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 try and decide once and for all 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.
In week one Wide Receiver Chris Cowley took on Club Chairman and Offensive Coordinator Neale McMaster battled out a 6-10 draw and three weeks ago Head Coach Will White defeated Tight End Jack Judge by a score of 13-3 to 11-5.
A fortnight ago Vice Chairman Mark Chilton edged passed Offensive Lineman and Rookie of the Year Danny Cousins, and last week Running back Matt Duffin and Running Backs coach Neil Duffy battled out a 10-4 tie.
Heading into this week where Wide Receiver Jack Davis-Fletcher (aka Sticks) takes on Treasurer Michael Dilley, the Coaches and Staff lead the players 38-23 to 35-26.
Let’s see what the weekend has in store…
Falcons @ Saints (Thursday Night Football – Sky Sports 1 HD, Friday 01:25)
STICKS: The 5-0 Falcons travel to New Orleans with the 4th ranked offence whilst the Saints boast the worst defense in the NFL. Matty Ice and Julio are going to have a good night. 300+ yards 2 TDs for Ryan and 130+ yards for Jones. Falcons win.
DILLEY: The Falcons have been pretty special so far and the Saints have, well, sucked (apart from against my beloved Cowboys, typically). I reckon it’ll be closer than it probably should be, but Falcons all day for me. Falcons win.
Bengals @ Bills (Sky Sports 2 HD, Sunday 17:30)
STICKS: Boom, crunch time for the Buffalo Bills as they host the unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals. Personally I’m going to be looking at how the Bills offense handles the loss of Tyrod Taylor who despite his 3INTS vs NE has played pretty well this season. It’ll be interesting to see how EJ Manual leads this team but I can see the Bengals offense, lead by my ginger brother, overpowering them. Cincinnati to win.
DILLEY: The Bills don’t seem to know what sort of team they want to be. I mean sure they’re a Rex Ryan team so we know they won’t be particularly well disciplined, but apart from that it’s a mystery what we’re going to get. The Bengals on the other hand look like they could finally be about to break out in a big way, especially the way the rest of the AFC North are floundering. Bengals win.
Broncos @ Browns
STICKS: The 5-0 Broncos have been carried by their number 1 ranked defense this year. Peyton Manning has 4INTs to only a single TD in his last two games and they were wins to the Raiders and the Vikings. Will the old man bounce back against the Browns? I doubt it. I can see him throwing an INT again in this one but throw for 2 TDs in another close game, but I’m going to go with a Browns win here as Josh McCown is looking hot with over 1000 yards in his last 3 games. Browns to win and end Denver’s unbeaten streak.
DILLEY: I want to get behind Cleveland I really do. There’s just something I really like about them but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Anywho, can I go against Peyton and the Broncos, despite him having a decidedly average year this year? No I can’t, but thanks to that defense. Broncos win.
Bears @ Lions
STICKS: Both teams have struggled this year with a tough schedule and then both losing to Seattle and Arizona, but Chicago have the better record of the two thanks to two wins by less than 2 points. At 0-5 it doesn’t seem to get any easier for Detroit who are yet to face Green Bay in the division so they’ll probably want to aim for next year’s first pick in the draft. Can see this being a shocker of a game, though a couple TDs from Matt Forte will edge this one. Bears to win.
DILLEY: To say the Lions have been awful this year is putting it mildly, though to be fair the Bears haven’t been much better. Last week’s win against the Chiefs should have given them a big confidence boost, and that’ll be enough. Bears win, but it’ll be bowling show ugly.
Texans @ Jaguars
STICKS: Two 1-4 teams battle it out for their second wins of the season this week. With 2 different QBs this season the Texans somehow still have the 4th best passing attack in the league due to having DeAndre Hopkins who has emerged as the undisputed number one go-to guy in Houston with Andre Johnson’s departure. Blake Bortles was sacked 6 times last week and I don’t see it getting easier for him against JJ Watts’ big D. I see Hopkins having another big game as Houston pick up their second win of the season here. Texans win.
DILLEY: These two are so bad it’ll probably be the best game of the week. Whoever loses will go 1-5 and all but knock them out of the post-season already, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling that despite Houston’s passing game the London Jags will dig out a win at home. Jags win.
Chiefs @ Vikings
STICKS: The Chiefs have had a slow start to 2015 with big games against the Packers, Bengals and the Broncos. With Jamaal Charles out for the season with an ACL tear I can’t see their 18th-ranked rushing attack looking any better in the coming weeks. They will travel to the 2-2 Vikings who have been carried by the return of AP. They boast the 2nd ranked rush attack and the worst passing attack so look for them to continue to lean on AP against a top-middle ranked rush defense in Kansas City. Home field advantage, Vikings to win.
DILLEY: The 1-4 Chiefs were struggling enough as it was, but losing Charles for the season is a hammer blow for them. The Vikings meanwhile look like they’ve got AP almost back to his best, and he’ll be enough to put even more pressure on Andy Reid and his glorious ‘tache. Vikings win.
Redskins @ Jets
STICKS: As a fan of Gang Green I can’t really sway against them here. On paper they look similar, The Redskins have had some close games (3 decided by a TD or less) but with the return of pro bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson being added to the 2nd ranked defense of the Jets I can see this being a long night for Kirk Cousins and company (who has a 5-6 TD-INT ratio). The number-one takeaway team will get 3 INTs and a fumble recovery on the night. Jets win.
DILLEY: There’s no way I can pick the Redskins to win, regardless of who they’re playing or what’s going on. Jets to win by 150, and RG-3rdString to go down with a hand injury whilst checking the temperature of the water for the backups. Jets win.
Cardinals @ Steelers
STICKS: Boasting an impressive 38 points a game the Cards are certainly looking to be a threat in the off season should they keep all their playmakers healthy. CJ2K seems to be back to his old self and has accumulated over 400 yards on the ground so far and with Carson Palmer and Fitz on the same page, this offense will be looking to put up even more points against a mid-table Pittsburgh defense. Big Ben was limited in practice so it’ll be interesting to see if him or Vick will get the start this Sunday. The match up of Antonio Brown and Patrick Peterson will be good to watch and should he be locked down look for Le’Veon Bell to get a lot of carries and passes out of the back field. I can see the Steelers putting up a fight but the Cardinals will simply outscore them. Arizona to win by 2 TDs.
DILLEY: The Cardinals the best team in the NFC West, who’d have thought it? They’re on fire at the moment but I’ve got a nagging feeling that the Steelers will stop them in their tracks. Don’t ask me why, I’m prepared to look stupid on this but. Steelers win.
Dolphins @ Titans
STICKS: As a Jets fan I hate the Dolphins and as an Oregon fan I tolerate the Titans just cause I like Marcus Mariota. Both teams come into this week at 1-3 and will look to pick up their second wins of the season. With 1000+ yards in 4 games and 8TD to 3 INTs Mariota hasn’t had a bad start to his NFL career. After that first game where he destroyed Tampa Bay we were all excited by this guy’s talent but after the week 4 bye week he had a mediocre performance against the Bills. I see him having a decent game against the Fins who had a far from impressive performance against my Jets in London and throwing for 250+ yards and 2 TDs. On the flip side Ryan Tannehill didn’t have that bad of a start to the season but has fallen off in recent weeks. Will the bye week give him time to get some chemistry with his receivers and stop aiming at their feet? Titans number 1 pass D to spoil the party and add 2 more INTs to his collection this week. Titans win.
DILLEY: Meh. I’d be lying if I said I intended to watch a single second of this game, and in doing so have probably guaranteed it’ll be an absolute classic. This is a real toss of a coin for me. The Dolphins were bad at Wembley, real bad, but they’ve had their bye week to make improvements (Lord knows they need to) and that’s making me lean towards them. Head says Fins, but I’m going to go with the Titans.
Panthers @ Seahawks (Sky Sports 2 HD, Sunday 21:05)
STICKS: The two teams the have leaned on their rushing attacks this year and go head-to-head with equally as good rush defenses. Expect to see a lot of ground and pound at this one. Cam Newton hasn’t thrown for a ton of yards this year but hasn’t turned the ball over much, and used his rushing ability to stretch the defense and make him a player to account for in this one. Seattle have dealt with the loss of Beastmode Lynch in the shape of Thomas Rawls who’s put up over 300 yards in his last 3 games and continued to lead them to the number 1 rush attack in the league. We’ll see how the rookie deals with Luke Kuechly and Co this week but I feel like the 12th man comes to Seattle’s aid this week and they win in a game that is decided by less than a TD. Seattle win…barely.
DILLEY: Seattle have had the latest bandwagoners (is that a word? It is now) running for cover the last few weeks, and they’ll be smarting after the manner of their defeat in Cincy last week. That said, the 12th man will ride to the Seahawks’ aid and the Legion of Boom will finally, finally, start erm, booming. Seahawks win and Richard Sherman does the Superman pose.
Chargers @ Packers
STICKS: Two teams led by arguably two of the best QBs in the league, San Diego have the lesser record of the two (2-3) due to a less than average rushing attack. Both defenses are strong against the pass and I can see the Packers rushing attack led by Eddie Lacy – who had a less than impressive performance last week against St Louis – bounce back here as Rodgers steers the Pack to 6-0. Packers win.
DILLEY: You don’t bet against the Pack at Lambeau, you just don’t. The Packers will win, but it’ll be close.
Ravens @ 49ers
STICKS: These two teams a few years ago played each other in the Super Bowl. Now they both sit at 1-4. Both teams have had difficult starts to their 2015 campaign and will look to bounce back here in week 6. Joe Flacco continues to throw for ok numbers but his 5 INTs have not helped the Ravens whose first 5 games have been decided by a TD or less. Colin Kaepernick on the other hand has had a less than impressive start to the season. Looking to forget THAT game against the Cardinals a few weeks ago look at the 49ers to lean on his rushing ability along with Carlos Hyde. Both teams have less than impressive defenses these days and should Steve Smith Sr play look to Flacco having a big day in the air and Carlos Hyde to have a big day on the ground. Ravens to win purely from outscoring the 49ers O.
DILLEY: From Super Bowl to toilet bowl in three short seasons, this was the sort of the game you’d look forward to all week a few years ago. Not so much now, mind. Baltimore’s defense isn’t scary any more, but Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense is, and not in a good way. I honestly haven’t got a clue which way this one will go. The Cowboy in me says back the Ravens, so there we go. Ravens win.
Patriots @ Colts (Sunday Night Football – Sky Sports 2 HD, Monday 00:30)
STICKS: Deflategate Mk II. Tom Brady and Co travel with their number 1 ranked pass attack vs the Colts’ 4th worst pass defense. With a heap of injuries on the Colts’ side including Andrew Luck who is questionable, you can’t help but agree that the Pats will tear them a new one this week. Tom Brady to pass for 4 TDs and the O to score over 40 points, and Andrew Luck and the Colts to fall to 3-3 and somehow still stay top of the AFC South and in a play-off position .Pats win.
DILLEY: Darth Belichick must be licking his lips looking at the Pats schedule at the moment. The Jags are as close as a bye as you’re going to get without taking your boots off, Dallas had more injuries than you could shake a stick at last week, and now they roll into Indy with Andrew Luck still questionable. They’d beat them again with him, but they’ll definitely beat them without him. Pats win by a country mile.
Giants @ Eagles (Sunday Night Football – Sky Sports 2 HD, Monday 00:30)
STICKS: MNF presents a big NFC East clash between two teams who only have a win and a loss to separate them in probably the closest division in the NFL. The Eagles beat the Jets this season and the Giants are our noisy lodger in New York so I don’t like either of these two teams. At 3-2 and 2-3 and at opposite sides of the NFC East this game will either extend the gap in an already tight group or equal their records and make it even tougher for a play-off position come the start of ’16. Was interested to see how one of last year’s stand out players DeMarco Murray would cope in this fast-paced Eagles offense but at 2.7 yards a carry he’s been a total flop. Add Sam Bradford who’s had 6 INTs in 5 games and you’ve got an offense that needs to improve. On the other side, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr have been a nightmare for opposing defenses. This will be a battle of two pass heavy offenses and with two equally bad pass defenses look at a big play or two to decide this one. Giants to win this one in a shoot-out.
DILLEY: Please join me as as frantically look through the rulebook to see if there’s any way both of these teams could lose. The Giants look like they’re getting their stuff together and are on three-game winning streak, whereas the Sheagles don’t know if they’re coming or going (unless it’s DeMarco Murray, in which case he’s well and truly going backwards). It’s a big divisional game in front of a massive TV audience, and the locals will be getting restless by the end of the first quarter if things aren’t going Chip Kelly’s way, but I think they’ll pull out the win and make the tight NFC East even tighter, before Messrs Romo and Bryant come riding to the rescue for Dallas in a few weeks. Eagles win, somehow.
|Falcons @ Saints (TNF)
|Bengals @ Bills
|Broncos @ Browns
|Bears @ Lions
|Texans @ Jaguars
|Chiefs @ Vikings
|Redskins @ Jets
|Cardinals @ Steelers
|Dolphins @ Titans
|Panthers @ Seahawks
|Chargers @ Packers
|Ravens @ 49ers
|Patriots @ Colts (SNF)
|Giants @ Eagles (MNF)
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