@FakeWIPCaller's Ten Best (And Ten Worst) Philadelphia Sports Moments of 2013

@FakeWIPCaller's Ten Best (And Ten Worst) Philadelphia Sports Moments of 2013

The year 2013 got off to a pretty good start for Philadelphia sports fans, with the firing on New Years' Eve of Andy Reid. Unfortunately, nothing else good happened for quite awhile, with the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers all turning in awful seasons. It was another year without a local championship, just like all of them except for '80, '83 and '08.

But there were happy developments too, even a few that didn't involve Nick Foles. Here are the ten best and ten worst things that happened in local sports this year:


1. That Flyers line brawl, in which Ray Emery skated the length of the ice in order to deck the Capitals' goalie, hereby kicking off one of the best weeks in Philadelphia sports history. Emery should never have to buy a drink in this town again.

2. Chip Kelly's appearance at Wing Bowl. Sure, the season itself has been pretty exciting, too. But wasn't that just awesome?

3. Nick Foles' emergence as the best Eagles quarterback ever, or at least since Jeff Garcia.

4. Riley Cooper's complete and total redemption. After all those touchdowns, no one can ever say a bad word about him again.

5. No longer in Philadelphia: Andy Reid, Andrew Bynum, Nnamdi Asomugha,  Ilya Bryzgalov, Jason Babin, Juan Castillo, JIm Washburn, Delmon Young, Kwame Brown.

6. The Sixers finally discovered, years too late, that you have to lose to win.

7. The Redskins and Giants both suffered major, highly embarrassing franchise collapses. Your turn, Cowboys.

8. Chase Utley finally wrote back to Mac.

9. Bernie Parent's surprising emergence as America's leading sex advice columnist.

10. This.

And the worst:

1. The Eagles retiring Donovan McNabb's number. A.J. Feeley was much more deserving.

2. Sam Hinkie's outrageous refusal to give talk radio interviews during the offseason.

3. Sports Illustrated putting Nick Foles on the cover. It's like they're trying to destroy us on purpose.

4. The Sixers hiring a new coach without even considering Allen Iverson.

5. Ilya Bryzgalov giving an interview in which he praised Stalin and, even worse, criticized Philadelphia.

6. The Phillies, continuing to hang on to their own expensive veteran players and not even lifting a finger to sign away other teams' expensive veteran players.

7. Philadelphia was rejected as the host city for Wrestlemania in 2015, because apparently we're "not friendly enough." For Wrestlemania.

8. Nick Foles narrowly lost out to Pope Francis for Time's Person of the Year.

9. Cary Williams on sconses.

10. Cary Williams on the field.

Other Philly sports takes:

- Awesome win for the Eagles Sunday night against the Bears. But it's concerning to me that they couldn't get to 60 points. I'm afraid that might come back to bite them.

- I hear Festivus was earlier in the week, although for me, every day is the Airing of the Grievances.

- Comcast this week showed Ruben Amaro talking on his BlackBerry. Yes, he still uses a BlackBerry.

- Welcome, Josh Innes. Looking forward to speaking with you.

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's the one week out of the year when Santa Claus isn't associated primarily with irate Eagles fans.

Follow @FakeWIPCaller on Twitter.

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Vikings predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles are coming off two straight losses and the slate doesn't get any easier with the 5-0 Vikings coming to town.

It also marks the return of Sam Bradford, who was traded just before Week 1, paving the way for rookie Carson Wentz to start.

The Eagles kick off against Minnesota at the Linc on Sunday at 1 p.m., so it's time for our (cough) experts' predictions for the Week 7 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (2-3)
I'll admit, this game just has a weird feel. It has the feeling like the Eagles might be able to catch the Vikings sleeping after their bye week and hand them their first loss of the season.

I was almost tempted to pick the Birds in this one.

But I'm not.

Ultimately, the Vikings are just the better team. I'm not sure how the Eagles are going to put up points against them. And I'm not convinced the Eagles' defense will be able to stop anyone after what we saw last weekend.

They keep it close, but the Birds fall to 3-3.

Vikings 20, Eagles 17

Derrick Gunn (2-3)
The good news is Minnesota's offense is ranked 30th in the league and the Vikings' run game is dead last averaging 70.6 yards per game. 

The bad news is the Vikings' defense is a monster, ranked 2nd overall and first in points allowed at 12.6.

There is not a weak link in the Vikings' D and they are fundamentally sound across the board. The Eagles' defense vows that what happened to them at Washington — allowing 230 rushing yards — won't happen again. 

Carson Wentz got roughed up by the Redskins' pass rush, and unless the Eagles' offensive line plugs the leaks, more of the same could happen this Sunday. The Birds have every reason to rebound at home, but I just don't like the overall matchup. 

Vikings 20, Eagles 13

Ray Didinger (2-3)
The Vikings aren't going undefeated. You don't go 16-0 in the NFL with a 30th ranked offense which is what the Vikings have. Yes, their defense is very good. Going back to last season they have held each of their last nine opponents to 17 points or less. They are deep, fast and well-coached by Mike Zimmer. But the offense led by Sam Bradford coughs and sputters a lot.
As a result, the Vikings will play a lot of close, low-scoring games and somewhere along the line they are going to lose. It could even happen this week when they play the Eagles. Special teams could be huge. The Eagles have a big edge with kicker Caleb Sturgis. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh has already missed three field goals and two PATs. However, the Vikings return men -- Marcus Sherels on punts, Cordarrelle Patterson on kickoffs -- are very dangerous. I expect the Eagles to keep it close but in the end I have to go with the superior defense.
Vikings 21, Eagles 16

Andrew Kulp (2-3)
Which Eagles defense shows up on Sunday? If they can limit Minnesota's anemic ground attack, which ranks dead last in the NFL, this should be a close game. Sam Bradford is playing really well, but it's not like he's airing it out all over the place.

Then it becomes a question of how Halapoulivaati Vaitai responds to a rough debut. The Vikings pass-rush is fierce, so it doesn't get any easier this week. As long as the protection gives Carson Wentz a chance, that will at least give the rookie signal-caller a shot at making a few big plays.

For some reason, I like their chances at both. It's going to be another ugly one, but the Eagles do just enough to squeak by.

Eagles 20, Vikings 19

Corey Seidman (2-3)
I foresee a low-scoring game in which the Eagles are more competitive than some might think.

But in the end, the Vikings have the personnel and the defensive-minded head coach (Mike Zimmer) to get key stops down the stretch.

Vikings 20, Eagles 16

Andy Schwartz (1-4)
You’re still reading? 

Well good for you. Much appreciated. 

Because clearly I certainly don’t know what to expect from this team. 

But let’s forget all that for the moment and look at the Bradford Bowl. 

The Vikings’ offense is hardly scary (30th in the league in yards per game behind the Rams and Niners), but their defense is (second in yards per game behind Seattle).

The Eagles’ offense is hardly scary (22nd in yards per game), and their defense (sixth in yards per game) was pretty scary a few weeks ago.

So let’s look at the intangibles. Which team needs this game more? The Eagles. And they’re at home. 

But given the outcomes the last two weeks and that Minnesota is unbeaten and coming off a bye, it certainly makes sense to pick the Vikes, who are favored by 2.5.

Then again, the Eagles not too long ago were unbeaten and coming off a bye … and we all know what happened.

So I’ll say the Birds pull off another upset and remain unbeaten at the Linc. 

Just don’t bet on it.

Eagles 6, Vikings 5

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.