Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
The All-22: Where did Drew Brees’ game go? - TouchdownWire
Brees’ Week 16 interception against the Buccaneers’ sub-par defense was another worrisome reaction to pressure. Here, he’s got openings to his left, and the design of the play implies a screen to the left side, but when Bucs end Vinny Curry goes straight at Brees after left tackle Jermon Bushrod heads out of the formation, Brees throws instead in the general direction of running back Mark Ingram. But Ingram’s head isn’t even turned around to see the pass, and linebacker Adarius Taylor is in the right place at the right time. You don’t expect a throw like this from a quarterback of Brees’ caliber and experience. There’s been a lot of talk this week about how Brees lit Philly’s defense up in November. That would be relevant if Brees was the same quarterback now that he was then, but the tape tells a different story. If he’s not able to correct some obvious mechanical flaws, and the Eagles are able to rock him off his spot as they were generally unable to before, this game could be a lot closer than the Saints would prefer.
Conflicting reports emerge regarding Jason Kelce potentially retiring after Eagles’ 2019 playoff run - BGN
It’s not totally implausible that Kelce would hang ‘em up. He turned 31 in November and he’s about to wrap up his eighth NFL season. Including playoffs, he’s started and played 115 games over his career. He’s often played through nagging injuries in recent years, so maybe he just feels like his body can’t take the grind much longer. He also might feel like there’s not much more to accomplish, especially if the Eagles win their second straight Super Bowl this postseason. With that said, there are some conflicting reports about Kelce’s intentions. BGN alumnus Mike Kaye says a decision regarding Kelce’s future has not been made.
The Kist & Solak Show #69: Scoring on the Saints - BGN Radio
Michael Kist and Benjamin Solak finish up their preview series of the Divisional Round by shifting their focus to the Eagles’ offense and how they match up with the Saints’ defense? Is Sproles in for a big game? Should the Eagles’ continue to supplant the running game with the quick passing game? What about some deep shots? All that and more on this preview show! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation
Rookie Avonte Maddox’s competitive nature helped him make immediate impact on Eagles’ defense - PhillyVoice
“It’s football. You play corner, you’re not perfect. Certain things are going to happen,” Maddox said. “It’s all about how short your memory is, and mine is short. So when somebody makes a play — they’re one of the top athletes in the world, too, so they’re going to make plays — it’s about what you do the next play to make up for it. I definitely don’t dwell on it. I was definitely (too aggressive). I’m going to keep playing how I play. I know (the double moves are) coming. Copycat league. And they already ran a lot of double moves before that.” Maddox likes challenges. He’s been faced with them his whole life.
Running Men - Iggles Blitz
The improvement of Nigel Bradham will help. He was outstanding last week. I don’t know what has happened to him in recent games, but Bradham suddenly looks like the stud he was last year. Maybe the training staff finally gave him the Funyuns therapy I’ve been telling them about all year. The NFL doesn’t have rules against Performance Enhancing Snacks. The Eagles played mainly dime defense last week and it worked really well. The Saints have physical RBs so I wonder if Schwartz will go with a nickel look this time out. The Saints don’t have a ton of speed on offense so there is something to be said for this. Schwartz has seen Dallas shut down the Saints. He saw the Panthers hold them to 12 points. He needs to steal an idea or two from those games. The Eagles don’t need to shut down the Saints. They need to slow them down. If you can keep to less than 24 points, the Eagles have a great chance to win this game. That’s a big if to be sure.
Unsung heroes are stepping up on both sides of the ball for the Eagles - PFF
Just as the Eagles experienced the unthinkable a season ago under Foles, they’re now one step closer to achieving a similar fate. And a lot of that has to do with young, unheralded players making plays in pivotal moments. Treyvon Hester has quietly been having a stellar season on limited snaps — and he cemented it with a game-winning blocked kick to send his city into an all-too-familiar frenzy. While his 48.2 grade on Sunday was by far his worst grade of the season, what he did in the regular season for a team already filled with stars on the defensive line was unprecedented. His 89.7 grade ranked 14th among interior defensive linemen, and his 87.5 run defense grade ranked 10th. Hester’s grade over the last four weeks of the regular season also ranked 10th, and while the former Oakland Raiders seventh-round pick has seen only 10-20 snaps a game, he’s making the most of it. It’s hard to count anyone out on this Eagles team because as it has shown, anyone and everyone could step up when it matters most in any facet of the game.
Lawlor: How The Eagles Can Beat The Saints - PE.com
The Eagles offense’ must help the defense by sustaining drives and scoring points. If the Eagles go three-and-out too often, that will put tremendous pressure on the defense. The one surefire way to stop Brees is to make him a spectator. The Eagles’ offensive line did not play well in the first meeting. Lane Johnson wasn’t completely healthy. Jason Kelce got hurt early in the game and missed some time. Jason Peters was dealing with nagging injuries. Carson Wentz was sacked three times and pressured too often. The line is healthy now and playing its best football of the year. Johnson looks like a dominant tackle once again. Peters is coming off a good game. The interior trio is clicking. The Eagles’ offense has been much better in recent weeks and one of the key reasons is the play of the guys up front.
Divisional weekend preview: Breaking down each matchup - The Athletic
Saints 30, Eagles 23. At the risk of being smote for doubting Nick Foles again, I’m afraid the odds are too long this time. The Saints defense is much better than most people think, but the Eagles were able to move the ball with consistency against the best defense in the league last week. Doug Pederson will have some tricks up his sleeve, perhaps dipping back into the 12 personnel well. Without being able to run the ball consistently, the Eagles will probably need a big game from Alshon Jeffery, who has delivered them when called upon during the playoffs the past two seasons. Perhaps Brees and the Saints will come out rusty after several weeks of inaction. This is an Eagles team that wears the scar of their 41-point loss proudly as a reminder of how thirsty they are for revenge. Betting against Brees at home in the playoffs just seems foolish. But who knows, maybe the power of one Saint (Nick) is stronger than 46 combined.
Best bets for the NFL playoffs divisional round - ESPN
The last two matchups between these teams are not representative of what we’ll see on Sunday afternoon. On Nov. 18, the Eagles had recently acquired Golden Tate and were trying to figure out how to incorporate him into the offense. They gave him a 76 percent snap rate against the Saints and tried to force him targets. It didn’t work. The Eagles were also without Darren Sproles and had Carson Wentz at quarterback. I expect this game will be far more competitive. Foles is getting the ball out quickly, he’s not taking sacks, he’s throwing to guys who are open, he’s making anticipation throws, he’s not dropping his head in the pocket, he’s keeping his eyes downfield and delivering and he is producing. The Eagles’ defense has not played a very strong starting quarterback since their Week 8 game over in London, though, and they will have their work cut out for them. Drew Brees is incredible at home, posting a 66 percent success rate, 9.5 yards per attempt and a 130 rating with a 21-2 TD-INT rate. Every single one of those metrics is the best in the NFL. Philadelphia will also face Ted Ginn Jr., who was worked into the lineup to close the year after missing most of the season. Ultimately, I envision this game as a back-and-forth affair that will hinge on whether or not Foles can post a clean game from a turnover perspective, because it is very likely Brees will be able to do so.
Playing Props Divisional Round - Rotoworld
Darren Sproles Under 47.5 Rushing + Receiving Yards: I bet the over on Sproles’ yards from scrimmage prop last week and watched him come four yards shy of getting there. This week, they raised his line to a total that he’s hit in just one of his seven games played this season. Sproles has hit 40 yards from scrimmage just twice. His former team allows just 96.7 total yards per game to opposing backfields, which was second in the league.
Malcolm Jenkins Foundation lives on in New Orleans - 6ABC
As the Eagles prepare to take on the Saints, it’s impressive that the work of Malcolm Jenkins’ foundation is still going strong in New Orleans. Of course, Jenkins used to play for the Saints, but not even the most ardent Eagles fan would begrudge his continuing commitment to the youth of the Big Easy. ”Our foundation is very much alive and active down there,” said Jenkins. “New Orleans is where I started my foundation. It’s where I got drafted. It’s where I’ve got a lot of memories and great friends that are still there.” In 2012, the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation partnered with New Orleans’ organization College Track to help students pursue their dreams of higher education.
Roob’s 10 observations: Jason Peters’ future, Nick Foles stats, give Sidney Jones a chance - NBCSP
After watching Jason Peters last Sunday, I want him back at left tackle next year. I don’t care how old he is, I don’t care what his salary is, I don’t care that he left a couple games early during the regular season. The way Peters neutralized Khalil Mack, one of the NFL’s most feared pass rushers, tells me there’s plenty left in Peters’ tank. Doug Pederson has handled Peters perfectly this year, giving him plenty of time off during the week and saving him for games. And Peters has responded, playing through a couple significant injuries — a torn biceps and a nagging quad — to help the Eagles get to the conference semifinal round. At some point, it’ll be time for Peters to hang ‘em up. I don’t think he’s there yet.
NFL Conference Semifinals (Call It That!): Foles Hasn’t Been Tested Like This, Chargers’ Fatal Flaw - Sports Illustrated
There’s no logical reason to think the Eagles can beat the Saints in New Orleans. But then, there was also no logical reason to think Nick Foles would have come off the bench a year ago and become Super Bowl MVP. And there was really no logical reason to think a circumstellar disc would grow out to become the planet Earth and nestle into a gravitational pull 93 million miles for the sun, allowing intelligent life to develop and, eventually, this very column to be written. Unexpected things happen. But keep a few things in mind as we suspend disbelief in regards to Nick Foles. (1) He made two crushing mistakes in the first half in Chicago last week, and a team with a more explosive offense might have left Philly in the dust. (2) Foles was good in the second half of the Bears win, though even with vintage Foles this Eagles team is not what it was a year ago. They have no run game (and the Saints have one of football’s best run defenses by any measure), and their secondary not only leans on young corners Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas (both of whom are improving but still shaky), but also continues to be without criminally underrated free safety Rodney McLeod playing that aggressive centerfield spot in Jim Schwartz’s single-high looks. And (3) Last week was Foles’s first true road game in the playoffs, and overall it was probably a B-minus effort. Remember, a year ago when Foles got his only postseason win outside of Philly in Super Bowl LII, that was a very suspect Patriots defense. Sunday will be Foles’s toughest test yet.
New Orleans Saints Divisional Round: Bold Predictions - Canal Street Chronicles
It’s a pretty common occurrence for fans and analysts to make bold predictions about a game or season. If the prediction doesn’t come true, then that’s OK - you said it was bold! If it DOES come true, though... now you look like a genius! So in that spirit, some of the Canal Street Chronicles writers were asked to share with me a bold prediction or two for the New Orleans Saints’ first playoff round game of the NFL: a divisional round matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. This is their chance to look brilliant!
2018 ALEX: Season Review - Football Outsiders
Meanwhile, the Eagles ranked second in ALEX after finishing first in 2017, a Super Bowl year for Jim Schwartz’s defense. The Eagles have a banged-up secondary this year, but still ranked fourth in conversion rate allowed. If they can keep the play in front of them against Drew Brees this week, that could help in pulling off a huge upset.
NFL fines Michael Bennett, Adrian Amos for unnecessary roughness - PFT
Michael Bennett and Adrian Amos both picked up costly penalties in the Eagles’ win over the Bears last weekend, and they picked up costly fines as well. Bennett was fined $10,026 and Amos was fined $26,739 for unnecessary roughness, the NFL confirmed today.
Cowboys magical season comes to a frustrating end at the hands of the Rams - Blogging The Boys
We can feel a painful loss and have a hopeful outlook at the same time. Optimism should be a part of every Cowboys fan’s ‘basket of emotions’ after that loss. We all wanted to win that game, and there’s no excusing some of the issues that cropped up in that game. Looking at context, though, the Cowboys were on the road facing a team that went 13-3 in the regular season. A team that was among the favorites to go to the Super Bowl. There is no shame in losing to that team. It’s frustrating that as bad as the Cowboys played they were still in the game and could have won it. It makes you think that the difference between Dallas and Los Angeles isn’t as big as we, and others, might think. It may be a gap that can be closed in an offseason. This year is over, but it really feels like this edition of the Cowboys is just getting started.
Bruce Allen is here to stay with the Redskins; Dan Snyder is laughing at the #FireBruceAllen movement - Hogs Haven
Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen are laughing at the fans who thought posting #FireBruceAllen a million times on social media would do a damn thing. They do not care about dwindling interest and growing apathy from a surprisingly loyal fanbase. Snyder has been bleeding fans dry for 20 years now, and still has no idea how to run a professional football organization.
BBV mailbag: Kyler Murray, a Beckham trade idea, more - Big Blue View
That said, I think Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur are both solid, capable people. I like their approach, and I like many of the things they did in 2018. I think this is a critical offseason and 2019 a critical year. It’s often said that players often make their biggest improvements from Year 1 to Year 2 of their careers. Can that be applied to front offices and coaching staffs, too? I really don’t know, but I think the offseason will tell us a lot about the eventual success or failure of the Gettleman-Shurmur duo. I would like to see improvement in 2019. I would like to see the team in real playoff contention. I would like to have a clear idea of how they will proceed long-term at quarterback.
The Cowboys are now at 23 straight seasons without a trip to the NFC Championship - SB Nation
The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC Championship in January 1996 on their way to a win in Super Bowl 30 over the Steelers. It was the last time the Cowboys got any further than the Divisional Round. With a 30-22 loss to the Rams on Saturday, the Cowboys closed the book on a 23rd consecutive season without a return to the NFC Championship. That’s the seventh-longest active conference championship drought in the NFL: 1) Cincinnati Bengals: 30 seasons. 2) Washington: 27 seasons. 3) Detroit Lions: 27 seasons. 4) Cleveland Browns: 26 seasons. 5) Miami Dolphins: 26 seasons. 6) Buffalo Bills: 25 seasons. 7) Dallas Cowboys: 23 seasons. 8) Houston Texans: 17 seasons.
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