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Eagles News: Miles Sanders is ‘perhaps the most exciting rookie on any given touch’

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/18/19.

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Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

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Miles Sanders Won’t Stop Getting Better - The Draft Network
Sanders’ in-season development is somewhat the result of circumstances dictating his increased touches. It foreshadows further growth in the Eagles’ offense and improved play that will lead to a year’s worth of bell cow touches, deep targets and the occasional kickoff return. In a 2019 class that has generally disappointed at the early picks of the skill positions, Sanders is perhaps the most exciting rookie on any given touch. With Howard looking at free agency and Darren Sproles approaching retirement, Sanders also has one of the most interesting long-term outlooks, and he will enter only his third year of starting in 2020.

The Eagles are home underdogs to the Cowboys in Week 16’s big NFC East battle - BGN
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big football game going on at Lincoln Financial Field this weekend. The Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the Dallas Cowboys in a game that will very likely determine the winner of the NFC East. Kind of important. Despite both teams being 7-7, the Eagles aren’t getting the standard three-point home favorite treatment in this matchup. Instead, the Eagles are actually 2.5-point underdogs to the Cowboys, according to DraftKings Sportbook. In other words, the Cowboys would be 8.5-point favorites if this game was taking place at AT&T Stadium.

BGN Memories #7: Eagles vs. Cowboys, Do Or Die - BGN Radio
John Stolnis revisits three recent “Do Or Die” games between the Eagles and the Cowboys! Presented by SB Nation & Bleeding Green Nation.

A look back at three recent Eagles-Cowboys ‘NFC East Championship’ games - PhillyVoice
Week 17, 2008: ‘The 44-6 Game’ OK, so this wasn’t for the division. The Giants already had that wrapped up. It was for a wildcard, but whatever. Entering Week 17, the Eagles’ playoff hopes were all but cooked. They needed the 13-point underdog Raiders led by Jamarcus freaking Russell to beat the Buccaneers, and the 3-point favorite Texans to beat the Bears. Those were both 1:00 p.m. games. Miraculously, the Raiders came through for the Birds, with Michael Bush running for 177 yards, and the Texans beat the Bears. With new life, the Eagles came out during the late afternoon games and kicked the ever-living crap out of the Cowboys:.

Game Thoughts – PHI 37, WAS 27 - Iggles Blitz
Rookie Josh Adams led the Eagles in rushing last year. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry. His long run was 29 yards. Adams caught 7 passes, with the longest play covering just 13 yards. He scored a total of 3 TDs. Adams was a promising player, but you could see his athletic limitations. The Eagles decided they need more speed and big play ability out of the backfield so they drafted Miles Sanders in the second round. Sanders has run for 687 yards so far. He is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and has a pair of rushing TDs. Sanders has caught 42 passes, with 3 of them going for TDs. He has two runs this year of 50 or more yards. He has a pass play of 45 yards. The Eagles do not have speedy receivers, but Sanders speed is real and he’s been just what the doctor ordered for the backfield.

Eagles, Cowboys Refuse to Die and Could Upend the NFC Playoffs - B/R
Watching an Eagles game is like watching some poor soul trying to assemble a trundle bed from a Scandinavian furniture outlet with half of the tools missing and the instruction sheet flipped upside down. They know how it’s supposed to look, and so do you. They had high hopes when they left the store. Yet there they are, trying to hammer a wood screw into a dowel nut with a pingpong paddle. You want to help them, or at least hug them, but you are a mere spectator. Rooting for the Eagles means rooting for pass interference calls and roughing-the-passer penalties to power the offense, hoping the opposing defense forgets to cover Zach Ertz, praying that the replay review reveals that Carson Wentz’s knee was down before the ball popped out and closing your eyes when the defense faces 3rd-and-15 so you don’t have to watch Ronald Darby misplay a deep ball after the offensive line picks up Jim Schwartz’s 10-man blitz.

De facto NFC East title game: Everything at stake for Cowboys, Eagles - ESPN
Eagles: The Eagles are showing their age. They entered the season as the third-oldest team in the NFL, with eight of the original starters 30-plus years of age and four more who were 29 years old. They assembled a veteran-laden roster in hopes of making a championship charge, but the Eagles have felt the negative effects of that gamble, with team speed and health holding them back. They have received a jolt from young players such as Sanders, Ward and Boston Scott in recent weeks. It is clear that a youth movement was necessary to salvage this season, and it’s needed in greater doses this offseason to put the Eagles in a good position moving forward.

How the Eagles’ offseason plans are likely changing - NBCSP
A month ago, I would have argued that it was imperative for the Eagles to re-sign Jordan Howard. Now? It’s imperative that they don’t. Howard was very good in the nine games he was healthy. He averaged about 60 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns. Good stuff. He sure looked like a guy you’d want to re-sign before he hit the open market this spring. Then he got hurt. And two things happened. 1. Miles Sanders blossomed Sanders, 22, was playing well in a secondary role alongside Howard. He averaged 71 scrimmage yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. With Howard out, those figures have increased to 96 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. He’s 10th among all NFL running backs in scrimmage yards since Howard got hurt, ninth in rushing average (4.7) and eighth with 20 catches. It took Howard’s injury for us to really see what kind of player Sanders is.

NFL Week 16 PFF Preview: Players to watch, fantasy football advice and betting projections - PFF
The interesting part about the Cowboys and Eagles is that, record aside, both of these teams are talented enough to win one or more games in the postseason. The Cowboys’ offense ranks second on the season in expected points added per play; they’re led by Dak Prescott, whose 82.7 overall grade is his highest since his rookie season, and they’re bolstered by Amari Cooper, whose 87.1 overall grade ranks fifth among wide receivers. Meanwhile, the Eagles have a quarterback who has played at MVP-caliber levels at points in his career in Carson Wentz and an offensive line and defensive line that both rank in the top-five leaguewide in PFF grade. Neither team has lived up to expectation, but if they can put everything together, they both have the potential to cause a stir in January.

Upon further review: Ten likes and dislikes from Week 15 in the NFL - The Athletic
The ball had so much heat on it that FOX play-by-play guy Thom Brennaman initially had no idea where it landed. “Is it intercepted? Or a touchdown?” he asked. That throw is why Eagles fans get defensive at the suggestion that Wentz might not be as good as advertised. It’s also why the idea that Doug Pederson has floated about Wentz “letting the offense work for him” is silly. Wentz at his best involves him improvising and allowing his natural talent to take over. The Eagles can win the NFC East with two wins to close the season — home vs. Dallas, at the Giants — or with a win vs. Dallas and a Cowboys loss to Washington in Week 17. The roster is flawed, the team is mediocre, and the season — for the most part — has felt like a chore. But the Eagles somehow still have a chance to host a first-round playoff game.

How does defense slow down No. 1-ranked Dallas offense? - PE.com
Dallas ranks first in the NFL in yards per game (434), yards per play (6.5), first downs per game (24.4), and the Cowboys score 27 points per week. In Sunday’s 44-21 win over the Rams, Dallas rolled to 263 rushing yards and quarterback Dak Prescott had a stress-free day with 212 passing yards, two touchdowns, and nary a sack taken. What’s the plan, then, to contain an offense that features a beast at running back in Ezekiel Elliott, a strong offensive line, a receiver in Amari Cooper who has 21 catches, three touchdowns, and 19-plus yards per reception as a Cowboy playing against Philadelphia? “This is a game for the division and they’re going to line up with their players, we’re going to line up with ours, and we got to fight to come out with a win,” Schwartz said.

The Most Chaotic NFL Playoffs Still Possible, Ranked - The Ringer
The Cowboys hosting the Seahawks would be a somewhat palatable resolution to this NFC East fiasco. The Eagles hosting the 49ers would not. Through 15 weeks, San Francisco has outscored its opponents by 161 points. The Eagles have outscored their opponents by six points. The 49ers crossing the country to play in Philadelphia would be an outrage, though they no longer control their playoff seeding after losing to Atlanta this week.

Who Are the Hot NFL Head Coaching Candidates? 24 Names to Watch - MMQB
Mike Groh, offensive coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles; Press Taylor, quarterbacks coach, Philadelphia Eagles — I think Philadelphia still has some work to do in order to make it into the playoffs, but that the work their coaching staff has done through a slew of injuries has been impressive. Both of these names warrant some consideration, even if it takes an owner willing to get their hands dirty and sort out what a good team does during a not-so-good season. [BLG Note: No, please, don’t take Groh or Taylor!]

Eagles’ Zach Ertz could break another Jason Witten record in front Cowboys tight end in Week 16 - NJ.com
Another year, another Jason Witten record for Zach Ertz to break. Last season, the Eagles tight end broke Witten’s NFL single-season record for receptions by a tight end (116). Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, Ertz could break the NFL record for receptions by a tight end through the first seven seasons of a career ... in front of Witten, the current record holder.

ESPN’s ‘First Take’ and Wentz-hating host Max Kellerman coming to Philly on Friday - Inquirer
Max Kellerman is used to critiquing Carson Wentz from afar. Now he’ll have to do it live in front of Eagles fans. On Friday, Kellerman and cohosts Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim Rose will bring their ESPN debate show First Take to Philadelphia, filming live at the Chickie’s and Pete’s on Packer Ave. Doors for fans will open at 8:30 a.m.

Week 15 DVOA Ratings - Football Outsiders
[BLG Note: The Eagles rank 15th in DVOA while the Cowboys rank 8th.]

‘Things I think’ about the Giants as the season winds down - Big Blue View
I keep reading, and I probably have even written, the idea that winning some games here at the end of this lost Giants season could help Pat Shurmur build an argument to keep his job. Maybe that is the case, but should it be? I keep coming back to this question — what can we learn about Shurmur as a coach over the final three games including last season that we didn’t learn in his first 29 with the Giants? And if we do see anything different do we look at it as progress or just a guy pulling out all the stops to keep his job? I guess my point is, I think Giants’ ownership already has all the information it needs to make a decision.

The Cowboys might be able to do damage in the playoffs, after all - SB Nation
The Dallas Cowboys’ entire year rests on a Week 16 meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles. A Dallas win would complete the season sweep and clinch the NFC East. A loss would back the Cowboys into a corner and leave them praying for the Eagles to lose in their finale. For a while, whoever won the NFC East battle looked liked they’d get punted into orbit on Wild Card Weekend. But now the division race doesn’t look so pointless. That’s mostly because the Cowboys finally showed they can beat a competent opponent with their 44-21 demolition of the Rams.

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