice touchdown down the seam. Matthews has had an up and down rookie season but put in some good work with the Eagles then backup quarterback over the summer and has a chance to make it count here.
  4. LeSean McCoy averaging more than four yards per carry — After a super slow start to the season that had half of Philadelphia going off the deep end, the Eagles Pro Bowl running back seems to be finding his groove. He quietly entered Week 10 fourth in the league in rushing and has averaged 5.2 yards per carry over his last three games, twice going over the century mark. The Eagles are 3-1 this season when the focal point of their offense averages more than four yards per rush and 10-5 going back to the start of the 2013 season. Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 7.37.54 PM
  5. Less than two turnovers for the Eagles offense — I am budgeting at least one interception for Sanchez, because well, that’s what Sanchez does. Going back to his 2012 Jets days, he has thrown at least one interception in five of his last six starts. At some point, turnovers could easily catch up to this team, so taking care of the football in terms of fumbles and not adding to the total that Sanchez is likely to start will be key. The next turnover free game the Eagles play will be their first of the season. That might be a lot to ask for tonight, but keeping the number to one should give them a decent chance to win the game.

There we go. 60, 70, six, four, two, and the Eagles hopefully standing at 6-2 at midnight Monday night.

Fist pump away, Chip.

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Feeling Lucky: 2014-2015 NFL Predictions

The Seattle Seahawks will put a halt to a near-decade long streak, becoming the first team since the 2005 New England Patriots to win a playoff game coming off a Super Bowl title.

Pete Carroll’s squad will do more than just win one game in January though. They will once again represent the NFC in Glendale on February 1, 2015, but the Seahawks will not repeat as champions.

If you picked up on the subtle headline hint, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts will dethrone the Legion of Boom and hoist the Lombardi Trophy nearly five months from now.

Andrew Luck rises, Russell Wilson nearly does it again, Nick Foles takes another step forward, Colin Kaepernick takes a small step back, and Robert Griffin’s slide continues.

That and more as we predict team-by-team records and how the playoffs will play out below.

You can choose for yourself how much stock you put in my predictions. Last season, I did nail Seattle as my preseason Super Bowl champion but picked them to beat the Texans in the big game so…welp.

I cannot promise that I will be spot on. If I could, I might as well be in Vegas right now, but unlike hack Mike Freeman, I will try to hold myself accountable if they are embarrassingly bad.

Without further ado, let’s hit it.

NFC East

Eagles (11-5) (2)

Giants (8-8)

Redskins (6-10)

Cowboys (5-11)

Thoughts: It would be a big surprise if the Eagles do not win this semi-comfortably, and if things go according to plan, they will jump out to a quick one-game lead over everyone after this weekend. The Giants are not as bad as some seem to think but won’t be good enough to seriously challenge for a wildcard spot. Redskins and Cowboys bring up the rear in a relatively weak division.

NFC North 

Packers (10-6) (4)

Bears (9-7)

Vikings (8-8)

Lions (5-11)

Thoughts: The Seahawks can make just about an squad look bad, so I’m not reading into the Packers loss last night a ton. Aaron Rodgers hides a lot of their flaws, but they will once again find a way to take the division. The Bears come up just short again, the Vikings are a pleasant surprise, and the Lions remain the Lions.

NFC South

Saints (10-6) (3)

Bucs (8-8)

Panthers (8-8)

Falcons (7-9)

Thoughts: Always the toughest division to handicap. I think the Saints are a cut above the rest and expect Tampa Bay to be better now that they are free of the Greg Schiano experience. I love me some Kelvin Benjamin, but who else is Cam Newton throwing to outside of Greg Olsen? The Falcons get the honor of being the best last place team in the league.

NFC West

Seahawks (13-3) (1)

Cardinals (10-6) (5)

49ers (10-6) (6)

Rams (3-13)

Thoughts: It nearly happened last year, and this season it actually will — Three playoff teams out of the wild, wild west. Seattle avoids the Super Bowl hangover. I am no Bruce Arians fan, but that Cardinals team is solid. They beat out the 49ers, but Jim Harbaugh’s squad overcomes a rough start to grab the final playoff spot in the conference. The Rams win the Jameis Winston/Marcus Mariota sweepstakes.

AFC East

Patriots (11-5) (3)

Jets (8-8)

Dolphins (7-9)

Bills (4-12)

Thoughts: The more things change, the more things stay the same. The Pats roll once again while the Bills sit in the cellar. The Dolphins and Jets hang around but can’t quite crash the playoff party.

AFC North

Bengals (10-6) (4)

Ravens (8-8)

Steelers (7-9)

Browns (4-12)

Thoughts: Andy Dalton once again gets the Bengals to the playoffs and once again loses in the first round. The Ravens just miss for two straight years. I would have had the Steelers with another win or two a month ago, but they just looked awful in the preseason. Johnny Manziel gets the gig pretty early and Cleveland but makes numerous NFL front offices breathe a sigh of relief that they passed on him last May.

AFC South

Colts (12-4) (2)

Texans (9-7) (6)

Jaguars (5-11)

Titans (4-12)

Thoughts: The Colts have this thing clinched by Week 12 with the Jaguars and Titans as complete afterthoughts. Bill O’Brien works his quarterback magic and gets the Texans to the playoffs in Year 1.

AFC West

Broncos (13-3) (1)

Chargers (11-5) (5)

Chiefs (8-8)

Raiders (3-13)

Thoughts: The Broncos cruise to another division title as they play out the schedule hoping for redemption in the playoffs. Mike McCoy’s Chargers take another step forward while Andy Reid’s Chiefs take a slight step back. The Raiders remain the Raiders, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Playoffs: 

AFC Wildcard Weekend

Chargers over Bengals

Patriots over Texans

NFC Wildcard Weekend

Saints over 49ers

Cardinals over Packers

AFC Divisional Playoffs

Colts over Patriots

Broncos over Chargers

NFC Divisional Playoffs

Eagles over Saints

Seahawks over Cardinals

AFC Championship Game

Colts over Broncos

NFC Championship Game 

Seahawks over Eagles

Super Bowl

Colts over Seahawks

Would love to hear your predictions if you have any because FOOTBALL BACK

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