Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Wink Martindale: I don’t think Boston Scott is a Giants killer - PFT
Scott has 86 carries for 414 yards and 17 catches for 222 yards overall against the Giants, but first-year Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale doesn’t seem to have any special plans in mind for the running back on Saturday. “It predates my time here,” Martindale said, via Bob Brookover of NJ.com. “I can’t answer that. He’s a good running back. They have a stable of good running backs, so I can’t answer that. . . . I know just because he scored, I don’t think he’s a Giant killer.” The Giants did a great job of holding Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson to a quiet day last Sunday and they’ll have even more on their hands this weekend, but history says they better not lose sight of Scott if they want to keep the Eagles from lighting up the scoreboard.
Eagles-Giants playoff preview: 5 questions and answers with the Divisional Round enemy - BGN
1 - What is the most meaningful difference with the Giants since the Eagles blew them out in Week 14? I think there are several, so it is hard for me to pick one. I’m going off-script, but let me give you the three things that come to mind. — Defense: Defensive tackle Leonard Williams, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney did not play in Week 14. That is, arguably, three of the team’s top five defenders (with Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux being the others). They will all play Saturday. — Offense: The Giants are more versatile than they were early in the year. They aren’t ‘Barkley left, Barkley right and throw it only when absolutely necessary’ any longer. They have developed a real passing attack, have ben more balanced and have even been pass-first at times. — Confidence: The Giants are now a playoff-winning team. That’s not insignificant with a number of young-fish players in the playoffs for the first time. Minnesota isn’t Philly, and we know the environment won’t be easy to handle, but the Giants just beat a 13-4 team in a hostile environment where WR Isaiah Hodgins got the double-bird from a little kid after scoring a touchdown.
The EPA Podcast #13: Is it that difficult to beat an opponent three times? + Game plan to stop Daniel Jones - BGN Radio
On this jam-packed episode, Shane Haff and Victor Williams discuss the biggest storylines and player matchups leading up to the Eagles divisional round matchup against the Giants. The guys also share their thoughts on how the Eagles should game plan to stop Daniel Jones and their confidence levels in the Birds coming out on top.
Explaining Eagles fans: The City of Brotherly Love protects its own - Big Blue View
Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation and I found ourselves having to create ‘5 questions’ segments for the third time in seven weeks with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles meeting Saturday in the Divisional Round of the 2023 NFC Playoffs. So, like the two teams will be looking for wrinkles to employ in their third meeting in such a short time span, we were looking for some different angles in our ‘5 questions’ segment. Within, BLG’s answers to my questions.
Who is better, Eagles or Giants: Defense edition - PhillyVoice
Linebacker. T.J. Edwards finished the 2022 season with 159 tackles (10 for loss), two sacks, and seven pass breakups. He has become a steady, reliable presence in the middle of the Eagles’ defense. Opposite Edwards is Kyzir White, who was solid for the better part of the season, but struggled in coverage the last few weeks of the season when the Eagles were missing Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and/or Avonte Maddox. One of the Giants’ biggest offseason needs in 2023 will be at linebacker, where they have a pair of replacement level players starting in Jaylon Smith and Jarrad Davis, who they signed off of the Lions’ practice squad a few weeks ago. I would expect the Eagles to make Dallas Goedert a big part of the gameplan against those two guys. Edge: Eagles.
Giants Talk - Iggles Blitz
Dallas Goedert has a chance to really impact this game. The Giants struggle to defend TEs. Vikings TE TJ Hockenson went 10-129 in the wild card game. He was wide open more than a few times. He caught short and intermediate passes. Hockenson also added RAC yards. He’s a good TE, but Goedert is even better. The Giants just don’t have any defender who matches up well with TEs.
NFL playoffs: Key matchups that could decide each divisional round game - The Athletic
Key matchup: DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown in the slot vs. the Giants’ slot defenders. Against the Vikings in the wild-card round, the Giants played zone coverage on 76.8 percent of dropbacks, by far a season high for New York. The Vikings’ run game was almost nonexistent, so the Giants had the luxury of playing light boxes to focus on stopping the pass. But they will not be afforded that luxury against the Eagles, who lead the league in expected points added (EPA) per rush. In Week 14, when the Giants and Eagles met for the first time, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale called almost exclusively single-high coverages to stop the Eagles’ option run game, and only 50 percent of those coverages were zone looks. Jalen Hurts, who was blitzed on 52.8 percent of his dropbacks in that game, had one of his best games as a passer this season. The Eagles created mismatches by lining up DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown in the slot. Targeting the slot, Hurts was 7-of-12 for 115 yards, two touchdowns and four first downs. The Giants don’t really have the option to play more two-deep coverage against the Eagles this time around because they’ll get shredded on the ground if they do. They can, however, play more Cover 3 (a single-high safety look) and keep everything in front of them.
20 breakouts on 14 NFL playoff teams: Players getting big contracts - ESPN+
Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles. You had to know Hurts was going to be on here, right? The third-year sensation took a big leap for the second consecutive season, morphing from what had been one of the least accurate passers in league history as a rookie to one of the most accurate passers in 2022. Hurts has evolved into an excellent pocket passer without even considering what value he adds as a runner; the total package amounted to a 66.4 QBR, which ranked fourth in the league. Hurts came into the season knowing that a subpar year might have pushed the Eagles to use some of their pick haul to go after a new quarterback in the 2023 draft. Now, the idea of the Eagles moving on from Hurts would be absurd. With no fifth-year option as a second-round pick, Hurts will be one year from unrestricted free agency after his season ends. He’s going to be in line alongside Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert for top-of-the-line contract extensions this offseason.
Jalen Hurts’ unrelenting work ethic: From SoCal to his locker stall, the Eagles — and Tony the janitor — tell stories - Inquirer
He doesn’t frequent clubs, casinos or parties, his friends on the Eagles said. “For him to be social, somebody got to cook,” Eagles receiver Quez Watkins said. “Usually it’s him and his crawfish. But somebody else might have a barbecue. And then we might go bowling, or do something simple like that.” [...] Some teammates don’t get to see that side of Hurts away from the facility. [Ian] Book said Hurts may banter with the quarterbacks about a subject outside of football “once or twice a week” for “about 10 minutes,” but he stops talking long before the others.“If you didn’t know him you would be like, ‘Man, is he serious all the time? Does he ever have fun? Does he ever smile?’” Book said. “And then you realize that he just wants to be great. A lot of people say that, but you can tell he’s on a mission. … He’s not ready to smile yet. He’s ready to become the best and then smile.”
How an unusual Nick Sirianni philosophy paid off in a huge way - NBCSP
It’s a safe bet no NFL team has ever practiced less than the 2022 Eagles. And vindication has come in two ways for Sirianni. First, his team was certainly prepared. The Eagles won their first eight games, went 14-1 with Jalen Hurts in the lineup and earned a 1st-round bye. And they go into the playoffs remarkably healthy. On Wednesday, the only player on the 53 who didn’t practice was slot corner Avonte Maddox. All 22 projected starters will play Saturday night vs. the Giants. That just doesn’t happen. “Long season,” Sirianni said this week. “Really long season. So you’re trying to do what you can do to keep them healthy while still making sure they’re ready physically, making sure they’re ready mentally, all those different things. Really do like the way we practice here. Obviously, it’s helped us. Now, we’ve had some dings along the way just like every team, but we feel like we’re pretty healthy going into this playoffs, and that’s a tribute to … our training staff and our strength staff and our doctors.” Goedert and Chauncey Gardner Johnson each missed five games, Hurts and Johnson two, Josh Sweat and Jordan Mailata one apiece. That’s a total of 16 missed games by starters out of a possible 374.
Biggest vulnerability for eight remaining NFL playoff teams; plus, updated Super Bowl LVII probabilities - NFL.com
BIGGEST VULNERABILITY: Adjusting to the Giants’ defensive looks. With the extra time off provided by the first-round bye, it’s probable (and hopeful) that quarterback Jalen Hurts will be back to his healthier self after dealing with a shoulder injury that kept him out of two regular-season games. However, one thing we saw in his return to action against the Giants in Week 18, when New York changed the defensive looks (to play more off-coverage, and split-safety shell and less press), the effectiveness of the Eagles’ offense decreased. In fact, in both of Philly’s games against the Giants this season, Hurts was far less productive when facing off coverage (21-of-33, 5.2 yards per attempt, 0:1 TD-to-INT ratio, 64.0 passer rating) than when he was facing press coverage (7-of-9, 16.8 yards per attempt, 1:0 TD-to-INT ratio, 155.8 passer rating). New York also had success when utilizing split-safety shells, holding Hurts to 3.3 yards per attempt in those scenarios. Of course, in Philly’s Week 18 win, Hurts was still coming back from that shoulder sprain, while New York was resting many starters. The Eagles were also without Lane Johnson, who should return for this Saturday’s rematch, while New York will have Adoree’ Jackson, who missed both games, on hand. We should learn whether the Eagles will be able to adapt (especially if Hurts isn’t 100 percent healthy), which would be crucial to making a deep playoff run.
Dexter Lawrence: The Heart of the Giants Defense - Football Outsiders
On a defense led by its front-four talent, Lawrence is head-and-shoulders above his peers. He is their leader, the heart that pumps life into the rest of the unit. Lawrence’s ability to both make plays by himself and create opportunities for others, against the run and the pass, is a level of impact that only a handful of other defensive tackles can match. The Giants need Lawrence to have that kind of game against the Eagles if they want to stand a chance. Philadelphia’s offensive line is considerably better than Minnesota’s top to bottom, but center Jason Kelce does struggle with bigger, stronger defensive tackles at times.
Cowboys vs 49ers injury report (Wednesday): Jayron Kearse limited, Jason Peters doesn’t practice - Blogging The Boys
Dallas’ practice today was more of a walkthrough than a typical practice. Safety Jayron Kearse left last week’s game with a knee and was listed as a limited participant in practice today. His limited designation is a good sign to start the week and as of now, Kearse expects to play this weekend. Offensive tackle Jason Peters injured his hip in the game on Monday night and did not practice on Wednesday.
Darrell Bevell turns down OC interview requests from the Jets and Commanders - Hogs Haven
The Washington Commanders have had their request to interview a potential offensive coordinator turned down for the second time in a week. First it was Jim Caldwell, who has been interviewing for head coaching jobs and wanted to focus on those opportunities. Tom Pelissero is reporting that Miami Dolphins Passing Game Coordinator/QB Coach Darrell Bevell is also declining Washington’s request for an interview. He also denied the New York Jets request to interview for their open OC job. Bevell was one of the top names in the Commanders search for a replacement for Scott Turner, who was fired last week.
Jaguars have restored hope to the fanbase - Big Cat Country
Through the course of just a single season, which isn’t even over yet, it seems that Doug Pederson and in turn quarterback Trevor Lawrence, have completely shattered that feeling in Jaguars fans and instead injected them with hope. When the Chargers went up 10-0, I turned to my friend and said “Oh nice, down 10. We have them right where we want them.” I wasn’t joking. The Jaguars on the season at that point were 4-0 when starting out the game trailing 10-0. I genuinely believed at that point it was a good thing for the Jaguars to be down 10-0. Can you believe that?
Where could Tom Brady land next, and does anybody want him? - SB Nation
San Francisco 49ers. Let’s get a little wild here. So, Brock Purdy has been playing incredible football — and there is absolutely no denying that he’s making strides towards becoming a franchise QB. However, this was never the plan. Signing Brady would be a major turn, but it also makes sense.. The Niners both have too many QBs and not enough QBs. Jimmy Garoppolo will be a free agent. Trey Lance had the utmost faith from the front office, but poor performance coupled with injury and rounded out by Purdy’s emergence has put him in a weird spot. Should San Francisco choose to trade Lance and recoup some draft capital they need a new QB ... enter TB12. I’m assuming the role here would be as a one year starter, but also someone who could help mold Purdy moving forward. As explosive as Mr. Irrelevant has been, there’s still some bad tendencies which need to be ironed out. He’s a little too free with his arm sometimes, and has thrown a fair share of Hospital Balls to his receivers that are way too risky for the NFL. It wouldn’t be benching Purdy as much as a vote of confidence in him. Asking him to take a small step back to the bench for a year, so he can jump forward and claim the job in 2024. The byproduct would be that a Brady-led Niners team not only offers than hometown familiarity, but a place he could contend for a title.
John Kincade from 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia & picking the best conference title matchups - The SB Nation NFL Show
This week on the SB Nation NFL Show, Rob “Stats” Guerrera, Kyle Posey, and Justis Mosqueda discuss the best possible conference title game matchups coming out of the Divisional Round. Before we get into that–Stats sits down with John Kincade from 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia to preview the Eagles’ playoff chances.
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