Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Top-10 snubs of the NFL’s 2019 Pro Bowl roster selections - PFF
While the rest of the line around Kelce hasn’t been up to their 2017 form, the center is right back at his All-Pro level. He’s the highest-graded center in the NFL once again and has actually been even better in pass protection this season with only nine pressures allowed. Unger, on the other hand, has the second-lowest grade of any Pro Bowler at 64.5 overall.
The highest graded centers in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/OcEo749Xzz— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 19, 2018
Eagles vs. Texans odds have Philadelphia as slight favorites - BGN
When it comes to trends, history might not be on the Texans’ side as well. Houston is 9-21 straight up as road underdogs since the Bill O’Brien era began in 2014. That’s tied for the 10th worst percentage in that span. The Eagles are 15-4 straight up as home favorites since the Doug Pederson era began in 2016. That’s good for the sixth best rate.
The Kist & Solak Show #56: Scoring On the Texans - BGN Radio
Michael Kist and Benjamin Solak start their preview series of the Eagles-Texans matchup by starting with the question, how can the Eagles offense move the ball on the Texans defense? It might not be all that easy with defense loaded with talent. Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.
Eagles vs. Texans: Five matchups to watch - PhillyVoice
This matchup is the reason I believe the Eagles are going to win this game, based on the following: 1) The Eagles’ biggest and most consistent strength this season has been their pass rush. 2) The biggest weakness on the Texans’ roster is their offensive line. 3) Deshaun Watson holds onto the ball for an eternity. On the season, on average, Watson takes 3.03 seconds from snap to throw. Only Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson take longer to throw. The Texans have allowed 52 sacks and 107 hits on the quarterback this season, both of which lead the NFL. They’ve also allowed at least 3 sacks in each of their last 6 games, and 26 sacks overall during that span. It is imperative that the Eagles’ pass rush does not allow Watson to extend plays with his feet and make big plays down the field. They must get after Watson, and get him on the ground.
Stability Matters - Iggles Blitz
Obviously with 13 different starters, there hasn’t been much continuity at all on the back end. That could be changing. Rasul Douglas has now settled in at RCB. Cre’Von LeBlanc has been solid in the slot. The addition of Avonte Maddox at LCB is a big deal. He’s talented, but also has been part of the team all year long. He was in the offseason program, mini-camps and Training Camp. Maddox knows the scheme well. Malcolm Jenkins has been the SS all year. Corey Graham is the FS, but the coaches have found a role for Tre Sullivan as well. If this group can stay healthy, it will really help the Eagles in the final two weeks, and possibly beyond.
In The Moment, Nick Foles Has Focus On Team - PE.com
It’s all about staying in the moment for quarterback Nick Foles. He’s not looking back at last season, when he took over the offense for an injured Carson Wentz and helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII. And he’s not at Sunday in his mind, not yet anyway. The Houston Texans are the opponent at Lincoln Financial Field and Foles still has film to watch, conversations to have, and practices to hold. In the moment. Foles met the media on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex and, frankly, it was fascinating. There wasn’t a single question about Houston’s dynamic pass-rushing duo of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Not once did a reporter ask Foles about the Texans and what they do in coverage. Instead, Foles spoke mostly about his philosophy of life and of being a backup-turned-starter once again down the stretch. There was much more interest in the Experiences of Nick Foles than the specifics of the matchup on Sunday.
Film and numbers: An analytical look at the Foles vs. Wentz questions - The Athletic
Is there a case to be made that the offense is more effective with Foles? There’s really not. Let’s get this out of the way. There is no quarterback controversy here. Wentz is the long-term starter, and even in a year where things have not gone as well as he’d like, his numbers are better than Foles’. Wentz is averaging 7.7 YPA and 6.6 net yards per pass play. Foles is averaging 6.4 YPA and 5.9 net yards per pass play. Foles has thrown one touchdown and two interceptions in three starts this season. Wentz has thrown 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 starts. Wentz’s QBR for the season is 65.5. Foles’ QBR last week was 64.6. In other words, by one metric, you can make the case that Foles’ performance Sunday was very similar to the average of Wentz’s performances all season. We have to look at the big picture here. In Foles’ three starts, he has a DVOA of -14.9 percent. To put that into perspective, it would rank 30th out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks this season. Wentz ranks 10th.
Eagles face big decision on Carson Wentz’s contract - ESPN
The longer they wait, the greater chance new precedents are set. There are two quarterbacks in particular who former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry has identified as market shapers for Wentz: Russell Wilson and Jared Goff. Wilson has one year left on his current deal. If the Seattle Seahawks were to franchise tag him after the 2019 season, Corry explains, it would cost them north of $30 million. If they tag him a second time, Wilson is looking at a cool $68 million or so over a two-year period. In order to prevent Wilson from playing “the franchise-tag game,” then, Seattle is going to have to make Wilson the highest-paid player in the game, Corry concludes, which could set up a huge haul for Wentz if he develops as hoped and is not already locked into a deal. “If Wentz is ultimately who you think he is, you’re probably going above $35 million per year when it’s all said and done if you wait, because Russell Wilson is probably going to get there on his next contract,” Corry said.
The fire Jim Schwartz cries have stopped and should stay that way - NBCSP
The fire Jim Schwartz crew has been quiet this week for some reason. That’s one take I never understood. Get rid of the coach who oversaw the Super Bowl defense, the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense a year ago, who limited the Falcons and Vikings to one early TD each in the playoffs, then when faced with the greatest quarterback in history who was on one of his unstoppable runs, found a way to stop him. All because a defense missing half its starters has had a few bad quarters. Let’s look at the job Jim Schwartz has done.
Film Breakdown: Avonte Maddox’s versatility makes the defensive back a vital part of the Eagles’ future - Inquirer
Avonte Maddox has started at three different positions and excelled at all three. But his performance in Sunday’s win over the Rams was his best. Could he be one of the Eagles’ starting outside cornerbacks next season?
The NFL’s Analytics Revolution Has Arrived - The Ringer
The new information can also help teams simplify play-calling, like going for it on fourth down more often. The Eagles won the Super Bowl in part because of their aggressiveness in such situations—and in part because they went for two-point conversions when it was mathematically smart to do so. Analytics are not new to football, but this depth of knowledge is. The Eagles have had an analytics department for nearly two decades. “We confirmed,” said Joe Banner, the former Eagles president who helped set up the department, “that there’s a competitive advantage in analytics in a league that is structured to prevent you from having a competitive advantage.”
Saints, Chargers are the NFL’s two best teams; here’s what to make of the other contenders - CBS Sports
Houston Texans: This offensive line is no good. It survived for a while and Deshaun Watson has avoided the kill shot that ended his 2017 season up until now, but I don’t like at all the way this is trending. There is a blueprint to exploit and, sadly for the Texans, just within their conference the Chiefs and Chargers and Steelers are all equipped to swarm them off the edge with their considerable pass rush. Watson has been getting thumped far too often and the run game is not nearly as robust as it was a month ago. What the Jets did to them last weekend has to be scaring the crap out of the Texans coaching staff. That nine-game win streak is over and they look quite vulnerable right now.
How The Texans Can Beat The Eagles - Battle Red Blog
A team in desperation mode is always a tough opponent. The Eagles will be aggressive. They will be physical. They will be prepared. They will play their hearts out. Those fans in Philadelphia will be loud; this will be a nice test to see how the Texans can handle a playoff-type atmosphere. The Eagles will be on a mission to strike fast and early to take control of the game. The Texans will need to keep their composure and stick to their game plan. Palms will get sweaty. Nerves will kick in. This game will show who is and who is not ready for high-intensity football, the type of football you see in the postseason. This game is not only crucial for the Eagles, the Texans have some things on the line as well.
Any Given Sunday: Eagles over Rams - Football Outsiders
When you’re looking at reasons why this passing game hasn’t been quite as good this year despite the parts being there, I think you have to look at little harder at specific plays like this. Teams are getting better at defending screens. What the Eagles have been doing isn’t working all that well. What can you do to design a play that doesn’t involve slipping a tackle to be worth doing? Is it all blocking, or is the ask of the players impossible? This is not the only reason the Eagles performed better on offense the last couple of weeks, but I think the lack of screens is an excellent sign that they’re starting to figure out that this should not be a staple as an extension of the running game.
Inside The Amazing Wardrobe Of Mr Michael Bennett - Mr. Porter
Mr. Michael Bennett is a star – a star football player, which is a category unto itself with its own Janus-type polarities. He has been on the field for more than a decade, from his high-school years in Houston, on to Texas A&M, then as part of the Seattle Seahawks’ vaunted Legion of Boom defence. Now with the Philadelphia Eagles, the 33-year-old defensive end has risen to the highest levels of the sport – playing in two Super Bowls and three Pro Bowls – but always playing behind a mask. In person, on the street, as he was walking around downtown Philadelphia on Thanksgiving weekend with us, Mr Bennett is often treated by fans like something of a god. When speaking out on issues of inequality, though, whether within the NFL or in the US at large, he says, he is treated as somewhat less than deserving of a citizen’s full freedom of speech.
Redskins place Montae Nicholson on Reserve/Non-Football Injury list after arrest - Hogs Haven
Today’s move means Nicholson is done for the year, and the Redskins and the NFL will have time to decide what punishment, if any, Nicholson will receive for this incident. The Redskins have added DBs Harlan Miller and [former Eagles safety] Jeremy Reaves over the past two days.
Colt McCoy wants to play in regular season finale - PFT
According to Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, McCoy said he was running again, and wanted to play again this season but didn’t offer any further details. He suffered a broken fibula on Dec. 3 against the Eagles, and they close the season against the same team on Dec. 30. The fibula is the non-weight-bearing bone in the lower leg, but four weeks is still a quick recovery.
Cowboys fans severely overreacted after the loss to the Indianapolis Colts - Blogging The Boys
What’s particularly interesting, and a symptom of prisoner-of-the-moment behavior, is that both the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles fan bases are more confident than the Cowboys. Why is this interesting? The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East and can win it by beating a 5-9 team (the Buccaneers or Giants). Losing in Indianapolis really did a number on Cowboys fans.
Frank Gore won’t play again in 2018 - The Phinsider
Gore, 35, has played very well for the Dolphins this season. His 156 carries and 722 yards on the ground leads the team, and ranks him 23rd in the NFL. Gore brought a much needed veteran presence to the running back room, and has done everything asked of him since signing with the team.
NFL Panic Index 2018: Nobody’s afraid of the Patriots anymore - SB Nation
The Cowboys look like a one-and-done team in the playoffs. Dallas got destroyed by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, getting shutout for the first time this season 23-0. Dak Prescott had his worst game in weeks, Ezekiel Elliott’s big plays didn’t matter, and the offensive line struggled. Even Amari Cooper couldn’t get loose for explosive plays like he had in previous weeks. Had they won the game, they would’ve locked up the NFC East, so it should be a bit unsettling that they came out so flat with a trip to the playoffs on the line. Dallas should still win the NFC East, but now they need to really get their act together before the Wild Card round. They own the tiebreaker over the Eagles in the NFC East and just need Washington to lose one more game. Then it’ll be up to the Cowboys to handle business as they settle into the fourth playoff seed. Panic index: There isn’t much to panic about with the Cowboys’ overall chances to make the playoffs, but that game against the Colts should raise some questions about their ability to win a game or two. Their offense has been inconsistent all year — if they want to avoid one-and-done status, they’ll need to find a modicum of positive consistency.
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