Take a hike, Tom Brady: Eagles' Week 16 matchup with the Bears flexed to Sunday night

Take a hike, Tom Brady: Eagles' Week 16 matchup with the Bears flexed to Sunday night

If you are active on twitter, you may already know this since almost every single person in the history of twitter sent a tweet about this earlier this afternoon.  But for those of you who are social media-impaired – much like my father, who still doesn’t get the whole “tweeter” thing – there was some news today regarding the Eagles’ schedule.

The NFC East-leading Birds – damn, that feels good to say – and their Week 16 matchup with the Bears on Dec. 22 at the Linc has been flexed from a 1 p.m. start time to the NBC national slot at 8:30 p.m.

It’s an interesting choice by the folks over at NBC considering that the originally scheduled Sunday night game that week was Patriots at Ravens, a game chock-full of both high-profile stars and likely playoff implications.

The Patriots currently lead the AFC East with a 10-3 record, are fighting for a first-round bye and have some guy named Tom Brady as their quarterback. The Ravens currently hold the last AFC Wild Card slot with a 7-6 record, are the defending Super Bowl champions, and have national appeal. The teams would have drawn a great rating.

That game has been moved to the 4:25 p.m. start time.

All this proves is that Eagles – the hottest team in the NFL with their five-game win streak – are a sexy team in the eyes of network executives, and for good reason.

They have the NFL’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, a red-hot quarterback in Nick Foles, dynamic receivers in DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper, a solid defense anchored by linebacker Connor Barwin, all led by evil genius head coach Chip Kelly.

Long story short, they are a team people want to see right now.

And people outside of this area haven’t seen them much because the Birds have only played in primetime twice this season. They hung on to beat Washington, 33-27, on Monday night in Week 1 during Kelly’s debut. They put us to sleep two weeks later with a 26-16 loss to the Chiefs on a Thursday night in Andy Reid ‘s return to Philadelphia.

Now, the entire country will get a chance to see the high-flying juggernaut that the Eagles have become and in an important game, too. The Eagles could have chance to wrap up the NFC East and a playoff spot that night if everything goes according to the master plan. Monster receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall and the rest of the Bears will still be in the thick of the muddled NFC North race.

Since the Sunday night package went to NBC at the start of the 2006 season, the Eagles have been featured in that slot 18 times and have an 8-10 record in those games.

Two of those games were against the Bears and both were at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears won, 24-20, on Sept. 28, 2008 and the Eagles won, 24-20, on Nov. 22, 2009.

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Instant Replay: Flyers 3, Canucks 2

Box Score

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Flyers passed a freshness test Sunday night — barely.

After building a 3-0 lead in the first 23 minutes, the Flyers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at Rogers Arena.

The Flyers were the more rested team. They had two days off here following Thursday’s loss in Edmonton — and a three-day break before the start of the trip.

But they almost allowed the Canucks to come back in their second game of back-to-back home games with only a day’s rest following a grueling six-game United States road trip.

The Flyers (28-24-7) moved within a point of the eighth and final playoff spot, currently shared by Florida and Boston, in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks (26-28-6) were denied a chance to gain ground on the final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn — who added the goal that proved to be the winner — scored for the Flyers. Two of the three goals came on the power play. Both teams failed to score in the third period.

Markus Granlund and Jannik Hansen replied for the Canucks.

With the win, the Flyers avoided going winless on a three-game tour through British Columbia and Alberta. They posted their first victory in Western Canada in the past nine attempts.

Goalie report
Coach Dave Hakstol showed loyalty in goaltender Michal Neuvirth, after he allowed four goals on his first 12 shots in Thursday’s one-sided loss in Edmonton. The goaltender started off much better Sunday, as he got his toe on Markus Granlund’s dangerous chance from in close early and stopped all eight shots that he faced in the first period.

Power play
Hakstol was looking for the Flyers to rediscover their “swagger” on the power play. He got his wish early as Simmonds jammed in a Shayne Gostisbehere rebound only 5:45 into the game. The puck barely crossed the line but was clearly in, as confirmed by a video review. Vancouver winger Alex Burrows was off for hooking at the time. In the second period, Schenn padded his NHL power-play goals lead as he gave the Flayers a 3-0 lead at 2:38. Schenn scored his 14th power-play goal of the season on a shot from the slot as Simmonds screened Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller. With his goal, Simmonds moved into a tie for second in NHL man-advantage markers with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin. Both players have 12.

Voracek busts his slump
The drought is over for Voracek. The winger busted his scoring slump as he gave the Flyers a 2-0 lead at 2:38 of the second period. The goal was Voracek’s first in 10 games. He had not scored since Jan. 25 against the New York Rangers.

Shayne the unfriendly ghost
Gostisbehere did not live up to his nickname. Ghost was quite visible as he assisted on all of the Flyers’ goals. The Flyers started scoring as Simmonds tipped in Gostisbehere’s point shot during a power play.

Did you notice?
Defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a chance for a rare breakaway with about five and a half minutes left in the first period, but missed a well-placed lead pass as he was coming out of the penalty box. Instead of a scoring opportunity, the missed pass led to an icing call and a face-off in the Flyers’ end.

Up next
The Flyers head back home to meet the NHL-best Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

Report: Sixers, Pelicans had 'similar' package to DeMarcus Cousins deal in place

The Kings and Pelicans made waves after Sunday's NBA All-Star Game with the huge trade that sent superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Sacramento sent Cousins to New Orleans for a package that included rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round picks this in this year's draft.

But the Sixers and Pelicans reportedly were very close recently on deal for a "similar" package in exchange for Jahlil Okafor, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne.

That "similar" package was reportedly minus Hield.

So while the Pelicans are now almost certainly out of the running for Okafor, they've still made an impact on the Sixers in the near future.

Remember, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings in this year's draft via the Nik Stauskas deal in 2015.

So with Sacramento's brightest star now gone, that pick swap could be looking better and better for the Sixers.

As for Okafor, what does all this mean for his status with the Sixers?