The Friggin Playoffs

Posted: January 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 78 Comments »

Are you excited yet?

Nervous?

It feels like a lifetime ago that the Eagles were in the playoffs. LeSean and DeSean were Eagles stars. Chip Kelly had a bright future. The backup QB at North Dakota State was some dude that nobody ever heard of.

How things have changed.

Can the Eagles win this game? Yes. Hell yes.

The Falcons were a better team last year. The Eagles were worse. But the Eagles and their rookie QB still beat the high-flying Falcons in November of 2016.

I know the Eagles played flat against Oakland and then struggled against Dallas. I also know the Eagles beat the Raiders and would have beaten the Cowboys if the starters played more than a quarter. No matter who is at QB, this is a talented team.

The Eagles are also clutch and I think that matters in the postseason.

  • The Eagles were great at the end of the first Giants game and won that on the 61-yard field goal.
  • The Eagles ran out the clock against the Chargers, giving them no chance to make a comeback.
  • The Eagles made the key players to keep Carolina from coming from behind.
  • The 4th quarter of the Rams game told us a lot about both teams. The Rams played nervous. The Eagles, even with Nick Foles in the game, made key plays and won.
  • The Eagles held off the Giants comeback attempt with a huge 4th down stop.
  • The Eagles came up with a late pick to go down and beat the Raiders.

That’s not luck. That’s not Carson Wentz.

That is a team that is strong on the line of scrimmage, has playmakers and also a stud FG kicker.

The Eagles are rested, healthy and ready to go.

Celek has been through just about everything in Philly. His first game is when Greg Lewis couldn’t field a punt and the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to Brett Favre and the Packers. Celek was part of the team in 2008 when they got to the NFC title game and looked like a team of destiny. He was there for the Michael Vick Experience in 2010. he was there for rock bottom, when the 2012 Eagles went 1-9 in the last 10 games of the year. Celek was part of the Chip Kelly magic in 2013, when things seemed so promising. And of course he’s been here for Wentzmania.

Celek knows what it means to be an Eagle. He competes on every snap. You get max effort whether that is blocking a DE or catching a pass and trying to run over a DB. Celek gives you his all.

Teammates see that. They respect it. That’s why Celek’s words will mean a lot. He’s not a star. He’s not the most talented player. But he’s a friggin Eagle through and through and he plays his ass off. That’s a man you respect.

The Eagles won’t win this game because of heart or effort or crowd noise. They need to execute. They need to play smart. They need to make plays.

The team did those things most of the year. You don’t go 13-3 by accident.

But Foles, Foles, Foles!!!

NFL.com writer Chris Wesseling wrote a preview and picked the Eagles.

I think there is a lot of truth in what Chris says. Strange things happen in the postseason.

That doesn’t mean Kenjon Barner will run for 150 yards or Derek Barnett will have 7 sacks, but don’t be shocked when a player like Foles has a bounce-back game and makes people say “Where did that come from?”.

I think Ike Reese hit the nail on the head here.

Just do your job.

_


  • bsuperfi

    Hell yeah. Let’s go birds.

  • xeynon

    Thought that just occurred to me – if Foles played decently against Oakland (not even as well as he did against the Giants, just okay) – Eagles fans are probably wildly overconfident heading into this game instead of (in many cases) wildly pessimistic.

    • Someguy77

      The line opened at -2.5 and is now at -3 (it was there on Thurs). The money line is at -160 for Atlanta and hardly moved as well.

      If 75% of the public had been wagering on the Falcons, the line would have moved more than that. It would -3.5 or -4 now.

      • xeynon

        I actually undershot it – according to Bovada, only 23% of the public are betting on the Eagles, and the public is betting on the Falcons heavily not only in terms of proportions but also volume – this game has attracted 5x as much action as any other game this weekend:

        http://www.phillyvoice.com/eagles-are-only-underdogs-because-we-believe-it-be-true/

        There are two reasons the line might not move much in response to these kinds of numbers.

        The first is that the books are taking in enough huge money bets on the Eagles to counterbalance the bets on the Falcons in dollar value if not in total number of bets placed.

        The second is that the oddsmakers think that Falcons +3 is a bad bet and are confident that they stand a good chance of making a ton of money off of all the people who lose it.

        Note the difference between the published odds and what the probabilistic computer models (which is what the pros actually use to predict outcomes as opposed to set lines) say.

        Also watch to see what happens tomorrow before kickoff – wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a ton of action come in late on the Eagles as the “sharps” put their money in.

        • Someguy77

          Really surprises me. It must be large money bets on the Eagles to keep the spread or moneyline from hardly moving.

          • xeynon

            Could well be, we have no way of knowing really.

            Regardless, whenever there’s a public stampede toward a team, I get very wary.

            What’s odd is, while I am bullish on the Eagles’ chances of winning this game, I’m fairly bearish on their chances of beating either the Saints or the Vikings in the NFC Championship. If the Eagles do win this game I wonder if we’ll see a big swing back in their favor next week among the betting public.

          • Someguy77

            I’m mixed and have no real strong feeling for this game one way or other. Hence I didn’t bet.

            I did take the Titans at +14. That a ridiculous line and the Pats have only covered 2 out of 5 times in the playoffs when the line is -13.5 or more against them.

            In the regular season, it is only 42% of the time.

          • xeynon

            Interesting. I have no bets on the games this weekend other than now meaningless picks in a pick’em pool from which I’ve already been eliminated, but I picked the Pats to cover that one. It is a lot of points, but the Titans are not a playoff caliber team and I think Gronk is going to light them up much as Kelce was doing last week before going out hurt.

            Still though, that Patriots defense is really suspect and I think there’s a not insignificant risk of the Titans scoring late for the backdoor cover. I wouldn’t put money on the Pats if I didn’t have to pick one side or the other for this pool.

          • Someguy77

            Pats’ run defense has been trash all year and finally starting Henry was the best thing to happen to the Titans. Pats have small ILBs and small DEs too with the Titans having a notable size advantage in the run game.

            Mariota is finally a bit more healthy in a year where he has had seemingly every body part injured (playing on a surgically repaired ankle, lingering hamstring issue early on, undisclosed shoulder injury, sprained knee) too.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2018/01/11/five-reasons-the-titans-can-upset-the-patriots-stop-laughing/

            I don’t see an upset coming but all of a question of whether the Titans can keep it close enough and/or willing to keep running Henry even when down 2 scores.

          • xeynon

            I think if they get down two scores (which I believe they will) they’re going to go away from Henry.. I also think Belichick is going to devise a defensive game plan that takes Henry away as neutralizing an opponent’s best weapon is something he’s great at. But we’ll see.

            Thanks, you actually got me intrigued by this game!

          • P_P_K

            Good luck. It’s cool that you got the full 14 and not 13.5.

  • Someguy77

    McManus has been harping on this stat all week: “The Falcons are 11-0 this season when they score 20 or more points, and 0-6 when they don’t.” He has the Eagles 23, Falcons 17.

    For a change, I agree with him completely.

    It is going to be tough or the Eagles to get to 20+ points. Need some help with a turnover or two from their defense to set them up for really good field position and/or a special teams play to set them up even if it just results in a FG.

    • BlindChow

      smh low key disrespect for Foles in that last paragraph imo.

      • Someguy77

        Nah. Falcons’ defense has only given up 20+ points once in the past 7 games (vs Bucs when they gave up 21 points in Week 15).

        • BlindChow

          The lowly Bucs? Foles eats the Bucs for breakfast!

          5 TD vs 0 INT baby!

    • xeynon

      Given the weather conditions, I think it will be difficult for either team to score more than low 20s tomorrow without the aid of a turnover or big ST play. I fully expect this to be a 17-13 or 20-17 type of game, regardless of who wins it.

      • Someguy77

        Yeah. Falcons have struggled in the red zone time in the NFL all season (23rd) and haven’t been much better including last week vs Rams.

        I see a lot of FGs tomorrow especially since game time is supposed to be 29 degrees with winds of 13-15 miles per hour.

        Apt conditions for two teams that want to run a fair amount anyways.

        If the Falcons do win, I see Jones having a monster game (11-12 tackles including 1-2 for a loss) similar to what Wagner did vs Eagles when he was seemingly all over the place.

    • Guy Media

      Our D line should smash Atlanta’s O-line; not had to see how we keep them under 20 if we don’t turn the ball over.

  • CrackSammich

    Well, if we lose, it’s not going to hurt as much as if we went into this healthy and lost like the Rams.

    • xeynon

      Good reason both that Pederson should win CotY over McVay and that Eagles fans should be optimistic about the future: the Eagles have already accomplished more than the Rams did this year despite poor injury luck, while the Rams didn’t make it as far as the Eagles have despite excellent injury luck.

    • BlindChow

      Totally agree. If we lose, we can comfortably tell ourselves we would have won if only Wentz were still playing…

      The Rams had everyone healthy but just weren’t good enough.

      • Ark87

        Our IR is a shockingly talented group. Every team deals with it, but usually it’s a bit more random. The injury bug went right for the jugular this year. Kudos to the birds for not rolling over yet.

      • xeynon

        Hey look, we mostly agree on something!

        There’s always the completely unexpected bizarre outcome where it wouldn’t apply (e.g. our offense plays great but we lose a shootout), but under most scenarios in which we lose this game yes, having Wentz would be something that could’ve plausibly made the difference.

        The crazy thing is I think there are also a good number of loss scenarios under which having Peters or Hicks makes the difference, and a few under which having Sproles makes the difference as well. Our injury luck in terms of losing impact players really has been remarkably bad.

  • Masked Man

    About 9 hours to kickoff. Already hyped!

  • Guy Media

    I’m really pumped for a big win today! Just dominate both lines, especially in the running game, and the rest will take care of itself. If it doesn’t and we wind up losing, there are some guys who will be held to account.

  • Dan in Philly

    Prediction: all home teams win this weekend and everyone acts like they knew it all along.

    • Guy Media

      I’d love it; especially on the NFC side. Recent history say one home team will lose; I hope that team is Pittsburgh. Worst fan base left in the post season.

      • Dragon_Eagle

        New England. How crazy would it be to see the Titans knock off the Patriots?

        • SteveH

          I’d laugh. I watched the Titans last week though and it took Andy Reid’s usual bumbling and a twice in the history of the NFL play to pull off the upset, so I would probably take the Pats at -13.5

      • CrackSammich

        I’d rather PIT win than NE, but if it makes you feel better, both will be in QB hell within the next few years. Sure, they’ll make some noise with the remaining talent, like DEN has been. But that will be over soon enough. And you’ll see who the actual fans are and who just liked winning.

      • CrackSammich

        I’d also submit that we are probably the worst fanbase left in the postseason. If and when Carson turns All World, we are going to just be the absolute worst winners. Just the fucking worst

        • xeynon

          I fully understand why people who aren’t Eagles fans hate Eagles fans. I hate us myself half the time.

        • Dragon_Eagle

          I am so looking forward to that day.

        • Allen3000

          New England Patriot fans didn’t exist prior to the 21st century. Just using some anecdotal evidence here, but my sports-crazed cousins who grew up in Boston (and still reside there) NEVER discussed the Patriots or wore Patriots gear until they became a dynasty. Prior to that it was all Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins. So nah, I think Eagles fans are definitely a few notches above Patriots fans. It’s pretty tough to compete with Pittsburgh fans – they’re generally passionate and supportive. Minnesota fans seem very passionate and loyal too, but I don’t think they’re any better than Eagles fans.

      • xeynon

        My home team likelihood of losing, in order from most likely to least:

        1.)Minnesota
        2.)Eagles
        3.)Pittsburgh
        4.)New England

        With a fairly large gap between (2) and (3). I wouldn’t be shocked at all if either NFC team lost. I would be shocked if either AFC team lost.

    • xeynon

      People will definitely act like they knew it all along regardless of what happens. E.g. if the Eagles win the same pundits who are saying they’ve got no shot this week will be telling us how it was dumb to write off a number one seed next week, and probably overstating their chances in the NFC Championship.

    • Mac

      I don’t normally make predictions for an entire slate of games, but since it’s only 4 games I’ll give it a shot.

      I’ll take:

      1. Eagles
      2. Titans
      3. Saints
      4. Steelers

  • Allen3000

    All this waiting has us hyper-focusing on every possible advantage/disadvantage heading into this game. We all have what we feel is/are the most essential factor(s) that will decide the game. The reality is that this is playoff football and every game takes on a life of its own.

    For me personally, I just want to see this team maximize it’s potential and execute the coach’s game plan. Keep it simple. Pound the rock, feed our playmakers, and protect the football. Defense needs to consistently pressure the QB, take better pursuit angles, and wrap up ball-carriers. Keep *Atlanta out of the endzone and generate some turnovers in the process. I do believe this will be a low scoring game so the team that can generate more TDs as opposed to FG’s will have the ‘schematic advantage.’ To me this will be the difference; which team will be able to generate more points in the redzone. Right now, both teams offense’s are more methodical and don’t rely too much on big plays (though we can’t sleep on their WRs). Not having Wentz – who is arguably the most dangerous QB in the NFL in the redzone this season – definitely hurts us. However, with creative play-calling and execution from Foles, we can certainly generate some TDs.

    My prediction: close, nail-biter. Eagles D will carry the team to victory.

    Eagles 23 Falcons 19

    I won’t be shocked if it sways the other way though. I’m remaining optimistic, but am realistic about our chances with Wentz out. Regardless of what happens, it’s been a wildly successful season and I am extremely optimistic for our future.

  • Ark87

    Took a month long bye, and now we’re finally here. Team had plenty of time to get it’s crap together and no shortage of motivation. No excuses today.

    Feeling good about this one. Underdogs in Philly? It’s a familiar and comfortable feeling I’ve come to relish. I want to see heart-broken Falcons. I want to see surprised sports analysts eat crow. I want to see all these comfy dome teams come to Philly, not NOLA or a Minnesota. NFC championship game indoors? Outrageous! Eagles got to win!

    • xeynon

      If the Eagles win my biggest dose of schaudenfreude will be reserved for all the people who lost money betting against them.

  • scratcherk

    Seems like our staff is safe? Schwartz doesnt seem to be front runner for any HC job. Flip could be in play for AZ. Houston hired Gaines for GM

    • CrackSammich

      Are we certain that all the firings are done?

      • xeynon

        Who else is a candidate to be fired? Most of the guys who were rumored to possibly be on the hot seat have either already survived almost two weeks after the end of the regular season (Koetter, Gruden, Jackson, etc.) or have gotten themselves to the point where firing them would be a very tough sell (Mularkey). It would be very unusual to fire anyone at this point.

    • xeynon

      Flip is almost certainly going to be hired to be an OC somewhere even if he doesn’t get a head coaching job.

      • Duracell

        I guess anyone destined to be a head coach is going to have confidence in themselves, but this seems like a riskier path to becoming a head coach. If his offense doesn’t perform well, he’ll be out of the HC running for at least a year. Staying on another year as the Eagles’ QB coach seems like the safer play, but again, I guess that’s not how Flip looks at it.

        • xeynon

          That is an interesting twist.

          The thing is, his contract is up, so he’ll have his pick of any job on offer without having to worry about permission. I kinda suspect he’ll want to put more playcalling experience on his resume.

          • Duracell

            I totally agree that will be his approach, but I think it carries more risk than he or others expect.

          • xeynon

            It does, but staying on as QB coach here entails risk as well. What if Carson regresses statistically somewhat next year as is quite possible especially given his injury? The bloom could go off Flip’s rose for something that’s not even his fault.

          • Duracell

            Fair point. That could certainly take some of the shine off. I figured that wouldn’t be held too much against him, because of course Carson is going to regress next year coming of ACL surgery.

          • xeynon

            Agree with you it shouldn’t be held too much against him, but I’m not sure if it won’t. Front offices don’t always evaluate these things rationally.

      • Tom33

        I keep wondering if the Eagles move on from Reich and promote Flip to OC here.

        • CrackSammich

          They can play the game where they make Reich Assistant Head Coach and Flip OC, but as far as Flip’s future, he’d probably be better off being exposed to a different staff to expand his knowledge base, even if that experience is a poor one. He’s young. He’ll get his chances at some point. But learning under a Super Bowl winning coach is experience you can’t buy.

    • TXEaglesFan

      Flip is being linked to Seattle OC

      • xeynon

        That would be a good move for him. Russell Wilson is an amazing toy for any play designer/play caller to work with. Decent skill guys. They just need a couple of bona fide NFL linemen and they have the makings of an outstanding offense. They’ll likely need it too since the era of dominant Seattle defenses appears to be coming to an end.

  • Masked Man

    6 hours before game time… Still feeling hyped!

  • Duracell

    I woke up this morning feeling irrationally confident.

    • xeynon

      I’m cautiously optimistic – 60/40 we win the game.

      • Duracell

        That’s where I was at all week until I woke up this morning, and the feeling hasn’t faded.

        • xeynon

          To be fair 70/30 optimistic is about as far as I ever go in terms of confidence about the outcome of a single game – too many outcomes I never saw coming over the years have made me unable to be irrationally confident.

          • jshort

            They should be well rested, prepared, and pissed off about being home dogs. Been optimistic no matter who we were going to play. Besides who’s going to argue with you, be afraid of getting the crazy eyes.

          • xeynon

            Hah one thing I’ve realized is that I have a tendency to come across as way more intense on the Internet than I actually am in real life (like a lot of people I suppose).

            I agree with your analysis of the Eagles’ situation, though I do think it helps that we’re playing the Falcons and not the Saints.

      • Howie Littlefinger

        I think i’m going to get drunk today lol

        I only drink a few times a year but today might be a good day for it!

        IF the Eagles win and Pats lose I will feel so damn good!

        • xeynon

          Some friends of mine invited me out for a group outing to watch the game – thing is, none of them is from Philly and the people in the group are Ravens, Steelers, Browns, 49ers, and Seahawks fans. I said “you don’t want to watch an Eagles game with me, trust me, but I’ll join you guys afterwards ready to either celebrate or drown my sorrows”.

          • Howie Littlefinger

            HAHHA good stuff, U need better friends tho!

  • bobeph

    besides folks on here, no one is giving the birds a chance, cept mcmanus

  • GermanEagle

    GE is LIVE from Philly. And it’s frigging cold!! Playoffs baby!

    • Reservedly Optimistic

      Enjoy! Fly Eagles Fly!!!

  • Masked Man

    Almost down to 4 hours until game time!

    Eeeeeeyeeeoowwwwwww! Go Eagles!

    • P_P_K

      Time is moving slow…

  • Masked Man

    Brian Dawkins said:

    “Gimme whatcha got! Domination! Snot Bubbles! Crazy Eyes! Whatever…!”

    Hype videos on Bleeding Green Nation.

    https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2018/1/13/16887732/eagles-hype-videos-featuring-brian-dawkins-super-fired-playoff-game-falcons-philadelphia-watch-atl

  • P_P_K

    My pick: Eagles win, 20-17.
    What’s yours?

    • Masked Man

      Eagles 23-22.

      • P_P_K

        Does Elliott kick the game winner as time runs out or in OT?

    • xeynon

      Same as yours scorewise. To make things interesting I’ll throw in a few prop bet type predictions:

      Eagles:

      Foles plays OK but not great. Maybe on the order of 200 yards, a TD, and a QB rating of 85+. After the game, whether they win or lose he’s not considered the main reason why.

      Ajayi gets 20+ carries and goes over 100 yards.

      The Eagles hit a big running play on some kind of a non-standard handoff (jet sweep, reverse, etc.).

      The defense forces 2+ turnovers and sets up if not scores one of the Eagles’ TDs.

      Falcons:

      Matt Ryan finishes with a QB rating within 10 points of Foles’.

      Julio Jones has a big game in terms of catches/yards but the rest of the Falcons’ receiving corps is fairly quiet.

      The Falcons move the ball effectively at times but struggle scoring TDs which keeps the game close.

      • P_P_K

        Great minds think alike.

  • Howie Littlefinger

    Us beating ATL last year says as much about them as it does about Philly.

    If we give the Falcons a reason to fold I believe they will. If they have to pass and become one dimensional we will win.

  • Nailed It!

    Now that game time is here I am over being negative with Nick, LETS GO EAGS! 24-21 EAGLES!!!! Defense gets at least a touchdown today.

  • Nailed It!

    Carson Wentz makes his way to the field pic.twitter.com/NqTXuZkviQ— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) January 13, 2018

    MY QB