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Flyers 5: Takeaways from Sunday’s Flyers-Devils Game

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(Photo: Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a takeaways article. Following last Wednesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, it seemed logical to take the next day off for Thanksgiving and spare people the same routine of trying to explain what plagued the Flyers in a losing effort. Better to take a step back, relax, and enjoy the more important things in life. 

When Friday’s game rolled around, I was back at Wells Fargo Center, but after another disappointing and frustrating display, spent time with family and had a wedding to attend on Saturday morning. 

I’d like to be writing this takeaways article some three games following my last to tell you that something is different, that something has changed, that there is a sign that the Flyers are turning the corner and everything will be fine. That’s what I would like to do. After all, that’s the purpose of sports, to be competitive and find ways to win. In the Flyers case, everything is the opposite, and it has them at a crucial crossroads.

On one hand, the Flyers are far from the same team as a season ago. They made player changes. They rearranged the way the lineup should look. But when you take away players like Kevin Hayes, Ryan Ellis, and even someone like Wade Allison – who figured to be a possibility for the opening night roster – you really can’t get a read on a team’s full potential without their full health.

The problem with that is that this is hockey and this is the NHL. There isn’t a single team out there that doesn’t encounter some form of adversity through injuries or absences or just downright dismal play at some point. It’s how they overcome it that shows a team’s true colors.

I was on GameNight on 97.3 ESPN on Nov. 2, prior to the Flyers meeting with the Arizona Coyotes to open the month. I said then that by Thanksgiving, we should have a grasp on what this team is and what their potential could be. A 4-6-3 month of November, capped off by a six-game losing streak, says a lot. The Flyers have spiraled out of control. 

There’s really no end in sight for their losing trend, not without some serious adjustments. That was fully evident in the most recent defeat, a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday’s game.

Continue reading "Flyers 5: Takeaways from Sunday’s Flyers-Devils Game" »


Phillies, NL East: 2022’s Rivals’ Issues

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While Philadelphia Phillies and other divisional fans relive ‘22 from first to last place, others will watch impatiently with the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) looming over and distorting the upcoming 162. Now, some players and organizations are finalizing contracts not wanting to have time limits when normality returns.  

 

Greener Pastures:

With the Miami Marlins making more noise, the Phillies and their National League East foes have situations for going right or wrong especially if a negotiated CBA drags on. But their supporters will bemoan everything not working out satisfactorily, while they point to their rivals’ moves.                 

IN OTHER WORDS:

“Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you.” - Satchel Paige

As the days toward the Dec. 2 deadline inch closer, execs, players and agents must decide to make or accept an offer now. Or they can wait for the uncertainty to vanish with a successive CBA, but the new deal may or may not be beneficial to some franchises and/or stars.     

Analyzing each club reveals their roster holes and financial limitations affected by the CBT (competitive-balance threshold) like an ownership-imposed budget and/or revenue-influenced spending. Yes, each team has warts and won’t fill every opening even if their faithful believe and/or vocalize otherwise.                

Speaking of fan bases, they equate no news as total inaction, but negotiations are time-consuming, and many front offices want the same star. But even if overpaying or meeting the asking price are strategies, they can affect other pickups. It’s or, not both! 

Continue reading "Phillies, NL East: 2022’s Rivals’ Issues" »


Flyers Doomed by Mistakes, Handed 6th Straight Loss to Devils

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

It continues to go from bad to worse for the Flyers. Trying to snap a five-game losing streak, they managed to get a tying goal to have a chance to start to right the ship. Then the Devils struck off turnovers and opportunities to quickly regain the lead and put the game away.

Three goals in the third proved to be the difference for the Flyers, as they were handed their sixth straight loss, 5-2, to the Devils on Sunday night. 

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Eagles Fall to Giants 13-7 in Ugly Loss

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(Photograph Credit: https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/eagles-giants-november-28?assettype=image&phrase=eagles%20giants%20november%2028&sort=best&license=rf%2Crm)

Philadelphia’s on again, off again love affair with Jalen Hurts is definitely off again. The Eagles 2nd year quarterback struggled mightily, and received little help from his receivers, as the Birds lost an ugly game to the New York Giant 13-7 at MetLife Stadium. 

 

Despite the Eagles’ offensive shortcomings, Hurts and company had a chance to win on the final play of the game when wide receiver Jalen Reagor dropped a 4th down end zone pass. It was the sort of play that has defined Reagor’s underwhelming career in Philadelphia. At this point, the Eagles 2020 first round draft pick from TCU must be considered a bust. Reagor’s punt and kick-off returning skills are pedestrian at best, and his sheer inability to catch the football should earn him a seat on the bench, if not remove him from the roster entirely. 

 

Reagor simply brings nothing to the table, unlike the host of receivers who were selected behind him during the same draft. Reagor’s end zone drop, the second of two big drops by the receiver, will haunt Eagles fans long after this loss simmers. What makes matters worse, on the same play, the dynamic DeVonta Smith appeared to be open. It was one of those days for the Eagles. Miscues and missed opportunities.

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Postgame Report: Eagles Offense Musters Just One Drive In Embarrassing Loss To Giants

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Eagles entered the half after an absolutely embarrassing showing by Jalen Hurts to lead his team on long drives down the field but then throw two passes directly to defenders at the goal line to ensure the team came away with no points.

Despite a rather good defensive showing, the passing game only experienced a few good plays amidst three interceptions well into the third quarter.

The Eagles maintained their awful showing with the offense managing to fumble the ball away and have three drops in six plays on the final two drives that could have been the winning drives.

The whole game makes you think how easy of a win this would have been had the Birds had anyone even half competent at using their arm to fling a football down the field to someone in the green jerseys.

Continue reading "Postgame Report: Eagles Offense Musters Just One Drive In Embarrassing Loss To Giants" »


Halftime Report: Eagles at Giants

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By Matthew Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The 5-6 Eagles visit the 3-7 Giants in week twelve of the regular season. The Eagles’ offense has been on fire the past few games but did not have a good first half against the Giants. Entering the break, the Eagles trail the Giants, 3-0. Here's what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:


First Half Offensive MVP

QB Jalen Hurts as a runner

On the ground, Hurts had a good first half. He ran five times for 39-yards, with a long run of 18-yards. His passing game was not very good, however, as he threw two interceptions.


First Half Defensive MVP

CB Darius Slay Jr.

On third down in the first quarter, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones fired a pass to the end zone that fell incomplete with Slay playing very tight coverage. Slays defense took a potential touchdown for the Giants off the board and held them to a field goal.


Who Needs To Step Up

C Nate Herbig

Replacing an injured Jason Kelce, Herbig has entered the game and did not play well. He had two holding penalties, both negating two big runs. The second took off a long Boston Scott touchdown run which would have given the Eagles the lead. With Kelce questionable, if Herbig is playing in the second half, he needs to step up.


Who To Watch Out For

QB Daniel Jones

During a poor season for Jones, he put together a rather solid first half. He delivered some good throws, going 8-for-14 passing for 94 yards. He was also active in the run game, rushing five times for 24 yards. Containing him in the air and on the ground will be big for the Eagles in the second half.


Flyers-Devils: Game 20 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers losing streak hit five games with a Friday afternoon drubbing to the Carolina Hurricanes. Now the Flyers continue their play against the Metro Division, desperately needing to right the ship in a hurry.

The Flyers are battered with injuries, but have faced teams dealing with significant losses in their own right and have struggled to keep up. The New Jersey Devils have lost five of their last six game entering Sunday night's action. 

Game time is 7 p.m.

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Eastern Conference Semifinal Preview: Union vs. Nashville SC

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By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

The Union started off their 2021 playoff run in the most sensational fashion, complete with a packed Subaru Park, a plethora of chances that couldn’t be capitalized on by either team, and the latest goal in MLS history—a 123rd minute strike by the Union center back Jakob Glesnes. Despite the win, the performance against the New York Red Bulls was far from their best, and they will be facing an incredibly dangerous Nashville SC at home.

Head coach Jim Curtin is well aware of Nashville’s defensive capabilities and how their prowess at the back will interact with the Union’s own excellent back four.

“I don’t anticipate a high-scoring game,” Curtin predicted. “You have two great defensive teams. The chances will be few and far between. They are excellent at playing forward quickly and they can really pick you apart with their passes. They are really clinical on their transitions.”

Nashville head coach Gary Smith commented on how in-form the Union are, along with highlighting how much of an advantage they have playing at home.

“Philly’s home form is very good,” Smith said. “I mentioned tongue-in-cheek on Tuesday night that, in any other league in the world, it’d be us playing at home, but we do understand the rules.”

He also acknowledged, “The fact they’re at home will give them an advantage, there’s no two ways about it. They’ve proven, not just this year but the last four to five years, their system, style of play, and players they’ve brought through, it makes it extremely difficult to play against.”

Difficult indeed, seeing as the Union have won six straight home games, keeping a clean sheet in the last five. In fact, they have allowed a mere five goals in their last 15 home matches, tying the fewest in any 15-match home span in a single season, including the playoffs, with the Colorado Rapids stretch in 2016.

On the flip side, however, the Boys In Blue have scored just eight goals in eight playoff games. Somewhat even more perplexing, only two of those goals have come from strikers (Sebastian Le Toux in 2011 and Cory Burke in 2018). In the last four postseason games, no striker has netted a goal.

There is also the issue of history repeating itself. The Union’s first playoff win came in 2019 in overtime, at Subaru Park, against the Red Bulls. They have yet to win a playoff game beyond the first round, and this Nashville team will undoubtedly do everything in their power to keep it that way. However, Curtin is choosing to look on the bright side of things.

“Little by little, we’ve progressed each year,” Curtin stated. “We haven’t done it in a flashy, loud, obnoxious way. We’ve done our talking on the field. The players deserve all the credit for consistently improving, being a team that punches above our weight a little bit. But we don’t fear anybody.”

Although they don’t fear anybody, Nashville’s premier playmaker Hany Muhktar will be a player to keep an eye on. He’s the biggest threat to the Union’s offense, and will likely keep Jose Martinez and center backs Glesnes and Jakob Glesnes occupied for most of the game.

For the home team, their usual main man in offense is Kacper Przybyłko, but the Polish striker has been noticeably absent from the field—even though his name has been in the starting lineup. With Curtin favoring a 4-3-2-1 formation as of late, Przybylko is supposed to be the main target in front of the goal, but he hasn’t proven himself to be all that reliable in doing his job. That being said, Przybylko seems to come alive when people start doubting him, so it’s possible that he’ll find his form again on Sunday.

Predicted Lineup: Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Alvas Powell, Jose Martinez, Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Daniel Gazdag, Jack McGlynn, Kacper Przybyłko

  • Olivier Mbaizo is still unavailable for selection due to medical reasons, which will see Alvas Powell once again step up on the right side. In an effort to not overexert tired legs, Curtin will likely try out Daniel Gazdag in the No. 10 spot for this game, and continuing to pair a playmaker with a Homegrown, will let Jack McGlynn show off his skills. While Paxten Aaronson had an okay outing against New York, McGlynn’s substitute performance showcased a dazzling display of maturity, focus, and a disciplined but creative skill that has quickly become the 18-year-old’s signature.

Score Prediction: These two teams are incredibly similar, which, like Curtin predicted, will cause a low-scoring game because the defenses on both sides are just that good, and they can anticipate the other’s movements and tactics all too well. It won’t be easy or pretty, but the Union always seem to find a way to win when circumstances are tough. A 2-0 win sees the Union through further than they’ve ever gone in playoffs, because they just love making history this year.


Navy Blows Out Temple in Season Finale

By Michael Lipinski, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The 2021 season is mercifully over for head coach Rod Carey and the Temple Owls football team.  The Owls were on the receiving end of another blowout loss, this one a 38-14 beatdown by the then 2-8 Navy Midshipmen.  The Owls finished the season losing seven straight games by an average of 34.3 points.  The Owls record falls to 3-9 and 1-7 in AAC play.  Carey’s record at Temple now sits at a paltry 12-20 and is firmly planted on the coaching hot seat.

Navy used an 11-yard rushing touchdown from running back Carlinos Acie and a 15-yard receiving touchdown by running back Chance Warren to take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter of today's AAC game in South Philadelphia   The Owls closed the gap when Ra’Von Bonner scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:30 to go in the half.  Navy extended their lead to 10-points thanks to a Bijan Nichols 32-yard field goal with :10 remaining.

The second half was very much a mirror image of the first half.  Navy’s Isaac Ruoss capped off an 11-play, 60-yard, 5:22 drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.  The Owls answered with a rushing touchdown of their own right before end of the third quarter when Tayvon Ruley scored from 4-yards out to keep the Owls within 10-points.

But it was not meant to be. 

Continue reading "Navy Blows Out Temple in Season Finale" »


Eagles-Giants Preview

By Jennifer McGraw, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

The Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) are right up the road this week for an NFC East matchup against the New York Giants (3-7). Philadelphia is coming off of one of their biggest wins of the season against the New Orleans Saints (5-6) with a score of 40-29. The Giants had a tough loss on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3).

Date: November 28, 2021

Where: MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey

When: 1:00 PM/Eastern

TV: FOX

Radio: 94.1 WIP and the Philadelphia Eagles Radio Network

Series History

The Philadelphia Eagles lead the all-time series 89-87-2.

Last Matchup

2020: The Eagles lost to the Giants 27-17 at MetLife Stadium. Carson Wentz was still QB1 and 21-of-37 for 208 yards and zero touchdowns. Miles Sanders had 15 carries for 85 yards, and Boston Scott had three carries for 63 yards and one touchdown.

This Game at a Glance

It’s safe to say there are no tests for Gannon, Sirianni, or Hurts, but that doesn’t mean they should let up. The Eagles are in crunch time to get that last playoff spot. Every game matters.

After two of the biggest wins of the Eagles season in back-to-back weeks, the team is heading into a pretty stable last few weeks. The Eagles don’t have to fly anywhere the rest of the season and the team has stayed relatively healthy (minus Jordan Howard who is the only confirmed player out for Sunday due to knee injury.) Cornerback Tay Gowan is questionable. Darius Slay, who had an incredible 51-yard interception for a touchdown, cleared the concussion protocol and will play Sunday. The Giants, on the other hand, will be missing a few key players. Fullback Cullen Gillaspia is out with a calf injury, wide receiver Sterling Shepard is out with a quad injury - this is a huge loss on the Giants, and tight end Kaden Smith will be out with a knee injury.

Related Reading:
Injury Report: Eagles at Giants

Eagles Win if…

They play four quarters of football. The Eagles did play beautifully last week, putting up points in all four quarters, but they need to do better than to allow Saints to score 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The Eagles won’t face much of a challenge this weekend, but they’re still going to need to play to their strengths and did what they did last week to pull out a win. With the Eagles being the number two running offense in the NFL at 153.4 yards per game, keeping the ball protected and on the ground is playing to the Eagles strength.

Giants Win if…

There’s a lot that the Giants need to do, but it’s not impossible. The Giants might not want to score early, and that’s okay because they’ve done really well in the fourth quarter of the three games the team has won. Tiring out the Eagles might be key, then put the final nail in the coffin in the fourth. Likewise with the Eagles, the Giants are also going to want to run the ball. Why? They want to keep the Eagles offense off the field and run up the play clock.

 

Prediction: Eagles 34-21

I have no doubt that the Eagles will start hot. Do we see a score on their opening possession? Maybe. I think two Hurts-to-Smith touchdowns will happen. Hurts is likely to run it in the end zone for the touchdown, as he did quite a few times last week. This might be a bold take, and I’m riding off of a high from last week, but I think we’ll see another pick six.