If there’s one thing sure to split opinion quickly it’s the age-old battle of who knows more about the NFL, the players or the staff?
To try and resolve the issue once and for all players take on coaches and backroom staff one on one to see who really knows their stuff.
The concept is pretty simple: each week one Eagles player and one staff member will go head to head predicting the outcome of the weekend’s NFL games, and by the end of the season the true power houses will emerge.
Heading into this week where Lineman of the Year John Rudgard meets Special Teams Coordinator Gary Villiers, the Coaches and Staff lead the players 54-35 to 52-37.
Let’s see what the weekend has in store…
Dolphins @ Patriots (Thursday Night Football)
RUDGARD: I’ve been to Miami, and New England within the same holiday. I liked them both, both were hot, but that was summer, this is winter (kind of) so I think the Dolphins will be all like “ooooh this isn’t nice weather like where we’re from” that plus Tom Brady plays for the Patriots and I’ve heard he’s good…so Patriots to win.
VILLIERS: Everybody loves Thursday Night Football right!? Except the coaches and players who have three days fewer to prepare maybe? The Dolphins were awful at Wembley and the Patriots are NFL royalty with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady showing how to win again and again. But new HC Dan Campbell has The ‘Fins full of confidence with Ryan Tannehill on fire. Surely there’s no chance of an upset but I say the Pats get deflated this week. Dolphins win, no really!
Lions @ Chiefs (International Series)
RUDGARD: This should be close, both teams doing pretty rubbish, with the Lions having the edge on rubbishness this season slightly. However I see them being more at home in London (from what I remember from Robocop) so I’m going Lions to win.
VILLIERS: Everybody loves a home game at Wembley right!? See above. At least the Chiefs’ coaches recognise each other, whilst the Lions go into meltdown and wonder who will go next? Having said that, what does it say about The Chiefs when the kicker is the best player on offense? Looks like another Wembley classic. This week the Stafford and Johnson combo get it done for The Lions.
Falcons @ Buccaneers
RUDGARD: This one’s easy, Falcons beat Houston and Houston beat Bucs…ergo Falcons to win. It’s pure science/maths…Next
VILLIERS: The Falcons could well be off to another good start but, as is tradition, look like they are beginning to struggle with the excitement of a winning record, whilst the Bucs gave a lesson in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at Washington last week. They will be stung by throwing away a 24 point lead and giving up the winning score with 24 seconds left. Watch out for Doug Martin running the Falcons defense ragged. The Bucs to bounce back against their divisional rival. Buccaneers to win.
Cardinals @ Browns
RUDGARD: Being confused as to why the Cardinals have a bird on their hats and not some sort of man of the cloth (like that team from Ipswich) I looked into it and found out it’s also a type of bird. Anyway I’m not sure why, but I’m backing Browns. They pushed the Broncos close recently, so maybe they’ll play well and win?!?!?! Go Browns.
VILLIERS: Will Josh McCown be fit to lead The Browns or will be Johnny Manziel be steering the ship? Better a ship than a car…For Browns fans it seems like a rock and a hard place but The Cards secondary are licking their collective lips. Carson Palmer looks fit and strong safely behind the excellent Cardinals O Line and Chris Johnson is rushing for fun. Cardinals to win on the road.
49ers @ Rams
RUDGARD: 13th century King of France has an NFL team named after him? And San Fran are named after the gold rush people of 1849? Anyway, I’m saying Rams gonna win, the SF defense looks a bit rubbish.
VILLIERS: Let’s face it, neither Colin Kaepernick or Nick Foles are NFL starting quality QBs. However, at least Foles has star (in the making) running back Todd Gurley who looks like one of the best rookies of 2015 with over 400 yards in 3 games whilst apparently not quite 100% fit! He also has the luxury of knowing that The Rams Defense will destroy The 49ers attack. Easy win for The Rams vs divisional rivals.
Giants @ Saints
RUDGARD: I’m not gonna lie, this is a tough one. Flip, I just don’t know…these guys aren’t good, but they aren’t rubbish either…9/11 was bad and Katrina was bad, but I saw on a Top Gear special how a lot of New Orleans still looks pretty rubbish, whereas New York is now all cleaned up…God bless all of those whom have suffered, but based on that I’m choosing the Saints.
VILLIERS: Much depends on which Giants turn up this week. can you be “consistently inconsistent?” Maybe it’s to stop opposing teams scouting them?? Meanwhile, The Saints have won two straight and look like they are starting to get their season moving. Both Drew Brees and Eli Manning are quality with the ability to turn this game in their favour. The difference may well be Odell Beckham. Or maybe it will finally be a breakout game for CJ Spiller. It’s going to be close but The Giants have too much for The Saints.
Vikings @ Bears
RUDGARD: A guy called “Adrian Peterson” plays for the Vikings, I saw him play once…He was good in that game and Wikipedia has told me he is regularly good. That on top of this season’s record the Vikings look the likely victors. For anyone that doesn’t know, the Bears also used to have a running back called Adrian Peterson. Vikings win.
VILLIERS: Apparently, The Vikings haven’t won at divisional rivals Chicago since 2007. With all the soldiers appearing to have abandoned the field this must be the year. The Bears Defense is just not good enough and giving up too many points. The Vikings with Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson are heading for the play-offs whilst The Bears will have an extended winter break. Vikings win.
Chargers @ Ravens
RUDGARD: San Diego, it’s the greatest city in the world. It’s a fact. Discovered by the Germans in 1904…I don’t know much about Baltimore, however due a to a recent post I saw on Facebook I did learn to distinguish between a Raven and a crow: look out for a larger, slightly downward curved beak on the Raven, and they also travel in pairs. These teams look a good match for each other. Looking through a lot of this season’s results, a lot of scores are very close, making win/loss records kind of unreliable as a predictor. Crumbs what a ramble…OK I’m going with the Ravens.
VILLIERS: The big question here is, “who cares?!” Two of the most disappointing teams in The AFC. The Ravens offering a lesson every week in how to “not quite win” and The Chargers totally unable to stop the rush and not great against the pass. This will be the Flacco and Forsett show as The Ravens finally nail it.
Bengals @ Steelers
RUDGARD: Ooooh look at the Bengals being all unbeaten…but a few very close victories. Never the less, I’m ignoring what I said previously regarding league position as a predictor and I’m going with the unbeatens. Cincinnati is more fun to say also…
VILLIERS: One of the top games this week and a great AFC North divisional battle. The Bengals are off to an unbeaten start with Andy Dalton looking outstanding at the helm. Meanwhile, the Steelers must be relieved that they are still in with a chance of taking the division despite missing “Big” Ben Roethlisberger. Mostly due to the quality of LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown. The only way The Bengals can lose this week is if QB #1 Big Ben returns from his knee injury. Bad news Bengals fan, Steelers win.
Titans @ Texans
RUDGARD: Cripes, there are a lot of tough games to call here. I like this one because I know two players in it…Vince Wilfork: he bowls around in dungarees, a hat and boots (no t shirt/shirt) and gets bare lolz. And I also know JJ Watt, who a lot of people seem to like. I’m going with the Titans due to Houston’s unimaginative choice of the name “Texans”. Titans win.
VILLIERS: Well both teams got beat up bad by a resurgent Dolphins and let’s face it, The AFC South is just awful. Somehow, the Texans coaches remain intact despite a poll in The Houston Chronicle that called for everyone to be sacked! The Titans have managed to lose 5 in a row but they do have rookie QB Marcus Mariota and may just be improving. Titans to nick it.
Jets @ Raiders
RUDGARD: So the Jets jet off to Oakland to face the Raiders (at school this guy called Matthew Agrimi, aka “Gypsy”, got a rip-off NFL jacket with “LA Radars” written on the back, suffice to say he got rinsed for it). Jets look good, but I think Neale likes the Raiders so I’ll go with them. Raiders win.
VILLIERS: The Jets are having a good start and need a win to stay in touch with The Patriots. The Raiders are having an OK start but need a win to stay in touch with The Broncos. Lot’s of incentive for both teams with an eye on the play-offs. Jets may be without star RB Chris Ivory and Raiders’ RB Latavius Murray is due a big game. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to have The Jets full of confidence and The Raiders have lost two at home so may feel the pressure? Tricky to call but I say Jets win.
Seahawks @ Cowboys
RUDGARD: I’ve heard that the Seahawks are called the Legion of Boom, like those wrestlers from WWF “Animal” and “Hawk”?!? My mate liked them, me not so much…sounds scary but they’ve lost a few already. All talk no trousers. Cowboys win.
VILLIERS: The Cowboys are in free fall and have no QB capable of playing in the NFL let alone taking on The Seahawks defense. The Hawks are in “must win” mode and Russell Wilson will enjoy playing against a defense giving up 26 points per game. It will be all out attack and brutal. Seahawks win.
Packers @ Broncos (Sunday Night Football)
RUDGARD: Hot dang, big “bragging rights” to play for here as two unbeatens clash. Ever since the Broncos were ridiculed on the Simpsons, they’ve made it their mission to clear their name as a rubbish team, and they seem to be doing just dandy. So I’m going with them, I want them to win…that can make a difference if we all do it. I saw Uri Gellar do it once on “This Morning”, and some plonker rang in saying his TV started levitating…
VILLIERS: Two unbeaten teams in a massive “Game of the Week!” Aaron Rodgers vs Peyton Manning in a QB battle that may well be a Super Bowl preview!? The Broncos are really tough to beat at home and have won their last 10. The Packers are pretty average away from Green Bay despite their hordes of travelling fans. The difference will be whether Manning can eliminate the recent mental errors that have seen him throw more interceptions than you’d expect from a top QB. Rodgers is a machine. Packers to spoil The Bronco’s home record.
Colts @ Panthers (Monday Night Football)
RUDGARD: “Colts” is a rubbish name for a team, it basically means a little boy horse. Panther – badass big black cat…Panthers to win.
VILLIERS: Are Carolina, “the worst undefeated team” in the league? Is that actually an insult??? You can only beat what’s in front of you! They looked pretty good against The Seahawks…Colts QB Andrew Luck is top quality, one of the best. He has absolutely no offensive line which makes life difficult. Cam Newton has The Panthers full of belief and more than ready to beat The Colts. Plus, I will never forgive The Colts for sneaking out of Baltimore…I have a long memory. Panthers to go 7-0.
|Dolphins @ Patriots (TNF)
|Lions @ Chiefs
|Falcons @ Buccaneers
|Cardinals @ Browns
|49ers @ Rams
|Giants @ Saints
|Vikings @ Bears
|Chargers @ Ravens
|Bengals @ Steelers
|Titans @ Texans
|Jets @ Raiders
|Seahawks @ Cowboys
|Packers @ Broncos (SNF)
|Colts @ Panthers (MNF)
Wide Receiver Chris Cowley 6-10 vs Offensive Coordinator Neale McMaster 6-10
Tight End Jack Judge 11-5 vs Head Coach Will White 13-3
Offensive Lineman Danny Cousins 8-7 vs Vice Chairman Mark Chilton 9-6
Running Back Matt Duffin 10-4 vs Running Back Coach Neil Duffy 10-4
Wide Receiver Jack Davis-Fletcher 6-8 vs Treasurer Michael Dilley 8-6
Offensive Lineman Jon Amokah 11-3 vs Youth Team Head Coach Nick Benning 8-6
You can let us know what you think of their predictions by leaving a comment in the box below, by posting on our Facebook page, or by sending us a Tweet. Be sure to check back to Tuesday to see how they got on.