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Eagles News: Jim Schwartz’s defense must step up on the road

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/29/19.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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To top the Giants and win the NFC East, the Eagles will need to get defensive on the road, for a change - Inquirer
Jim Schwartz’s defense has been much better at home this season than on the road, and not just a little bit. Eagles opponents score 16.7 points per game at the Linc, 29.0 points per game elsewhere. The yardage difference is 273.7 to 388.7. This is not just a quirky statistical note, it’s a major theme of 2019. If the Eagles’ season ends Sunday, with a loss to the Giants accompanied by a Dallas win at home over Washington, the most likely recipe for disaster is one in which the defense can’t provide enough help to an injury-ravaged offense, now missing tight end and leading receiver Zach Ertz, along with its top three wide receivers. The home-road difference for a defense is visceral. The Linc crowd is loud, opponents have to run silent snap counts, giving the pass rush at least a tiny edge. Twenty-five of the Eagles’ 38* sacks have come at home. (*– they piled up 10 sacks in one home game against the Jets.) The Eagles, 5-3 at home, come into Sunday 3-4 on the road.

Eagles-Giants Game Preview: Six questions and answers with a division enemy - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) and New York Giants (4-11) are set to play at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In order to preview this Week 17 matchup, I reached out to our associates over at over at Big Blue View. The enlightened Ed Valentine (@Valentine_Ed) kindly took the time to respond to my questions about the upcoming game. Let’s take a look at his answers.

Babes On Broad #18: The Most Philadelphia Thing - BGN Radio
Sam Wilson & Jessica Towne are feelin’ good after a big win over Dallas, but are they confident about the Eagles-Giants?! PLUS What’s Going On Around Philly & The Recipe of the Week! Powered by SB Nation & Bleeding Green Nation!

Five over/unders for Eagles’ Week 17 matchup vs. Giants - PhillyVoice
Jordan Howard carries: 5.5 — Howard is most likely to get the ball in short yardage situations on Sunday, although it would behoove the Eagles to put him in on more plays than just those, otherwise, you’re telegraphing your call every time he comes into the game. I think he gets a decent number of snaps, but not necessarily a ton of carries. And with the amount the Eagles have been passing the ball in recent weeks — Wentz has had at least 40 pass attempts in each of the last six games after hitting 40 attempts just twice in his first nine games this season — it’s tough to see there being enough carries to go around. UNDER.

Game Preview – PHI at NYG - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles limited the Giants to 17 points in the first meeting, but that was at The Linc. Sunday’s game will be in New Jersey. Can Jim Schwartz get his guys to play to the same level on the road? That hasn’t been the case for most of the year. Then again, this is a different type of game. This isn’t just a game in Atlanta or Minnesota. This is a game with specific consequences. The Eagles must win to go to the playoffs. That should bring out the best in the players. The defense should play with energy and emotion. If you can’t get up for this game, what’s the point of even making the playoffs?

A look at Derek Barnett’s career, Jason Kelce’s future and more in Roob’s Random Observations! - NBCSP
Whatever happens Sunday, I hope Eagles fans go into this offseason secure in the knowledge that this team has an elite quarterback capable of carrying a team a long, long way. What Wentz has done down the stretch with a collection of rookies, backups and practice squad call-ups has been nothing less than remarkable. Wentz has 3,750 passing yards without a wide receiver over 500 yards, and that’s unprecedented in NFL history. Sanders is a stud, and Ward is a nice complimentary piece, but it’s up to Howie Roseman and his staff to surround Wentz with elite playmakers this offseason. But anybody who is still doubting or questioning Wentz? I just don’t think you’re a true Eagles fan. You can’t be.

Eagles-Giants Week 17 cheat sheet: Lineup decisions, tendencies to watch, predictions and more - The Athletic
Where can the Eagles exploit the Giants offense? Turnovers. New York’s 31 giveaways are the third-most in the NFL, thanks in large part to Jones’ league-leading 16 fumbles (one more than Wentz’s 15). The Eagles defense is tied for 19th with 18 takeaways. Perhaps the insertion of Douglas into the lineup will change that proclivity.

Reflecting on the journey to reach the brink of NFC East supremacy - PE.com
It doesn’t matter how the Eagles reached this point. It hasn’t been artistic success, let’s agree. Who cares? The Eagles stand one win (or a tie) away from a division title and a trip to the postseason, where anything can happen and usually does. No question that this has been one of the strangest seasons I’ve ever seen. Having Wentz raise his game and raise those around him is the biggest takeaway of the year, but the Eagles clearly have so much more in store. Beating the Giants won’t be easy, but what has been easy for this team? All I know is that when the Eagles kick off against New York at MetLife Stadium, the stands are going to be filled with fans who made the trip from Philadelphia or who came from the region to support this football team. That is, in itself, incredibly humbling and appreciated.

Week 17 NFL best bets: A number we like on each game - ESPN+
The fickle Carson Wentz critics have been quieted during the Eagles’ three-game winning streak. Wentz completed at least 30 passes in each of the three games and totaled six touchdowns with no interceptions despite working with a depleted receiver group. Philadelphia barely survived against the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys. When these teams met three weeks ago, Eli Manning threatened to pull off the upset before fading in the fourth quarter. The Giants will look different in the rematch with Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley aiming to finish strong. Jones passed for 352 yards and five touchdowns and Barkley carried 22 times for 189 yards in a Week 16 win at Washington. While the Eagles are banged up, the Giants are getting healthy and in good form. It will be no surprise if Philadelphia is in another life-or-death situation to win the game and the division in the final minutes, so can Wentz close the deal? Pick: Giants +4.5.

NFL Week 17 Preview: The NFC East, a Wild Card, Lots of Byes Are Still Up for Grabs - The Ringer
If the Eagles win this game, they win the NFC East. Sounds easy, but Eagles fans know nothing about this season—or the last three years—has been as easy as it sounds. Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones tossed five touchdowns last week against Washington to all but ruin New York’s chance at the no. 2 pick and Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young. This week he could ruin Philly’s playoff hopes. Just a few weeks ago Eli Manning burned the Eagles for two touchdowns in the first half, and Jones is playing better than Manning. Sterling Shepard called Jones “savage” after the game, and Jones’s flip-cup skills confirm. The Eagles are among the most injured teams in football, and their secondary is among the league’s weakest, especially guarding receivers on the outside. If the Giants attack the Eagles along the sidelines, which Dallas didn’t do in Week 16 until late, they could make this a game.

An inspiration to Eagles, Brandon Graham’s spirit endures - Morning Call
Through it all, there’s been just one constant: The smile. Every Eagles fan has seen it. Most see it every day because Graham always smiles for the cameras, which are always on him. He’s the same off-camera too. [...] “I think from an energy standpoint, he’s probably the most consistent guy in here,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “You know, always having a smile on his face, always got energy. You hear him laughing all across the locker room, through the building. You love to see the guys that produce consistently maintain their personality consistently over time. ... What he does on the field speaks for itself. I think his personality in the building and the locker room adds a lot to the team,” Jenkins said.

NFL Week 17 Mismatch Manifesto - Rotoworld
Daniel Jones has earned weekly tournament consideration and is set up well against the Eagles’ always-mediocre and now banged-up secondary. Only Lamar Jackson (7) has more games with at least 30 fantasy points than Jones (3) this season.

Top 10 receivers of the decade - Pro Football Talk
9. DeSean Jackson. A speed burner who can singlehandedly transform an offense, Jackson has been a factor since arriving in 2008. From Philly to Washington to Tampa back to Philly (albeit for only one game this season), Jackson still strikes Randy Moss-style fear in defenses, given Jackson’s ability to take the top off a defense — and in turn to open up everything else underneath. His numbers for the decade are more than solid (474 catches, 8,352 yards, 44 touchdowns, 17.6 yards per catch), but it’s the constant threat of what he might do that helped make every offense for which he played better than it would have been without him.

Report: Giants’ co-owners could be “at odds” over fates of Shurmur, Gettleman - Big Blue View
In perhaps the clearest signal yet that there could be a divide between New York Giants co-owners Steve Tisch and John Mara over how to proceed after another disappointing season, the New York Post is reporting the owners could be “at odds” over the fates of GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur. The Post’s George Willis reported that a pair of sources indicated “Tisch has seen enough and wants a fresh start with a new GM and head coach, while John Mara wants to wait until the outcome of Sunday’s season finale against the Eagles at MetLife Stadium before making a decision.”

An in-depth look at why the Giants shouldn’t think about firing GM Dave Gettleman - SNY
The Giants had never really fired a general manager before Dec. 4, 2017, when Jerry Reese was told to clean out his office. The closest they came was in 1978, when Andy Robustelli left on his own, saving the Maras from pushing him out the door. From 1979 through 2017, the Giants had three general managers with an average tenure of 13 seasons. There’s a reason for that kind of front office stability -- a very good reason. And no matter how frustrated John Mara and Steve Tisch may be with the last two miserable seasons, they shouldn’t ignore that and change their philosophy with Dave Gettleman now. [BLG Note: #LongLiveDaveGettleman]

Redskins Coaching Rumors: Ron Rivera is the most talked about HC option, but a lot of names are linked to Washington - Hogs Haven
Bruce Allen will reportedly get moved out of football operations, and focus on securing a new stadium for owner Dan Snyder. This is the firing that everyone wanted to see, but Snyder is reportedly ready to make several changes to the front office, along with hiring a new head coach as soon as Monday. Several stories have been coming out that name some candidates that the Redskins are interested in for both jobs. Former Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera is considered the top option right now, but he will likely have several options including the Giants if Pat Shurmur is fired. Louis Riddick’s name has come up several times for the open GM position. Here are the names mentioned for both jobs listed in the stories below.

POLL: Cowboys fans split on wanting team to make the playoffs, or losing for changes/better draft pick - Blogging The Boys
For a team that hasn’t had much post season history over the last 25 years, it’s a bit alarming that so many fans are okay with their team missing the playoffs, but can you blame them? After one of the more disappointing seasons in recent memory, the fan base’s confidence in the Cowboys is historically low.

A look at potential coaching changes across the NFL - NFL.com
The Cowboys are expected to move on from coach Jason Garrett with a loss to the Redskins Sunday or missing the playoffs, which would happen even with a win if the Eagles win as well. Garrett won’t need to be specifically fired because his contract is up, and it expires on either Jan. 14 or three days after the season. Sounds like Garrett could use a fresh start as well. Among the coaches they’ll likely target are Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Matt Rhule, former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, potentially Rivera and others. Put nothing past Jerry Jones - even a trade if someone he likes (such as Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer) becomes available.

Josh Jacobs downgraded to OUT for Sunday - Silver And Black Pride
After being marked as doubtful on Friday’s injury report, the Raiders have officially ruled star running back Josh Jacobs out for Sunday’s regular season finale against the Denver Broncos. [BLG Note: Miles Sanders is only 40 scrimmage yards away from passing Jacobs and leading all rookies. Sanders had 69 yards from scrimmage when the Eagles played the Giants back in Week 14.]

Conflicting reports surface on status of Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone - Big Cat Country
Earlier today, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported the expected dismissal of Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. Russini stated the Jaguars head coach would be let go following the team’s finale against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. That report, however, has been refuted by Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s spokesperson Jim Woodcock, stating, “Reports that Doug Marrone will be dismissed after Sunday’s game are 100 percent incorrect. Owner Shad Khan will meet with his football staff, which includes coaching and personnel, midweek next week.” [BLG Note: John DeFilippo gonna be available?]

The 5 best Week 17 rivalry games in NFL primetime history (so far) - SB Nation
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys, 2013: One of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries wrapped up the 2013 season on Sunday Night Football. The Eagles were 9-6 and the Cowboys were 8-7, and the winner of the game would clinch the NFC East and a playoff spot. The Cowboys had won the first matchup between the two teams in October. This time, though, they had to start Kyle Orton at quarterback thanks to a back injury to Tony Romo. The Eagles took a 17-7 lead in the second quarter on a Nick Foles 14-yard touchdown pass, but Dallas countered with a field goal to make it a one-possession game at halftime. The second half came down to the wire. After the Eagles scored a touchdown with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter, Dallas was able to respond with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Orton to Dez Bryant. Down 24-22 with 3:50 to go, the Cowboys had no choice but to go for the two-point conversion. Orton’s pass attempt to Bryant was broken up by Cary Williams to hold off Dallas:

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