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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/26/18.

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NFL: Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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The best Nick Foles throws of Week 16 - BGN
The Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles were going to need a huge performance from Nick Foles to take down the Houston Texans. Spoiler alert: they got one. Facing one of the best run defenses in the league, the offense relied heavily on Foles to keep their playoff hopes alive. What resulted was one of Foles’ best regular season games in an Eagles’ uniform. Foles has achieved a +100 QB Rating 17 times in his career (min. 10 att.). In those games, he’s 16-1. The winning trend continued for Foles on Sunday. Against the Texans he recorded a QB Rating of 120.4, his highest since in regular season play since October of 2016 when he played in Kansas City. It also was the second highest QBR recorded this season for the Eagles. Foles reached this high level of play by exhibiting excellent pre-snap mental processing and hitting some extremely tough throws with optimal placement. What follows are three of his Sunday best.

Monday Morning Digest: Can the Eagles Count on Saint Nick to Deliver Again? - B/R
As is so often the case, opinions on Foles and Wentz get more extreme the more Foles wins and the longer you listen to talk radio. Foles finds a way to win. Wentz doesn’t. Foles should get a new contract and remain the starter. Wentz should be traded for a bag of balls. We haven’t reached that last stage yet, but give it until Friday. Wentz, who’s currently sidelined by a stress fracture in his back, is the far superior quarterback to anyone with eyes and a passing knowledge of football. Foles’ big wins, like a few of Wentz’s tough losses, came complete with interceptions, strip-sack fumbles and teamwide late-game meltdowns. Foles’ Eagles just lined the good and bad plays up into a more fortuitous order over the last two weeks (and got more big plays from their defense and running game, etc.).

The Joy of Football - Iggles Blitz
There are times when it is now (all of 2017), but there are years like 2018 when following the Eagles seems like part of a sentence handed down by a judge than something to do for fun. We all grow up. We become more serious about sports. We let the outcome of a sporting even dictate our mood for several days, maybe even a whole week. It was good for me to spend time around Jason and to see the joy that football is bringing him right now. It is a reminder that this is supposed to be a fun diversion from the harsh realities of life. I’ll have a healthy outlook on the Eagles and the 2018 season…until about 4:27 on Sunday when I’ll start once again obsessing on every moment. Forget joy, win or else!!!

When he’s had the chance, Nelson Agholor has been golden for the Eagles - NBCSP
It’s been an usual season for Agholor, who lost reps and targets when the Eagles acquired Golden Tate but has continued to shine when given an opportunity. Agholor had a season-high 116 yards Sunday. He had more yards on the one 83-yard catch than Tate has in his last three games combined. “I’ll tell you, he’s in a great place, mentally, physically,” Doug Pederson said. “You saw it (Sunday). I was happy for him, getting in the end zone for him and a big play in the game. He’s another one of the guys that’s an unselfish guy. He comes to work every day, practices hard. Puts in the time, the effort. He just stays steady. Stays constant. Got a lot of confidence in him and it was really good to see him have that type of game.” Agholor only has 59 catches for 696 yards and two TDs, but he’s certainly made the most of his chances. He has seven catches of 35 or more yards this year, and only four guys have more — Tyreek Hill (11), T.Y. Hilton (9), George Kittle (8) and Mike Evans (8). With Agholor, the numbers don’t even begin to tell how valuable he is.

Pete Carroll Reviving Seattle, Frank Reich’s Reaction to Players-Only Meeting, More NFL Notes - Sports Illustrated
Yesterday in the MMQB, we went through all the 2017-like elements unfolding in Philadelphia, so I asked DT Fletcher Cox after the Eagles’ win over the Texans if going through last year helps, in dealing with what they are facing this year. “We always talk about that in the locker room,” Cox said. “We all understand that the season … it’s a long season. Guys get hurt, guys go down, but I think the special thing about this locker room is we always support the next guy. You hate to see guys get hurt. You hate to see a guy like Carson [Wentz] go down, how competitive Carson is, the passion that he plays with. He loves the game of football and you hate to see a guy like that go down and get hurt. But you got a veteran like Nick [Foles] that steps in, he keeps everything calm. We have a lot of fun when he’s out there. You can’t help but support a guy like that and just rally behind him through the ups and downs. You just rally behind him and that makes guys like that just play at another level because he got every other guy on the roster behind him.”

Breaking down the NFC Playoff Picture - PFF
Nick Foles is back, and he means business. Pulling off wins against the Rams and the Houston Texans, Foles has the Eagles alive and (sort of) well in the NFC playoff race. A win against Washington and a Vikings loss puts Foles & Co. back in the postseason with another storybook ending in arm’s reach. Foles is coming off back-to-back games with 75.0-plus single-game grades, which, if maintained, is more than enough for Philly to do some damage in the postseason if their defense continues to play above expectation with a star-studded front four and their over-achieving backups in the secondary.

Week 16 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
Kansas City and New Orleans are now neck-and-neck in weighted DVOA, with the Saints as the hottest team in football over the last six weeks. A look at DVOA just since Week 11 shows which other teams are red hot right now, including Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Cleveland.

Doug Pederson 1-On-1 - PE.com
Head coach Doug Pederson reflects on the explosive plays of the offense and his aggressiveness during Sunday night’s game.

My Redskins Christmas Dream - Hogs Haven
Gibbs, Riddick and Schaffer work diligently on finding a new head coach to lead this team into the future. After many interviews, they settle on a guy Riddick is very familiar with - Josh McDaniels. In McDaniels, the Redskins get a disciple of the great Bill Belichick - schooled in his ways of discipline, accountability and perfection on both sides of the football. McDaniels brings Patriots current linebacker coach Brian Flores with him to D.C. to serve as his defensive coordinator/assistant HC. He selects Rams current quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to be his offensive coordinator. Josh keeps Jim Tomsula as his defensive line coach.

Former Cardinals DB D.J. Swearinger claimed by the Arizona Cardinals for Christmas - Revenge Of The Birds
Well, Santa certainly didn’t fail to deliver for Cardinals fans this Christmas. A few days after making some very controversial complaints calling out his own coaching staff for bad decisions in public, former Cardinals Safety D.J. Swearinger was released by the Washington Redskins.

5 things we learned about NFL playoff teams in Week 16 - SB Nation
The team you shouldn’t believe: the Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys have won the NFC East. I’ve detailed this before, but I’ll say it again. While Cowboys fans should be excited they won the division, this isn’t good for the long term. Jason Garrett will remain as the head coach. He’s about as average as they come, and the Cowboys will be in the same situation as this season: fighting for the playoffs but not good enough to win it all. They are going to lose to Seattle in the Wild Card Round. Mark this down. Garrett sticking around is going to hamper the evaluation of Dak Prescott for the future. I want to see him in a different offense. The “throw the ball to Amari Cooper and hope he makes a play” offense isn’t good enough. They only totaled 232 yards on offense against the lowly Bucs this week.

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