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Tag:Philadelphia Eagles
Posted on: December 10, 2008 10:43 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2008 10:45 pm
 

AFC North: the early lines - Fun with numbers!

This week offers a range of opening lines confronting the teams in our favorite conference, the AFC North.

-- The Bengals (1-11-1) are touchdown underdogs at home to the Redskins (7-6). The Bengals are now in "13 down, three to go" mode, while the Redskins struggle to maintain relevance in the NFC East. The Redskins desperately need a win. The Bengals are still wondering if Carson Palmer will play in the last two weeks of the season (puh-leeeeeeeezzzzz!!!).  Considering how the Ravens picked the Redskins apart last week, the Bengals may have a shot here. Wait, who am I kidding! But, you know I'll be watching and rooting for my favorite bunch of perennial NFL losers!

-- In what may be the Game of the Week, the Ravens (9-4) are two-point favorites at home against the Steelers (10-3). The Ravens have hit their stride, and the Steelers continue to find ways to win in close games. This is a showdown of epic proportions. The Steelers need the win to stay atop the AFC North. A Ravens win would bring a tie for the conference lead and make the last two games on their schedules that much more meaningful for both teams. Pittsburgh enters the game on a four-game win streak, including last week's late-game emotional win over the Cowboys. The Ravens enter the game on a three-game streak of their own, including 29+-point wins over the Eagles and the Bengals and a two-touchdown win over the Redskins last week. Whichever way it goes, both these teams are likely destined for the playoffs. The line is less than the usual field-goal tip of the hat for home-field advantage, so this is essentially a "pick 'em" game.

-- The Browns (4-9) travel to meet the Eagles (7-5-1), who are two-touchdown favorites. The Eagles are 2-1 since the tie against the Bengals and feeling the momentum after a 48-20 win over the Cardinals and an important 20-14 conference win over the rival Giants. The Eagles need a win to keep pace with the Cowboys and the Redskins in the AFC East, since the Giants already have clinched the division and a playoff spot. The Browns enter this game on a three-game losing streak, including a 28-9 loss last week to the Titans. Even though their record is better than the Bengals', I believe the Browns are already in "Let's get this thing over with" mode, much as the Bengals are. The spread seems a bit generous, but with the Eagles at home on a roll and the Browns ready to call it done for this year, the Eagles could put it on them.

Look for an in-depth Redskins versus Bengals preview before this week's game.

GO, BENGALS!!

GO, AFC NORTH!!

Posted on: November 16, 2008 8:17 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2008 10:05 am
 

Bengals let Eagles off hook, settle for tie--II

The Bengals should have won this game, the first NFL tie in six  years. The defense held Brian Westbrook to just 60 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards, a key to stopping the Eagles' offensive attack. I was fairly sure Westbrook would put up 100+ on the ground. Too bad the Bengals couldn't make this achievement stand up on its own, but that unfortunately fails to account for Donovan McNabb.

The defensive line could not consistently pressure McNabb. Safety Chris Crocker, a defensive standout for the game for the Bengals, got a sack, and so did defensive end Robert Geathers, but that was not enough to stop McNabb from going 28 of 58 for 339 yards and a touchdown. McNabb also threw three interceptions, which the Bengals were able to turn into 10 points, but those were mistakes by McNabb with a Bengals defender in the right place at the right time. McNabb threw to 10 different receivers, three of them for 60+ yards each. So, even with the three interceptions, McNabb was the difference in this game for the Eagles.

There were more than a few opportunities for the Bengals to score and finish this one off, but the offense just couldn't quite get it done. Ryan Fitzpatrick played well, hitting 29 of 44 for 261 yards and a touchdown to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Housh had 12 catches for 149 yards and the TD. And Fitz did not throw an interception today! On the disappointing side, Cedric Benson ran the ball 23 times for 42 yards. Chris Perry and Kenny Watson had a combined two carries for 5 yards, and Perry was absolutely horrible on his one and only reception, a failed screen pass for -4 yards.

Dropped balls didn't help the Bengals effort either, with more than one receiver giving up easily catchable balls. I noted in another thread that Fitz wasn't a very good back-up to Carson Palmer. He has improved every time out, but still has not played what I would consider a "complete" game. Just a little more from him today could have put the Bengals over the top. Maybe that little more could have come from a few more catches by the receivers.

Can't say much for their play calling either. The Bengals are very predictable on the offensive side of the ball, which seems to handicap them regularly. And clock management ruined a potential fake punt play, which resulted in a delay of game call instead.

For the Bengals, a tie is almost as good as a win. The team avoided their typical late-game letdown. The defense stayed in it for four quarters. Too bad the offense couldn't back it up again. It shouldn't have come down to a 47-yard field goal attempt by Shayne Graham. Graham had already put up 6 points in the game, and they should have at least been able to get him a little closer.

Now the Bengals head to Pittsburgh for a Thursday night game against the Steelers. Can't wait to see the line on this one!

Around the AFC North . . .

--Speaking of the Steelers, they just pulled out a squeaker against the Chargers 11-10, the first time in NFL history a game has ended in that score. Ben Roethlisberger had his sixth career 300-yard game in the victory. The Steelers' next game is against the Bengals at Pittsburgh this Thursday night.

--The Ravens lost to the Giants 30-10. I thought this game would be much closer, but it looks as if somebody finally solved the run defense of the Ravens, with Ahmad Bradshaw getting nine carries for 96 yards and Brandon Jacobs getting 11 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens have Philadelphia at home next Sunday.

--The Browns play the Bills tomorrow night at Buffalo in the Monday Night feature.

Posted on: November 16, 2008 5:44 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2008 8:23 pm
 

Bengals let Eagles off hook; settle for tie

NOTE: THE CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG IS THE SAME AS THE "II" VERSION, BUT I WANTED TO BE ABLE TO POST THE "II" VERSION SEPARATELY. I'M WORKING ON A WAY TO POST AN UPDATE, AS NECESSARY, AND ALLOW PEOPLE WHO HAVE READ THE FIRST BLOG POSTING TO ALSO SEE THE UPDATED MATERIAL. MY APOLOGIES FOR ANY CONFUSION!

The Bengals should have won this game, the first NFL tie in six  years. The defense held Brian Westbrook to just 60 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards, a key to stopping the Eagles' offensive attack. I was fairly sure Westbrook would put up 100+ on the ground. Too bad the Bengals couldn't make this achievement stand up on its own, but that unfortunately fails to account for Donovan McNabb.

The defensive line could not consistently pressure McNabb. Safety Chris Crocker, a defensive standout for the game for the Bengals, got a sack, and so did defensive end Robert Geathers, but that was not enough to stop McNabb from going 28 of 58 for 339 yards and a touchdown. McNabb also threw three interceptions, which the Bengals were able to turn into 10 points, but those were mistakes by McNabb with a Bengals defender in the right place at the right time. McNabb threw to 10 different receivers, three of them for 60+ yards each. So, even with the three interceptions, McNabb was the difference in this game for the Eagles.

There were more than a few opportunities for the Bengals to score and finish this one off, but the offense just couldn't quite get it done. Ryan Fitzpatrick played well, hitting 29 of 44 for 261 yards and a touchdown to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Housh had 12 catches for 149 yards and the TD. And Fitz did not throw an interception today! On the disappointing side, Cedric Benson ran the ball 23 times for 42 yards. Chris Perry and Kenny Watson had a combined two carries for 5 yards, and Perry was absolutely horrible on his one and only reception, a failed screen pass for -4 yards.

Dropped balls didn't help the Bengals effort either, with more than one receiver giving up easily catchable balls. I noted in another thread that Fitz wasn't a very good back-up to Carson Palmer. He has improved every time out, but still has not played what I would consider a "complete" game. Just a little more from him today could have put the Bengals over the top. Maybe that little more could have come from a few more catches by the receivers.

Can't say much for their play calling either. The Bengals are very predictable on the offensive side of the ball, which seems to handicap them regularly. And clock management ruined a potential fake punt play, which resulted in a delay of game call instead.

For the Bengals, a tie is almost as good as a win. The team avoided their typical late-game letdown. The defense stayed in it for four quarters. Too bad the offense couldn't back it up again. It shouldn't have come down to a 47-yard field goal attempt by Shayne Graham. Graham had already put up 6 points in the game, and they should have at least been able to get Graham a little closer.

Now the Bengals head to Pittsburgh for a Thursday night game against the Steelers. Can't wait to see the line on this one!

Around the AFC North . . .

--Speaking of the Steelers, they just pulled out a squeaker against the Chargers 11-10, the first time in NFL history a game has ended in that score. Ben Roethlisberger had his sixth career 300-yard game in the victory. The Steelers' next game is against the Bengals at Pittsburgh this Thursday night.

--The Ravens lost to the Giants 30-10. I thought this game would be much closer, but it looks as if somebody finally solved the run defense of the Ravens, with Ahmad Bradshaw getting nine carries for 96 yards and Brandon Jacobs getting 11 carries for 73 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens have Philadelphia at home next Sunday.

--The Browns play the Bills tomorrow night at Buffalo in the Monday Night feature.

Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:10 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2008 3:10 pm
 

Eagles early favorite by 7 1/2 vs. Bengals @ PBS

The Eagles have been installed as a 7 1/2 point favorite against the Bengals this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

I think the Bengals CAN win this game. WILL they win this game? Who knows. Depends on which team shows up. Fitz is starting. He's gotten more comfortable, but he is not Carson Palmer, as we all know. The Bengals found their running game finally last week with a good performance by Cedric Benson, but can Benson, and the offensive line that gave him the chances, duplicate that effort? If we have the same running game as last week, and add a little more passing to the offense, the Bengals have a chance.

Of course, the Eagles will be carrying a full load of rude after losing to the Giants this past Sunday. They will be ready for a romp. It's up to the Bengals to make home field advantage mean something again this week. Bryan Westbrook apparently is still nursing a high ankle sprain and has said he is still not 100 percent good to go, though he is likely to play. I'd rather see Westbrook healthy, but this could play to the Bengals' advantage. Despite losing to the Giants, Donovan McNabb threw three touchdown passes, each to a different receiver, indicating that he has good weapons available to test Cincinnati's secondary.

The combination of McNabb, Westbrook and the Eagles' receiver corps may prove too much for the Bengals' defense as a whole to handle. And the Bengals haven't shown a propensity this year for putting up a lot of points, so the early returns on this one don't look so good for the Orange & Black Attack.

I'll have more later after I can compare numbers for this game.

AROUND THE AFC NORTH . . .

-- The Steelers are 3 1/2-point favorites against the Chargers at home this Sunday. I like the Steelers in this game as they look to bounce back from a close loss to the Colts. The Chargers must travel almost coast-to-coast after having trouble holding off a stubborn Chiefs team Sunday. I don't see the Steelers losing three consecutive home games, and they know they need to keep pace with Baltimore at the top of the otherwise weak AFC North.

-- The Ravens are 6-point underdogs as they head into a Sunday matchup with the Giants. The Ravens are coming off a big win over the Texans at Houston, but face the third of three consecutive road games against a strong Giants team that comes in on a four-game win streak. I think the Giants win this one, but the score may be closer than the line indicates. The Ravens are now tied at 6-3 with the Steelers in the AFC North, so they won't go down without a fight.

-- The Browns are 6-point underdogs to the Bills at Buffalo on Monday night. The Browns are mired in a two-game losing streak after a 10-point loss to the Ravens and a narrow loss to the Broncos which they could have won. The Bills are stuck in a three-game losing streak of their own, and may find themselves out of the playoff hunt unless they can re-capture some of their early season magic. The Browns have nothing to lose, but the Bills need a win. I like the Bills in this one, but, again, I think it will be closer than the line indicates.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com