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Beside The Points For Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Will Philly get Gronked?

The Philadelphia Eagles have a wonderful defense, but one Achilles’ heel could give them some trouble come Sunday. When opposing quarterbacks passed to wide recievers, on the whole their passer rating was 71.2 against the Philly defense. When they passed to tight ends or running backs, that passer rating jumped to 100.5, and the difference between the two — 29.3 — was the fourth highest in the league. Given the presence of a hulking superman named Gronk on the Patriots, this particular liability could be real trouble for the Eagles. [FiveThirtyEight]

How to win with Nick Foles

Nick Foles of all people is now a Super Bowl caliber quarterback, and the real question is how the Eagles managed to retool an offense based on generational talent Carson Wentz to perform just as well under Foles. Turns out that the number of passes caught behind the line of scrimmage has jumped from 15.5 percent under Wentz to 28.6 in the Foles regime, while passes thrown 10 or more yards dropped from 40.2 percent of throws to 25.4 percent of throws. Plus, the Eagles are getting more of their passing yards after the catch, on average 6.7 yards under Foles compared to 4.8 yards under Wentz, to make up for the yards that they’re not racking up in the air, 5.5 under Foles to Wentz’ 7.7. on average. [FiveThirtyEight]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

Pistons roll the dice on Griffin

The Detroit Pistons are taking a huge gamble in acquiring Blake Griffin from the Clippers, with Griffin and Andre Drummond combining to cost the team more than $61 million in the 2019-20 season. That’s one of only five pairings currently slated to cost more than $60 million that year. [FiveThirtyEight]

Pink could make a lot of money here

Right now, putting up a $150 wager on the Pink’s version of the National Anthem exceeding 2 minutes would get you $100 in profit, with 4 of the 5 most recent Super Bowl anthem renditions taking longer than 120 seconds. Pink could set herself up to make a pretty penny here, is all I’m saying, because a $100 wager gets you $110 in profit in Vegas if she sprints through the Anthem to get to the business at hand. [CBS Sports]

Bucks rebound

The Milwaukee Bucks ranked 26th in the league in points allowed, giving up 111.3 points per every 100 possessions, and it’s probably the funky defense of recently sacked coach Jason Kidd that’s at fault here. Since switching to a conventional defense, they’re 4-0, albeit against mediocre opponents at best. [FiveThirtyEight]


Big Number

8.28 points allowed

It takes Bill Belichick 30 minutes to understand his enemies. In the first half of games this year, the Patriots defense allowed 5.85 yards per play and 10.06 points, placing them 30th and 11th place in the league, respectively. But after halftime, the Pats have their rivals cracked open like an egg: They allowed 5.43 yards per play and 8.28 points, making them 22nd and 2nd in the league. [FiveThirtyEight]


Leaks from Slack, Sunday Night:

neil:

Former top pick Mark Appel leaves baseball without throwing a big league pitch

Sheesh

I believe he’d be the only the 3rd No. 1 overall pick to never play in MLB


Predictions



Oh, and don’t forget
This game may have a lot of flags. :(

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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