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Eagles News: Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett have the most QB hits of any NFL duo

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/21/18.

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NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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Stats to know for all 32 NFL teams entering Week 16 - PFF
Philadelphia Eagles: Fletcher Cox has four or more pressures in 12 games this season. That is the most for all defensive players, regardless of position.

Eagles vs. Texans Game Preview: 6 questions and answers with the enemy - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles (7-7) and Houston Texans (10-4) are set to play on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. In order to preview this Week 16 matchup, I reached out to our associates over at Battle Red Blog. The brilliant Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollman) took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at his answers.

The QB Scho Show #7: The Night Before Texans & Scouting Watson - BGN Radio
Michael Kist is joined by Mark Schofield to analyze Houston Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson’s game and how the Eagles can attempt to slow him down, PLUS a special Christmas themed Night Before Texans segment you won’t want to miss! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Eagles’ 2018 rookie class is small, but promising - PhillyVoice
Numbers aside, Dallas Goedert has shown good hands and the ability to break tackles and run after the catch. He has also been a surprisingly good blocker. ”That’s one of the areas that he’s shown a tremendous amount of improvement in,” Mike Groh said of Goedert’s blocking. “He was not asked to do a ton of that in college, so to really being doing it for the first time in the NFL is something that usually takes tight ends a year or two. He’s really developed. [Tight ends coach] Justin Peele has done a great job in getting him coached up. Dallas is a tough guy and he has a lot of strength at the point of attack.” Going forward, the Eagles are going to have to strongly consider building their offense around Ertz and Goedert, with Ertz being the move tight end (the “F”) and Goedert being the in-line tight end (the “Y”).

NFL evaluators make picks on Week 16’s best games - ESPN In$ider
One of the insiders picking Philly thought the Eagles could borrow from the Colts, who won at Houston two weeks ago. He also noted that Philly is not the only team in this matchup with issues in the secondary. ”Houston has been rolling all year, but the last two weeks, their defense has been exposed in the passing game,” this insider said. “The way to beat them is to spread them out and make them predictable in their coverages. They are really good at scheming, but when you can play them with tempo and spread them out, you can neutralize their pass rush and make them a little more generic in their coverages. I could see the Eagles being able to pull that off.” This insider thought the Eagles might win by something along the lines of a 21-17 margin, a game profile both defensive coordinators would presumably welcome. ”Houston has a great rush, so I see Doug [Pederson] getting into his RPO game and trying to get reasonably balanced, because if you drop back [Nick] Foles one too many times, those dogs on Houston’s D-line will hunt. They can wreck the game.”

Silva’s Week 16 Matchups - Rotoworld
Nick Foles flashed his 2017-2018 playoffs magic on multiple Alshon Jeffery bombs in Week 15’s stunning upset of the Rams as Philly’s line kept Foles’ pocket clean for no sacks and only three hits against Aaron Donald & Co. Even as Foles’ fantasy results are QB29 - QB18 - QB22 in three 2018 starts, playing with Jeffery has made a massive difference dating back to last winter, while Foles’ anemic 0.9% touchdown rate (TDs/attempts) is bound for positive regression; his career TD rate is 4.4%. Including playoffs, Foles is 36-of-48 (75%) passing for 533 yards (11.1 YPA) and an 8.3% touchdown rate when targeting Jeffery over the past two seasons. He’s 176-of-272 (64.7%) for 1,708 yards (6.28 YPA) and a 2.9% TD rate to everyone else. Facing a Texans defense that has yielded four straight top-13 quarterback weeks -- including Sam Darnold and Andrew Luck’s consecutive top-three results -- Foles is an enticing low-cost DFS play stackable with Jeffery and/or Zach Ertz. In stud RT Lane Johnson and RG Brandon Brooks, the Eagles are the rare team equipped to neutralize Texans All-World LE/DT J.J. Watt. … More reason to buy into Foles is the likelihood Philadelphia will struggle to run on Houston’s stout front, creating pass-funnel situations. The Texans have held enemy backs to AFC lows in yards per carry (3.25) and rushing yards per game (65.9), although DC Romeo Crennel’s unit has yielded the league’s ninth-most running back catches (83). Losing work to Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams is a touchdown-or-bust flex with zero catches since Week 11. Sproles led last week’s backfield in routes (12) and targets (4) and offers Hail Mary PPR appeal. Smallwood’s out-of-nowhere two-score game is tougher to chase.

Previewing the Eagles’ Sunday showdown with Houston - KYW
The Eagles continue to get ready for Sunday’s game with the Houston Texans at the Linc. KYW Newsradio’s Matt Leon spoke with Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation about this one.

Michael Bennett needed time to adjust to the Eagles. Since then, he’s had one of his best NFL seasons - Inquirer
Only Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox have more quarterback hits than Bennett this season despite Bennett not getting a starting role until Week 8.

Snubbed For Pro Bowl, OT Lane Johnson Is On A Mission - PE.com
Lane Johnson isn’t holding back. He’s angry. He’s lost sleep. A season after making the Pro Bowl – as well as the All-Pro team – for the first time in his career, Johnson was bypassed when the NFC roster was announced earlier this week for the 2019 Pro Bowl. Seething would be a good word to describe Johnson’s mood this week. “I’m not gonna lie,” Johnson said on Thursday in the locker room of the NovaCare Complex, sweat pouring down his face after his post-practice lifting session. “I’m pissed about it. I’m not happy about it at all. It’s just more fuel to the fire, I guess.” Johnson is going to need fire on Sunday against the Houston Texans and their excellent defensive front four, headed by Defensive Player of the Year candidate J.J. Watt and former No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, who made his third straight Pro Bowl, a pair of move-around players who are game-changers for the Texans. Watt has 14.5 sacks this season and Clowney has eight, so they are going to be a focus for the Eagles’ offense, particularly Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks.

Anxiety not stopping Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks anymore - Courier Post
“That was definitely one of the darkest, toughest times I was going through, and just to be able to bounce back from that man, to go through that, find myself, understand what was going on and to be able to, I guess, face that and conquer it man, and with the Pro Bowls and everything, I was just able to like let a lot of baggage go that was eating up at me and causing me anxiety,” he said. When Lane Johnson said, “I think he’s the best in the league at what he does. He’s physically imposing, able to handle pretty much anything thrown at him,” he was referring to any challenge a defender throws at Brooks.

Lisa Ertz’s Mission To Make Football Safer - Defend Your Head
Lisa Ertz is Director of the Safety Alliance at Defend Your Head. She is also the mother of Philadelphia Eagles tight end, Zach Ertz, and three other athlete sons. Consequently, she possesses personal experience with the risks and rewards of playing sports, including football. Lisa is working with Defend Your Head to raise public awareness of the technology now available to make the game safer for players. Her singular focus is to make the game of football safe for everyone who wants to play. She sat down with Rosemary Connors on the set of NBC10 @ISSUE to share her valuable perspective on the issues surrounding player safety.

Former NFL wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham arrested again - PFT
Dorial Green-Beckham, a wide receiver whose off-field troubles always overshadowed his incredible talent, has been arrested again. The Greene County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office says that Green-Beckham was arrested for possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana, and for resisting/interfering with an arrest. He was booked at 3:18 a.m. today.

SB Nation FanPulse Results (Week Sixteen): Shouldn’t Texans Fans Be More Confident About Their 10-4 Team? - Battle Red Blog
Your Houston Texans are 10-4. They hold a two-game lead in the AFC South. They are currently the second seed in the AFC Playoffs. Given all that, you might think Texans fans would be pretty confident about the direction of their team. Compared to the confidence level of those surveyed before the season began (back then, 89% of the Texans fans surveyed said they were confident about the direction of their team), you would be wrong.

Buccaneers vs Cowboys: Thursday Injury Report - Bucs Nation
The Buccaneers have one of their cleaner injury reports of the season as the weekend approaches. DeSean Jackson was upgraded to a full participant while Adarius Taylor (celebrating child birth) was listed as a limited participant. Jason Pierre-Paul was upgraded to limited, joining Gerald McCoy and Demar Dotson with the limited designation.

Cowboys biggest issue for a deep playoff run? Red zone problems - Blogging The Boys
Well, the Cowboys have had 43 trips to the red zone this season, that ranks 20th in the league. Dallas has only scored 19 red zone touchdowns (44.7%), only the San Francisco 49ers are worse in red zone percentage. Even if you look at total red zone scoring including field goals, the Cowboys are 31st with 82.9%. The Cowboys also join the Steelers as the only two playoff teams with four red zone turnovers. Pittsburgh also has the highest red zone touchdown percentage of any playoff team. Let’s take a look at how all the playoff teams stack up in the red zone on both sides of the ball.

NFL execs pick major awards: Who’s MVP? Rookies of the Year? - NFL.com
Andy Reid, in his 20th season as a head coach and sixth with the Chiefs, is the outlier among all these newcomers. But executives credit him with grooming his second-year quarterback into an MVP candidate. Reid’s former assistant, Nagy, led the Bears to an NFC North title in his first season. “He has instilled stability,” an AFC GM said. “He’s injected an offense that they’re actually scoring points. And players believe in him.” Reich couldn’t even get an interview until he helped the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII and Josh McDaniels backed out of the Colts job, but has immediately thrust Indianapolis into playoff contention. “He’s changed the culture totally in Indy,” an NFC executive said. “They were a team that couldn’t protect the quarterback -- now they’re No. 1 in sacks per pass play, they’re No. 1 on third down ... Andrew Luck hasn’t played in how long? And now he’s back. They’re really good in the critical areas, which they were in Philly, too. They’re sixth in the red zone. That’s coaching.”

The Case for Rethinking the NFL’s Playoff Format - The Ringer
One of the two best teams in the AFC will be put in the least advantageous playoff situation imaginable. That’s bad news for the Chiefs or the Chargers … but potentially great news for the Patriots dynasty.

What’s the value of a running back in today’s pass-obsessed NFL? - SB Nation
The 2018 NFL season has been defined by offense. More specifically, it’s been defined by a passing renaissance. Teams are throwing the ball more than ever before, and the correlation between passes and points has never been more clear. It was strange, then, that a couple of months into the season, the favorite in the race for the league’s Most Valuable Player appeared to be ... a running back. The Rams’ Todd Gurley was generating all sorts of buzz after scoring 14 touchdowns in Los Angeles’ first seven games, and since we are a fantasy football-based society, his fantasy value distracted us from the fact that, at this point, there is virtually no reason a running back could ever truly be considered the most valuable player in a league. That talk has died down, of course. Gurley has averaged only 66 rushing yards per game over the last month, and after starting the season 11-1, the Rams have lost back-to-back games. But his mere MVP candidacy proved that we really have no idea how to properly measure an RB’s value at the moment.

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