Monday Musings – December 11th: Are the Eagles toast without Wentz? And is ASU basketball top-5 worthy?

Well folks, the answer to both questions to lead off this column is unfortunately yes.

-If Eagles QB Carson Wentz sustained a torn-ACL as feared late-Sunday, Philadelphia’s chances at winning the NFC are all but over. Sorry Eagles fans, while I’m somewhat of a Nick Foles believer (considering he’s a fellow Arizona Wildcat), he’s not going to be able to win your team a big game in January. Sorry, just not happening. The Eagles defense, as we saw on Sunday vs. the Rams is good, but far from elite. To win the NFC, the Eagles will have to rely on running the ball 65% of the time. Good luck if and when they get behind.

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-Unfortunately this injury likely cost Wentz the NFL’s MVP award which is truly a shame. He has outplayed Tom Brady to this point and very much deserved it in my opinion. Now the award is TB12’s to lose.

-Despite the injury to Wentz, the Rams-Eagles game on Sunday was an instant classic…and is the type of exciting game we’ve seen all too few times this year in the NFL.

-But the Steelers-Ravens Sunday night classic actually surpassed Philly-LA in terms of excitement. HUGE win for Pittsburgh setting up the ‘Game of the Year’ in Pittsburgh next Sunday…Patriots at Steelers.

-Since my Packers staved off major embarrassment and rallied from a 14 point fourth quarter deficit to beat the winless Browns in OT, it looks like the coast is clear for all-world QB Aaron Rodgers to return next week. Of course Green Bay has to win out to potentially make the playoffs at 10-6 and even that’s not a lock. One week at a time… starting with Carolina in Week 15.

-The Cardinals’ defense played very well against Tennessee in Sunday’s win…but the Titans also stunk up the joint so badly. What the hell happened to Marcus Mariota? He’s looked like a much worse version of himself in 2017. Tennessee needs to go back to the drawing board on offense…especially considering the uber-talented RB Derrick Henry only had 8 carries against Arizona.

-The Bills-Colts “Snow Bowl” on Sunday was unlike any other football game I can ever remember watching. To any Bills fan that attended the game, you’re so, so much tougher than I would ever be. Considering I’ve seen snow literally 5x in my life, I probably would’ve melted before the game even began.

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-It’s amazing how Jack Del Rio has gone from “incredible motivator of talent” to the hot seat within a year’s time in Oakland. If he’s not fired this offseason, he’ll enter 2018 on the NFL’s hottest seat considering the Raiders will be looking for a splash before moving to Vegas in 2019 (or at the latest, 2020).

-The Buccaneers and Bengals should put their head coaches out of their respective miseries on Monday and fire both Dirk Koetter and Marvin Lewis. The way Cincinnati played lifeless against the Bears in Week 14 was borderline appalling.

-I picked against the Jets all 12x this season before this week…then I actually thought they’d beat the struggling Broncos. Final score: Broncos 23, Jets 0. Figures.

-Alright I’ll admit it – ASU’s basketball team is really, really good. While I don’t know if Kansas is truly Kansas this year (considering they lost to Washington as a giant favorite at home last week), not many teams are going into Lawrence and beating the Jayhawks on their home court. The Sun Devils did and for that, they’re a worthy top-5 team right now. Bobby Hurley is the early favorite for National Coach of the Year (as he should be) and this ASU team looks like it will run the non-conference schedule undefeated surprisingly in 2017. The next big game for ASU – December 30th in Tucson.

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-Sticking with college basketball, I got a chance to see the Wildcats in person twice this past week – once in Phoenix last Tuesday and also on Saturday night in a foul-plagued win in Tucson over Alabama. DeAndre Ayton is quite possibly the best big man to ever play at Arizona and is a legitimate National Player of the Year candidate. He’s simply dominant. But the Wildcats still have major issues on defense…and as of right now, I’d pick ASU to beat them on a neutral floor. It does look, however, as if the Wildcats have learned how to finish games whereas they did not in late-November. Don’t be surprised if both UofA and ASU are in the top-10 when they meet in three weeks.

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-Hey ASU fans, are you getting worried that Bobby Hurley will bail on your school for a more prominent East Coast job sooner than later? Let’s see AD Ray Anderson pay up sooner than later to keep Hurley in Tempe for the long haul.

-What the hell is Oregon thinking in promoting assistant Mario Cristobal to head coach after Willie Taggart left for Florida State after only one season in Eugene? I know the players wanted Cristobal to be their coach but I don’t believe the former Miami Hurricanes lineman was the right fit for the Ducks. They missed out on former Ducks coach Chip Kelly (UCLA) and former Oregon OC Scott Frost (Nebraska). This hire is about as uninspiring to me as Herm Edwards to ASU. Both coaches will face an uphill battle to keep their jobs for longer than three seasons.

-Finally, everything about Saturday’s Army-Navy game was fantastic. The snowy field limited two extremely run-heavy teams to a combined 3 passes in the game but at least the game ended in well under three hours. Army won for the second straight season as the Midshipmen missed a game-winning field goal as time expired. And of course…the alma maters. If you didn’t watch at least some of the contest on Saturday, you definitely missed out. Congrats to Army on their second win in-a-row against Navy after having lost each year from 2002-2015.

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To read previous entries of my blog, click here. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @eacohen83.

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