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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday's Gone: Week 2 #NFL Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)

Week 2 #NFL Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 2 results: 9-7 wins (20-12 .625); 7-9 v. spread (13-19 .406)

Week 2 Notes: What a breath of fresh air – literally – as 15 of this week’s 16 NFL games are outdoors. The truly amazing thing is that only three games are forecasted for even a chance of bad weather. In fact, every game but those three is forecasted for sunny weather in the 60s-70s - the main reason why I took the over on 11 of the 16 games. The only two remaining night games – at San Francisco and at Indianapolis – are on the west coast and indoors, respectively. It will be sunny at kickoff for Sunday “Night” Football and will remain so for most of the game (8:30 EST; 5:30 PST). With a few exceptions – e.g. games featuring elite defenses (Seattle; Carolina) or bad weather (Carolina; Tampa Bay) – this should be a high-scoring week in Pro Football.

Week 2 Notes: Week 2 is NFL reaction week, and it showed, both in Vegas and here at So much for taking the over in 11 of the 16 games  – 11 of the 16 games ended UNDER.

Pittsburgh Steelers 1-0 (+2.5) @ Baltimore Ravens 0-1 (44.5): Steelers 27-24 Ravens 26-6
Thursday, 8:25 PM, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD (Weather: 30% rain, mid-60s)

Reasons: This is a tale of two relatively evenly matched teams, both part of the grind-it-out AFC North division. The big difference here is that the Ravens have to play on national television at their home stadium the week of the biggest media firestorm I can remember, brought on by their former running back Ray Rice and his odious domestic violence case. The ancient Greeks couldn’t have imagined such timely drama. The Ravens awarded over 500 press passes - over a 300% increase to normal games - and chose Rihanna to sign the National Anthem, a celebrity domestic violence victim herself. Wow. How about some football? With only one game under our belt we don’t have much to go on, but Week 1 provided some insight. The Steelers were up 27-3 at the half v. the Browns, but it took a Shaun Suisham FG with 5 seconds left to seal – or steal – the win. The Ravens, on the other hand, were down 15-0 on five unanswered Mike Nugent FGs before the Ravens scored 16 unanswered points of their own; 48 seconds after the Raven’s second TD Bengals QB Andy Dalton connected with WR AJ Green for a spectacular TD to seal – or steal – the win. With only one game’s worth of statistics to go on, it might be safe to assume the Steelers passing game can take advantage of the Ravens sub-par secondary, as everything else between these two teams is relatively even. The emotions of the night will either carry the Ravens, or it’ll crush them.

This game can be summed up pretty easily: Courtney Upshaw blasted through the line and hit Ben Roethlisberger directly in the chest, lifting him off the ground, and burying him into it. Of course the officials, led by Ed Hercules, threw the UR flag, negating the textbook hit. However, the damage was done and I don’t feel Roethlisberger ever really recovered. Neither did Antonio Brown, the Steelers best player, who was also banged up early and never really recovered. A 10-6 game with less than 4 minutes remaining, the Ravens kicked four straight unanswered FGs to take control late. The Ravens, despite only gaining 323 yards on 65 plays in 34+ minutes, came away with a big emotional win v. the rivaled divisional opponent.

New England 0-1 (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings 1-0 (49): Patriots 28-27 Patriots 30-7
Sunday, 1 PM, TFC Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Weather: Sunny; mid-60s)

Reasons: Blame it on the heat, but the Patriots were smoked in the second half of last week’s game v. the Dolphins after dominating the first half. Miami has a good defense, especially up front, so it’s not totally surprising as a great front four is Tom Brady’s kryptonite. The Minnesota Vikings don’t have Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, but the do have Everson Griffen, who will try to duplicate Miami’s defensive game plan. The Vikings defense is much improved from 2013, which will be a problem for the Patriots offense, still clearly a work in progress. Two keys get the Patriots the nod in Week 2: Matt Cassell played for Bill Belichick and Adrian Peterson is deactivated pending his legal issues. Otherwise I’d take the Vikings at home.

Matt Cassel threw a 25-yard TD to RB Matt Asiata to take a 7-0 lead just over 4 minutes into the game. That was the last time we heard fro the Vikings Sunday, but it’s not like the Patriots dominated. Stephen Gostkowski kicked 3 FGs and DE Chandler Jones returned a blocked punt 58 yards for a TD in a 30-7 win that looked like another big performance from Tom Brady. Not so much. Brady underwhelmed, throwing for only 149 yards on 22 attempts, but managed the game perfectly - a la 2002. The Patriots ran the ball 37 times and essentially took the Vikings out of the game, who only managed 217 yards on 61 plays (3.6 ypp average) in 28+ minutes.

Detroit Lions 1-0 (+3) @ Carolina Panthers 1-0 (43.5): Panthers 24-23 Panthers 24-7
Sunday, 1 PM, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC (Weather: 20% rain; low 70s)

Reasons: The game has let down written all over it for Carolina. It was an emotional week for the Panthers, who are under great public pressure to deactivate Greg Hardy in the wake of his and the NFL’s domestic violence issues. The Panthers play their first home game Sunday; it will also be quarterback Cam Newton’s first game of the season after missing last week’s game due to a fractured ribs. The Lions are coming off an easy win over the lowly Giants, led by Calvin Johnson’s clinic performance and the Lions pass rushers. Unfortunately for the Lions, the weather could keep this game on the ground, where the Panthers excel. It’s probably good for quarterback Matt Stafford, as this could be the most dangerous front seven in the NFL. The weather and the nasty Panthers defense overcomes Cam Newton’s jitters and the Lions aerial attack.

If you had asked me to make direct predictions of play, and not just a general preview and a predicted score, I would have said this: The front lines will get to the quarterbacks and apply pressure, which will result in several sacks. The running games for both teams will suffer because of the front seven units both teams possess, but the relatively weak secondary units will allow for both quarterbacks to make plays, assuming some level of pass protection. Not to pat my self on the back with 20-20 hindsight, but that’s exactly what happened. Both QBs were sacked four times, both running games were stifled, and both quarterbacks threw for 280+ passing yards, although few of them resulted in big plays. The teams gained nearly identical yardage on nearly identical TOP, yet the score was 24-7. The big difference here was turnovers: the Panthers forced three (two fumbles; one INT), but never coughed it up. Turnovers – the single most correlated statistic to wins and losses in the NFL.

Miami Dolphins 1-0 (PK) @ Buffalo Bills 1-0 (43): Dolphins 21-20 Bills 29-10
Sunday, 1 PM, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Miami, FL (Weather: Sunny; mid-60s)

Reasons: The Dolphins showed the world 2013’s 8-8 campaign was no aberration, and came out strong v. the Patriots last week for a commanding Week 1 win. The Bills weren’t out to show the world anything, but did shock it with a win over the high-flying Bears. Both of these teams excel in two areas: rushing the quarterback and rushing the football. The Bills and Dolphin finished 3rd and 4th rushing the ball after last week, respectively, and also finished 10th and 11th stopping the run. Neither quarterback will light it up, although Ryan Tannehill is capable of it, and both teams have big-time receiving threats (Mike Wallace; Sammy Watkins), but the these two front four units are too good. If this was in Miami they’d be favored by three…but it’s not.

Perhaps the Bills are better than everyone thought. The Dolphins, hot off their Week 1 comeback win over the New England Patriots, were destroyed by the Bills. The Dolphins ran 74 plays in over 31 minutes and only managed 290 yards of total offense. Despite almost matching the Bills in yardage (315 yards), running more plays, gaining more first downs, committing fewer penalties, and holding the ball longer the Dolphins lost by nearly 20 points. The key again was defense and turnovers, as the Bills sacked Tannehill three times while forcing two turnovers. CJ Spiller also returned a kickoff for a TD and Sammy Watkins had his coming out party (8 receptions 117 yards 1 TD on 11 targets)

Jacksonville Jaguars 0-1 (+6) @ Washington Natives (43.5): Natives 27-20 Natives 41-10
Sunday, 1 PM, FedEx Field, Landover, MD (Weather: Sunny; mid-70s)

Reasons: Both of these teams looked horrible last week, but both had excuses via playing two of the better teams in the NFL Week 1. The Jaguars looked pretty good through the first half, but fell apart as quickly as they got going, surrendering 34 unanswered second-half points v. the Eagles to squander the win away. The Natives played the JJ Watts and paid for it. RGIII look awful, averaging less than 1 yard per attempt in the first half. RGIII won’t face JJ Watt this week and JAX is banged up, not that it really matters.

No offense to the Jaguars, but when you lose this badly to the Washington Natives, you might have hit rock bottom. The Natives sacked Chad Henne 10 times and rushed for 191 yards on 42 rushing attempts on their way to the lopsided win, but it was bittersweet…maybe. RGIII was lost early and indefinitely to a dislocated ankle, which is horrible news, except for fans who think Kirk Cousins (250 yards & 2 TDs) should be starting anyway.

Dallas Cowboys 0-1 (+3.5) @ Tennessee Titans 1-0 (49.5): Titans 27-24 Cowboys 26-10
Sunday, 1 PM, LP Field, Nashville, TN (Weather: Sunny; mid-70s)
Reasons: There’s a big reason Dallas is getting 3.5 points heading into Nashville: the Dallas defense, although better than we thought v. the 49ers, is not that good and the Titans defense actually is pretty good. The Titans also run the ball well, which will keep the Cowboys star-studded offense off the field. Either way, the Titans could easily rattle Tony Romo and Dez Bryant and make this one easy. I say the Cowboys put up some fight, but continue to disappoint.
The Cowboys continued their week-to-week flip-flopping. Then again, statistically the Cowboys outplayed the 49ers last week and lost, so perhaps the Cowboys aren’t that bad. And perhaps the Titans aren’t that good. What a difference a week makes. The Titans were the talk of the AFC after beating the KC Chiefs 26-10 Week 1, but the Cowboys returned the favor Week 2 by the same score. Tony Romo had another mediocre performance and was sacked four times by the Titans defense, but DeMarco Murray stole the show, rushing for 167 yards and a TD on 29 carries. Murray outshined Titans TE Delanie Walker, who caught 10 passes for 142 yards and a TD on 14 targets. The Cowboys held the ball for over 41 minutes.
Arizona Cardinals 1-0 (-2.5) @ New York Giants 0-1 (42.5): Cardinals 24-20 Cardinals 25-14
Sunday, 1 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Sunny; low 70s)
Reasons: This game has the lowest spread of any non-pick game Week 1 and I can’t figure out why for the life of me. Oh wait, the Cardinals are away, so I suppose they’re favored by 0.5. I jest, but the Giants are awful. Sure it’s only one week, but the Giants ranked 29th, 30th, and 31st of 32 teams in three of the four major yardage statistics, and were blown away by the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Arizona played a tough Chargers team and came away with the last-minute come-from-behind win. The Cardinals defense should give the Giants offense fits on Sunday, and the Cardinals offense will take advantage of the Giants poor defense enough to take the win on the road.
 There’s trouble brewing in New York. The Giants would be the worst team in the NFL if it weren’t for the leagues laughing stock (Oakland). Despite besting the Cardinals in every statistical category except rushing, holding onto the ball for five more minutes, and leading through the 3rd quarter…they lost. Big. So what’s the problem you ask? Are you kidding? The Giants turned the ball over four more times (two fumbles; two INTs) and committed nine penalties. If there weren’t a “Manning” on the back of his jersey he’d be another Chad Henne (no offense, Chad).
New Orleans Saints 0-1 (-6.5) @ Cleveland Browns (47.5): Saints 30-24 Browns 26-24
Sunday, 1 PM, First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, OH (Weather: Sunny; low 70s)
Reasons: This game features the two teams that played nail-biters Week 1 and a Browns team that nearly came back from down 27-3 to steal the win from the Steelers, if it weren’t for a last-second FG by Shaun Suisham. The suddenly high-flying Falcons took the Saints off-guard, especially the Saints defense, which was ranked 4th overall after 2013; the Saints lost to the Falcons in OT after a high-scoring back-and-forth game. The Browns will have a much harder time coming back from any big deficits against the Saints with Ben Tate and Jordan Cameron ruled out. The Saints should roll in this one, but won’t cover. They are on the road up north, after all.
For those looking for more evidence about the Saints road woes I offer exhibit No. Week 2. It wasn’t even cold or wet. The Browns are certainly better than most fans give them credit for, and Brian Hoyer has established himself as the Browns quarterback. Turnovers were again the name of the game as two New Orleans turnovers (1 fumble; 1 INT) were the difference in this close game.
Atlanta Falcons 1-0 (+5) @ Cincinnati Bengals 1-0 (49): Bengals 28-24 Bengals 24-10
Sunday, 1 PM, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH (Weather: Sunny; low 70s)
Reasons: The Falcons sent a message to the NFL v. the Saints last week that this is not the same 4-12 team from 2013. It took OT, but the Falcons defeated division powerhouse New Orleans soundly and looked like they’ll be a tough offense to beat. The Bengals also played a division rival to open the season and escaped a late surge by the Ravens to start 1-0. The Bengals will be without their star linebacker Vontaze Burfict, but these Bengals get after it across the board. Andy Dalton and AJ Green are one of the most dangerous duos in the NFL. I can see the Falcons making a late surge, but the Bengals should win.
The Falcons were riding high after their Week 1 win over the Saints, but came crashing back to Earth after running into the most underrated team in the NFL. After gaining nearly 600 yards total offense in Week 1, the Falcons only managed half of that (309) as they ran into the buzz saw known as the Bengals defense. It was even worse for quarterback Matt Ryan. After burning the Saints for 448 passing yards last week, Ryan managed just over half that (231) v. the Bengals and threw three INTs. The Bengals did their best Falcons impression gaining 472 yards of total offense, but lost WR AJ Green early to a toe injury. Green’s status will seriously affect the Bengals going forward.
St. Louis Rams 0-1 (+6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-1 (37): Buccaneers 20-17 Rams 19-17
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL (Weather: 20% rain; high 80s)
Reasons: The lowest O/U of the week doesn’t come as a surprise considering the weather could be a major factor and these offenses don’t light up the scoreboard. The Rams are on their 3rd string quarterback already in Week 2 after Shaun Hill suffered a leg injury, and the Buccaneers will still be seeing Carolina Panther ghosts as the young Rams line continues the elite pass rush. Chris Long may be out 8-10 weeks, but Robert Quinn does the work of two players, and he just signed a monster extension to ease his mind, allowing him to concentrate on keeping the Bucs off the board. Star defensive end Michael Johnson is also out for the Bucs, which makes me wonder how low the O/U would have been if he and Long were playing, but these teams are offensively inept.
This was a bad weather game between two relatively inept offenses with pretty good defenses and it showed. The Rams were on their third QB, but the Southern Miss rookie Austin Davis put the team on his back and carried them to victory on 235 passing yards. The lead changed six times in this evenly matched game, with Greg Zuerlein (4 FGs) outperforming Josh McCown (2 rushing TDs) and Bobby “Makin’ It” Rainey (144 rushing yards) for a great win by a reeling team.
Seattle Seahawks 1-0 (-6) @ San Diego Chargers 0-1 (44): Seahawks 27-20 Chargers 30-21
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA (Weather: Sunny; high 80s)
Reasons: The Chargers are a better team than we saw on MNF this past week, but the problem is the Seattle Seahawks are too, and they won their game by 20 points. I rarely say this about any NFL team, especially at home, but these Chargers have no chance against this Seahawks defense. The Chargers air attack should be stifled against the Seahawks secondary, and San Diego’s rushing attack gained the second fewest yards Week 1, although it was against the stout Cardinals defense. Well if the Cardinals are stout, the Seahawks are obese. I look to the Seahawks to make quick work of the Chargers, save a late score in meaningless time. The ‘Hawks are giving six on the road - that means Vegas sees them winning by 9. I’m not that disrespectful…but maybe Seattle fans think I’m being so towards the Seahawks.
So much for the Seahawks going 16-0 (I never said that). Many have described the AFC West as the toughest division in the NFL and they could be right. The other argument is that the best football resides in the NFC West, which could also be true. Remember a few years ago when both divisions were the worst in the NFL? That’s what no guaranteed contracts and a salary cap does – parity. The Chargers lost Week 1 to a pretty good Cardinals team and the Seahawks destroyed an OK Packers team, so some experts called this game correctly in the sense that they saw SD challenging the Seahawks; I’m not sure anyone saw them beating them. Phillip Rivers lit it up (284 passing yards; 3 TDs) and consistently threw to CB Richard Sherman’s side, beating him many times to Jermaine Kearse. The Seahawks inexplicably gave the ball to RB Marshawn Lynch six times for 36 yards and found out they’re not going to win games with that strategy.
Houston Texans 1-0 (-3) @ Oakland Raiders 0-1 (40): Texans 24-14 Texans 30-14
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Oakland Co. Stadium, Oakland, CA (Weather: Sunny; 70s)
Reasons: After one week in the NFL the Oakland Raiders are statistically the worst team in the league, narrowly beating out the New York Giants. The Raiders were last in three of the four major yardage categories, and managed only 14 points, although most of that is explained away by the New York Jets defense, one of the better units in the NFL. The Texans took care of business at home v. the Natives offense and face an even more underwhelming offense in Week 2. Even without #1 pick Ja’Deveon Clowney, this Texans defense should make mince meat out of the Raiders, who start rookie Derek Carr at quarterback and whose starting running back (MJD) is questionable. The Texans should roll.
The Raiders. Wow. The Raiders outgained the Texans and even had fewer penalties, but were destroyed. If not for a Derek Carr TD pass to James Jones with 14 seconds left in the game Oakland would’ve had seven points; the Raiders were shut out through the first three quarters. The reason? The Texans held the ball for nearly twice as long, exposing the yardage statistics for the garbage time yards they were. The Raiders turned the ball over four times (2 fumbles; 2 INTs), the key to this game, or any NFL game for that matter, and gave themselves no chance. The Texans may not be a juggernaut, but the Raiders are fighting the New York Giants for the distinction of the league’s worst team. Statistically they are.
New York Jets 1-0 (+8.5) @ Green Bay Packers 0-1 (46): Packers 24-20 Packers 31-24
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Weather: Sunny; mid-60s)
Reasons: The Jets are the top team in the NFL after Week 1 in rushing yards, rushing yards allowed, and passing yards allowed. Unfortunately one week is a small sample size and the Jets Week 1 opponent was the Oakland Raiders (see above). Either way, to say the Jets have a great defense and a good running game would be accurate. The Packers had a similar experience Week 1, except theirs was an opposite experience, having played the best team in the NFL in the Seattle Seahawks. This should be another tough defensive battle for the Packers, as the Jets defense is one of the best units in the league. With the home crowd behind them, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers high-flying offense should score enough points to take a win away from the pesky Jets.
For a few series the Jets looked like the Seattle Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers was on the run many times in the first half and it took a Randall Cobb TD with eight seconds left in the 2nd quarter to even make it a game going into the half. For the Jets, that score was a killer. The Jets led 21-6 with less than six minutes to go in the half, but the Packers kicked a FG and then intercepted a terrible deep pass by Geno Smith to regain control of the ball with less than 2 minutes to go; Rodgers marched down the field and threw the strike to Cobb to erase any first-half domination by the Jets. The Packers returned the favor by dominating the second half, highlighted by Jordy Nelson’s 209 receiving yards. The Jets had a chance to tie the game late, and sort of did, but Smith’s late TD was negated because of a called time out by the sideline – disallowed by anyone but the head coach, who didn’t actually call the timeout. Whoops. For once Rex Ryan didn’t make a terrible offensive coaching call…and it still came back to kill them.
Kansas City Chiefs 0-1 (+12) @ Denver Broncos 1-0 (51): Broncos 30-21 Broncos 24-17
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Mile High Stadium, CO (Weather: 10% rain; low 80s)
Reasons: It’s starting to look like the Chiefs aren’t exactly who we thought they were. The Chiefs may not have gained a bunch of yards or stopped others from gaining them in 2013, but last year KC scored points and kept other teams from scoring them. Not so far in 2014. The Titans may be better than the lay fan thinks, but KC was embarrassed 26-10 at home. That’s not a good look with the a Broncos team coming up that looks like it’s straight out of Super Tecmo Bowl. The Broncos are coming off a win v. the Colts that was sealed by halftime, although the score looks like it was a close game. The Chiefs have plenty of talent and great coaching, but the Broncos should have no problem with these 2014 Chiefs.
This was a strange game. The Chiefs, despite missing Jamal Charles, outgained the Broncos, had almost 30 more offensive plays, nine more first downs, rushed for more yards, had fewer penalties, held the ball for 13 more minutes, and didn’t* turn the ball over ONCE…and STILL lost by a TD. In fact, the Chiefs only LED for 3:12 in the 2nd quarter. Amazing. Some would chalk this game up to a division battle between two heated rivalries; I’d say the Broncos defense is pretty good and the Chiefs “points without yards” scheme has fizzled out. Perhaps the game simply came down to one of the last plays – Terrance Knighton’s swat of a potential game-tying TD with 15 seconds left. Then again, perhaps it came down to two key turnovers that were negated due to penalties or official review, including *Aqib Talib’s pick-6. On paper the game looks closer than it was
Chicago Bears 0-1 (+7) @ San Francisco 49ers 1-0 (48.5): 49ers 27-24 Bears 28-20
Sunday, 8:30 PM, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA (Weather: Sunny; mid-80s)
Reasons: The 49ers, like the Carolina Panthers, are facing major criticism for not sitting defensive end Ray McDonald in the wake of his pending domestic violence case, but it’s unlikely that awkwardness will spoil the 49ers homecoming party, which celebrates the opening of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA Sunday. The Bears come in an offensive juggernaut, so long as it’s not v. a vicious front four like they faced v. the Buffalo Bills. Whoops. Despite being without star defensive end Aldon Smith, facing his own suspension, this 49ers front line is one of the best in the league, and the Bears will have a tougher time in Santa Clara than they ever could have imagined in Buffalo. The Chicago run defense will have no answer for this dangerous run game, which just welcomed Carlos Hyde to the mix. The 49ers won’t roll, but they win.
Like most of the rest of the country I went to bed in the 3rd quarter with this game well within the hands of the 49ers (20-7). I awoke to a Bears victory. What a 4th quarter that must have been. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led all players in passing yards and rushing yards, but was sacked four times, threw three INTs, and lost a fumble and his head on their way to squandering that 20-7 lead with 13:30 left in the game, spoiling the 49ers Levi’s Stadium debut. Bears QB Jay Cutler had as pedestrian a game as he’s ever had passing the ball (176 passing yards) through three quarters, but threw two 4th quarter TDs to bring the Bears all the way back - and then hit WR Brandon Marshall for the second time in the 4th quarter with seven minutes remaining to take the lead. So the Bears went from losing 20-7 to winning 28-20 in six and a half minutes - that was a bad 6 ½ minutes for the 49ers and their fans. It was a sloppy debut for Levi’s Stadium as the teams combined for 26 penalties  - 16 by the hometown 49ers.  Many players were injured in this game, including five Bears defenders and both 49ers tight ends, but the game came down to the 49ers horrible second half play.
Philadelphia Eagles 1-0 (+3) @ Indianapolis Colts 0-1 (53.5): Eagles 31-30 30-27
Monday, 8:30 PM, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN (Weather: Indoors)
Reasons: The only game indoors this week will feature two of the league’s best offenses. Like the sounds of that? The Eagles escaped embarrassment Week 1 by scoring 34 unanswered second-half points after being down 17-0 at halftime to steal a win from the hapless Jaguars. The Colts fought hard in the 4th quarter once the Broncos had fallen asleep, making the 31-24 loss look much closer on paper than it was in reality. That’s not to take anything away from the Colts – they’re good…offensively. Defensively the Colts are miserable, which will be a big problem v. this high-flying Eagles offense. This game represents the highest O/U of the week (53.5), and I expect it to be a full TD over that. I expect the Eagles to go up big early so the whole country gets to witness a patented Andrew Luck comeback. Comebacks don’t always end in wins.
The wild game everyone expected, the lead changed five times in this game before the Eagles came away with the win. Ten unanswered points in the last 3 ½ minutes of the 4th quarter and 142 receiving yards for RB Darren Sproles sealed the victory for the Eagles, who seemed out of it again after the first half. The Eagles have made a habit out of slow first half starts and second half explosions, and Monday night was no exception. After trailing 17-6 through the first half, the Eagles turned on their second half jets, scoring 24 points, 14 of which were unanswered 3rd quarter points that tied the game 20-20, to “steal” the victory. The Colts held the ball for nearly 13 more minutes, but two turnovers and Philadelphia’s explosive second half play were the keys to this game. 

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