NFL Week 6: Monday Night Football Pick & Prediction

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field, 8:15 PM, ESPN (Packers -3.5, O/U: 46.5)

The Lions are coming off an early bye week in time to head to Green Bay with 2 weeks to prepare for the new look Packers offense. The Lions have been slow out of the gate as they’ve had some tough matchups early on and faired pretty well, especially in the Chiefs game. Even so, they’re middle of the road in most team statistical categories. The Lions defense however has stepped up to the plate this year ranking 10th in points allowed and in the top half of the league in turnovers caused and stingy in the redzone only allowing 8 TD’s in 16 trips (50%). Stafford has protected the ball well early and has looked fairly sharp (62.4% completions, 1,122 yards, 9TD’s and only 2 picks. Stafford’s line has done well protecting him as well, better than in years past as he’s only been sacked 7 times and has been able to conduct 2 4th quarter comebacks with 1 game winning drive in his 4 games. They need to get Kerryon Johnson going however as he’s only rushed for 264 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry and only 1 rushing TD.

The Packers are coming off another emotional win in Dallas as they move back home for a divisional rival game against an always tough Lions team who have had the better of the Pack in recent years. The Packers have quietly kept in the top half of the league on offense and only recently picked up the rushing game with the explosive performance given by Aaron Jones last week that culminated in 4 TD’s. The one aspect that the Packers have been killing teams is their redzone conversions. They rank 6th with 13 TD’s on 19 trips (68.4%). Rodgers is shockingly outside of the top 10 in passing due to a slow start and having an actual rushing game to utilize more. He’s protective as always with the ball with a 6TD to 1 pick ratio. Aaron Jones may only be averaging 60 yards a game but he’s making the most of his carries averaging 4 yards per carry and more than a 4th of them gaining key first downs but the shocking stat is his league leading 8 TD’s. Davante Adams is supposedly out a few weeks with a turf toe injury so that means more opportunities coming to the rest of the receiver depth like Valdes-Scantling, Allison, Graham, Lewis. The defense bounced back after a disappointing loss to the Eagles who took Green Bay’s rush defense to the woodshed in front of their own fans. It hasn’t negated the fact that they are still a top 10 defense. They are tied for 3rd in the league with 11 turnovers (7 off picks), and top 10 in sacks with 15.

Packers home field advantage is unlike 99% of the league where Vegas gives them a 4 point advantage instead of the traditional 3. Take the Packers to cover in the over, Packers 27-23.

Flyers higher than cloud 9 after slamming home their 10th straight!

It’s been 31 years since the last time the Fly-Guys tasted this much winning in one spoon full.

The lead changed hands a few times but it was the Flyers will, determination and energy that brought the game back into their control and eventually their 10th straight victory, on the road against the Avalanche 4-3 Wednesday night.

The last 9 game win streak milestone before Sunday’s OT winner against the Red Wings, was during the strike shortened season of 1995.  I was just 9 years old.  As far as 10 games go, I can’t even say I was alive for that one.  It was last accomplished by our bullies in the orange and black, back in 1985.  The 1985-86 season started off with hopes of a return to the Stanley Cup, as we lost to the Oilers in the finals the previous season.  After starting the season 2-2, the Flyers rattled off 13 in a row (the next streak to beat now which in fact is the longest Flyers consecutive win streak in their 50 year history).

They were winning handedly with only one of the 13 wins reaching OT, and outscored opponents during that stretch, 70-36.  So far this streak has yielded 35 Flyer goals to 22 by opponents with 4 of the 10 games during the streak, reaching OT or SO.  However, the Flyers are doing something they haven’t been successful at doing for quite some time now, closing out OT and SO games with wins.

Last years OT/SO record was 14-15.  Breaking down the outcomes of those games shows that getting to OT wasn’t a worry, it was the SO.  The Flyers were able to go 11-6 in OT decisions but once it reached the SO, they posted a dismal 3-9 record.  This year has been a different story right from the opening gate for our blue collar boys.

This time last year, 12 games went to OT/SO, the record was 6-6 with a breakdown of 5-4 in OT decisions and 1-2 in SO’s.  This year, 7-3 in OT/SO breaking down to 4-1 in OT decisions and 3-2 in the SO’s.  Complete turnaround?  Absolutely and it’s not too early to say that either.  The difference seems to be the players have now adapted to Hakstol and his system, Hakstol messing with lines until they click, Giroux stepping up even more so as a captain, and Mason is hitting one of his ebb and flows where he plays out of his mind (history shows he’ll hit a wall and come back down to Earth though).  Oh, and I can’t forget the Wayne Train and Schenner.

Simmer and Schenn have been amazing pickups with tremendous upside since day one and are still very young.  Thank you Hextall!  Hextall has been a savior for this franchise with moves like these for Wayne and Brayden.  But that’s for another article, lets get back to talking about streaking……win streaks.

Winning streaks aren’t something Philly fans are used to.  The longest Phillies win streak at 16 wins, belongs to the Dapper Dan era of the 1887 Philadelphia Quakers.  The wizards of the hardwood, 76ers, took their longest wining streak over 2 seasons 1965-66/1966-67, and it was 18 games.  The Eagles soared to 8 straight in 1949. Which leads us to the Flyers streaking history.

We know that 13 is our magic number, the ’85 season, however, there are more streaks available for the taking that the Flyers are close to achieving.  Consecutive home winning streak is still a bit away (20 games set during the 1975-76 season).  If the Flyers can get a win in Dallas, and then back at home against the Predators and Capitals (tying the franchise consecutive wins record), they’ll have a chance to break the record on the road against the Devils a week from today.  If they make it to winning the 14 straight games, they’ll just need two more wins (at Blues and at Sharks) to tie the franchise consecutive road wins record at 8 with a chance to grab that record on New Years Day against the Ducks.  Getting to that point would mean that the Flyers would tie the NHL consecutive game winning streak record set at 17 by the 1992-93 Penguins.  To break that would be something Flyers fans would love to rub into their cross-state rivals faces, however, a streak of that proportion doesn’t guarantee a cup.  Plus, you would hope they keep that “one game at a time” mentality, right?

There’s plenty to be excited about for Flyers fans everywhere.  The team started as they usually do, hovering around .500 for the first few months but the spark we’ve seen out of this team lately is something magical.  Magical, not like David Copperfield magical but more like the amazing playoff run in 2007-08 where we saw RJ Umberger score 8 goals in the 5 game series against the Canadians.  Magical like the time the Flyers were down 3-0 in the Bruins series and down 3-0 in game 4, back in the 2009-10 playoff run only to come back, win game 4 and eventually the series and then take the Blackhawks to game 6 of the Cup Finals (but lost).  Magical like watching the line brawls from the 2004 regular season tilt between the Flyers and Senators (one of my favorite Flyers memories in my lifetime).

This team is rocking and rolling and playing to the likes many of us have never seen before or have seen small sample sizes of.  A ton of us weren’t around to see the Cup wins and love this team so much that we fight when they fight, celly when they celly and jump on the goalies for soft goals as their coaches would.  With a mix of young talent and veteran smarts, the Flyers have kept their momentum flowing and they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.  Watch out NHL, Philly is blowing the roof off the joint and we’re here to stay and make things rowdy.