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Week 15 Review: Foles Gold

It's all about Nick Foles being back in Philadelphia. Philadelphiaeagles.com

Coming into the week, the mystery surrounding the Eagles quarterback situation, had many wondering if this team could still make a playoff push with Nick Foles under center.

Foles was very efficient going 24-of-38 for 237 yards while tossing four touchdowns. Even more impressive, his ability to spread the rock around as his four scores went to four different players. The ground game struggled for most of the game, and after being down 20-7 early, the game script was put in the backups hands. The Eagles were very fortunate; They were +1 in the Turnover margin; got a blocked FG, blocked PAT and a blocked punt, but still failed to cover the -7.5 point spread. Much can be credited to the slow start on offense and the fact the Eagles defense didn't look like the inspired unit we have seen all year. They allowed a shameful offense that lacks a true number one receiver and carries absolutely no ground game, to gain 504 total yards with two touchdowns coming on gains of 50 plus yards.

Foles answered some questions we might have had prior to Sunday. If the Eagles defense can get back to what they have been the entire year, where they rank 6th overall in weighted DVOA as a unit, then Foles can simply manage games and won't be forced to win games. A stout defense and a ground game that ranks second overall averaging 140.5 yards per game should be enough to keep this Eagles team competitive vs. any opponent.

Favorites ruled week 15

Teams favored dominated the week going 11-4-1 ATS. The only underdog to win outright was the Rams as the Chiefs started as underdogs but were bet down to PK and favorites in some places by kickoff. Favorites hold a 115-95-9 record in 2017

The over-under finished a dead heat ending 8-8 overall. The number for the year rest at 108-112-4.

Play action or Pass went 8-1 in week 15 bringing our yearly record to 41-28-1. 59.4%

Chiefs   WIN

Carolina-2.5  WIN

Patriots/Steelers over 53.5    LOSS

49'ers PK   WIN

Teasers 7 point

Vikings-3/ Eagles-.5   WIN

Teaser 10 point

Vikings PK/ Saints-6/ Jaguars-1 (2X)     WIN 2x

Patriots-Steelers over 43.5/Vikings PK/Saints-6 (2X)   WIN 2x

Super Bowl Odds

New England Patriots    +240

Pittsburgh Steelers    +600

Minnesota Vikings    +650

Philadelphia Eagles    +900

New Orleans Saints    +900

Los Angeles Rams    +900

Jacksonville Jaguars    +1400

Atlanta Falcons    +1600

ESPN Power Rankings

Patriots

Steelers

Eagles

Vikings

Rams

Jaguars

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

 

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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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