2009 College Football Playoff

.... And then there were two. We are down to the final two teams in our college football playoff, and it is a great game with the #3 and #4 seeds, Cincinnati and TCU, respectively.

Mr. Green: Cincinnati
Roget: TCU
Dr. G: TCU
Jack Flack: TCU
Willard: TCU
Hollywood: TCU
C-Money: Cincinnati


TCU takes the national Championship in a very close game. Congratulations to the TCU Horned Frogs, the 2009 Kotite's Corner National Champions.

So what does this all mean? Did the BCS get it right this year? Once again, the answer is a resounding 'No.' In fact, the question "Did the BCS get it right?" is a stupid question to be begin with, because the BCS cannot get it right, the BCS is not right to begin with. The BCS means a computer chooses two teams to play for the National Championship. Whether the two teams selected are the best two teams in the nation is meaningless. There are plenty of teams this year who haven't lost a single game, including TCU and Cincinnati, who will not get to play for the National Cahmpionship. There are arguments for and against all of the top teams, which is why we need a playoff system in college football. Division I-AA, and all Divisions below that have a playoff system.

College basketball will always be better than college football, because of college basketball's playoff system, March Madness. Did anybody ask whether UNC and Michigan State deserved to play for the National Championship last season? Did anybody ask whether March Madness got it right? No, because March Madness is a great playoff system, which always features classic, memorable games, upsets, buzzer beaters, and memories. A playoff system in football would probably create the same result.

To close our 2009 college football playoff, here is the final bracket, and how the tournament played out.

6 Eagles Make Pro Bowl

Six Philadelphia Eagles players were selected to the Pro Bowl, which may be the most since 2004-2005. The players selected were Leonard Weaver, DeSean Jackson, Jason Peters, Trent Cole, Asante Samuel, and David Akers. Most are also starters.

Since only 1 fullback is chosen, Leonard Weaver is the starter there. DeSean Jackson also is a starter, and will start opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Jason Peters will be the starting tackle, along with Bryant McKinnie. That is 3 starters on the offensive side of the football.

On defense, Asante Samuel will be starting at the one corner, opposite Charles Woodson. Trent Cole will back up Julius Peppers and Jared Allen at the defensive end spot. David Akers is the lone kicker.
Hopefully the Eagles actually send 0 players to the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl this season is the weekend before the Super Bowl, so both Super Bowl teams obviously will not be sending anyone to the Pro Bowl, so the alternates are important. Donovan McNabb is a 1st alternate at QB.

Also, 3 Pitt Panthers made the pro bowl - Larry Fitzgerald, and Darrelle Revis, who were basically locks before the season, and punter Andy Lee of the San Francisco 49ers.

Eagles Clinch First Round Bye With Win

The Eagles will clinch the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye if they beat the Cowboys on Sunday. You had to know that this Eagles-Cowboys matchup the final weekend of the season would be meaningful, and it is for both teams.

Because the Vikings lost last night, the Eagles and Vikings now have identical records. The Eagles hold the tiebreaker over the Vikings with the better conference record, and thus control their own destiny for that #2 seed. However, the Eagles can drop completely out of that spot, and drop to as low as the #6 seed if they lose to the Cowboys possibly. The Eagles have a lot to gain from a win this weekend, and unfortunately, they have a lot to lose. In fact, the Cowboys who sit at #6 in the NFC right now, could still end up with the #2 seed and a first round bye. If the Eagles, Vikings, and Cardinals lose, and Cowboys win, they take the #2 seed, and the Eagles will fall to the 5th or 6th seed.

If the Eagles lose to the Cowboys, and the Vikings and Cardinals both win, the Eagles would be the #5 seed, and would travel right back to Dallas for a first round playoff matchup. If the Eagles lose to the Cowboys, and the Vikings win, and the Cardinals lose, the Packers also jump the Eagles, and the Eagles drop to the #6 seed. In this scenario, the Eagles would also travel back to Dallas to play the Cowboys. There are also scenarios where the Eagles could lose, drop to the #5 or #6 seed and play the Vikings, if the Vikings lose their game, and Cardinals win.

So, a win would be huge for multiple reasons as you can see. You do not want to have to play in Dallas twice in a row, and in my opinion, you never want to play a divisional opponent for the 3rd time of the season in the playoffs. Should be a very interesting weekend.

2009 College Football Playoff

The final two teams are set, and we just saw the first two major upsets of the tournament with the top two seeds both going down in the semi-final matchups. The remaining two teams square off in the Rose Bowl. The matchup is as follows--

#3 Cincinnati vs. #4 TCU - Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA.

It will be interesting to see how this game plays out. The explosive spread offense of Cincinnati led by Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard against TCU, who has maybe the best defense in the nation.

Here is the updated bracket--

2009 College Football Playoff

The final four teams are set and we are ready to go with the games. Two good matchups square off with #1 Alabama facing off against #4 TCU, and #2 Texas playing #3 Cincinnati. The winners advance to play in the National Championship game in the Rose Bowl.

Mr. Green: TCU
Roget: TCU
Dr. G: TCU
Jack Flack: TCU
Willard: TCU
Hollywood: TCU
C-Money: Alabama


Mr. Green: Cincinnati
Roget: Texas
Dr. G: Cincinnati
Jack Flack: Cincinnati
Willard: Texas
Hollywood: Cincinnati
C-Money: Cincinnati


Upset alert - Both top seeds go down. This is huge. Neither game was close either. TCU wins in a landslide over Alabama, and Cincinnati wins in a landslide over Texas. This is why they play the games. Well, in real life, they actually don't, but if they did, something like this could happen. We will never know, and unfortantely for TCU and Cincinnati, they will not get a chance to play for the National Championship in real life. However, they will get to play for the 2009 Kotite's Corner National Championship.


2009 College Football Playoff

Well, the 2nd round games were played, and there really has not been an upset yet in terms of how the teams were seeded. The final four teams are now set, and will match up at 2 randomly chosen sites. The final four matchups are as follows--

#1 Alabama vs. #4 TCU at Cowboys stadium in Dallas, TX.
#2 Texas vs. #3 Cincinnati at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

These are some great games that we all would love to see played out on the field. It will be interesting to see if the underdog, TCU, can stay alive against the #1 overall seed.

Here is the updated bracket--

College Football Playoff

We are down to the final 8 teams of our 2009 college football playoff. Of the 8 teams, there is 2 SEC teams, 2 non-BCS teams, 1 ACC team, 1 Big 12 team, 1 Pac-10 team, and 1 Big East team. The only major conference not represented is the Big 10 (Big 11).

Mr. Green: Alabama
Roget: Alabama
Dr. G: Alabama
Jack Flack: Alabama
Willard: Alabama
Hollywood: Alabama
C-Money: Alabama


Mr. Green: TCU
Roget: Florida
Dr. G: TCU
Jack Flack: TCU
Willard: Florida
Hollywood: TCU
C-Money: Florida


Mr. Green: Oregon
Roget: Texas
Dr. G: Texas
Jack Flack: Texas
Willard: Texas
Hollywood: Oregon
C-Money: Oregon


Mr. Green: Cincinnati
Roget: Boise State
Dr. G: Cincinnati
Jack Flack: Cincinnati
Willard: Boise State
Hollywood: Boise State
C-Money: Cincinnati


The #1 overall seed Alabama cruises into the Final 4, and the other 3 games come right down to the wire. TCU edges defending National Champion Florida 4-3. Texas barely survives an upset big by Oregon and wins 4-3. Cincinnati, the Big East champion survives Boise State, and wins 4-3. The final 4 is now set. We have the SEC champion, the Big East champion, the Big 12 champion, and underdog TCU. These are the top 4 seeds in the tournament, so the seeding held up.

Eagles Lose Jamaal Jackson For Season

Jamaal Jackson's season is over after he tore his ACL yesterday on a routine passing play. Jackson was blocking his man, backpedaling, and his ACL tore. Jackson isn't the greatest center in the league, but he has been the one staple on the offensive line this season, and in years past. He is consistent, and he was the veteran leader on this offensive line. It is not very good timing to lose a leader like that going into the biggest game of the season.

Nick Cole will replace Jackson at center, and has filled in before, but has never started a game there before. I'm assuming a week of work will be fine, but the Eagles almost made a huge mistake yesterday when McNabb and Cole botched a snap, which almost caused a turnover or safety. Max Jean-Gilles will probably start at right guard now, taking Cole's starting spot there. If only we have one of the Andrew's brothers. Reid said that Stacy Andrews could get into the mix, but Andrews has been a healthy scratch for a while, as he has no push, and isn't very good anyways. Former Pitt Panther Mike McGlynn will probably suit up and back up at center and guard.

College Football Playoff

....And then there were eight. The first round of action has been completed. The higher seeds took care of business, leaving some very intriguing 2nd round games. The four games will take place at the four respective major bowls chosen randomly. The matchups are as follows--

#1 Alabama vs. #9 Georgia Tech in Miami, FL (Orange Bowl)
#4 TCU vs. #5 Florida in Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl)
#2 Texas vs. #7 Oregon in New Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl)
#3 Cincinnati vs. #6 Boise State in Glendale, AZ (Fiesta Bowl)

Imagine if we actually got these see these matchups play out on the field and not on the computer.

Here is the updated bracket--

College Football Playoff

The first round continues with the right side of the bracket, which features #2 overall seed, the Texas Longhorns.

Mr. Green: Texas
Roget: Texas
Dr. G: Texas
Jack Flack: Texas
Willard: Texas
Hollywood: Texas
C-Money: East Carolina


Mr. Green: Oregon
Roget: Oregon
Dr. G: Oregon
Jack Flack: Iowa
Willard: Iowa
Hollywood: Oregon
C-Money: Oregon


Mr. Green: Virginia Tech
Roget: Boise State
Dr. G: Boise State
Jack Flack: Boise State
Willard: Boise State
Hollywood: Boise State
C-Money: Virginia Tech


Mr. Green: Cincinnati
Roget: Cincinnati
Dr. G: Cincinnati
Jack Flack: Cincinnati
Willard: Cincinnati
Hollywood: Cincinnati
C-Money: Cincinnati


The first round conclues with all the home teams and higher seeds winning on the right side of the bracket... no surprises here. The trend of no close first rounds games continues as well.

College Football Playoff

We will kick off the first round of action with the left side of the bracket, which includes #1 overall seed, Alabama.

Mr. Green: Alabama
Roget: Alabama
Dr. G: Alabama
Jack Flack: Alabama
Willard: Alabama
Hollywood: Alabama
C-Money: Alabama


Mr. Green: Ohio State
Roget: Georgia Tech
Dr. G: Georgia Tech
Jack Flack: Georgia Tech
Willard: Georgia Tech
Hollywood: Georgia Tech
C-Money: Georgia Tech


Mr. Green: LSU
Roget: Florida
Dr. G: Florida
Jack Flack: Florida
Willard: Florida
Hollywood: Florida
C-Money: Florida


Mr. Green: TCU
Roget: TCU
Dr. G: TCU
Jack Flack: TCU
Willard: TCU
Hollywood: TCU
C-Money: TCU


No surprises on the left side of the bracket in the first round, as the home team wins each game, except for Georgia Tech over Ohio State, which isn't much of an upset anyways. All 4 teams advance convincingly.


2009 College Football Playoff

It is time for the start of the much anticipated 2nd annual Kotite's Corner College Football Playoff. Since actual real life college football doesn't have a playoff, which again is a joke, we will do our own. It isn't too hard to figure out, as every other sport, including the sub-divisions of college football seem to be able to have a playoff.

The rules are simple. The 11 conference champions all were given at-large bids. This includes Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, TCU, Boise State, Oregon, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Central Michigan, East Carolina, and Troy. We then took the next 5 at-large teams according to the final BCS standings. These teams were Florida, Iowa, Virginia Tech, LSU, and Penn State. The 16 teams were then seeded, and a bracket was created. The first round games are to be played at the higher seeded teams’ home field. The 2nd round games would be played at the respective major bowls (Orange, Sugar, Rose, Fiesta), and the semi-final games would be played at two random neutral sites, which we chose as the new Cowboys stadium in Dallas, and Indianapolis, so there would be a game in the north in a dome. The National Championship game would be played as it will be this season in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Check out the opening 16 team bracket below, and stay tuned to see who is voted the winner--

Eagles Hang On to Beat Broncos

The Eagles survived a sloppy 2nd half, and a Broncos comeback to win with a game winning David Akers field goal with 4 seconds left.

The Eagles came out of the game and looked unstoppable in the first half. McNabb barely threw an incompletion, and was picking apart the Broncos, and had almost 250 yards passing and 2 TD's at halftime. Brent Celek had 121 yards receiving and a touchdown at half. The Eagles also got the ball to start the 2nd half, and instead of putting the Broncos away, McNabb threw an interception. Sometimes it seems like McNabb struggles when he has too much time in the pocket, which is what happened on the interception. McNabb tends to play his best when he just makes plays, and reacts to what is happening. He made numerous passes right on the money in the first half with pressure in his face.

After the Broncos settled for a field goal, the Eagles scored another touchdown on a pass from McNabb to Avant, who made a nice catch concentrating on a tipped ball. The Eagles were up by 17 at the point halfway through the 3rd quarter. The Eagles offense really struggled at this point, and the Broncos took advantage of a Macho Harris fumbled kick return, and eventually tied the game at 17. The Eagles defense however buckled down in the 4th quarter, and held the Broncos deep in their own territory late in the game, giving the Eagles the ball back at the Broncos 42 yard line with 1:41 left to play in a 27-27 game. After a McCoy 2 yard run, McNabb found Jeremy Maclin at the 13 yard line for a 27 yard completion. This play was initially ruled incomplete right along the sideline, but after reviewing, was called a completed pass. Akers would kick the field goal after 3 runs, and the Eagles move to 11-4 on the year, and still a shot at the #2 seed, and hopefully wrapping up the NFC East with a Redskins win tonight.

Because McNabb was picking apart the Broncos in the first half, the Eagles rushing attack never really got going. McNabb threw 35 passes, and the Eagles called 23 runs between Westbrook, McCoy, and Weaver. McNabb ran the ball 5 times as well, including a 27 yard scramble on a 3rd and long. Westbrook ran 9 times for 32 yards, McCoy ran 6 times for 27 yards, and Weaver ran 7 times for 20 yards. McNabb threw for 322 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.

For some reason the Eagles seem to be able to do whatever they want in the first half of games, and lead the NFL in almost every statistical scoring category in the first half of games. However, they seem to really hit a wall at halftime. When the other teams' defense adjusts to the Eagles offense after halftime, the Eagles offense doesn't seem to adjust. I'm not sure what it is, but the Eagles need to get better, and close out games in the 2nd half in games that they have large leads.

On defense, the Eagles played fairly well overall. They were put in bad positions a few times in fairness to them on a couple of the Broncos touchdowns. They only allowed 241 yards of total offense for the Broncos, and did a very good job shutting down the Broncos best weapon in Brandon Marshall. They didn't seem to blitz a lot, and even though they got 3 sacks, I would have liked to see them get more pressure on Kyle Orton.

Either way, the Eagles get the victory to move to 11-4, and now can watch the Sunday night, and Monday night games, and root for the Redskins, and Bears. If the Redskins win tonight, the Eagles win the NFC East. If the Cowboys win, the Eagles have to travel to Dallas next weekend needing a win to win the NFC East. The winner of that game would win the division. If the Bears beat the Vikings on Monday night, the Eagles and Vikings would have identical records fighting for the #2 seed in the NFC and getting that first round bye.

Pitt Panthers All-Decade Football Team

The Pittsburgh Panthers all-decade football team shouldn't be too hard, especially since I went to Pitt for 4 of the years this decade. I will mention some close calls who didn't make the list who possibly deserve to. Clint Session, who is a possible pro-bowler this season for the Colts did not make the team at linebacker, as he was caught in a numbers game. There are 4 Pitt linebackers in the NFL right now, including Session, however the other 3 all played at higher levels at Pitt. Pitt is the real Linebacker U. Dion Lewis is breaking all types of records at Pitt, but has only done it for 1 year, whereas McCoy was a beast for 2.

Take a look at the all-decade team below--

QB: Tyler Palko
RB: LeSean McCoy
FB: Lousaka Polite
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Bryant
TE: Kris Wilson
OL: Jeff Otah, Jason Pinkston, Mike McGlynn, Rob Pettiti, C.J. Davis

DL: Greg Romeus, Mick Williams, Joe Clermond, Claude Harriot
LB: Scott McKillop, Gerald Hayes, H.B. Blades
Secondary: Darrelle Revis, Torrie Cox, Shawntae Spencer, Tez Morris

K: Conor Lee
P: Andy Lee
PR: Darrelle Revis
KR: LaRod Stephens-Howling

Coach: Dave Wannstedt

MVP: Larry Fitzgerald

Close Calls: Clint Session, Rashaad Duncan, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Baldwin, Rod Rutherford


Pitt Panthers All-Decade Basketball Team

In keeping with our all-decade teams, I figured I should not only make ones for all the Philadelphia sports teams, but also the Pitt Panthers basketball and football teams. It shouldn't be too hard considering I spent 4 years this decade at Pitt.

This list was harder than I thought, as 3 solid point guards spread out the decade at Pitt, with Brandin Knight, Carl Krauser, and Levance Fields. It was also close at center between Chris Taft, and Aaron Gray. For team MVP, I really was torn between Brandin Knight and Sam Young, but went with Knight because Knight brought Pitt basketball to prominence early in the decade, and got the Oakland Zoo excited about Pitt basketball Pitt has made the tournament 8 straight seasons now, and Brandin Knight was the leader of that first team.

Check out the all-decade team below--

PG: Brandin Knight
SG: Julius Page
SF: Sam Young
PF: DeJuan Blair
C: Chris Taft

6th Man: Levance Fields

Coach: Jamie Dixon

MVP: Brandin Knight

Close Calls: Carl Krauser, Aaron Gray

Pitt Football... We're Back Baby

The Pittsburgh Panthers finished their season at 10-3 on the year, with a victory in the Meineke Car Care Bowl over the North Carolina Tar Heels. A Panthers 33 yard field goal with 52 seconds left gave Pitt the 19-17 lead. Pitt came into this this game ranked 17th in the nation, and will finish right around there, maybe move up a couple spots.

The game was played in Charlotte, which created somewhat of a home atmosphere for UNC, but I was surprised and pleased with how many Pitt fans were at the game. It was close the whole game, and both teams made at least 1 costly mistake. Dion Lewis, the Panthers star freshman running back rushed for 159 yards in this game and a TD. He finished the season with 1,799 rushing yards, breaking the Pitt records this season of Ironhead Heyward, LeSean McCoy, Curtis Martin, and Tony Dorsett. Not a bad list. I was very concerned coming into this season, as I figured we would miss Shady McCoy a lot, as McCoy was basically the only weapon on offense the past 2 years.

It was a very successful season for Pitt, and Dave Wannstedt is finally putting his stamp on this team, and bringing Pitt back into national prominence. Wannstedt said after the game when asked why a 10 win season is important that everyone knows that Pitt football is back. Dion Lewis agreed, "It's back," Lewis said regarding Pitt football. We're not satisfied with just 10 wins. We want to get more next year." Lewis was named game MVP. This Panthers team is stacked with solid freshman and sophomores, including Lewis, Raymond Graham, Jonathan Baldwin, Dan Mason, and Mike Shanahan to name a few.

As far as the actual game goes, the Panthers had a tough time getting into the end zone, and settled for 4 field goals, the final one being the difference. The Panthers also missed a field goal, and missed a touchdown opportunity, when Lewis was trying to reach for the end zone, fumbled, and the ball went out of bounds in the end zone, giving the ball to UNC for a touchback. UNC also had some costly mistakes, throwing an interception inside the Pitt 5 yard line, and also going offsides on the final drive, as Pitt was going to attempt a 47 yard field goal.

The final Pitt Panthers drive was very impressive, and was exactly how Pitt wants to play offensively. Anyone who is a fan of running the ball had to appreciate the last drive. The drive started at the Panthers own 5 yard line, and went to the UNC 16. The drive took 8:47 off the clock, lasted 17 plays, which included 14 Dion Lewis runs, 1 Bill Stull run, and 2 pass attempts. It resulted in the game winning field goal.

Obviously, Pitt would have liked to be in a better Bowl game, and I am not trying to say that a bowl win over UNC is anything real special, but it was still a positive note to go into next season on. This was important, considering the way Pitt ended the season with 2 straight heartbreaking losses to West Virginia and Cincinnati. A 10-3 season is successful, and Pitt should be ranked very high going into next season.

Eagles-Broncos Preview

The Eagles play the Denver Broncos tomorrow at 4:15 in a game that has playoff implications for both teams. The Eagles can clinch the NFC East with a win and a Cowboys loss, and stay in contention for the #2 seed by winning. The Broncos are in the playoff mix in the AFC.

This game will also feature the return of Brian Dawkins, and Correll Buckhalter. I think Buckhalter was always one of the more underrated players on the Eagles. Even though he was oft-injured, when he was healthy, he has a great burst through the hole, always did what the Eagles asked him to do, never complained, and always filled in nicely when Westbrook would get injured. In fact, you could argue that the Eagles could have used him more since he is on pace this season to have his highest rushing total of his career, which currently is his rookie season with the Eagles. Also, the leader of the defense, and basically the team for the past decade returns in Brian Dawkins. It will be very emotional before the game, and they have said that Dawkins will be announced by name before the game for an introduction. This should be an unbelievable scene, very similar to when Iverson returned. I could go on and on about Dawkins, and have in plenty of posts before, but everyone loves Dawkins, so there isn't much else to say.

As far as the actual game, it is an extremely important game for the Eagles. I personally am very scared of playing the Cowboys the final game of the season in a winner takes the NFC East situation, so I want to avoid that at all costs. The only way to avoid that scenario is to get help from the Redskins, but also take care of business against the Broncos. The Broncos has been up and down all season... mostly down after they started the season 6-0. Their defense, led by Dawkins, has been the big surprise. They were one of the worst units in the NFL last season, and now are a top 10 defense in almost every category this season. The Eagles need to continue to mix the run and the pass effectively in order to win this game. Jeremy Maclin will return, which should help the passing game, as I have to imagine the Broncos will do their best to take DeSean Jackson out of the game. McCoy and Weaver need to run the ball effectively when called upon. Along with Dawkins, the Broncos feature the leader in sacks in the NFL currently in Elvis Dumervil, so the offensive line will have their hands full to keep McNabb on his feet.

On defense, the Eagles definitely took a step forward with a good game last weekend against the 49ers, but it still wasn't great. It is week 16 and the Birds and still having trouble filling the voids created by Brian Dawkins, and the injured Stewart Bradley. At the linebacker position, the Eagles are basically shuffling guys in and out. Will Witherspoon is the only linebacker that is playing almost every snap. After that, Akeen Jordan, Jeremiah Trotter, and rookie Moses Fokou are all part of the mix. I didn't say Chris Gocong because Gocong didn't play 1 snap on defense against the 49ers, and will back up Fokou for the 2nd straight game this weekend. Also, Sean Jones is still the starting free safety, but has been doing an awful job lately, and is now splitting time with Quintin Demps, who doesn't seem to be playing much better. The defense will have to shut down Brandon Marshall, the playmaker on the Broncos offense.

The Eagles would really like to see the Cowboys, and Vikings lose, but first need to go out and take care of business at home against a team that is good, but we should beat.


Friday Football Picks

Willard – Overall Record: (32-26-2)
Rams (+14) at Cardinals
Eagles (-7) vs. Broncos
Raiders (+3) at Browns
Ravens (+1) at Steelers

Roget – Overall Record: (34-28-1)
Pittsburgh (-2.5) vs. UNC
Ohio (-3) vs. Marshall
Clemson (-6.5) vs. Kentucky
Chargers (+3) at Titans

Jack Flack – Overall Record: (31-29-3)
Ohio (-3) vs. Marshall
Wisconsin (+4) vs. Miami
Packers (-14) vs. Seahawks
Cowboys (-6.5) at Redskins

C-Money – Overall Record (27-27-2)
Pittsburgh (-2.5) vs. UNC
Chargers (+3) at Titans
Colts (-5.5) vs. Jets
Patriots (-7.5) vs. Jaguars

Dr. G - Overall Record (29-29-2)
Patriots (-8) vs. Jaguars
Giants (-7) vs. Panthers
Cowboys (-6.5) at Redskins
Vikings (-7) at Bears

Mr. Green – Overall Record: (28-33-2)
Pittsburgh (-2.5) vs. UNC
Chargers (+3) at Titans
Dolphins (-3) vs. Texans
USC (-7) vs. Boston College

Hollywood – Overall Record: (23-39-1)
Eagles (-7) vs. Broncos
Cardinals (-14) vs. Rams
Titans (-3) vs. Chargers
Colts (-5.5) vs. Jets

Overall Winning Percentage
1. Willard (55.17%)
2. Roget (54.84%)
3. Jack Flack (52%)
4. C-Money (50%)
4. Dr. G (50%)
6. Mr. Green (46%)
7. Hollywood (37%)

Eagles Struggling to Replace Dawkins

We wrote multiple times, as many others did when the Eagles let Brian Dawkins sign with the Broncos, that the Eagles were making a mistake letting Dawkins go. At the time, I did believe that, but it was a lot of emotions writing since Brian Dawkins was such a large part of Philadelphia sports for the past decade.

Fast forward to Week 16 and we now see that Brian Dawkins is having a pro bowl caliber season at safety for the Broncos, and the Eagles are struggling to find someone who can start at free safety. Dawkins has taken over a leadership position on the Broncos defense, and according to coach Josh McDaniels, is the team MVP. The Eagles meanwhile, have yet to find a replacement for Dawkins, which makes you wonder why they didn't pay him in the first place.

The Eagles spent training camp telling us how great 2nd year man Quintin Demps was, and how he would be the starter at free safety. Apparently Demps couldn't cut it, and the Eagles then announced a week before the season that rookie 5th round pick Macho Harris would be the starting free safety alongside Quintin Mikell. Harris was horrible out there, and was replaced by Sean Jones. Jones played well when he was first out there, but has been bad the past couple weeks, and has been splitting time with Demps now. So the Eagles basically now have a platoon situation at a very important position.

The Eagles also have not gotten the same play out of Quintin Mikell that they got last season when Mikell was playing next to Dawkins. Mikell thrived last season next to Dawkins, and was almost a pro-bowler in his first season as starter. This season, Mikell has not been bad by any means, but has taken a slight step back as the leader of the safety position.

Also, no one on the team brings the same leadership qualities that Brian Dawkins does. Not only does Dawkins fire up his teammates and fans with his antics, he also is constantly talking to the defensive coaches throughout the game, and is the quarterback of the defense.

If the Eagles do not make a deep run in the playoffs this season, it might be because the defense lets us down, and a lot of that has to do with Dawkins not being on the team anymore. Sean Jones is the best player at free safety in my opinion, but he is nowhere near what Brian Dawkins brought to this team, and we are still struggling to replace him.


Philadelphia Eagles All-Decade Team

Our Eagles all-decade team was the hardest to come up with of all the Philadelphia teams, mostly because there are more players. We decided to go with 2 running backs, since no fullback is worth being on the all-decade team. This isn’t to say that we didn’t like Cecil Martin, or Jon Ritchie, because we did, and obviously we love Leonard Weaver right now, but the contributions of the 2nd running back were much greater than any fullback in this offense this decade. The 2nd running back was a close decision between Duce Staley and Correll Buckhalter. Ultimately, we went with Buckhalter for his overall body of work, although Staley was a great player.

Another tough call was the 2nd receiver. Terrell Owens gets the #1 receiver slot. Even though he had a short body of work this decade with the Eagles, we all know the Eagles receivers weren’t exactly the greatest this decade. The 2nd receiver came down to Todd Pinkston, and current beast DeSean Jackson. This was the biggest argument we had of any of the players on any team. It is a good argument – Pinkston was on the team longer and thus accrued more numbers, but Jackson is the better player. We decided on DeSean Jackson.
On the defensive side of the ball, there were discussions about the defensive tackles, between Corey Simon, Hollis Thomas, and current tackles Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson. We ultimately went with Patterson and Simon. Donovan McNabb gets the team MVP honors.

Check out our full Philadelphia Eagles all-decade team--

QB: Donovan McNabb
RB: Brian Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter
WR: Terrell Owens, DeSean Jackson
TE: Chad Lewis
OL: Jon Runyan, Shawn Andrews, Jamaal Jackson, Jermaine Mayberry, Tra Thomas

DL: Trent Cole, Mike Patterson, Corey Simon, Hugh Douglas
LB: Jeremiah Trotter, Carlos Emmons, Stewart Bradley
CB: Sheldon Brown, Troy Vincent
S: Brian Dawkins, Michael Lewis

K: David Akers
P: Sean Landeta
Special Teams: Ike Reese
KR: Brian Mitchell
PR: Brian Westbrook

MVP: Donovan McNabb

Coach: Andy Reid

Close Calls: Hank Fraley, Duce Staley, Todd Pinkston, Hollis Thomas, Broderick Bunkley, Bobby Taylor, Lito Sheppard, Quintin Mikell


Philadelphia Phillies All-Decade Team

The Phillies all-decade team was not too hard to come up with to be honest, especially since the team has been solid most of the decade, especially recently, and has a team with great offensive players, and full of all-stars and MVP’s. Jim Thome deserves mention, but Howard still easily gets the nod at 1st base. Even though Scott Rolen is not much a Philly guy, we went with Rolen at 3rd base. The only other discussion we had was Victorino or University of Pennsylvania's own Doug Glanville in CF. We went with Victorino. Team MVP was a tough choice considered there are 2 actual league MVP’s on this team, and that doesn’t include Chase Utley. We went with Rollins for the MVP because he has been with the team since before we became one of the best in the league.

Here is our Philadelphia Phillies all-decade team--

1B- Ryan Howard
2B- Chase Utley
SS- Jimmy Rollins
3B- Scott Rolen
LF- Pat Burrell
CF- Shane Victorino
RF- Bobby Abreu
Catcher- Mike Lieberthal

Starter: Cole Hamels
Closer: Brad Lidge

1. Rollins
2. Abreu
3. Utley
4. Howard
5. Rolen
6. Burrell
7. Victorino
8. Lieberthal
9. Hamels

Manager: Charlie Manuel

MVP: Jimmy Rollins

Close Calls: Jim Thome, Doug Glanville


Philadelphia Flyers All-Decade Team

The Philadelphia Flyers all-decade team is decent, but not nearly as good as their 1990s team would have been. Determining who should be on the first line between Keith Primeau and Mike Richards was hard, and we went with Primeau because of his leadership skills, and his amazing playoff run where he carried the Flyers to the Eastern Conference finals. Because of his leadership skills, Primeau is named the team captain for this team.

The goalie was the hardest to choose from. Personally my favorite goalie in this decade was Boucher, who had the great playoff run to the Eastern Conference finals the first year of the decade. Ultimately, Boucher didn’t have enough time though. It then came down to Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, and Marty Biron. The numbers and games played are very similar between all 3 players. Cechmanek has the best numbers of these goalies, and has played the most games in this decade. However, because if his attitude, and his horrible playoff performances, and quitting on the team, we went with Marty Biron. Biron has very solid numbers, and stepped his game up when it came to the playoffs.

Here is our Philadelphia Flyers all-decade team--

First Line
Forwards: Simon Gagne, Keith Primeau, Mark Recchi
Defense: Eric Desjardins, Kim Johnsson

Second Line
Forwards: Jeremy Roenick, Mike Richards, John LeClair
Defense: Kimo Timonen, Dan McGillis

Third Line
Forwards: Peter Forsberg, Jeff Carter, Michel Handzus
Defense: Joni Pitkanen, Braydon Coburn

Goalie: Martin Biron

Coach: Ken Hitchcock

Team Captain: Keith Primeau

Close Calls: Sami Kapanen, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Brian Boucher


Philadelphia 76ers All-Decade Team

The 76ers all-decade team is not pretty to look at to be perfectly honest. I have to imagine it would be one of the worst all-decade teams in the league, especially because the Sixers are one of the worst teams in the league right now, and our all-decade team contains 4 players on the team currently. Besides the very beginning of the decade, the team has been very average. Even the team that went to the finals had a bunch of role players, and 1 big star. Also, the team that went to the finals, the players were not on the team for very long in this decade. Nevertheless, the early part of the decade, and the 2001 team that this city fell in love with is well represented on this team, especially in the backcourt.

It was tough to leave off a guy like George Lynch who was a great team player, but we decided to go with Andre Iguodala at the small forward position. Also, Derrick Coleman came very close to making the team at the starting power forward position, but we chose to go small and go with Thaddeus Young instead, even though his time with the team has been shorter. Samuel Dalembert basically makes the team since he has been the team’s starting center basically all-decade, not because he is actually good.

Here is our starting Philadelphia 76ers all-decade lineup--

PG: Eric Snow
SG: Allen Iverson
SF: Andre Iguodala
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Samuel Dalembert

6th Man: Aaron McKie

Coach: Larry Brown

MVP: Allen Iverson

Close Calls: George Lynch, Derrick Coleman

Eagles Clinch Playoff Spot

The Eagles beat the 49ers on Sunday 27-13 to clinch a playoff spot. They still have work to do to win the NFC East, but no matter what happens, the Eagles will be in the playoffs this season.

The offense played well, and the defense, helped by 4 turnovers played a lot better than last weekend against the Giants. The Eagles took the opening kickoff and drove down the field for the touchdown, and led the rest of the game. The Eagles lead the league in points scored on opening drives. The drive was capped off by a 17 yard McNabb to Jackson reception for a touchdown. After that point, the Eagles capitalized on 3 Alex Smith interceptions in the first half to take a 20-3 halftime lead. The interceptions for the Eagles were by Quintin Mikell, Asante Samuel, and Tracy White. The 49ers did end up cutting the Eagles deficit to 20-13 going into the 4th quarter, but another long Eagles drive put the game away in the 4th quarter, capped off by a McCoy touchdown run.

Donovan McNabb continued to make plays, and was solid, despite throwing 2 INT's. McNabb ended the game 21-36 for 306 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT's, and a rushing touchdown. The Eagles did run the ball effectively. McCoy and Weaver combined for exactly 100 rushing yards on 26 carries. I still would have liked to see the Eagles run the ball more, because it seemed to be working. McCoy averaged 5.3 yards per carry on 9 carries, and had a touchdown. DeSean Jackson continued his excellent play thus far this season with another big game. Jackson had 6 catches for 140 yards, and a touchdown. I still am not 100% sold that Jackson is a #1 receiver, mostly due to his size, but he has been the team MVP in my opinion this season, and it's not even close.

It sounds weird to say, but I did feel like the Eagles missed Jeremy Maclin. Kevin Curtis was basically non-existent. He caught 1 pass, and dropped another. Reggie Brown only caught 1 pass also. It might not seem like a big deal right now because the Eagles are winning, but I really do feel like the Eagles lack of receiver depth could be a reason this team doesn't win it all this season. I know McNabb likes to hold onto the ball a lot, and doesn't force a lot of throws, but McNabb had a lot of time on a lot of drop-backs today, and simply didn't see anything he liked. A lot of people blame McNabb when he does this, but he doesn't seem to have these issues when the receivers are making plays. Bottom line, if a team decides to take DeSean Jackson out of the game, and make the other receivers beat them, I'm not sure the Eagles can do that.

On the defensive side of the football, the Eagles obviously played a lot better than they did against the Giants, but they still weren't great. The numbers look very good. 4 turnovers, only allowing 261 total yards, and 13 points, but they could have done better. Frank Gore rushed for 107 yards, becoming the first running back to run for over 100 against the Eagles this season. Gore is a really good running back, so I wasn't too upset by this, because he runs for 100 a lot of weeks.

The Eagles did clinch a playoff spot, but they still need to hope the Cowboys lose next weekend and need to win themselves to wrap up the NFC East. You don't want to have to go to Dallas the final weekend of the season needing a win to win the division. And if the Cowboys win next weekend no matter what the Eagles do, that final game is for the division. The Eagles can still get the #2 seed in the NFC depending on what the Vikings do tonight. Either way, still a good win for the Eagles, as they move to 10-4 on the year.


Eagles-49ers Preview

The Eagles stay at home this Sunday as the 49ers come to town in a very important game with playoff implications for both teams. The 49ers are coming off a big win Monday night, and sit at 6-7 and must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The 49ers are just 1-5 on the road this season.

The Eagles are banged up at the wide receiver position, but they also were last week, and DeSean Jackson proved that as long as he plays well, that is all we need at the wide receiver position. Jeremy Maclin is out this game, which means Reggie Brown will get the start at wide received opposite Jackson, and Kevin Curtis is returning to the lineup for the first time in about 2 months. That is not a very strong wide receiving corps besides Jackson. Also, tight end Brent Celek who looks like he is going to play has also been banged up.

It is hard to say how the wintery conditions will affect the game until the game actually starts and we see how much snow accumulation is on the field, and how cold it is at game time. The 49ers are a warm weather team, and you would think the Eagles would benefit from a cold game. They probably would, but the 49ers have a very strong rushing attack in Frank Gore, who should get a lot of carries if the weather is bad.

The Eagles offense has been playing very well as of late. They need to continue doing the same things on offense. Mixing the run and the pass, giving Weaver and McCoy their fair share of carries, getting Jackson the ball, and mixing Michael Vick into the game plan effectively. This has all been clicking lately. The defense however, needs to step it up. The defense was terrible against the Giants. They first need to shut down Frank Gore. Gore is the best offensive weapon on the 49ers, and if you shut down Gore, you can definitely beat the 49ers. If they are able to shut down Gore, they need to get pressure on Alex Smith and not give him time in the new "spread" offense the 49ers have been using the help out Smith. Getting pressure is another thing the Eagles defense was unable to do against the Giants.

The Eagles can clinch a playoff spot tomorrow with a win and a Giants loss, or a win and a Cowboys win. Obviously we won't be rooting for the Cowboys to win, so let's hope the Giants lose to the Redskins.


Friday Football Picks

Willard – Overall Record: (31-24-1)
Colts (-3) at Jaguars
Bills (+7) vs. Patriots
Vikings (-9) at Panthers
49ers (+8.5) at Eagles

Roget – Overall Record: (31-27-1)
Bengals (+7) at Chargers
Giants (-3) at Redskins
Bears (+11) at Ravens
Packers (+2) at Steelers

Jack Flack – Overall Record: (29-28-2)
Fresno State (-10.5) vs. Wyoming
Rutgers (-3) vs. Central Florida
Eagles (-8.5) vs. 49ers
Patriots (-7) at Bills

C-Money – Overall Record (26-25-1)
Chiefs (-2) vs. Browns
Seahawks (-6.5) vs. Buccaneers
Patriots (-7) at Bills
Eagles (-8.5) vs. 49ers

Dr. G - Overall Record (27-28-1)
Colts (-3) at Jaguars
Cardinals (-12) at Lions
Patriots (-7) at Bills
Giants (-3) at Redskins

Mr. Green – Overall Record: (27-31-1)
Fresno State (-10.5) vs. Wyoming
Patriots (-7) at Bills
Steelers (-2) vs. Packers
Rutgers (-3) vs. Central Florida

Hollywood – Overall Record: (22-37)
Patriots (-7) at Bills
Cardinals (-12) at Lions
Browns (+2) at Chiefs
Seahawks (-6.5) vs. Buccaneers

Overall Winning Percentage
1. Willard (56%)
2. Roget (53%)
3. Jack Flack (51%)
3. C-Money (51%)
5. Dr. G (49%)
6. Mr. Green (47%)
7. Hollywood (37%)


Halladay is a Phillie - Lee is Not

So, it looks like the trade has been worked out and should be finalized and announced later today or tomorrow. It actually turns out that it is 2 separate trades that the Phillies made. The first trade was to get Halladay and involves the Phillies are Toronto Blue Jays. The 2nd trade was giving up Cliff Lee to the Mariners for prospects.

The first trade--
Phillies receive: Roy Halladay, $6 million
Blue Jays receive: Phillies prospects P Kyle Drabek, OF Michael Taylor, C Travis d'Arnaud

The 2nd trade--
Phillies receive: Mariners prospects P Phillippe Aumont, OF Tyson Gillies, P Juan Ramirez
Mariners receive: Cliff Lee

This is all still not yet official, and has yet to be announced, so these things could change, but the above appear to be the terms.

Before I provide my thoughts on the trades, I will state that Roy Halladay is an absolute beast, and I fully support him coming to the Phillies, as he is one of the best pitchers in the league. Not only that, but Halladay has already agreed to terms on a 3-year deal, running from 2011 through 2013 at $20 million per year, in addition to a $20 million vesting option for 2014. This seems to be one of big factors of making these trades, as Cliff Lee was only signed for this upcoming season, and will probably want a lot of money. So... I am very happy that Roy Halladay is a Philadelphia Phillie.

All of that said, I am not happy with the overall outcome of these trades. In fact, it is a very weak, cheap move by the Phillies management. It makes me even more mad that the deal is 2 separate trades, so technically, the Phillies did not need to give up Cliff Lee at all to get Halladay... and they shouldn't have. You have Cliff Lee, who was unreal last year after we got him, especially in the playoffs, and you have him signed for 2010 at $9 million. $9 million is absolutely nothing for a guy of that caliber, and if you have that guy signed for that little, even if it is for a year, you don't give him up. The Phillies are being cheap. It's a small-middle level mindset when this team needs to be thinking big. We have been in the World Series the past 2 years, and have won 1 of them. The Phillies are selling tickets and merchandise like crazy. The Phillies are basically printing money at Citizens Bank Park, and to act like you can't pay Cliff Lee $9 million this season, which by the way is an absolute steal, is a very weak move.

Cliff Lee was a beast from the time the Phillies acquired him through the end of the season, and most importantly, in the playoffs. Lee was 4-0 with about a 1.50 ERA in the playoffs last year. Lee won both of the games he pitched against the Yankees, and the Phillies lost the other 4 that Lee didn't pitch. If the Phillies acquire Halladay, and keep Lee, they are the best team in baseball going into next season. By acquiring Halladay and giving up Lee, they are still not as good as the Yankees and the Red Sox. And to have the attitude that we can't do what it takes to compete with those teams is an insult to the fans. The Phillies paid Brett Myers $12 million last season. The Phillies are paying Jaime Moyer $8 million this season. You have Cy Young winner at $9 million this season, and you can't pay him. That is ridiculous. You don't need to sign Lee long-term, just keep him for 1 season, and let him walk.

Not only all of this, The Phillies unloaded 2 very good prospects in this deal, for 3 Mariners prospects, who are not on the same level as the Phillies prospects. The Phillies basically have give up Knapp, Carrasco, Marson, Donald, Drabek, Taylor, and d'Arnaud for Halladay. Drabek was untouchable as little as a few months ago at the trade deadline. I don't have a problem giving up Drabek, Taylor, and d'Arnaud for Halladay. The problem is, you aren't any better than you were last season. It is a very lateral move. Best case scenario, the Phillies make the playoffs, and Halladay tears it up in the playoffs. It is no improvement however, because you already had that in Lee. You still have Cole Hamels pitching Game 2, and you still have Blanton/Happ pitching Game 3.

The starting pitching staff to start the season now will be Halladay, Hamels, Blanton, Happ, and a 5th starter, who I think will be Moyer to start the season. Not keeping Lee really means Hamels needs to step his game up. We need Hamels to be the Hamels of 2008. If that happens, this team should really improve. We also basically have no 5th starter worth anything to start the season.

So, I am very happy with Halladay, bottom line. And the fact that they locked Halladay up for a multi-year deal, and did not have Lee locked up is a good thing. If Lee wants top money, the Phillies would probably not be able to sign him for the long-term. However, like I said, you had Lee next season locked up at $9 million, and no reason to get rid of him. Halladay is one of the best pitchers in the league, but it doesn't seem to make the Phillies any better or worse. You still need Hamels to step it up, and we still need a 5th starter to play well during the regular season.

You are the Philadelphia Phillies. You are one of the best teams in baseball. You are making money like never before. You should be able to go over your payroll by $9 million next season, and go into the season as the World Series favorite.


Latest on Halladay Trade

Roy Halladay was in Philadelphia today, but as of now, a deal for the Toronto Blue Jays ace is still not yet completed. It appears to be very close however.

It also appears as if the Phillies will not just be getting Halladay and giving up Lee in the deal. It looks as if the Phillies will be giving up some prospects, and getting some prospects in return. I have heard different reports throwing out the names of Phils prospects Michael Taylor, Dominic Brown, and Kyle Drabek. The name Kyle Drabek is familiar because he is the Phillies top pitching prospect, and the man who supposedly the Phillies would not trade at the trade deadline this past season. Dominic Brown is probably the Phillies top position prospect at this point, and possibly their #2 overall prospect behind Drabek. Both Brown and Taylor are top outfield prospects, but Brown is said to be a much higher prospect than than Taylor.

Also, it is interesting to note that Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, along with Dominic Brown were in Philadelphia today to take physicals. This could mean they could be part of the Halladay trade, they could be part of possibly another trade, or they could just be taking an offseason physical for the Phillies. It would be hard to imagine the Phillies would get rid of Lee, Blanton, and Happ, or even 2 of the 3, which would seriously deplete the starting rotation. As it is right now, we really don't have a good #5 starter.

Reports say that this deal could take days to finalize with no possible announcement coming until Wednesday. We will stay tuned to find out the latest.

Happy Halladays

Roy Halladay is in town right now, and the Phillies are said to be very close to a deal that would bring Roy Halladay to the Phillies. This is very good news when you first look at it, but it is also being reported that the Phillies will be giving up Cliff Lee.

The 3-team proposed trade involves the Phillies receiving Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays, and some money from the Blue Jays, and possibly a prospect or 2. The Phillies would be giving up Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners, along with possibly a prospect, which could be Michael Taylor, or even possibly Kyle Drabek. The Blue Jays will receive 3 prospects from the Mariners, and possibly other from the Mariners or Phillies. I am really hoping the Phillies don't give up Drabek as they were adamant that they not give him up for Halladay at the trade deadline.

I am assuming that Cliff Lee informed the Phillies that he would be testing the market after the 2010 season, and that the Phillies would not have enough to re-sign him. Also, this deal would probably assume that the Phillies have worked out a long-term deal with Roy Halladay before they trade for him.

Obviously Halladay is a beast, one of the top few pitchers in the league, but I am not sure this move improves the team. Cliff Lee was already one of the best pitchers in the league, and was absolutely dominant in the postseason a couple months ago. How quickly we forget Lee going behind the back against the Yankees, or making the cool and calm grab on the pop up. I'm not saying Lee is better than Halladay, but they are about similar in skill level in my opinion. With Halladay or Lee, and not having both, you still need to rely on Cole Hamels bouncing back and having a great season as the #2 starter, and you still basically don't have a 5th starter.

Again, I am not saying this would be a bad move, or I do not support it, I just don't know how much better it makes the team. Even if Halladay is a beast, you win Game 1 of a series, and then have to rely on Hamels playing better, and Blanton/Happ winning a Game 3 against elite teams who may have 3 all-star starting pitchers (Red Sox, Yankees). I may be asking too much considering the Phillies don't have the payroll of the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets, but it would have been nice to give up the prospects for Halladay, and not give up Lee, and have Halladay and Lee for a season, and then at the end of the season let Lee walk. I still hope the Phillies didn't give up anybody in this deal in terms of prospects, but I really hope they did not give up Drabek.

We will continue to follow this story here at Kotite's Corner, and provide updates on anything further.

Eagles Win 4th Straight

The Eagles closed out their time in Giants stadium most likely, putting on an offensive show, and winning the game 45-38, in a much needed divisional matchup. The Eagles now sit alone atop the NFC East with a record of 9-4.

The Eagles came out of the gates strong, took the opening kickoff, and marched right downfield and scored a touchdown, and made it look easy. The Giants first possession didn't go so well for them, as Sheldon Brown scooped up a Brandon Jacobs fumble and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles were up 14-0 five minutes into the game. From that point on, it would be an offensive shootout for both teams. The Giants got the game to 14-10, and the Eagles then pushed it to 24-10. The Giants responded with a touchdown, and then the Eagles marched down the field right before halftime to score another touchdown, but missed the extra point to take a 30-17 lead.

In the 2nd half, the Giants continued to play strong on offense, and took a 31-30 lead in the 3rd quarter. It didn't last long, because literally the very next offensive play, McNabb found DeSean Jackson for a 60 yard touchdown. The Eagles then went on a very successful, long 91 yard drive throughout most of the 4th quarter, capped off by a 1 yard Leonard Weaver touchdown run to put the game away.

The Eagles offense played very well. McNabb continues his strong play, and ended the game 17-26 for 275 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. McNabb threw a couple very nice deep balls, bought some time on some other plays, and hit his check downs well. Mike Vick also continued his strong recent play, and threw a 32 yard dart to DeSean Jackson on the first drive, which set up the first touchdown of the game. Vick also ran the ball 3 times for 11 yards, including a touchdown. Not only does Vick look like he is getting better every week, the play calling that involves Vick has been a lot better. I will give credit to the Reid-Mornhinweg play calling combo when Vick has been in the game lately. By letter Vick throw a couple passes each game, it doesn't allow the defense to stack the box when Vick is in the game. Also, I like the use of the trick plays they have tried when Vick has been in there. 2 trick plays were used. The first one being a reverse to Vick in which he almost threw a touchdown pass to Reggie Brown. The 2nd one was a Vick handoff to McCoy, who pitched to McNabb, who looked to go deep back to Vick. Even though he didn't have anything deep, McNabb made the right read and dumped it short to Celek. So, not only is Vick getting better and better each week, and becoming more a weapon in the rushing and passing game, the play calling has made more sense as of late.
Donovan McNabb led 4 very important drives in this game. The Eagles took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field the score, which was very important to get a 7-0 lead. Then, right before halftime, the Eagles marched down the field and scored a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the half, which was also very important. Sometimes McNabb often gets criticized for is not playing well with 2 minutes and under in the half or game. The Eagles came into this game 2nd in the NFL in scoring with under 2 minutes left in the half and end of the game, and they continued to add to that total. The 3rd drive was the 1 play drive, which was the 60 yard pass to Jackson. The Giants had just taken a 31-30 lead and had all the momentum at that point. And the final and most important drive was a 91-yard drive which took up most of the 4th quarter, and was eventually the game winning drive.

The rushing attack wasn't as successful as it has been recently, but McCoy and Weaver both got their share of carries, and Weaver and Vick both has a touchdown run. The story on offense however was DeSean Jackson. Without Jackson's return from his concussion, the Eagles do not win that game. Jackson had 6 receptions for 178 yards, and a touchdown. He also had a huge 72 yard punt return for a touchdown. You see people who are fast, but Jackson is ridiculously fast. Brent Celek also played well and ended with 64 receiving yards and a touchdown.

However, I am not so optimistic as some other people are going forward... mostly now because of the defense. I hear people talking today about how they are now starting to get this feeling with this Eagles team that we could go far into the playoffs, and into the Super Bowl. Well, I think that if that Eagles team from yesterday played the Saints, the Saints would have scored 60+ points. The Eagles defense was horrible. It was one of the worst defensive performances I've ever seen to be honest. Sheldon Brown, Quintin Mikell, Sean Jones - all guys who I like and have praised, played horribly. Too many missed tackles, too many penalties still, too many blown coverages, and not enough pressure on Eli. The Giants put up 512 yards of total offense in the game. They ran the ball and threw the ball effectively.

I do think the Eagles defense is a proud defense, and Sean McDermott and the players on the defense will not be happy with this victory. I think they will treat this week of practice like they really almost lost this game for the team, and bounce back. However, if the defense continues to play the way they played on Sunday, this team is not going to the Super Bowl.


Eagles-Giants Preview

The Eagles travel up to New York, I mean New Jersey to play the Giants in what could be their final game at Giants stadium. The Giants and Jets are moving into a new billion dollar stadium next season. The Eagles have owned the Giants lately, winning the past 3 games, including a playoff game last season, and a 40-17 victory earlier this season at the Linc.

The Eagles have played well as of late, but I don't think as well as some people are making it out to be. A 4 point win at Chicago is good, but the Bears aren't very good, and if Cutler made any plays, the Eagles would have lost the game. A 3 point win at home against Washington is also good, but we had to come from behind to do so, and the Redskins are not a very good team either. The game last week was solid, but the Eagles were playing a depleted Falcons team that really was overmatched and had no chance. But, bottom line is the Eagles have taken care of business and won the past few games, which were must win games. The Eagles have to continue this current run against a Giants team that is really struggling, despite winning last weekend against the Cowboys.

The Giants come into this game losing 5 of 7 games, but did win last weekend. The Giants have not looked like the Giants teams of year's past recently, and the Eagles need to take advantage of that. The Eagles should be able to get receivers open all game, as the Giants secondary is banged up, and not playing very well. The return of DeSean Jackson should obviously also help in the passing game. However, being a night game in Giants stadium in December, the Eagles will need to establish some type of run game. The Eagles should try to run the ball early with McCoy and Weaver, and then go to the play action.

On defense, the Eagles really need to make sure the Giants don't get their rushing attack going. If Brandon Jacobs gets going and has a good game, the Eagles could very easily lose this game. The key to beating the Giants is stuff the rushing attack, and make Eli beat you. Eli has won big games in the past by himself, but more often than not, he will make mistakes if he does not benefit from a successful rushing attack. If the Eagles can get the Giants into 3rd and long plays, you know they will bring a heavy dose of pressure Eli's way.

I will say there seems to be a lot of optimism about this game locally, which makes me nervous. It's a division rivalry game on the road in December, with both teams needing the game for playoff positioning. If the Eagles execute their game plan, they should win the game. However, we have seen let-downs before in positions like this, and I could also see this being a frustrating game in which the Eagles offense never really gets clicking. Either way, Sunday night, playoff atmosphere - should be very enjoyable.

Jeremy Maclin is listed as questionable, as is Kevin Curtis for some reason. I really kind of figured with Maclin emerging as a good receiver, they should just shut down Curtis for the year. I have no problem with Curtis if he is used in the slot with Jackson and Maclin on the outside, but I do not want to see Kevin Curtis take his outside position again, and take time away from Jeremy Maclin, who is improving every weekend, and has much more skill than Curtis.


Friday Football Picks

Willard – Overall Record: (29-22-1)
Cardinals (-3.5) at 49ers
Jets (-3) at Buccaneers
Chargers (+3) at Cowboys
Seahawks (+6) at Texans

Roget – Overall Record: (28-27)
Navy (-14) vs. Army
Texans (-6) vs. Seahawks
Redskins (-1) at Raiders
Eagles (+1) at Giants

Jack Flack – Overall Record: (27-27-1)
Navy (-14) vs. Army
Packers (-3.5) at Bears
Eagles (+1) at Giants
Cardinals (-3.5) at 49ers

C-Money – Overall Record (22-25-1)
Eagles (+1) at Giants
Packers (-3.5) at Bears
Redskins (-1) at Raiders
Jets (-3) at Buccaneers

Dr. G - Overall Record (24-28)
Navy (-14) vs. Army
Jets (-3) at Buccaneers
Packers (-3.5) at Bears
Colts (-7) vs. Broncos

Mr. Green – Overall Record: (23-31-1)
Eagles (+1) at Giants
Jets (-3) at Buccaneers
Packers (-3.5) at Bears
Colts (-7) vs. Broncos

Hollywood – Overall Record: (20-35)
Eagles (+1) at Giants
Cowboys (-3) vs. Chargers
Saints (-10) at Falcons
Ravens (-13.5) vs. Lions

Overall Winning Percentage
1. Willard (57%)
2. Roget (51%)
3. Jack Flack (50%)
4. C-Money (47%)
5. Dr. G (46%)
6. Mr. Green (43%)
7. Hollywood (36%)


Flyers Lose Emery... And More Games

Flyers goalie Ray Emery will miss 6 weeks, and will undergo surgery to repair torn muscle in the lower abdominal area. Brian Boucher is the starter for the time being, and the Flyers recalled goaltender Johan Backlund from the Adirondack Phantoms.

This is more bad news for the Flyers to go along with the fact that they have dropped to last place in the Atlantic Division, 13th place in the Eastern Conference, can't seem to find a way to win a game at all, and can barely seem to put the puck in the net. The Flyers have lost 5 games in a row, and 8 of 9, with the only win being a 2-1 win against the Islanders... who by the way are ahead of the Flyers in the standings. Along with the Sixers, the 2 winter Philly teams are currently on an 0-15 streak, and 1-19. The Flyers have only scored 15 goals in the last 9 games. In the early season, the Flyers were at one point among the leaders in goals scored in the NHL.

When you looked at this Flyers team at the end of last season, you saw a team that was very solid on offense, but not very good at defense, and average at the goaltender position. The Flyers addressed the goalie situation, and also brought in one of the best defenseman in the league in Chris Pronger. Going into this season, you still had to feel good about the Flyers offense. As I mentioned above, the Flyers got off a very good start, and were scoring a lot of goals, as expected. They have since hit a wall, and have been unable to get out of the current funk. The funk has cost John Stevens his job, and we need to hope new coach Peter Laviolette can get this team scoring goals soon. Guys like Scott Hartnell really need to step up their games. The offenseman on this team need to stop playing average and become stars. There needs to be a sense of urgency and not complacency.

The NHL season is a long one, and teams can go through stretches like this and still bounce back, but the Flyers are very close right now to falling out of contention. Chris Pronger, who has played great this season, understandably does not want to step on anyone's (Mike Richards) toes on this team being the new guy, and get in some people's faces, but I think it is time to let Chris Pronger do what he needs to do. Pronger is a natural leader, and I'm not sure Mike Richards is... off the ice at least. I don't believe however that you need to take the Captaincy away from Mike Richards. If you did that, it could have some serious negative effects on Richards progression as a player and a leader of this team. I am not trying to bash Richards, because I like him a lot, and he will be the captain and leader of the future, but to hold Chris Pronger back from being a natural leader, is a waste of one of his strengths.

Pronger should be given full range to speak to the younger players in the locker room, and get the players fired up. Richards is a natural leader on the ice with his hard, aggressive play, but he is sometimes quiet and hesitant off the ice. Pronger is not, and we need someone to step it up. The Captaincy is an honor, but at the same time, that doesn't mean other players shouldn't be able to step up and lead when need be, especially when you have a guy like Chris Pronger in the locker room.

No matter what they do, and no matter who does it, whether it be Richards, Pronger, or Laviolette - someone has to step it up and start leading this team to get out of this funk. The Flyers are a good team, and have a lot of talent on the team. It may only take one win, or even one fluky goal to get this team going. Let's hope they get that win soon, because between the Flyers and Sixers, it feels like we haven't seen a win in about a month.


Sixers Lose Iverson's Debut

The Sixers lost their 10th straight in front of a sellout crowd, which included Kotite's Corner, at the Wachovia Center. Iverson got a long standing ovation when he was introduced in the starting lineup, but wasn't much of a factor on the court.

Iverson basically chose to pass the ball most of the time when he had it, and ended the game shooting 4-11 for 11 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Iverson could have taken a lot more shots, and I personally wished he had, but he seemed hesitant at times. I guess that is to be expected in his first game back to get his legs under him. The Sixers were winning most of the game until the Nuggets went on a 22-3 run at the end of the 3rd quarter and beginning of the 4th when Iverson was on the bench. Chauncey Billups had a great game, and went off at the point to put the game away.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Sixers lineup of Willie Green, Jason Kapono, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, and Jason Smith just isn't going to cut it. I really do like Elton Brand, but he is horrible offensively. The only shot he can make is an uncontested shot from 15 feet. No question that Elton Brand was a beast in his prime, but he is average to say the best at this point in his career. I'm not even going to comment on Samuel Dalembert, besides to say I hate him. Willie Green played horribly also.

Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young were really the two Sixers who kept them in the game and in the lead for most of the game. Unfortunately, with Brand and Dalembert both as the starting 4 and 5, they need to give you something on the offensive end, or the Sixers will not win many games. Iverson didn't do much special, but I do think he provided a spark, and should only get better going forward. Either way, at least there is some Sixers talk in this town, and Iverson was enjoyable to watch.


Eagles Rout Falcons

The Eagles took care of business on Sunday and got another much needed win against a banged up Falcons team in convincing style with a 34-7 victory. The Eagles came very close to getting their first shutout on the road since 1991, but the Falcons scored a touchdown on the last play of the game as time expired.

The Eagles were in control basically the whole game, and had Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb split the quarterback duties in the 4th quarter. The Eagles dominated the first half, but couldn't put the Falcons away. They got into the red zone 4 times in the first half, and only came away with 13 points on those 4 red zone possessions. Leonard Weaver had a great game both running and catching the football, and ended the game with 5 carries for 37 yards, and 2 receptions for 63 yards, and receiving touchdown. Jeremy Maclin led the receivers with 4 receptions for 83 yards.

The Eagles really spread the ball out in the rushing attack with McCoy getting 6 carries, Weaver getting 5, Michael Vick getting 4, Reggie Brown with 1, McNabb scrambling with 2, and Eldra Buckley in the game in the 4th quarter getting 8 carries. In total, the Eagles ran the ball 26 times for 103 yards. Also, even the offense didn't put the Falcons away in the 1st half, give them credit for opening the 2nd half with a touchdown drive to go up 20-0. Michael Vick even got some extended time in the 4th quarter and was able to run for and pass for a touchdown today.

The defense didn't really let the Falcons get much of anything, especially without starters Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Chris Redman finished the game 23-44 for 235 yards, 1 TDs, and 2 INTs. Most of those yards from Redman came on the last possession of the game. The Falcons only were able to run the ball for 61 yards on 22 carries. The defense also had a goal line stand to close out the first half. If the Falcons had punched the ball in at that point, they would have only been down 13-7 to start the 2nd half. The defense had 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Sheldon Brown.

With Ryan and Turner out of the lineup for the Falcons, the Eagles had to take care of business this game, and they did just that. The Eagles move to 8-4 on the season, and depending on the outcome of the Giants-Cowboys game today, they could end up in a 1st place tie in the NFC East at the end of the day. Either way, the win was much needed with a trip to the Meadowlands next weekend to play the Giants.

The Eagles brass has to happy with this convincing victory so they can now expect us all to be happy when the announce the Andy Reid extension. I am happy with the Eagles victory, but will not be with the Reid extension.


Eagles Get Ready for Falcons

The Eagles face basically another must win game tomorrow when they visit Atlanta to play the 6-5 Falcons, who also must win this game. The Eagles enter this game 1 back back of the Dallas Cowboys, and 1 game ahead of the New York Giants in the NFC East, who play each other this weekend. This will also be Michael Vick's first visit back to play against Atlanta since all of his drama.

Certain players will need to step up their games for both teams, as both teams are facing injuries to key players. For the Falcons, local boy Matt Ryan is out with a turf toe, and the Falcons will send out backup QB Chris Redman. All-pro running back Michael Turner is questionable. For the Eagles, obviously Brian Westbrook will be out, but the Birds will also be without playmaker DeSean Jackson. The Eagles' receivers will need to step up their game without Jackson in the lineup. Not only is Jackson the #1 wide receiver on the team, he has made a lot of big plays in just about every game. The Eagles only healthy wide receivers on the roster this game are Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Reggie Brown, and the just called up from the practice squad rookie Jordan Norwood. Maclin and Avant will both need to have big games.

The Eagles offense will need to score points to win this game. The Falcons defense is not very good against either the run or the pass, and thus McNabb, and the young guys like Shady McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin will need to take advantage of a poor Falcons defense. On defense, the Eagles will try to confuse Chris Redman, and probably throw a confusing blitz package his way. With or without Michael Turner, the Falcons can run the ball effectively, so the Eagles will need to take their run game away. The Falcons will most likely be trying to run the ball a lot without Ryan.

This game will go a long way in the NFC for the playoff push for both teams, and with the Giants playing the Cowboys, the Eagles have a great opportunity to either catch up to the Cowboys in the standings, or move another game ahead of the Giants.