Eagle Eye: Eagles-Bears Predictions
Pictured from left to right: Tight end Zach Ertz, running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles. (AP)
1. This Eagles season seems a lot like 1995. First-year coach, a team that finished the previous year in shambles, a 1-3 start, a surprising mid-season run, a Pro Bowl tailback holding the whole thing together, a battle with the Cowboys for the division lead. The big difference is that was a veteran team, led by older guys like Ricky Watters, Rodney Peete, William Fuller, Mike Zordich and Fred Barnett. This is a predominantly young team. Those 1995 Eagles won a wild-card game and reached the playoffs again a year later, but the success wasn’t sustainable because they got old fast and Ray Rhodes – Coach of the Year in 1995 – couldn’t get his fire-and-brimstone approach to work for very long. This year feels different from that respect. The Eagles finally seem to be stocking the roster with good young players, and the Eagles should be competitive for a while. Especially in a division where all three other teams are a mess. It feels like the start of something, for the first time in a long time.
2. Only 10 quarterbacks in NFL history have had one game with 400 passing yards and three touchdown passes before their 25th birthday. Nick Foles has had two.
3. The Bears have one of the worst rush defenses in NFL history at 5.2 yards per carry. That’s third-worst in the last 50 years (behind the 2006 Colts and 1965 Oilers). If LeSean McCoy doesn’t get at least 27 carries Sunday, it’s inexcusable.
4. The last player the Eagles drafted in the first three rounds to record 10 sacks in a season in an Eagles uniform: Jerome Brown.
5. Zach Ertz is going to be a beast. The kid has 32 catches for 399 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, and you can just see him getting more and more comfortable every week. My favorite number: 12.5 yards per catch. That’s a huge number for a tight end. Ertz can really scoot and pick up big yards after the catch. Ertz's 12.5 figure is 10th-highest among rookie tight ends with at least 30 catches over the last 30 years. Stud.
6. My top 10 Christmas songs: 1. Fairytale of New York, the Pogues, 2. Father Christmas, the Kinks, 3. Christmas Wrapping, the Waitresses, 4. Little Saint Nick, the Beach Boys, 5. 2,000 Miles, Pretenders, 6. Do they Know It’s Christmas, Band Aid, 7. I Believe in Father Christmas, Greg Lake, 8. Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You, Billy Squier, 9. So This is Christmas, John Lennon, 10. Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes), Harvey Danger.
7. This one blew my mind: Foles has 23 touchdown passes in the equivalent of 8½ games. Donovan McNabb surpassed 23 touchdown passes twice in his 13-year career [31 in 2004, 25 in 2001]. With four TD passes in the Eagles’ last two games, Foles will have the fifth-highest total in Eagles history. In 10½ games.
8. A guy called me on 94 WIP Friday night still furious that Evan Moore had dropped a sure touchdown pass from Foles in the second Washington game last year that probably cost the Eagles a win. I forgot there was even a person named Evan Moore who played for the Eagles last year. But I love fans who remember those kind of ridiculous details. We could do a whole radio show on nobodies who’ve broken the Eagles’ heart over the years: MarTay Jenkins, John Fourcade, Tim Hightower, DeShaun Foster, Joe Webb, et al. Who else?
9. The least deserving band in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is probably the Moonglows. They had one top-20 hit, a song called "Sincerely" that peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard charts for one week in 1955. Rock historians claim some of the lyrics to "Sincerely” were stolen from a 1951 song by the Dominoes called “That’s What You’re Doing to Me.” Yet they’re in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. And Yes, Todd Rundgren, the Replacements, Cheap Treak and Deep Purple aren’t. Preposterous.
10. Words you never want to hear at halftime: “And now, an essay by Bob Costas.”
11. The scene in Bull Durham when Crash Davis is walking quietly around Durham in the rain after being released before eventually winding up at Annie Savoy’s house … that scene kills me every time.
12. Here is a random holiday baking point from CSNPhilly hockey reporter and resident cupcake baker Sarah Baicker: Chances are, if you haven't already, you'll be asked to contribute some sort of edible addition to an upcoming holiday party. Everyone loves cupcakes - but chocolate or vanilla is so boring. Why not add an unexpected ingredient to your recipe? Counting down from least awesome to most awesome:
5. Jalapeño pepper: Surprise! A spicy cupcake!
4. Peanut butter & jelly: not just for your kid's lunch anymore.
3. Salt: Sweet is even sweeter when balanced with something salty.
2. Bacon: Really! In the batter, in the frosting, candied and used as decoration ...
1. Beer: Try using Guinness or Brooklyn Brewery's chocolate stout. Best part is, you can drink all the leftovers!
13. Michael Carter-Williams is averaging 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Here is a list of players in NBA history who have averaged 17 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals per game in a full season: Magic Johnson.
14. McCoy now has 7,304 career yards from scrimmage, which is 11th-most in NFL history by a player before his 26th birthday. With two games left – McCoy turns 26 in June – McCoy is within range of Maurice Jones-Drew (7,347) and Jim Brown (7,509), so he needs 206 yards to reach No. 9 on that prestigious list. At the top: Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (8,759), Walter Payton (8,350) and Barry Sanders (8,288).
15. When I’m in charge, if you throw a cigarette butt out your car window, that’s 24 hours in prison. Every time you do it again, that doubles.
16. The Eagles’ top-5 draft needs in 2014: 1) Edge pass-rushing linebacker, 2) Safety, 3) Guard, 4) Corner, 5) Another safety.
17. I’m like the world’s streakiest Ruzzle player. I can lose 11 straight matches, then win 17 straight. I gotta be more consistent. Take it one day at a time maybe.
18. The 12 defensive linemen the Eagles have drafted in the first, second or third round since 2001 have totaled 70 sacks in an Eagles uniform in 43 combined seasons. That’s 1.6 per season. And that doesn’t even include Jon Harris.
19. Note to national anthem singers: Do not interpret. Do not show off. Do not do the Mariah Carey quivering mouth thing, where one word all of a sudden somehow contains 17 syllables (“o’er the land of the free-eeee-yeee-YEEEEE-yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahEEEEEEEEEEEwhoawhoawhoaWHOAAAAAAAohyeahEEeeEEeeEEeeEEEEEE”). Just sing the song. Respect the song. Respect the country. It’s not about you.
20. Penn’s Landing has never become the tourist destination it was planned as decades ago. The big problem is that I-95 effectively cuts off Center City from Penn’s Landing so much there’s no real connection, even though in reality they’re not far apart. But what if we could cover up I-95 from, say, Christian Street up through Market Street? The roadway is already below ground level, so you wouldn’t even have to rebuild the highway, just build a roof over it and landscape it. Check out the aquarium area in Boston. Before the Big Dig, it was isolated from the rest of the city. Now, it’s got hotels, restaurants, shopping, and it’s an easy five-minute walk to Faneuil Hall. You don’t even realize I-93 is below you. Let’s get this done, Philly!
21. Josh Hart might be Villanova’s best player by the end of the season.
22. I’ll bet Redskins-Cowboys gets better ratings in Philly than in Washington.
23. The cover version of Sweet Child O’ Mine by a girl-fronted group called Taken by Trees I just heard in a coffee shop – slowed down to a turgid crawl, with every molecule of life squeezed out of it – might be the most horrific atrocity ever recorded in the history of popular music.
24. There have been 11,440 yards gained by the Eagles and their opponents in the Eagles’ first 14 games. That’s the fifth-most yards by a team and its opponents combined through 14 games in NFL history and only 329 yards behind the most – 11,769 by the 2011 Saints.
25. If Eagles-Cowboys on Dec. 29 does end up deciding the NFC East – and I think it will – I just don’t see the Eagles losing that game.