2013 Philadelphia Eagles: Predictions for All 16 Games

2013 Philadelphia Eagles: Predictions for All 16 Games

Week 1 at Washington – Win, 37-27

Chip Kelly shocks the world with his offense – by coming out and running the triple option out of the Flexbone on Monday Night Football. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and Bryce Brown combine to rush for over 300 yards against the Redskins, who are caught completely off-guard by Chip’s college gimmicks. The Eagles never use the Flexbone again, and this goes down in lore next to the Pickle Juice game.

Week 2 vs. San Diego – Win, 41-23

Philip Rivers goes ballistic on King Dunlap on the sidelines during the fourth quarter after the Chargers’ left tackle allows Connor Barwin to beat him for four sacks on the afternoon. Later that week on The Howie Roseman Show, the diabolical Eagles’ GM reveals that was the plan all along when the team let Dunlap reach free agency.

Week 3 vs. Kansas City – Win, 38-30

Donovan McNabb dresses in full uniform for his halftime retirement ceremony a la John Riggins – pads, helmet, everything. Toward the end of the ceremony, Andy Reid emerges from the locker room to congratulate Donovan on stage, only when they go to shake hands, McNabb turns on his head coach of 11 seasons and delivers a Stone Cold Stunner. Nobody in Philadelphia ever boos or talks bad about Five again, both because that was awesome and for fear of retribution.

Week 4 at Denver – Loss, 45-24

The fun times are over for Chip as Peyton Manning absolutely wrecks the Eagles’ defense. Cary Williams gets burned deep for two long touchdowns, and both times Kurt Coleman gives the cornerback a quizzical look as if they had their assignments mixed up. Coleman isn’t even playing, it’s just force of habit.

Week 5 at New York Giants – Loss, 38-34

Eli Manning picks up where Peyton left off, torching the Birds’ secondary for over 450 yards for a second consecutive week. Vick has a chance to be a hero on the final drive, but fumbles the football away when he dives head first for extra yards at the end of a scramble. No one for the Giants even touches Vick, he just coughs it up because that’s a thing he would do.

Week 6 at Tampa Bay – Loss, 27-19

Darrelle Revis intercepts a pair of Vick passes, one of which the All-Pro corner takes to the house. After posting passer ratings of 95.0 and above the first three weeks of the season, the Eagles’ quarterback hasn’t cracked 70.0 in the past three. WIP is inundated by calls for Matt Barkley to start, while Nick Foles secretly wonders who he needs to stab to get some respect around here.

Week 7 vs. Dallas – Win, 30-23

Cary Williams misses the Cowboys game to be at the grand opening of his new restaurant. Unfortunately for Williams, the cream rises to the top in his absence. Brandon Boykin shuts down Dez Bryant, holding the NFL’s leading receiver to just two catches the entire afternoon. The next day Boykin is named starter. Cary hears of the news while he’s picking out drapes.

Week 8 vs. New York Giants – Win, 27-24

Jason Pierre-Paul folds up Vick like a pretzel, and in comes Foles. The backup quarterback has trouble finding his rhythm, but LeSean McCoy refuses to lose. Shady weaves all over the place on one 33-yard run in particular, seeking out Giants defenders and audibly shouting “McCoy” with each juke. He totals 200 yards of total offense by himself while carrying his team to victory, and the Eagles are surprisingly in first place in the NFC East.

Week 9 at Oakland – Win, 34-16

Foles isn’t particularly sharp in Vick’s stead, the Raiders are just that bad. Matt McGloin gets into the game at some point for Oakland and actually performs well, leading to a groundswell of WIP callers who believe the Eagles should trade their 2014 second-round pick for the Penn State grad and install him as franchise quarterback during the offseason.

Week 10 at Green Bay – Loss, 42-26

Vick returns, but looks as though he’s still dealing with the lingering effects of whatever injury he came down with this time. Aaron Rodgers on the other hand is in MVP form, completing over 80% of his passes against a defense that doesn’t have the horses to keep up with the Packers’ speed on offense. After the game, Cary Williams throws his teammates and coaching staff under the bus.

Week 11 vs. Washington – Loss, 31-28

Having been thoroughly embarrassed by Chip Kelly in Week 1, Mike Shanahan goes deep into his bag of tricks to jump on the Eagles early, and the Redskins hang on to gain their revenge. Robert Griffin catches a touchdown pass from Santana Moss, and Sav Rocca scampers in for six on a fake field goal in what are the beginnings of a rivalry where two head coaches try to out-troll the other every time they meet.

Week 12 Bye

DeSean Jackson releases his second hip-hop single Shiny Objects Distract Me featuring Kanye West. WIP and internet message boards are filled with irate fans who say the wide receiver should focus on football. DJacc is enjoying a career year and is en route to his third Pro Bowl.

Week 13 vs. Arizona – Win, 24-6

The Eagles’ front seven swarms Ryan Lindley all afternoon long – the Cardinals are already on to their third quarterback – with Fletcher Cox landing the hit of the year on the helpless signal caller. It’s the type of devastating collision the marketing department uses in their highlight reels for years to come.

Week 14 vs. Detroit – Win, 45-41

Defensive coordinator Bill Davis makes a halftime adjustment, having Cary Williams shadow Calvin Johnson wherever he goes. The plan works, as Cary hauls in a pair of interceptions including one in the final two minutes to help seal a huge comeback victory. After the game, Williams tells reporters in the locker room that the Eagles’ defense is once again feared around the National Football League. Note the final score.

Week 15 at Minnesota – Loss, 27-13

Vick suffers from flashbacks of his dreadful performance against the Vikings in 2010. He keeps hallucinating Antoine Winfield is blitzing off the edge, repeatedly attempting to flee the pocket even when the protection is fine. In the meantime, Adrian Peterson rushes for over 200 yards and scores three touchdowns – Vick is eventually sent to the trainer’s room where he rocks himself to sleep.

Week 16 vs. Chicago – Loss, 24-19

Amid baseless rumors that Chip Kelly will return to college football at season’s end, the Eagles come out flat. DeSean has just been named to the Pro Bowl as well, and wants to be healthy for an imaginary impending contract renegotiation, so he’s back to gator-arming passes. Chris Tillman terrorizes Vick, forcing three turnovers. Afterwards, Chip berates Les Bowen for asking about the reports at the post-game press conference.

Week 17 at Dallas – Win, 31-23

Jason La Canfora’s report about Chip is (not surprisingly) unfounded, and the Birds have new life. Of course, it helps that this game somehow winds up being for the NFC East Championship. Vick puts in his best outing of the year, rewarding coach for sticking by him through the ups and downs of a 16-game season. With their sweep of Dallas, Philadelphia owns the tiebreaker over the Cowboys, which means the Eagles earn a home game in the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

Wild-Card Round vs. San Francisco – Loss, 38-14

The Eagles have already exceeded expectations at this point, so it’s not surprising when a powerhouse like the 49ers steamrolls right through Philly to advance. Vick is so ineffective that Foles gets a shot, but it’s clear the Birds will be in the market for the quarterback at the draft in May. Still, the season was more fun than a lot of people expected, and there’s real enthusiasm heading into the offseason.

Pete Mackanin unloads on Phillies' bullpen after latest collapse

Pete Mackanin unloads on Phillies' bullpen after latest collapse

BOX SCORE

ATLANTA — The Phillies’ bullpen continued its ugly, late-season collapse on Tuesday night. It was tagged for six runs in a 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves rallied for the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth inning (see Instant Replay).
 
The loss came two days after the bullpen gave up 14 earned runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday and it left manager Pete Mackanin more than a little bit frustrated.
 
“The bullpen has just not been doing the job,” Mackanin said.
 
Jerad Eickhoff gave up just one run (on a solo homer by Freddie Freeman) over four walk-free innings to open the game. He was up 6-1 after four innings when the rains came and stopped the game for an hour and 53 minutes.
 
With Eickhoff bounced by the weather, Mackanin had to go to his bullpen. He used four relievers — Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez and David Hernandez — and all gave up runs.
 
Phillies relievers have pitched 77 1/3 innings this month and allowed 69 earned runs for an ERA of 8.03. So that’s one more thing Matt Klentak has to fix this winter, along with the offense that Mackanin wants to see addressed (see story).
 
Ultimately, Hernandez took the loss when he gave up three hits and a run in the bottom of the eighth. The other run in the inning was charged to Rodriguez.
 
As unbelievable as it may sound with rosters being expanded in September, the Phillies played this game shorthanded.
 
They did not have reliever Edubray Ramos. He had a sore elbow, Mackanin said.
 
They did not have outfielder Peter Bourjos, who had gone home to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
 
They also did not have outfielder Tyler Goeddel, who is out with a concussion.
 
Not having Bourjos or Goeddel forced Mackanin to use Darin Ruf in left field after Roman Quinn went out with an oblique injury in the sixth inning. Ruf failed to make a catch on a long fly ball by Tyler Flowers to the gap in left-center. The non-play extended the eighth inning and fueled the Braves’ comeback.
 
“It should have been caught,” Mackanin said. “If Quinn's out there, he catches it. He wasn't out there.”
 
Hernandez was the only free agent that the Phillies signed to a major-league contract this winter. The Phillies signed him with an eye toward using him as the closer. But Hernandez struggled much of the season and slipped into the middle innings while Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez rose to high-leverage roles.
 
Gomez lost the closer’s job last week and Mackanin was saving Neris to close out this game. That meant Hernandez had to pitch the eighth. He couldn’t protect the lead. He gave up the game-tying hit to Mallex Smith and the go-ahead hit to Emilio Bonafacio.
 
“Neris was going to close for us,” Mackanin said. “I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That's unheard of.”
 
The bullpen’s unraveling threw cold (rain) water on Eickhoff’s solid start and Ryan Howard’s big night. Howard belted his 24th homer, a grand slam in the first inning, to highlight a 14-hit attack and help the Phils jump to a 6-0 lead.
 
“Eickhoff looked like he was having one of his best games and then the rain came. So that was our first disappointment,” Mackanin said. "Other than that, Howie swung the bat great. Hit that grand slam. We got 14 hits, but we stranded 12 runners. We have to keep adding on.”
 
Quinn had three of the Phillies’ 14 hits then added to his collection of injuries with the oblique strain that bounced him from the game in the sixth. He hurt himself taking a swing.
 
Oblique injuries generally keep a player sidelined for at least three weeks, so Quinn’s season is likely over. He missed six weeks with a similar injury at Double A Reading this summer. The 23-year-old outfielder came up from the minors on Sept. 11 and has been auditioning for a spot on next season’s opening day roster.
 
“It looks like it,” Mackanin said when asked if Quinn was done for what remains of the season.
 
Injuries have been a consistent hurdle for Quinn ever since he was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. He has missed significant time with a ruptured Achilles tendon, a wrist injury that required surgery, a torn quad muscle and an oblique strain. Now he has another one.
 
“It’s the same one I hurt before,” Quinn said. “It’s frustrating.”
 
Right now, just about everything is frustrating with this team. Good thing there are only five games left.

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Best of MLB: Blue Jays beat Orioles in opener of AL wild-card showdown

Best of MLB: Blue Jays beat Orioles in opener of AL wild-card showdown

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer, Aaron Sanchez struck out 10 and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on Tuesday night in the opener of their AL wild-card showdown.

Ezequiel Carrera also homered as the Blue Jays won for the sixth time in eight games. They lead the wild-card standings by two games over the Orioles with five to play.

Baltimore began the day two games ahead of Detroit and Seattle for the league's final playoff spot.

Orioles slugger Chris Davis was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Will Little after striking out against Joe Biagini in the seventh, the third time in three at-bats Davis was caught looking. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter also was tossed after he came out to argue (see full recap).

Syndergaard, Mets pound grieving Marlins
MIAMI -- With time running out in the playoff race, the New York Mets set sympathy aside.

Noah Syndergaard struck out eight and allowed one run in six innings Tuesday night, and the Mets totaled 19 hits to beat the grieving Miami Marlins 12-1.

Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes each hit his 31st homer for the Mets, who began the game with a half-game lead over the Giants in the battle for the first NL wild-card berth, with the Cardinals 1 1/2 games behind.

The game was the Marlins' second since the death of ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident. One night after a heart-tugging victory over New York filled with tributes to their teammate, emotions were more subdued, and Miami's bats were too.

Syndergaard (14-9) had a lot to do with that. After missing a scheduled start Saturday with strep throat, he threw 93 pitches and lowered his ERA to 2.60, third-best in the majors. He'll return to pitch the regular-season finale Sunday at Philadelphia if needed (see full recap).

Cards beat Reds to tighten wild-card race
ST. LOUIS -- Playing with a heavy heart, Aledmys Diaz hit his first career grand slam and the St. Louis Cardinals finished with five home runs Tuesday night in a 12-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Chasing the Giants and Mets in a tight race for the two NL wild cards, St. Louis moved within a half-game of San Francisco for the league's final playoff spot -- pending the Giants' late game against Colorado.

New York, which beat Miami 12-1, leads the wild-card standings and remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the Cardinals.

Jhonny Peralta had a three-run homer and drove in four runs for the Cardinals, who had lost four of five. Matt Carpenter, Randal Grichuk and Matt Adams also homered (see full recap).