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Eagles offense vs. Giants defense preview: Key matchups to watch - BGN
Get ready for the blitz. Hurts must be really, really prepared for the blitz this week. The Giants will bring pressure from everywhere and the Eagles must be prepared and Hurts has to be willing to stand in the pocket and get rid of the football. In order to help out Hurts against the blitz, the Eagles will use empty formations to make the Giants declare their coverage, but they should also use some motion/bunches/stacks to help receivers get free releases and make it harder for the Giants to disguise their blitz packages. The Eagles’ offense doesn’t do this as much as I would like and I hope they do have some answers for pressure. If they don’t we may see too much of this...
NFC East Mixtape Vol.95: Previewing Cowboys/49ers - BGN Radio
Niners Nation’s Rob “Stats” Guerrera joins Brandon Lee Gowton and RJ Ochoa to talk all things Niners and preview the 49ers-Cowboys matchup on Sunday.
Eagles-Giants Divisional Round Full Preview - The Ringer
We are just two days away from the Eagles facing division rival New York Giants for the third time this season, with a trip to the NFC championship on the line. Sheil was feeling under the weather, so we called up Brandon Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation, and BGN Radio to give his thoughts on how the highly anticipated matchup will play out. Will Wink Martindale’s heavily blitz-oriented defense have an effect on Jalen Hurts? How will Lane Johnson look playing through a core injury? Plus, we investigate Nick Sirianni’s pizza place choices after he had Giants Twitter in an uproar.
How Jalen Hurts went from question mark to potential MVP - SB Nation
There are myriad reasons for the growth of Hurts, and the Eagles, this season. General manager Howie Roseman deserves a ton of credit, and our own Mookie Alexander will be diving into that aspect of the Eagles’ season shortly. But let’s focus on Hurts. Despite guiding the Eagles to a playoff berth in his first season as the starting quarterback, Hurts was one of the biggest question marks facing the team as 2022 loomed. With everything Roseman put in place around the quarterback, would Hurts take the leap? It would seem that he has. Hurts’ 2022 regular season put him among the NFL’s best in several passing metrics, and with the Eagles finishing the regular season with a 14-3 record – and the top seed in the NFC – the QB vaulted into the MVP discussion. Hurts finished fifth in the league with an Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt of 7.31, fifth in the league in Expected Points Added per Dropback, fifth in the league in Completion Percentage over Expectation, and third among passers in EPA/CPOE composite. When you find yourself clustered with the likes of Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen, you are in good company.
Eagles vs. Giants: Five matchups to watch, when the Eagles have the ball - PhillyVoice
2) Eagles WRs A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith vs. the Giants’ cornerbacks. Of course, if Martindale gets blitz happy, the Eagles are going to get some man-to-man matchups on the back end, and, well, good luck with that against Brown and Smith if the offensive line can pick up those blitzes. Here’s Smith dusting slot CB Darnay Holmes in the Week 14 matchup on a Giants blitz. And here’s Brown simply winning on a 50-50 fade ball down the sideline Week 18 against a blitz. The Eagles could really use a big play down the field early to dissuade Martindale from becoming overly aggressive.
Matchups to watch in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs - PFF
New York Giants run game vs. Philadelphia Eagles run defense. The Giants’ run game efficiency is paramount to their success on offense. In the wild-card round, Saquon Barkley was the top-graded rusher (82.7) with 53 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. His backup, Matt Breida, gained eight yards on just three attempts, but forced two missed tackles and earned a 74.8 grade. Then there is their quarterback Daniel Jones, who has become one of the best dual-threat signal callers in the NFL this season. He picked up 78 rushing yards, seven rushing first downs and earned a grade of 72.0. On the other side of things, the Eagles finished with the 16th-best tea, run-defense grade in 2022 (64.5). However, their EPA per rush allowed was 27th. As the No. 1 seed, the Eagles are the expected favorites. Nonetheless, for the Giants, their ability to run the ball will not only play into a potential weak point versus Philadelphia, but it will also set up a script where they can control more clock and limit how much damage the Eagles offense can do – since they can’t do any if they’re not on the field. Can they keep it close enough to pull off the big upset? The script might be there.
Game Preview – Playoffs – NYG at PHI - Iggles Blitz
I expect the Eagles to come out throwing the ball. That’s what they did in the first meeting, which they won 48-22. That’s what they did in the second game, when they built up a 19-0 lead. The Vikings lost last week, but did score 24 points and Kirk Cousins was 31 for 39 passing. Throwing on the Giants makes a lot of sense. They do struggle on run defense. The Eagles piled up 253 rushing yards in the first game, but 192 of them came in the second half. The Eagles threw to build a lead and then turned Miles Sanders loose. Boston Scott, too, of course. The Eagles gameplan will start with controlling #97, Dexter Lawrence. He is the one difference-maker the Giants have on their defense.
NFL divisional round playoff game plans: Keys to win, upset X factors - ESPN+
1. Stick with the run game out of 12 personnel. In the Eagles’ Week 14 game against New York, they rushed for 9.2 yards per carry out of 12 personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR), including eight runs of 10 or more yards. On tape, we saw counterschemes with running back Miles Sanders finding open daylight and split-flow zone. Sanders broke 100 rushing yards on runs out of 12 personnel alone. And then there were the quarterback-deigned runs with Jalen Hurts — power, zone read and zone lead. So why not stay with it? Philadelphia has logged 146 rushing attempts in 12 personnel this season, fifth-most in the league. This is a staple of the Eagles’ offense. And with the versatility of their run game — which includes powerful and easy movers up front — the Eagles can play downhill or get to the edges.
NFL playoff predictions: 5 coaches, execs predict divisional-round winners - The Athletic
This was almost unanimous — until one of the executives talked themselves out of the Eagles and into the Giants. “(Giants quarterback) Daniel Jones showed more lately and against the Vikings than he had earlier in the season,” the executive said. (Giants coach Brian) Daboll will keep the Giants balanced, and the great equalizer is the Eagles might not be as healthy. If the Giants are able to establish the run and get an early lead, it’ll put more pressure on (Eagles QB Jalen) Hurts and his injured shoulder.”
All-32: 49ers’ Fates Lie in Nick Bosa’s Hands - Football Outsiders
NYG Offense vs. PHI Defense Key Player: NYG RB Saquon Barkley. Philly’s pass defense is mostly a lights-out unit. The front four has a legit two-deep of effective pass-rushers to heat quarterbacks up, while cornerbacks James Bradberry and Darius Slay might be the strongest outside duo in the league. That foundation allowed the Eagles to rank first in pass defense DVOA by season’s end, edging out the likes of the Patriots, Cowboys, Jets, and 49ers. Covering running backs isn’t really their forte, though. Linebacker is the defense’s weakest spot, both when you look at the talent across the roster and in terms of production. T.J. Edwards is a smart, tough player, but he’s not the most electric specimen in space. Kyzir White, by contrast, is definitely a good athlete for the position, but he can’t always be trusted to play with proper depth and trigger to the ball on time. As a result, the Eagles rank 24th in pass defense DVOA against running backs, their worst rank in coverage against any position. The Giants have to get Saquon Barkley more involved in the passing game than the last time he played against the Eagles. Barkley sat for the Week 18 match, but in Week 14, Barkley saw just two targets, catching both of them for a total of 20 yards. Granted, the Eagles sprinted to 24 points before the half, which kind of forced the Giants into a more vertical game than they wanted, but still. Barkley’s season-long receiving numbers aren’t fantastic—in part because the entire Giants passing operation was quick-game for most of the season, which already had defenses primed to jump on him out of the backfield—but they have been better lately. The Giants had great success throwing to Barkley in two games versus Minnesota, another team with shaky linebacker play. Barkley caught 13 passes for 105 yards in those games, thanks in part to some great designs to manipulate the eyes of the Vikings’ linebackers. If the Giants can stop the Eagles offense from scoring a million points in the first half again, look for them to rely on Barkley in the passing game as the offense trickles down the field.
PHILLY - The Players’ Tribune
Philly fans, baby, we gotta take it one game at time. I know how y’all get, so don’t think too far ahead. We just got to take care of the next one, and the next one, and the next one. We’ll see you this weekend. Y’all know how we coming. [BLG Note: Attributed to Darius Slay.]
Who needs a Super Bowl LVII win the MOST? My picks for all eight Divisional Round teams - NFL.com
NICK SIRIANNI: After an awkward introductory press conference that led to extremely premature questions about his readiness for a head-coaching role, Sirianni can have the last laugh over the next month. The second-year coach has transformed the Eagles into a league heavyweight, overseeing an explosive offense and suffocating defense that has opponents running to the film room to steal ideas. With Sirianni also earning major kudos for his work in developing Jalen Hurts into an MVP-caliber quarterback, the addition of Super Bowl championship to his résumé would boost his reputation into another stratosphere.
Spadaro: What’s the vibe inside the locker room? - PE.com
Brandon Graham, DE. “The vibe is real good right now. Everybody knows what they put in this week. Coach (Nick Sirianni) was happy. Whenever you see the head coach is happy at the end of the work week, you know you’re headed in the right direction. We’ve just got to go out there and execute because I know this game is about the little things that tend to creep up when you look back at games. We have to make sure we stay on top of them. I’ve seen teams that are a little bit tight – coaches start to critique you on certain little things and you’re like, ‘You scared? Are you alright?’ That hasn’t been the case here. We all have that feeling that we have to take care of business. We know they ain’t scared of us. Any given Sunday, you never know what can happen. They asked for us after the game we played two weeks ago. So, here we are, for real. Make sure we’re prepared and that we’re ready to go and I know we are. We control what we can control and we will give ourselves a good shot.”
Injury report: Azeez Ojulari questionable, Fabian Moreau expected to play - Big Blue View
Ojulari, who has had an injury-plagued season, suffered his latest injury against the Vikings. Ojulari has indicated he will try to play, but how much and how well are questions that can only be answered by what we see on Saturday night.
Cowboys at 49ers injury report (Thursday): Jason Peters held out of practice, Kearse still limited - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys will have very little to complain about health-wise entering the divisional round of the playoffs, with only one player unavailable for practice in the days leading up to the date between Dallas and the San Francisco 49ers. Jason Peters had to exit Dallas’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a hip injury and has yet to return to the practice field, presenting a question mark regarding his ability to play on Sunday. Safety Jayron Kearse is nursing a knee injury and has been limited in practice thus far into the week. Kearse has told media that despite his injury and practice schedule, he will undoubtedly be playing in Dallas’ next playoff game.
The Bears and Titans request permission to interview Washington Commanders DBs coach Chris Harris - Hogs Haven
Harris has been one of the most vocal, and animated coaches during training camps, and in season practices. His units have been up and down performance wise, but this season several young players showed major development. Benjamin St-Juste looked like he was taking a 2nd-year leap before injuries hobbled him at the end of the season. Kam Curl has developed into a true leader in the secondary. Darrick Forrest second season was a revelation, and his development from a depth player, to a key piece of the defense has been fun to watch. Other teams have apparently been paying attention to their position coach, and are interested in having him join their coaching staff. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that the Tennessee Titans have asked Washington for permission to speak to Harris, and they want him for a possible DB coach/passing game coordinator role. Harris has also been interviewing for defensive coordinator jobs for the last two seasons, and has met with the Eagles(2021) and Colts(2022). He could be in line for several interviews as teams make changes to their coaching staffs from the top down.
Jaguars vs. Chiefs: Doug Pederson and Andy Reid’s long history hits another high point - Big Cat Country
“I owe a lot to coach Reid and the things he taught me not only as a player, but I think as an assistant coach” said Pederson this week. “When I became coordinator there in Kansas City, we spent so much time together in meetings and one-on-ones. Everything about him is about pouring himself into other people, and he did that with me and helped me prepare for my first job in Philadelphia, and that went a long way.” They each have a Super Bowl victory as head coaches without the other. The obvious high point for the two together was winning a Super Bowl in January 1997 with the Packers, even though Pederson didn’t play in the game. With the Chiefs, they were 1-2 in playoff games, reaching the Divisional round together in 2015. They find each other on opposing sidelines in this year’s Divisional round during Pederson’s first year coaching in the AFC with the Jaguars.
Andy Reid going for his 20th postseason win; only Bill Belichick has more - PFT
Chiefs coach Andy Reid is going for Postseason Win No. 20 tomorrow against the Jaguars. Reid is currently third all-time among NFL head coaches with 19 postseason wins. Tom Landry is No. 2 with 20, and Bill Belichick is No. 1 with 31. So if the Chiefs win on Saturday, Reid will move into a tie for second with Landry, and only Belichick will have more.
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