Eagles

NFL Playoff Picture: Yes, the Eagles are still alive in the playoff race

NFL Playoff Picture: Yes, the Eagles are still alive in the playoff race

I tried to wait a couple days. And you’re probably not going to want to hear this but the Eagles are still alive in the playoff race.

The easiest way to put this: If they win out, they’re in.

I know, I know, losing to the Dolphins doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence, but if you’ve been paying attention to the Cowboys, they’re not exactly running away with this thing either.

“We’re not throwing in the towel,” Doug Pederson said on Monday. “We have a lot of football left. We have a great opportunity. There is still a chance for us. We control our own destiny. So that's going to be the message moving forward to this football team, and the leaders have to embrace that and they have to also take it to the team as well.”

As hard as it is to imagine this Eagles team making it into the playoffs, the numbers say there’s still a decent chance. There’s no chance at a wild card spot, but the NFC East is so bad, they’re still very much alive. They’re one game behind the Cowboys (6-6)

In fact, FiveThirtyEight has the Eagles with a 35% chance to win the division and the Cowboys with a 65% chance. If the Eagles beat the Giants on Sunday and the Cowboys lose to the Bears — both possible — the two teams would be 6-7. The Cowboys would have a 53% chance and the Eagles a 47% chance.

Take a look at their remaining schedules:

Cowboys

Week 14: @ Chicago (6-6)
Week 15: vs. Rams (7-5)
Week 16: @ Philadelphia (5-7)
Week 17: vs. Washington (3-9)

Eagles

Week: 14: vs. Giants (2-10)
Week 15: @ Washington (3-9)
Week 16: vs. Dallas (6-6)
Week: 17: @ Giants (2-10)

Taking out the Week 16 showdown, the Cowboys’ other three opponents have a combined winning percentage of .444. The Eagles’ other three opponents have a combined winning percentage of .194.

If — and I understand it’s a big if — the Eagles win out, they would win the division because of an advantage in the third tie-breaker. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head matchups and they’d both be 1-1. The second is division record and they’d both likely be 5-1. The third is common opponents, where the Eagles would have an edge.

If the Eagles were in any other division with a 5-7 record, they’d be cooked right now. But the NFC East, as a division, has six fewer wins than the next closest division.

Take a look:

NFC West: 30
NFC North: 26
NFC South: 23
NFC East: 16

AFC East: 26
AFC South: 25
AFC North: 23
AFC West: 22

A question I’ve been asked recently is this: Would it even be a good thing for the Eagles to make the playoffs?

I understand that thought process. Because if finding a back door into the postseason really changes the way the Eagles evaluate this season, it would be a bad thing. This team needs major change.

But I still think it’s better to be in the playoffs than out, even if they’d be looking at an early-round exit. And either the Cowboys or Eagles will host a game in the wild card round, which is just as laughable as it is true.

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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