All-22: Kelly’s Principles At Work

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When Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker met with reporters Monday, he noted that the Eagles basically used the same five run plays out of different formations Sunday night to pile up 289 yards on the ground.

If Chip Kelly heard that assessment, it would probably put a big smile on his face – because it’s true.




By now, we've seen Kelly's Eagles team take the field 15 times, and we have a pretty good idea of what he head coach values offensively. He wants his offense to play fast - which means simplifying things and going back to the same concepts until the defense proves it can stop them.

He wants to run first and take shots downfield. He uses packaged plays to put defenders in situations of conflict. And he wants to spread the field both horizontally and vertically.

Sunday's 54-11 victory against Chicago was a pretty good example of all those things at work.

Early on, Kelly focused on stretching the Bears horizontally. The Eagles' head coach will randomly mention from time to time that the football field is 53 1/3 yards wide, hinting that he intends to use all that space.

Against the Bears, the Eagles used the same packaged play four times on their first three drives. The basic premise is one we've seen all season: an outside run to one side and a bubble screen to the other. But this week, the Eagles added a wrinkle. Instead of going trips to one side with the bubble, they used motion.

Here's the pre-snap look. DeSean Jackson is alone to the right side of the formation, but the Eagles are going to use "orbit motion" meaning he'll loop back behind Nick Foles.

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The Eagles have two tight ends to the left as blockers, should Foles throw the screen to Jackson. Foles has multiple options on the play. He can either hand it off to McCoy on the sweep to the right or throw it to Jackson. Foles can even keep the football and run it himself if there's an opening.

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The Bears' cornerback follows Jackson when he motions, and Foles decides to hand it off. Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans do a great job pulling and taking out a linebacker and defensive back, respectively. And Brent Celek shows why he's one of Kelly's favorites, executing a perfect down-block on the defensive end.

Jason Peters, meanwhile, uses his athleticism to go across the formation. He'll end up blocking right defensive end Julius Peppers, who is chasing down the play from the back side.

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The result is a 19-yard McCoy run.

The Eagles ran the play four more times in the first half. Overall, they gained 27 yards on five tries. Not a huge number, but the goal of stretching the defense horizontally early on was effective.

***

The Eagles lead the league with 75 pass plays of 20+ yards. They've done a good job of maximizing opportunities downfield all season long.

In the third quarter, the Eagles sent four receivers on vertical routes. The Bears were in a three-deep zone, meaning the deep-middle defender was in conflict.

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Jackson draws the attention of the deep middle safety, which leaves Riley Cooper wide open.

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You can see he has his hand up calling for the ball, and Foles finds him for a 32-yard gain. This might have had a chance to score if the ball was a little more out in front, but it was a big gain nonetheless. Foles was accurate as ever vs. Chicago, completing 21 of 25 passes. Three of the misses were throw-aways, and one was a drop.

Later in the game, Foles found Celek for 24 yards on the same concept. The second-year signal-caller leads the NFL, averaging 9.03 YPA.

Just as the Eagles stretched the field horizontally early on, they had success stretching it vertically in the second half.

***

And finally, there's the run game. Earlier in the season, defenses started to crash their unblocked defenders in on McCoy on most zone-read plays. They were willing to take their chances with Foles keeping the ball and running it.

So during the bye, Kelly and his coaches decided to regain control and keep the ball in the hands of the league's leading rusher. They started having their tight ends go across the formation and sift block the edge defenders on split-zone runs.

"When you pare down your gameplan, what you want to get accomplished, how does it match up with the depth and type of handoff you want to use?" Kelly said. "How does it match up with the defense that you're [facing], how quickly do you want the back to hit the hole, do you want to read people, do you want to block people? A lot of different combinations in terms of how we're going to do that. But the fact that we have guys that are versatile I think has kind of been a bonus for us."

Quietly, free-agent signee James Casey is getting on the field more. He averaged 5.2 snaps per game through the first 11 games. In the last four games, that number is 17.3. Against Chicago, Casey played a season-high 30 snaps.

He came to Philadelphia with hopes of getting the ball in his hands more, but that hasn't been the case. The Eagles are finding value in using Casey as a run-blocker. According to Pro Football Focus, in the last four games, he's been used as a run blocker on 75.4 percent of the snaps he's played.

On one fourth-quarter drive against Chicago, the Eagles ran the ball six straight times, going 70 yards for a touchdown. Five of those six were split-zone runs.

Here's one with Bryce Brown as the ball-carrier. Casey comes across the formation and seals the edge defender.

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Peters manhandles defensive end David Bass, while Casey takes on linebacker James Anderson. Any time the Eagles can get their running backs one-on-one against defenders in space, they like their chances.

A huge hole emerges, Brown breaks the tackle of Jonathan Bostic, and he's off for 18 yards.

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The split zone puts the edge defender in conflict. Later on the same drive, Bass is playing Foles for the keeper on the zone read. Casey doesn't even have to block him.

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McCoy cuts it back, and Casey does a good job of hustling and getting to Bostic at the second level. The result this time is a 15-yard gain.

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"I think James really - one of his strengths, I think he really understands blocking schemes and mechanics," Kelly said. "Because when he was in Houston he was a fullback, H‑back type guy, and that's kind of how we're using him here."

Overall, the Eagles ran the split-zone 11 times for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

"They knew what was coming," Peters said. "They just couldn’t stop it."

In other words, exactly how Tucker explained it the following day.

***

Special thanks to Coach Flinn for going over some of the finer details of the concepts above with me. I highly recommend giving him a follow on Twitter.

***

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • Scott J

    Andy who? What’s a Gus Bus?

    • Andy124

      Andy who? Andy Who?!

      I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I’m very important.

      • GEAGLE

        You tell him

  • GEAGLE

    Nice work as always Sheil…Glad you showed the plays we ran off Deseans “ghost motion(orbital)”

    later in the week I hope you show the plays were we line up Cooper on the line in a 3pt stance..we scored a TD on that play when FOles rolled out to the right and hit Coop on the crossing route with a Laser in heavy traffic..Coop was the 3rd read on the play, lol so most young QBs like RGme or KAp would have never made that play. Because they take off after their second read lol. That was another one of those lays we ran multiple times…

    Anyone remember if that was also the same play we ran to score the TD with Celek? Was Cooper lined up in a 3pt stance on the TD Celek caught, where we faked our two tight ends running a crossing route, and instead Ertz set a pic for Celek who went open for a TD?…..basically I’m asking if we threw two TD passes using the same play? I know Celek and Ertz were the first two reads on the TD coop caught when he lined up out of the 3 point up stance, but I don’t remember if the TEs ran the same routes as they did when Celek scored, or did they switch up the TE routes making it a different variation of the play?

    The defensive all 22 will be fun…Blowing up the A gaps while Cox and Cole ran twist stunts worked masterfully,..If Cole missed, cox was a fraction of a second behind him closing in on Cutler…that play worked because bears had to allocate attention to blocking Mykal when he blitzed the A gap….we also have developed a nice “Quarter” defensive package, which is what we use when we have to bracket cover 2 WRs..We we had a nice 3rd down stop off bracketing Marshall, Cary had over the top and Wolff came under underneath for the PBU

    If we get a nice lead and Orton is forced to throw! , I’m wondering if we go “Quarter” to bracket Dez AND Witten?

    • GEAGLE

      See Chip starting to use Ghost Motion with Desean, putting it on film for teams to see? that was planting a seed for what’s coming next..every week going forward we will see Chip incorporate different plays, playing off Deseans ghost motion…For example:
      We ran those package plays off the ghost motion against the bears a handful of time and the variations were:
      1) hand of to Shady higher Desean take the CB away from the side shady runs it to
      2) fake the hand off to shady, FOles keeps it
      3) the CB doesn’t follow Desean to the opposite side of the field and FOles throws Desean a screen

      Well we showed those variations a handful of times, so the cowboys would be negligent to not work on stopping those plays…so they will be ready for those variations and be trained to react a certain way when they see Desean go ghost motion….well now, Chip will anticipate the Cowboys reactions to the ghost motion(anticipating how Dallas will defend it), and he will add variations to those plays that capitalize on how the cowboys defend those plays we put on film against the bears..basically Chip is thinking a few moves ahead…
      For example, one of the next variations of that play we see is:

      When Desean went in moot ion and the CB didn’t follow him to the opposite side of the field we saw FOles throw a screen…well at some point in the future, a defense will get lazy and just think Desean is beng a decoy when he starts that motion, only we will see FOles hand Desean a reverse….
      ..l
      I’m sure Chip has anoth 20 variations up his sleeve, ready to contract how a defense tried to defend the ghost motion plays we put on film against the bears

      • anon

        Lets leave the articles to sheil and tim

        • GEAGLE

          Leave the swinging from my nuts to my girl

          • Wilbert M.

            as if there was a real girl!

        • GEAGLE

          Instead of thanking me for schooling you on the quarter package we are seeing, which not a single media member has pointed out, you act like a snotty bitch? Point taken??have it yr way lol

    • Joe from Easton

      The TD to coop was a double hi-lo concept; celek and Ertz on the play side (right), coop and casey on the backside dragging. LB on coop got lost in the traffic. The TD to celek was a mesh concept with the only difference being that Celek broke his drag from right to left and opened his hips back to the right while Ertz “picked” briggs. Celek caught the ball in space and walked in.

      • GEAGLE

        Thank you….the TD to Celek was gorgeous play design.

        When defenders see a play like that, they are conditioned to think “crossing route” because that’s what they always see in a setup like that…Chip used their instincts against them, faked the crossing route and Celek broke off, while Ertz picked him….Just GORGEOUS play design!!…..
        Didinger “lance Briggs has seen everything in his ten year career, but he NEVER saw THAT before”….either Westbrook,Baldi or Didi said that some NFL team will be copying that play and running it this week!!

        This speaks to the type of offensive innovator Brain we have leading us…Good times!

        • Joe from Easton

          It’s simply innovative adjustments. Instead of scrapping an entire play because defenses have picked up on it, Kelly just makes one individual wrinkle and voila, wide open guy outside of the numbers with soft zone over top and green grass in front.

          It’s all about subtle movements too. If Celek sticks is inside foot in the ground and breaks on a 45º angle back to the pylon then he is wasting space and the time it takes to turn his head around. By planting the outside foot and opening up, he creates a window immediately. That play worked out great, but even if well covered we get 5-6 yards or a PI call simply due to “boxing out”.

          The best part is next week when Dallas tries to take the “stick and drift” (my new name for that pattern) away, Kelly will just alter a different route. Maybe Celek continues his route and Ertz sits down in between the hash marks. Who the hell knows. It reminds me of backyard ball a little bit. So much space, go use it.

          • GEAGLE

            Good stuff. ,..and you KNOW Chip will have a minor tweak ready for Dallas who spent the week preparing to stop it. It’s like playing Chess when you are a move or two ahead of your oponent

  • GEAGLE

    Always been a die hard defensive guy. heck even when I played offense, I was still a defensive guy. The offensive part of football never really excited me much…we had some great offenses under Andy, but other then the TO year, and some stuff that Westbrook did, I was always “meh” about offense….but I’m in complete awe of Chip Kelly’s NFL offense. I have never enjoyed offense this much in my entire life….I’m blown away by this offense, how simple yet DANGEROUS it is….
    ..
    I love seeing FOles big throws! his improved arm strength, the subtle nuances like his Fakes…but I’m most impressed by how he runs this offense, after learning it 8 months ago. A lot of the offense is simple concepts, but this offense is probably one of the most reliant on QBs decision making…almost everytime The kid takes a snap he has to make so many decisions. other QBs use WR option routes, other QBs use package plays where the QB reads the defense and choses the right variation of the play…but Nick is asked to do it almost every time he takes a snap
    ..
    It’s one thing to NOT have NFl game experience. It’s another thing to not have much experience running a specific offense…but to OVER COME lacking in Both and play at the level Nick has done is nothing short of INCREDIBLE, especially since he has to play like a traditional pocket passer who doesn’t have freak physical tools that can bail him out of bad situations, and mask some flaws. if you don’t think you are witnessing the infancy stages of greatness, you have another another thing coming to you…
    ,..
    When this kid gets 30 NFL games under his belt, and another summer working in this offense, we will have the best QB the modern era of eagles football has ever seen. I KNOW it!!

    • George

      He’s already better than RGknee… and he is on the level of luck and wilson. I’m as exited as I have been in years

      • GEAGLE

        Let me be the first to go out on a limb and say he will have a better career then Mcnabb

        • George

          You’re not the first…

          • GEAGLE

            Im the first everything when it comes to FOles fans…don’t get it twisted :)

    • Michael Myers

      Considering age…having a hard time thinking of a QB I’d rather see run Chip’s offense…Kaepernick maybe? Not sure he is a good as Mr. Foles…lets go eagles!

      • George

        I would love to see Wilson or newton at the helm, but other than that, FOles is the best long-term option out there

      • truth be told

        No disrespect to Foles, but Kaepernick has taken his team to the Super Bowl.

        • Kev_H

          No disrespect to Kaepernick, but the 49ers were a Super Bowl favorite before he ever played. They missed the Super Bowl by an OT field goal in 2011 and the 49ers were 20-6-1 prior to him taking over (18-7-1 since). Put Kaepernick into the Eagles’ train wreck that Foles took over and I think Vick would have his job back.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Foles preparation is unmatched by any of them, don’t even have to bring physical attributes into the argument. Foles prepares probably double as much as these guys do,therefore he plays better

          • Kev_H

            Agree. I was listening to NFL Network on the radio and Kaepernick’s hot streak is being attributed to the 49ers narrowing things down to half of the field and letting him make one read and if it isn’t there telling him to run. Apparently doing more than that caused him to slump in September and October.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Ya I’d believe that for sure. Foles is so cerebral and he’s ALWAYS looking to get better, can’t teach that kinda stuff. Exciting

          • truth be told

            How do you know this?

            I can’t proclaim to know how little other starting qbs compare in their preparation but you seem to know that Foles prepares 2x as much as the other young QB’s in the league…….does he prepare more than Luck? Wilson? Just curious, as you seem to know.

            All I said is that Kap has taken his team to the Superbowl, favorite or not. It’s no small accomplishment

          • G_WallyHunter

            I wasn’t arguing your point about Kaep, was just sorta agreeing with Kev, he had a good point about the records.
            Kaep is clutch, no doubt about that, he took a team to the SB with an amazing defense. I was just throwing out an estimate there in Foles preparation, EXAGGERATION, if you will.

            All I said is after watching most, if not all, of Nick’s pressers and developing a very large sample size of his overall QB attributes, regardless of the better physical attributes that all of those guys have, I would still rather Foles because of his intangibles.
            you saw that McCoy quote, one of many examples of the intangibles that have been paying off, as we can all see.
            Not saying any of the others aren’t hard workers, I hate Kaep though, but Luck and Wilson are straight beasts. I’d probably take either of them over Foles if they were all sitting there, but they weren’t, so we work with what we got

          • jon h

            Agree. The SF D had a HUGE role in getting to the SB last year.

      • hokieduck

        A healthy Marcus Mariota would set your eyeballs on fire in this offense.

    • Chris

      Foles pump-fake game is what has impressed me the most. Gets me every damn time I think. Love seeing the defenders jumping the wrong way every other play. Gotta love that nuance.

    • hokieduck

      Your post makes me smile (I am thinking back to first arriving on these boards after Chip was hired and telling all the naysayers to just wait, they would be singing a different tune soon). He is a genius and he makes the game so much fun! For the players as well as the fans; that is one of the reasons that this team is playing well, in fact. They are having fun.

      As to your QB, as great as Nick has been this season, he is simply not a Chip Kelly QB. Add mobility to him and you have the final weapon (OK a really big WR wouldn’t hurt or one with dazzling speed). The D simply cannot cover everything.

      Go Eagles. WTD.

  • Mr. Wu

    By all accounts the ’13 season should be be considered a colossal triumph for this team already but I am getting that itch that tells me I will be disappointed without a deep playoff run right now. Preseason I said 8 wins is huge success this year. Now I want more. I really can’t help but think we can beat any seed in the playoffs especially at home. I also think that out of any team in the NFC we have a shot in Seattle, because of CK’s revolutionary communication tactics. I know I should keep my hopes in check but I am a sucker for my birds

    anyway….how good does it feel to be a Birds fan these days? :))

    • G_WallyHunter

      Great optimism, I share in it.
      I’ve been happier than ever as a birds fan this year lol, this whole thing comes and lands right on our lap, first meaningful December games in 2 years, gotta love it

    • Rambler

      Funny that I similarly keep expanding my expectations. I was excited for overall improvement and an 8-8 season. But now after seeing this still mostly untapped potential, I am expecting at least one playoff win. I am just so happy to have this sort of positive outlook for this team, and it definitely is warranted. I absolutely love this year as an Eagles fan.

    • Always Hopeful

      Well said Master Wu!

    • Frustrated22

      I agree with everything you said. I hate feeling greedy but I think we can have a nice run here.

    • Chris

      Who would’ve ever thought we’d all feel like we can beat playoff-caliber teams at home??

  • Michael Myers

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/news/article-1/Eagle-Eye-In-The-Sky-Bears-Review/ed6c4dca-2177-47ad-8c5d-ed189a58c51c

    nothing against sheil or tim, but some nice breakdowns/all 22s here.
    That said…
    I think Foles should be the guy going forward. I think Barkley is a legit number two in this offense next year. If Vick is willing to come back and be the great teamate as a number two, all the better.
    Main point…nomatter what happens next week, Let’s appreciate this year (yeah!) and focus on D for next year. Give billy a few tools…

  • EuropeanEagle

    College boy Chip Kelly’s college offense is four ’20+ yards plays’ away from tying the previous record, held by that other college offense, wait what was it called… ah yeah: the greatest show on turf.

    • G_WallyHunter

      I’d love to see how many plays 15+ the rams had that year and compare to eagles over 15, I bet eagles would blow them outta the water on that stat..

      • alcatraz0109

        Eagles have 144 through 15 games.

        GSoT had 143 for the regular season.

        This year’s Broncos have 134.

        • G_WallyHunter

          thankyou, I guess not blowing them out of the water, but reasonably more after this week.
          All very close though, closer than I thought it’d be

          • UKEagle99

            Not too shabby for year one though huh? How many members of that Rams team are now in the HoF? Kelly is just getting started, happy days.

  • SallyForth

    In another vein, “Kelly’s Principles” would also include his approach to nutrition/general health maintenance. Probably more than a “coincidence” that many of the players have stated how (surprisingly!) fit they feel for this late in the season. Also, while injuries can certainly be a product of bad luck, the fact that the Birds have managed to remain relatively healthy (most notably the OL) probably has some correlation to the health maintenance regimen.
    … “Kelly’s Principles” indeed …

  • #7

    Wow. These all-22s are impressive. Chip surely knows how to get people open and take advantage of their skill sets. Chip said it from the beginning…he can adapt to any QB’s skill set. Great great job.

  • Adam

    The sift block plays really show Kelly’s ability to adapt. If teams don’t respect Foles keeping the ball on the RO and continue to crash down on Shady, you send the h-back across the formation to smash the unblocked defender in the mouth.

    • anon

      Seattle uses this form of blocking a lot — it think it’s part of running the RO at a high leve.

    • GEAGLE

      Yes sir…and it really suits our TE personel.
      ..
      Celek always been an elite blocking TE and Casey spent a lot of time as a glorified fullback I’m Houston’s offense. Ertz blocking is coming along nicely. Improvement is obvious if you follow him on tape..

      Celek is far from an Elite pass catcher like Gronk or Graham…but few TEs that can block as well as Brent, are better pass catchers then Brent,.
      ..
      Traditionally a TE who can block at Celeks level, is just a blocking TE. when those types go in the game the defense knows the offense is either trying to max protect and only send two guys out to catch balls! or the offense is trying to pound the ball down your throat…so when an offense plays a TE that can block as well as Celek, the defense usually has a good idea what’s coming..
      .
      Celeks value is that although he is a quality blocker that you can really use to max protect or play smash mouth run game…he is still can be used as a pass catching weapon, so defenses see him, and the can’t just assume we are going max protect or running the ball! because if you sell out trying to stop that! he can still burn you as a WR…

      As a WR, i can list so many TEs that are better than Celek
      But out of the he elite blocking TEs, he is a drastically better WR then most of them, and his true value comes from his rare ability to be one of the leading TEs the past 5 years at plays over 20 yards, while also being an elite blocker…which makes him much more versatile, and unpredictable, then the majority of the TEs that can block as well as he can…

      • theycallmerob

        Ertz and Barbre destroyed the CHI DE and LB on the Bryce TD run. Beautiful to see; Ertz has definitely come a long way in that department this year. Big-time weapon.
        I must have watched that replay about 25 times straight.

        • Adam

          I just managed to get the NFL Game Pass app (not sure what it’s called in the US) on my iPad, so I can watch the All-22, and when you pause it gives you a telestrator to break down the plays. I’m in heaven. I’ve watched the Chicago game 3 times already, not including when it was on TV.

          • theycallmerob

            Man, super jealous. Almost makes me think more highly of the northern lands.
            Time to start your own all-22 blog. But one suggestion, I’d leave out all the talk of sex positions unlike our good friend.

            Does that also allow you to stream the games live?

          • G_WallyHunter

            Come over the wall stay awhile
            Whitewalkers aren’t so bad once you get to know them

          • UKEagle99

            Upvote for Game of Thrones reference.

          • G_WallyHunter

            I throw them in here and there.
            Did you see that tease of an 8 second trailer they released? ridiculous

          • theycallmerob

            I’d miss the crazy too much

          • GEAGLE

            Hahaha awesome game of thrones ref

          • Chris

            john snuuuuuu

          • Mr. Wu

            hhahaha

          • G_WallyHunter

            Eh John Snuuuhhhhhh

          • Mr. Wu

            I have no idea who your good friend is and I am perfectly happy not knowing. Sex and football should not exist together lol.

          • UKEagle99

            Yup, going deep should only mean one thing.

          • Adam

            Yep, except the Thursday and Monday night games and some that are blacked out in your particular area. For me it’s usually the Jets or Buffalo games so I couldn’t care less.

          • Bukester

            If I can answer – YES!! All games live and you can watch any game in the past for the current season. Its awesome I must say. When I moved here, it was brutal watching football on Danish TV. Like watching golf. Now, my wife puts the kids down after dinner on Sunday and retire to the mancave and watch the games. The only problem is the Eagles are back to a national-interest level and the games are bumped to Sunday night now! That means I watch it the next day. That blows

          • G_WallyHunter

            How much does this app cost?
            Damn, that sounds marvelous

          • Adam

            The app is free, it’s the Game Pass subscription that costs you. It’s like 260 for the season, but you can stream all games live from any computer/iPad. I don’t watch TV so instead of paying for cable/satellite I just buy this every season.

          • UKEagle99

            I agree, it’s my Eagles lifeline. Before it was available here I just used to listen to Merrill call the game on the Eagles Radio Network, I do miss his voice but it’s great to watch live.

          • Adam

            I actually had to trick my iPad into thinking I was in the UK or else it wouldn’t work. For some reason they sell the subscription here but won’t let you use the app.

          • UKEagle99

            It doesnt surprise me. They still blackout games here in the UK (2 per week) and the Eagles were back to back blackouts :-/ I watch on a media PC and big screen so I can VPN to Holland or Germany to get full coverage as the rest of Europe has zero blackouts, I guess it must be a TV Network thing but its damn inconvenient at times.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Great thinking, I’ll have to look into that, had Sunday ticket this year but should look at alternatives

  • anon

    Eagles are 20-1 to win the superbowl. Basically tied with Sf, Carolina, NO, etc. and only really behind Seattle and Denver. Pretty good company.

    • anon

      i think we can beat any of the NFC teams, especially if NOLA is playing at philly.

  • anon

    Was reading that Bears played a lot of zone, not sure why anyone would do that against eagles at this point, recipe for a whooping.