Tag:LeSean McCoy
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:20 am
Edited on: December 2, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Teammate thinks Jackson is '[messing] around'

Jackson isn't interested in talking to reporters about the current state of his game. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The big story this morning isn't that that Marshawn Lynch has come out of nowhere to be one of the league's best running backs this season. Or that "the plan" Pete Carroll referred during training camp really does include Tarvaris Jackson, who has played well in recent weeks.

DeSean's forgettable season
Instead, as is often the case anytime the Eagles play, the big story is DeSean Jackson, the mercurial wide receiver in the last year of this rookie contract who plays with all the urgency of a shorts and t-shirt minicamp workout. Following Philly's latest loss, a 31-14 effort against the Seahawks on Thursday night, Jackson admitted that he's "frustrated with losing," but when one of his teammates was asked if Jackson was completely in the game he said, "No, he's [messing] around." 

If the plan is to sleepwalk through the current season for his current team and alienate the 31 others that might've had interested during free agency then mission accomplished, DeSean.  Otherwise, we have no idea what Jackson's doing and his "plan," unlike Pete Carroll's, is not only ill-conceived but it's going to cost him a lot of money.

Against the Seahawks, Jackson finished the game with four catches for 34 yards. Alone those numbers don't mean much. Without watching you might think that the Seahawks double-teamed Jackson, or that maybe the game plan was to feature LeSean McCoy. And at times, both were true. But Jackson's performance is mostly about his apparent unwillingness to … well, try.

"Actually there were quite a few plays called for him," head coach Andy Reid said. "They were making an effort to double him and move a safety in."

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote Friday morning about Jackson staring into oblivion while quarterback Vince Young tried to talk to him on the sidelines.

"If that's what they saw, that's what they saw," Jackson said of the cameras, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I don't have to sit here and answer them questions. My teammates know what it is."

And during pregame warm-ups, Jackson was hanging out with the defensive ends as the other wide receivers worked together.

"I'm not answering none of that type of question," said Jackson. "If you're going to ask something about the game, do that. . . . Next question."

Two weeks ago, Jackson told NFL Network's Michael Irvin that he's in the Larry Fitzgerald-Calvin Johnson range when it comes to his worth. Fitz makes $15 million this season, Megatron almost $9 million.

"I think right in that range," he said at the time. "Maybe top-5 in the NFL. ...My playmaking skills and abilities, my punt returns, and the ability to get the ball and score on any play. I mean, Fitzgerald, he's a special receiver -- don't get me wrong -- but he doesn't play special teams so that adds an extra edge to it."

In theory, yes. In practice, Fitzgerald has been just as dangerous on special teams this season as Jackson. And much more consistent at wide receiver, and that's with John Skelton throwing him passes.

NFL Network's Marshall Faulk got it right two weeks ago: "Showing up to any meeting late is definitely not a good way to handle (things) when you want money from a team."

Not showing up at all is even worse.

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Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Eagles rule out Vick, Maclin; McCoy questionable

Posted by Will Brinson



Michael Vick hasn't played for the Eagles in two weeks and he won't suit up for Philadelphia on Thursday in Seattle either, as the Eagles officially ruled the quarterback out for the primetime game against the Seahawks.

Vick's rib injury means that Vince Young will once again start for Philly and it's unlikely that Vick will even travel to Seattle for the short-week game.

Also ruled out for the Eagles Thursday were wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hamstring and shoulder injuries), cornerback Dominiqeu Rodgers-Cromartie and (ankle) tackle King Dunlap.

Running back LeSean McCoy and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha were also listed as questionable on Wednesday's injury report, though McCoy -- now the team's most important weapon on offense -- is expected to play.

In short, Philly hasn't been playing well and they're really banged up. So while heading across the country on a short week is typically a nightmare, perhaps it'll be nice to stay away from home for a game that could potentially anger the already riled up Philadelphia fans.


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Posted on: November 28, 2011 10:05 am
 

Report: Eagles assistants had to be separated

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As if things couldn’t get any worse in Philadelphia, there were reports after the Eagles 38-20 loss to the Patriots that assistant coaches Marty Mornhinweg and Jim Washburn got into a verbal confrontation on the sideline and actually had to be separated before it got physical.

Week 12 in review
And it actually occurred when Philadelphia was still leading New England.

According to CSN Philly, the two have not had problems with each other before, and while there’s been no official word on why the two went after each other on the sideline Sunday, the Philadelphia Daily News speculated that Washburn -- the defensive line coach -- didn’t appreciate the play-calling of Mornhinweg, the offensive coordinator.

Particularly during the second quarter when the Patriots were in the middle of a 17-point spree and Mornhinweg continued calling for pass after pass (you’ll note that Vince Young threw for 400 yards but LeSean McCoy only recorded 10 carries). At one point, the Eagles went three-and-out on three incomplete passes, not giving Philadelphia’s defense enough time to rest.

Which might have contributed to a terrible second quarter for the Eagles defense. Not to mention an upset Washburn.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:15 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 11

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 10 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

 

1. Bear Down

The only thing surprising about Chicago's 31-20 victory -- their fifth-straight win -- over the Chargers was that the Bears let San Diego keep it that close. But not all is good news in Chicago right now, as multiple reports indicate that quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a broken thumb during Sunday's game, may need surgery and could be lost for the season.

At a minimum, Cutler's likely to miss six weeks, so let's assume he's done for the regular season. So can the Bears still make the playoffs? Well, surprisingly, yes, but it obviously won't be easy.

If the Bears beat three of their final six opponents (we'll guess the Vikings, the Seahawks and the Chiefs) they'll finish 10-6. No one from the NFC West will cause any damage and it looks like Chicago just has to fight off the Giants or the Cowboys, the Lions and the Falcons.

They've got the tiebreaker over Atlanta, although right now the Bears lose out to the Lions because of division record. (Fortunately for them, Detroit has to play Green Bay twice.)

And Chicago has a formula for winning games without a ton of offense. The Bears defense knows how to score and Devin Hester can alter the outcome of a game every time he stands back to return a kick. The passing game should all but disappear, however.

Which means that Chicago will lean heavily on a below-average offensive line and ... Matt Forte.

Perhaps they should reconsider their stance about paying him after all.

2. Little Giants

Everyone always expects the Giants to swoon late in the season (because it's something they do, which is fair I suppose) but this year looked different after New York's win over New England two weeks ago and a tough loss in San Francisco last week.

Until Sunday night, when the Giants coughed up a 17-10 loss to the Vince Young-led Eagles anyway.

"This is as big a disappointment as we have had around here in a long time," coach Tom Coughlin said Sunday.

It should be, because things aren't going to get easier for Coughlin's squad any time soon. They face the Saints in New Orleans next week and then welcome the potentially undefeated Packers to New York in Week 13 before squaring off against the Cowboys in Dallas in Week 14.

That's about as big a nightmare as a schedule can be for an NFC East that just kicked itself out of the playoffs, and the Jets still loom, as does a second matchup with Dallas.

The Eagles wanted to give away this game too. DeSean Jackson had a ridiculous taunting penalty that (also somewhat ridiculously) resulted in a loss of 50 yards for the Eagles. Vince Young had three terrible picks. LeSean McCoy never really got going (53 yards on 22 carries before his final 60-yard run to end the game). Riley Cooper was the top receiver.

But the Giants wanted it less, and couldn't get any offense going, as receivers egged on easy passes and the offensive line got no push. Some of the playcalling was suspect, and it put the Giants in a pretty untenable position late in the game.

Which is probably fitting since that's where their 2011 season stands as well.

And even though it's OK to anticipate a Giants swoon, let's hold off on talking about the Eagles running the table just quite yet, please. We were here three weeks ago when they handled the Cowboys too.


3. Missing Pieces

One look at Cincinnati's 31-24 loss to Baltimore, and it's pretty clear how much the Bengals missed wide receiver A.J. Green and cornerback Leon Hall.

Andy Dalton got a shot at boosting his Rookie of the Year stock on Cincy's final drive, but came up short when the Ravens defensive line stepped up in a big way in their own red zone. Dalton missed Andrew Hawkins on first down, was busted for intentional grounding on second, threw incomplete to Jerome Simpson on third and was sacked by Pernell McPhee on fourth. One has to wonder how the goal line playcalling changes if Green's in the game.

On defense, the previously stout Bengals unit was gashed by the Ravens own rookie, Torrey Smith. Smith notched six catches for 165 yards, one touchdown and a number of different catches where he was wide open but made some fantastic grabs on throws from Joe Flacco that was a bit off.

There were three big plays that stand out for Baltimore's passing game: a 35-yard touchdown catch by Anquan Boldin (he was wide open), Smith's 38-yard TD (also wide open) and a 49-yard bomb that Smith reeled in near the goal line, where he just torched Nate Clements (watch below).


It's clearly not a coincidence when a team loses its best cornerback and subsequently gives up a bunch of big passing plays the next week.

And lest we leave this game without pointing out the obvious, the Ravens won once again when Ray Rice was productive and got more than five carries. That's not a coincidence either.

4. Silent Bob Strikes Back

Three weeks ago, Kevin Smith was unemployed, sitting at home, doing nothing. Or signing himself to various Madden rosters, which is even more depressing. On Sunday, he piled up 201 all-purpose yards, revived the Lions rushing attack, and was the catalyst in a 49-35 comeback win for the Lions over the Panthers that kept Detroit at the forefront of the NFC Wild Card race.

It's an awesome story, and Smith deserves all the love he's getting from analysts and all the love he got from the Detroit sideline every time he scored on his three touchdowns.

Three questions stand out to me with respect to Detroit's playoff hopes. 1) Can they avoid early deficits? 2) Can Smith sustain this success? 3) Did Matthew Stafford get healthy at halftime?

With no running game and an injured Stafford, the Lions look like the walking dead against Chicago last week. It was much of the same story in the first quarter against the Panthers, as Stafford threw two picks, looked terrible and the Lions mustered less than 10 yards on four rushes. But a Keiland Williams fumble with 2:30 left in the first quarter gave way to Smith, and he started off his second-chance Lions career with a 43-yard run and followed it up with a 28-yard touchdown catch on the next play.

If Smith is the answer -- and I'm not completely sold yet, but only because a one-legged homeless guy off the street could put 100 yards on that Panthers defense -- and Stafford's healthy, the answer to question No. 1 should be "yes."

We'll find out when Detroit plays Green Bay (twice) and New Orleans over the next six weeks whether they can avoid needing comebacks to win. If they can, there won't be a question about whether or not the Lions are playoff-worthy.

5. More Like a Tropical Storm

For 149 consecutive weeks of NFL action, a former Miami Hurricane has scored a touchdown. Consider that there are 17 weeks in each NFL season, and it works out to more than eight and a half years since a Hurricane failed to score in the NFL. That's bananas.

And yet we sit here, heading into Monday night's Patriots-Chiefs matchup and no member of "The U" has scored in Week 11. (Yes, this is considerably ironic since the 'Canes announced Sunday they wouldn't accept a bowl bid.)

Complicating matters for fans of Miami is the fact that it's pretty unlikely that a Hurricane will score on Monday night. There are only two players left that went to school in Coral Gables: Allen Bailey, a rookie defensive end for the Chiefs who's played in nine games, started none and recorded four tackles, and Vince Wilfork, veteran defensive tackle for the Pats who's inexplicably got two interceptions this season.

Wilfork's the best bet to score, but it'll almost certainly have to come on a fumble in the end zone or a red-zone interception. We've already seen Wilfork try to take on to the house this season, and it didn't work well.

So if you see Bill Belichick trot Wilfork out in a goal line formation during a late-game blowout, you know why. Of course, that alone would totally be worth seeing "The U" continue to tout itself as a producer of fine athletics.

Perhaps the craziest part of Miami alums not scoring? As pointed out Monday by my colleague Bruce Feldman, ex-Cane Kellen Winslow scored a touchdown but it was called back because he pushed off a defender. That defender was Sam Shields ... also a Miami alum.

6. The Jermaine Gresham Rule

I understand that Gresham actually fell victim to the "Calvin Johnson Rule" but he might deserve his subsection at the very least if/when the NFL addresses this disastrous rule.

See, the rule got the nickname when Calvin Johnson lost possession in the end zone. But that's the key -- he was in the end zone. Johnson caught the ball there and then lost it there. (Watch here at the 2:20 mark.)

Gresham, on the other hand, actually crossed the plain with possession. He had his feet in-bounds.

If he was a running back, we wouldn't have this issue, right? I'm pretty sure we wouldn't. Because possession would've been established (vis-a-vis the handoff, etc).

Technically, the officials got the call right, because Gresham lost possession as he fell to the ground, and he didn't make a "football-related move" inside the end zone.

But if you are in possession of the ball and cross the plain with said possession, that should be a done deal, right there. That's the reason why the goal line extends in hypothetical perpetuity. If a running back dives into the end zone over a big pile of people and fumbles after the ball's crossed the plain, it's a touchdown.

But if a wide receiver crosses the plain with possession of the ball, gets a freaking foot into the end zone and then doesn't maintain control all the way to the ground -- even if he had possession before he got into the end zone! -- it doesn't count?

Come on. That makes no sense. Let's fix it, please.

7. Chris Johnson Is 'Back,' Alright

Over the last week, I was repeatedly blistered by people who didn't believe me when I said that Chris Johnson was not "back" to his CJ2K form, despite a 130-yard rushing effort against the Panthers.

I watched that game closely, and what stood out to me was that Johnson's effort and burst and general running ability didn't mesh with the statistics he produced.

After Sunday's 23-17 loss to Atlanta, well, there's no question that Johnson's 2011 season remains lost. The Titans leading rusher in Week 11 was Matt Hasselbeck (one carry, 17 yards). Matt Ryan had a higher yards-per-carry average than Johnson. There were nine -- NINE! -- quarterbacks with more rushing yards than Johnson in Week 11, and it was almost ten as well as two on his own team:


If you take out Johnson's "long" run of the day, he finished with seven rushing yards on 11 carries. That's just flat-out embarrassing and any opponent with a modicum of rush defense can shut him down and make him ineffective.

That's really quite a shame, too, because Hasselbeck's renaissance season would be a lot more interesting with a rushing attack.

And while I'm doing rookie Jake Locker a disservice by not pointing out how good he was in backup duty for Tennessee, it's not as big a disservice as Johnson is doing to the team and the rookie quarterback who might have to overcome one of the most-talented backs in the NFL getting paid and totally disappearing from relevancy.

8. Moore Please

There's a fun little debate about whether the Dolphins, on a three-game winning streak that seemed unfathomable just, um, three weeks ago -- or the Bills -- on three-game losing streak after holding with the AFC East lead as late as the middle of October -- are the bigger story after Miami knocked Buffalo around 35-8.

But maybe the bigger story is the convergence of these two teams on a metaphorical NFL elevator, with the Dolphins trying their best to get out of the lobby and the Bills falling like Dennis Hopper rigged their ride.

To me, it might just be more about these two teams playing closer to what we expected. Buffalo's early-season run was an awesome storyline, but it was unsustainable, particularly with the loss of Eric Wood at center and Kyle Williams on the defensive line. Add in defenses figuring out that the Bills don't have a legit deep threat, and it's no surprise that they're not winning anymore.

Although considering the ridiculous amount of money they handed Ryan Fitzpatrick, they'd probably like to see something resembling offense. At least there aren't a ton of great quarterbacks in this upcoming draft class!

The Dolphins will likely be taking a quarterback at some point in the upcoming draft, but the question is how high they'll be picking, and that largely depends on how sustainable Matt Moore's current level of play under center is. Well, history tells us it's actually possible for him to succeed the rest of the way in.

In 2009, while playing with the Panthers, Moore stepped in for Jake Delhomme and closed out a lost season with a shocking 4-1 record for Carolina that saw him average 16 of 25 passing (62.7 percent) for 198 yards and two touchdowns per game. And that was in a John Fox offense, no less.

Don't expect him to backdoor the Pro Bowl or anything, but don't be surprised when the once-hapless Dolphins keep playing spoiler because Moore keeps streaking.

9. Best Draft Class ... Ever?

I've noted in this spot a couple times in the past few weeks that the 2011 NFL Draft class is one of the best we've seen in a long time, and maybe, dare I say, ever.

The first seven picks of the draft have been outstanding thus far into the season, and that doesn't even factor in Andy Dalton or DeMarco Murray, who might be the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year honors.

Well, two more guys made their mark on Sunday for this class.

Jake Locker entered the game for an injured Matt Hasselbeck against the Falcons on Sunday, and proceeded to nearly lead the Titans to a comeback, completing nine of 19 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Atlanta was up 23-3 at the time, so it's not like they were playing their opening-game defense, but Locker looked darn good in relief duty and the Titans should be excited, even though Hasselbeck will remain the starter.

Prince Amukamara, who the Giants took at 19th overall when he fell past Houston, made his first start on Sunday and also picked up his first career interception, while generally looking like a veteran against the Eagles. And yes, it still counts as an interception, even if Vince Young threw it.

10. Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Early in the season, the Thanksgiving games contained only a little bit of drama, thanks to the Harbaugh family reunion in Baltimore. But suddenly we've got three of the best games in the NFL taking place on Thursday, and one of the most memorable Turkey Day slates we've seen in a while.

All six teams playing on Thursday won on Sunday and, collectively, those six teams are on a 26-game winning streak this season.

The Lions and Packers square off with Detroit getting its first shot at ending the Packers undefeated season, the Cowboys have a shot at really generating some separation in the NFC East as they host the inexplicably hot Dolphins and the Ravens/49ers square off to determine who gets all the pie at the Harbaugh household.

It's a collection of three fantastic games and it's almost enough to make me boycott my family's lunch-time festivities away from electronics. Thank goodness for DVR. And 200-person pot-luck lunches.

MUFFED PUNTS

Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Cam Newton set the rookie record for rushing touchdowns on Sunday (twice, technically) as he's got nine on the season now.
... Aaron Rodgers is just the second quarterback in history to throw for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his team's first 10 games; the other was Tom Brady in 2007.
... 2011 is the first season in NFL history to feature three quarterbacks with 3,000 yards and 20 or more touchdowns through 10 games, as Rodgers, Drew Brees and Brady all met the criteria this year.
... The Dolphins became just the third team in NFL history to win three straight games after losing their first seven or more games.
... After Keloah Pilares' TD return, six 100-yard kick returns have happened so far in 2011, which is one short of the NFL record.
... The Lions became the first team in NFL history to record three comebacks of more than 17 points in a single season on Sunday.

WORTH 1,000 WORDS


GIF O' THE WEEK

No Michael Vick and too many Vince Young interceptions make Andy Reid go something-something.


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Mike Shanahan: Six losses in a row for the Redskins, who showed some promise by only losing in overtime. Or something.
  • Norv Turner -- The Chargers keep collapsing and there's nothing promising about their schedule. Three games against Jacksonville, Denver and Buffalo have to mean 2-1 at worst, or it might be time for Turner to move on.
  • Todd Haley: If the Pats whip the Chiefs on Monday night while the Raiders and Broncos keep winning, his seat just gets warmer.
  • Jim Caldwell: The Colts were upset by their bye. What can I say?
  • Steve Spagnuolo: I don't really understand the heat, but it's there.
  • Tom Coughlin: Also don't understand this heat, but let's just go ahead and get out front on this before the fans do.

Chasing Andrew Luck

Colts (-1000): Haha, but no really, they were upset by their bye. Do you see?
Vikings (+125): See: below.
Panthers (+150): The Colts have to win two games.
Rams (+250): Again, it would require the Colts winning games.
Redskins (+300): If only they hadn't won three games early.

MVP Watch

Despite playing -- ahem -- "poorly," Aaron Rodgers is still the clear-cut favorite to win the MVP at season's end. I'm not sure what it would take to derail him, but I think it's probably an injury and an injury only. Tom Brady's got a shot to come from the outside because he's Tom Brady and the Pats schedule stinks, but if the Packers go undefeated, he won't have a chance. Meanwhile, I still like Tony Romo to get darkhorse candidacy by Week 14. Maybe we should just talk about the other awards.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 6:40 pm
 

LeSean McCoy: 'I think we can run the table'

Posted by Will Brinson

We're all in agreement that the Eagles dream season is over already, right? OK, good just checking. Because if you feel differently, you might actually agree with what LeSean McCoy is going to say on your television Sunday night.

In an interview with Bob Costas, McCoy says he believes Philadelphia can "run the table" in 2011.

"I think so," McCoy says to Costas, per Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk. "Not only me, but everyone in that locker room thinks the Eagles can win out.  The talent is there.  You ask defenses that we play; when they turn the tape on they don’t see a 3-6 team.  I think if we just take care of the small things we are in good shape.  I think we can run the table."

Now if there was any team not named the Packers with a good chance at going on a talent-fueled run from the depths of the NFC, it would probably be the Eagles.

Unfortunately, the talent that gives the Eagles such an opportunity has been trumped thus far this season by poor planning and worse execution.

Since taking down the Cowboys two weeks ago, the Eagles have found themselves back on the schneid, losing back-to-back games to the Bears and Cardinals. Given how poor they looked in all areas against those teams, maybe McCoy and his teammates would be wise to simply worry about Sunday night's game against the division rival Giants, instead of looking to the end of the season.

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Posted on: November 19, 2011 6:55 pm
 

Umenyiora looking forward to meeting with McCoy

McCoy, Umenyiora

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You’ll recall last June when Osi Umenyiora was going through a contract dispute with the Giants, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy tweeted his opinion of the matter.

Here’s what he wrote: "Overrated n soft 3rd best d-line on his team honestly."

As you can imagine, Umenyiora didn’t appreciate McCoy’s analysis, and as a result, he said, “She can say whatever he wants about it." The “she” to which he was referring was McCoy, and Umenyiora also let us know that McCoy goes by the nicknames of "Chihuahua" and "Lady GaGa” in the New York locker room.

Now that the Giants and Eagles are set to play Sunday (minus some of Philadelphia’s best talent, Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin), this five-month-old story was revisited this week. Umenyiora still is holding a grudge.

“What he did was unforgivable,” Umenyiora said, via the NY Daily News. “Do you understand what I mean? Because whenever you see a man in a contract dispute, a fellow NFL player, you don’t take that opportunity to take your shots at him. You wait until you’re about to play him, then you take your shots. . . . This, if he was going to say something, should have been the week he said some things like that.”

I suppose I can kinda sorta see Umenyiora’s point, but honestly, if Umenyiora is the third-best defensive linemen on his team (and I suppose with Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, it’s a possibility), don’t you think the Giants already would know it. It’s not like they’d need to take advice from an opposing running back on how much money they should pay their personnel.

McCoy has been quiet this week in regards to Umenyiora, and without Vick in the lineup, the Giants will focus more of their attention on slowing down the Eagles running game. And that has Umenyiora excited about reacquainting himself with McCoy.

“He ran his mouth,” Umenyiora said of McCoy. “He crossed the line that shouldn’t have been crossed. I’m not really concerned about that. I’ll see him on the football field, and we’ll go from there.”

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Posted on: November 12, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 11:04 pm
 

For the gambler in you, Week 10

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Each Saturday, we’ll take the best -- and most clever -- odds collected by bodog.com for the upcoming week and give our take. This is important stuff, perhaps the most important post you’ll read all week. Because if you can’t lose money while watching a game in which you have absolutely no effect, what’s the point of watching sports at all?

Will Aaron Rodgers break the single season passing record of 5084 yards? (Note: He’s on pace for 5,238 yards) 

Yes 3/1    

Rodgers can’t continue to be this superhuman, can he? He has to slip up at least once or twice this year, right? I’d go with no, but I also wouldn’t feel very confident about that pick.

Will Patrick Peterson break the single season punt return touchdown Record of four? (Note: He currently has three through eight games)

Yes 4/1

We’re halfway through the season, and Peterson can’t figure out why teams continue to punt to him. But you know what? Teams occasionally still punt to Devin Hester -- and he, along with Gale Sayers -- are the two best kick returners of all time. Peterson might not get as many chances, but he’ll get some. And he’s so damn good, I think he could notch two more. I’d go yes, even if it’s a bit of a longshot.

Odds to win the 2011 MVP?      

Aaron Rodgers (GB) QB 1/4

Matt Forte (CHI) RB 7/1

Drew Brees (NO) QB 12/1

Eli Manning (NYG) QB 12/1

Frank Gore (SF) RB 12/1

Tom Brady (NE) QB 12/1

Calvin Johnson (DET) WR 15/1

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) QB 22/1

LeSean McCoy (PHI) RB 30/1

Adrian Peterson (MIN) RB 30/1

Obviously, Rodgers is the easy call, but at 1/4, you’re going to have to lay a ton of money in order to make any money back. If you want a long shot, I’d go Frank Gore. He’s been one of the most underrated players this season, and after a slow start, he’s rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the past five games. Since the 49ers could well end up with more than 12 wins, doesn’t Gore deserves some consideration?

When will the San Francisco 49ers clinch the NFC West division?
      
Week 11 5/1

Week 12 3/1

Week 13 3/2

Week 14 11/2

Week 15 9/1

Week 16 12/1

Week 17 20/1

In this weak division, I’ll go early. Week 12 sounds good to me.

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 9:01 am
 

Tuck says Eagles have to build chemistry

McCoyPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck -- his team comfortably three games in front of Philadelphia for the NFC East lead (and two games in front of the Cowboys) -- has no problems talking about the Eagles problems.

But Tuck also realizes how dangerous that team can be, and in an interview with Jim Rome on Tuesday (via PFT), he actually was somewhat complimentary.* Somewhat, anyway.

“I think everybody expected a little bit more [of the Eagles],” Tuck said. “I think with the talent they have on their football team, they can be one of the most dangerous teams in the league. When they put it together, the thing I was quoted saying is, ‘You can’t buy championships.’ And what I meant by that is, you’ve got to build chemistry.

“You can have all the talent in the world. (But) if you’re not out there playing as one, if you’re just 11 individuals, you’re not gonna beat anybody in this league. And I think right now that’s some of the issues that they’re having. Nobody can question how talented they are, nobody can question how good of a coach Andy Reid is. Everybody knows that. You need more than talent in this league, because every team has talent.”

Clearly, even with that talent, the Eagles have struggled with chemistry. They looked off-kilter and, frankly, terrible at times during the first five games of the season when they went 1-4. But then, Philadelphia seemed to figure out how to win, beating the Redskins and dominating the Cowboys.

Against the Bears on Monday night, the Eagles went back to playing atrociously for much of the game. Obviously, Tuck is right. The Eagles DO have plenty of talent -- Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Peters, Jason Babin, and the vaunted cornerback trio. But for whatever reason, the team still isn’t on the same page, and with eight games left in the season, Philadelphia is running out of time to find it.

While Philadelphia still has to play the Patriots, the Giants and the Jets, that’s nothing like the brutal schedule the Giants face in the final half of the season. So, hypothetically, there’s still time to catch up. But considering the Giants are playing damn good football, beating New England last week in the process, a division title for the Eagles might be a lost cause anyway.

*He even refrained from calling LeSean McCoy “Lady Gaga," which was pretty nice of him.

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