Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks is finally healthy for a playoff game, and he’s pretty excited about it - Daily News
Jordan Hicks will take the field for an Eagles playoff game Sunday, the first time Hicks has done that in his four-season NFL career. Hicks was not listed on the Eagles’ injury report Friday, for the first time in nearly two months. That’s significant, for a talented middle linebacker who has battled injuries ever since he was a Texas Longhorns standout. Hicks has missed 21 of a possible 64 regular-season games as an Eagle. “Pretty special, knowing everything I’ve battled through, and this team has battled through, to get to this point. Specifically me, coming off last year, coming off this injury here, it’s going to be very special to be playing this week,” Hicks said Friday. Hicks missed last year’s Super Bowl run after suffering an Achilles tear in Week 7.
What these four analytical nuggets reveal about the Bears - BGN
The Bears’ have enjoyed some of the best pass protection in the league, ranking 2nd on the year in Pro Football Focus’ pass blocking efficiency metric. Right tackle Bobby Massie has only allowed 1 sack and 25 pressures in 585 snaps, ranking 11th among tackles. Center Cody Whitehair is tied for 4th in his position with only 10 pressures in 2018. They’ll be challenged by a talented Eagles’ front four known for forcing offenses to work quick passing games. Pressure impacts all quarterbacks, but this is especially true of Mitch Trubisky. His 58% accuracy rating when feeling the heat ranks 36th of 38 in the league.
Cody Alexander on Defending Jet, Trips & RPOs - BGN Radio
Michael Kist talks with Cody Alexander of Match Quarters and also the author of “Cautious Aggression: Defending Modern Football” and “Hybrids: The Making of a Modern Defense” to talk about how the Eagles can defend the Bears’ jet motion, trips formation, and RPO concepts! Enjoy the show? Leave a five-star rating and a review on Apple Podcasts! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.
NFL wildcard round picks - PhillyVoice
I believe the affect of added pressure for a first-time playoff quarterback is real. The Eagles head into this matchup in an interesting position. They’re coming off a Super Bowl win, so they know what the playoffs are all about, and yet at the same time, they barely squeaked into the playoffs, and are almost kind of playing with house money. The combination of those two things makes them dangerous. When the Eagles have the ball, they’ll have to figure out a way to block the Bears’ impressive front seven. With their excellent offensive line playing its best football of the season, the Eagles are perhaps better positioned to mitigate the pressure the Bears’ front can apply, more so than any opponent Chicago has faced this season. When the Bears have the ball, the Eagles could be in a good position to take advantage of several matchup advantages along the line, particularly with Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, and Chris Long against the Bears’ offensive tackles. The Eagles can win this game, and I think that they will.
Good Vibes - Iggles Blitz
Psychology matters in football. Jimmy Johnson had a background in it and was masterful at pushing the right buttons of his Cowboys teams. Bill Parcells studied psychology and always knew what to say or do to get a reaction from his players. Vince Lombardi was just naturally instinctive when it came to playing mind games with his teams. Bill Walsh also used psychology, but was less manipulative and more about appealing to the professional side of his players. Those of us on the outside try to read Eagles players and gauge where the team is mentally and emotionally. Sometimes we nail it, other times we are dead wrong. As I listen to the players and take in interviews and soundbytes from games, I like what I’m hearing. The Eagles are giving off the right vibes. There is no talk of being defending champs. Instead, the focus seems to be more on the fact the team had to claw and fight their way into the playoffs and how they can’t wait to prove to the other teams what a mistake it was to let them in (so to speak).
Prime-time Parlay: FPI predictions for the wild-card round - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (4:40 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC). Money line: Bears -250FPI projection: Bears win by 6.6 points. If the theory is that Nick Foles is a different person late in the season/in the postseason, FPI isn’t buying it. The model looks at his career performance, so it doesn’t think Foles is anything special, and therefore only considers the Eagles’ offense slightly above average. That isn’t going to cut it against the Bears, who have the best defense of any team in the playoffs.
Eagles Land In Chicago And Talk About The Trenches - PE.com
This isn’t about brother vs. brother, although you’re going to hear plenty about it during the Eagles-Bears game (Sunday, 4:40 p.m., NBC) any time Chris Long is on the field against this brother, Kyle. For the third time, older brother Chris plays against Kyle and it just so happens that the focus on this game, and the way this game plays out, could very well depend upon the Eagles’ defensive line and its ability to win in the trenches. “I’m more looking forward to playing a football game,” Long said upon arriving at the team hotel in Chicago. And that’s it. Nothing else. Long hasn’t talked about playing against his brother all week and he’s not really interested in discussing it further. It is, as they say, what it is: Just a subplot in a very complex matchup against the 12-4 Bears. “We had great practices all week,” Long said. “We’re ready to roll. We know that we have to win the matchups up front and get to their quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky) and hit him. That makes anybody uncomfortable.”
Year-End ‘Awards’ - Rotoworld
The Don’t Page Me Until It’s Serious Award: Nick Foles will always be ready, but not a moment too soon. You don’t call him until every other doctor has failed, hopelessly vexed by the problem at hand. If it’s the preseason or Week 1 against the Falcons, Foles will find himself bored, turning in a listless performance to match. The Super Bowl or do-or-die December games? Now we’re talking. The author of one of the most unique, bizarre careers in NFL history, Foles has provided the debate fodder of 1,000 LeBron Jameses.
Roob’s 10 observations: Fletcher Cox’s standing, Donovan McNabb’s finest day, Darren Sproles’ impact - NBCSP
7. Myth: Nick Foles can throw deep. Carson Wentz can’t. Truth: Over the last two years, Wentz has hit 10 passes of 50 yards, or one every 84 attempts. Foles has hit on four passes of 50 yards or more, one every 100 attempts. They’re actually both pretty good at throwing deep. Since the start of last year, Wentz has the fourth-highest percentage of 50-yard passes in the league, behind only Patrick Mahomes (one every 68 passes), Aaron Rodgers (one every 70) and Alex Smith (78).
Eagles writer gives 3 reasons the Bears WILL beat the Eagles - Windy City Gridiron
The Eagles defense has been playing better as of late but it’s not an absolute shutdown unit. Jim Schwartz’s unit ranks just 23rd in opponent yards per play. The Eagles are typically going to allow teams to move the ball on them. But while they might bend, they usually don’t break. Philadelphia has the league’s No. 1 red zone defense. Opponents are converting touchdowns on just 44.64% of their red zone visits. The Eagles’ strength in this area will be put to the test by Bears offense that ranks fifth in red zone offense. It’s going to be difficult for the Eagles to keep up with the Bears if they’re scoring a lot of points. Philadelphia probably isn’t going to be able to score a ton against Chicago’s defense. Failing to get stops in the red zone also means fewer opportunities for missed kicks by Cody Parkey, which could be big for the Eagles.
Why Colts vs. Chiefs is going to be a better Divisional Round game than you think - SB Nation
The Colts handled the Texans easily on Saturday in a 21-7 win, setting up a Divisional Round matchup with the Chiefs. After an explosive first drive by the Colts and T.Y. Hilton, the Colts never lost control. Andrew Luck finished the game 19-of-32 for 222 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. The Texans couldn’t get anything going on offense, with Deshaun Watson finishing the game 29-of-49 with 235 yards, one touchdown, and one pick. Now, the Colts will go into one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium, to try and knock off one of the most exciting offenses we’ve ever seen.
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