@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

It's NFL Draft Day! Do you have any idea what the Eagles are going to do tonight? Neither do I. And that's the problem, right there.

The entire time Andy Reid was the coach of the Eagles, he stayed tight-lipped about his plans for the draft and free agency. I guess he didn't trust us lowly fans with such important information- once again, it was all about Andy believing he was smarter than all of the rest of us. When Andy was fired and Chip Kelly replaced him, I was hoping we'd at least get some transparency.

No such luck, I'm afraid. Not only has Chip Kelly been just as silent about the Eagles' draft plans as Andy always was, but he hasn't done a single thing yet to show that he knows what he's doing when it comes to drafting. I want Chip to come out, this morning, and tell us exactly who he plans to take with the fourth pick. I think we're owed at least that, especially from an organization that just raised ticket prices after going 4-12.

Leading the Eagles to a record that earned them the fourth pick, in the year of the weakest draft in memory, was clearly an intentional move on Andy Reid's part, and so was taking a job with one of the only teams picking ahead of the Eagles.

The invaluable Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported earlier in the week that the Eagles have four players they're focusing on, unless they trade down. Based on that rock-solid information, what should the Eagles do at #4?

I don't want Geno Smith, I really don't need another scrambling quarterback who's not trustworthy in the clutch. EJ Manuel wore #7 in college, so he's out too. Ryan Nassib? No thank you; who wants another quarterback from Syracuse?

No interest in Dion Jordan; the Phillies tried Ricky and Kevin, the Eagles Akeem, and the Sixers Eddie, but Jordans never seem to work out in Philly. Star Lotulelei is a no-go too; I'm sick of players from Utah. Dee Milliner has a girl's name. And the Eagles better not do any of those arrogant things Andy used to do on draft day, like trade up, trade down, or draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

You know who the Eagles should draft? Luis Suarez. The soccer player for English club team Liverpool last weekend bit an opposing player and then, just a few minutes later, scored a last-second, game-tying goal.

I'm certainly no soccer fan, but the Eagles could really use a guy with that sort of killer instinct and skill in the clutch- imagine what a hero a guy would be in this town if he bit Tony Romo, and then scored a game-winning touchdown. And most importantly, it sounds like B-Dawk agrees!

So get out there and get drafting, Chip Kelly. Because if you don't have a good first draft, you're certainly going to hear it from the crowd at the first home game.

Other Philly sports takes:

- The Eagles schedule came out this week. I'm seeing loss, loss, win, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss.

- Bryz falling asleep in a team meeting is an outrage. In this town, we want athletes who eagerly participate in team meetings, and ask lots of questions.

- A Paulie statue in Kensington? Why not? It's important every Rocky supporting character get a statue before Joe Frazier.

- I still can't believe Rutgers fired Mike Rice, just for showing leadership as a coach. I mean, if Andrew Bynum had had to worry about basketballs weezing by his head, I think he'd have found a way to get on the court. Anyway, Rutgers certainly got what they deserved: New coach Eddie Jordan.

- Jonathan Pettibone made a really solid debut for the Phils the other night. He looks like a keeper in this rotation- might it be time to approach him with an extention? Between him and Jesse Biddle, who struck out 16 in Double-A the same night, things are really looking up for the future of the Phils' young pitching.

- On the other hand, the Phils could really use a veteran outfield bat with some pop, so Pettibone could be a useful trade chip.

- Pettibone for Carlos Beltran! Pettibone and Biddle for Josh Hamilton! Pettibone, Biddle and Domonic Brown for Giancarlo Stanton. Come on, Ruben!

Flyers-Blackhawks 5 things: Matinee showdown with Western Conference leader

Flyers-Blackhawks 5 things: Matinee showdown with Western Conference leader

Flyers (12-10-3) vs. Blackhawks (16-6-3)
1 p.m. on CSN and CSNPhilly.com

Behind captain Claude Giroux's two goals and overtime heroics Thursday, the Flyers enter Saturday's matinee with the Chicago Blackhawks on their longest win streak of the season.

That and more as we get ready for the afternoon showdown at the Wells Fargo Center.

1. Three's company
With their 3-2 OT win over the Senators, the Flyers have now won three (3!) games in a row for the second time this season, a sign the ship might be turning in the right direction.

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol applauded his team's 61-minute effort afterward. Comparing it to Tuesday's win over Boston in which Steve Mason single-handedly stole two points from the Bruins, Hakstol said the Ottawa game was a "real, good, consistent effort" throughout the lineup, which the Flyers will have to mimic again Saturday in order to beat Chicago.

On Friday, Hakstol rewarded the Flyers with an optional practice. Brandon Manning, who has missed the last two games because of a possible concussion, returned to practice Friday and was cleared to play. If Manning returns Saturday, Andrew MacDonald seems like the likely candidate to come out.

Manning's return would be welcomed for the Flyers. The 26-year-old has been one of the team's most consistent players. He's been aggressive, both offensively and defensively, and his play is not deserving of a healthy scratch. But with no morning skate and limited player availability Friday, Manning's status for the Blackhawks' game remains unknown.

2. Power hour
For the Flyers to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games Saturday, they will have to do so not only with a sound, defensive game but also on special teams.

If there is one area Chicago has struggled this season, it has been the penalty kill. At 70.1 percent, the Blackhawks have the league's worst PK unit, and have a middle-of-the-road power play despite all of their offensive firepower.

The Flyers, on the other hand, have the league's third-best power play at 23.6 percent, and their penalty-kill units have improved lately, getting up to 80 percent. The Flyers have two PP goals in their last 19 opportunities.

Still, Chicago's power play is dangerous despite its recent struggles. The Blackhawks have just one power-play goal since Nov. 19, and went 0 for 4 on Thursday against the Devils.

3. Corey's crease
The Blackhawks also enter Saturday hot, winning three of their last four games; however, they have gone to overtime in their last three games. Chicago has had issues with slow starts in games recently, and the Devils' game Thursday was another example of that.

New Jersey took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but easily could have had a larger lead had it not been for Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who's been excellent this season. Crawford faced 13 shots in the opening period Thursday and kept the 'Hawks in the game, as he has all season long. The Blackhawks sit atop the NHL with 35 points (at the time of this posting), and Crawford is a major reason for that.

Crawford has a 2.27 goals-against average and .927 save percentage this season. He's pitched two shutouts and has faced 33 or more shots in his last four games. Scoring on Crawford has not been easy for opponents this season, but the Flyers do average 3.1 goals, third in the NHL.

4. Keep an eye on …
Flyers: Let's stick with Giroux. The 28-year-old snapped a nine-game goal drought Tuesday with power-play goal, and then added two more Thursday — one at 5-on-5 and one in the 3-on-3 overtime. Giroux's play at even strength has been scrutinized, but his point production remains potent. Giroux has a four-game point streak — three goals, two assists — and has 22 points in 25 games this season. He also got engaged Thursday in Ottawa.

Blackhawks: So many players to watch, but let's highlight the ageless Marian Hossa. The 37-year-old continues to be an effective player even as he grows older. Now in his 18th NHL season, Hossa leads Chicago with 12 goals, including the game-winner in overtime against New Jersey Thursday. Hossa tallied his 500th career goal against the Flyers back on Oct. 18, and has 15 goals in 48 career games against the orange and black. He still has it.

5. This and that
• Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is out for Saturday's game because of an upper-body injury, per CSN Chicago's Tracey Myers. Toews hasn't played since Nov. 23.

• Mason, Saturday's projected starter, is 7-12-3 with a 3.42 GAA and .890 save percentage in 23 career games against the Blackhawks. After a disaster start to the season, Mason has a 2.22 GAA and .912 save percentage over his last nine games.

• Chicago has five players with seven or more goals, and five players with double-digit assists.

TicketIQ: Affordable seats available to see Sixers face marquee opponents

TicketIQ: Affordable seats available to see Sixers face marquee opponents

Editor's Note: The following is sponsored content written by TicketIQ.

The improvements have been obvious for the 76ers this season. Just months removed from a franchise-worst 10-72 record, the Sixers have begun to see return on their rebuild with rookie Joel Embiid leading the charge.
 
December will be a big month for the team as it looks to rise in the Eastern Conference. Attending an upcoming game won’t come attached with big ticket prices, either. With several marquee opponents headed to Wells Fargo Center over the next four weeks, including the Lakers, Celtics and Raptors, fans can find relatively inexpensive ticket prices on the resale market all month long.
 
On TicketIQ, a ticket search engine that pools tickets and data from over 90 percent of the resale market, the average resale price for 76ers tickets in December is just $58. That makes December among the cheapest months to see the Sixers this season.

 
With the Lakers in town for a December 16 game, it will be the only 76ers home game this month that commands an average resale price above $100. On TicketIQ, 76ers vs Lakers tickets own a $112 average and the most inexpensive are listed from $27 each. It will be the Lakers’ sole visit to Philadelphia this season.
 
The Celtics will be the Sixers’ second most expensive opponent this month, but their December 3 visit is currently averaging nearly half the price the Lakers are seeing when they’re in town two weeks later. As it stands now the average resale price for tickets against the Celtics is $69 with a get-in price of $13.
 
The Nets, Pelicans and Raptors are all generating similar demand for their respective stops in Philadelphia later this month. With all three teams visiting over a six-day period between December 14 and 20, no game will average over $55 on the secondary market. Tickets start from as low as $7 each to when Anthony Davis and the Pelicans come to town on the 20th.
 
For those fans with interest in attending the most inexpensive games at Wells Fargo Center this month, the struggling Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets will serve as the most affordable opponents to see in action in December. The Magic play the Sixers on Friday night, where last-minute 76ers vs. Magic tickets are averaging $43. Their next home game against the Nuggets have an average resale price of just $35.