Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Brock Purdy will become fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference championship game - PFT
Eight weeks after he ascended to the top of the depth chart at the position, Purdy now has a chance to do something that’s never been done. No rookie quarterback has ever won a Super Bowl. Purdy will become only the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference championship game. Bucs rookie Shaun King lost to the Rams 11-6 in the NFC Championship Game in 1999; Steelers rookie Ben Roethlisberger lost to the Patriots 41-27 in the AFC Championship Game in 2004; Ravens rookie Joe Flacco lost to the Steelers 23-14 in the AFC Championship Game in 2008; and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez lost to the Colts 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game in 2009.
7 reasons the 49ers should be scared of the Eagles - BGN
Brock Purdy at the Linc. Is the final pick of last year’s draft, 7th-round, 3rd string QB Purdy undefeated (7-0) as a starter? Yes, he is. Has he won two playoff games, making some big throws along the way in their victories over the Seahawks and Cowboys? Yes, he has. Has he had to face anything like what he’s going to see at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon? No, he hasn’t. Purdy has played just two road games since taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 14, against the Raiders and Seahawks, beating Seattle 21-13 and Las Vegas 37-34. He has played five games in San Francisco, including in the wild card and divisional round the last two weeks, in front of a raucous home crowd. In fact, Purdy has never started a game that wasn’t played on the west coast, and he certainly has not played in a postseason environment on the road before. Any QB will tell you a road playoff game is a different animal, and it’s extremely unusual for a young quarterback to do what Joe Burrow has done the last two years. Can Purdy do it? He sure has enough talent around him, but it’s a fair question.
Eagles-Giants takeaways and initial 49ers thoughts - BGN Radio
The Philadelphia Eagles are going to the NFC Championship Game after blowing out the New York Giants! Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski discuss their takeaways from the Divisional Round playoff matchup. The guys also talk about the Eagles’ next opponent: the San Francisco 49ers. Interact with us on Twitter: @BrandonGowton, @JimmyKempski, @BGN_Radio, @BleedingGreen Use discount code BGN15 at RighteousFelon.com for 15% off your order!
NFL divisional round questions: 49ers, Eagles, Chiefs, Bengals win - ESPN+
Well, on Saturday night, Hurts had ... seven designed runs. The total might have grown even higher if the game were closer, but with a four-touchdown lead, the Eagles had Hurts keep the ball only once after the break. He was careful to get out of bounds or slide when the opportunity arose, but that’s not much different from what we saw during the regular season. He is a smart player, and while he might have been a tiny bit more cautious on a play or two than the guy we saw in September and October, I don’t think there was an appreciable difference on the ground. Most of Hurts’ runs came as keepers on various zone-read concepts, so he might have taken the ball more often if the Giants’ defenders keyed more on the halfback rather than the quarterback. Nick Sirianni’s offense tormented the Giants on those zone-read concepts throughout the game; ESPN Stats & Info noted afterward that the Eagles ran 33 zone-read plays for 221 yards and two touchdowns, the third most of any team in any game since 2011. Those runs generated 4.6 yards before contact. If Hurts wasn’t as big a threat to keep the ball, it would have been much easier to defend those runs. Instead, while he didn’t have a huge game, the trio of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell combined for 234 yards on 35 carries. The Eagles generated 14.7 rushing EPA, the most of any team in a playoff game over the past five seasons. It was the latest in a string of dominant performances by Philadelphia’s rushing attack.
NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Conference championship round edition, Cowboys and Giants are dead - PhillyVoice
Honestly, “Cowboys Playoff Loss Day” should be a national holiday. Their playoff games should always be scheduled on Sunday, and if they lose nobody has to go to work the next day. When the 2022 Cowboys were playing their best brand of football, they could beat any team in the NFL. They played some games this season in which they were legitimately impressive, notably against the Vikings, the second matchup against the Eagles, and their wildcard playoff win over the Buccaneers. However, they were plagued by inconsistency, and let’s all be honest, Cowboys fans — Dak Prescott kinda stunk this season. I mean, the guy led the league in INTs despite missing five games. Oh and by the way, he turns 30 in July, and is scheduled to count for $49 million on Dallas’ 2023 salary cap.
Niners vs Eagles - Iggles Blitz
Both teams are talented. Both are complete, with playmakers all through the lineup. I think the Eagles are better and will win the game based on a few key points. SF doesn’t have a great secondary. They will be vulnerable to the Eagles WRs. The Niners overcame that issue much of the year because they were so good at pressuring the QB. The Eagles OL is good at pass protection and should give Jalen Hurts time to get the ball to his targets. I think the Eagles DTs will have an advantage on the interior of the Niners OL. Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave combined for 18 sacks this year. They will be a handful for the Niners. Haason Reddick against RT Mike McGlinchey is another mismatch that favors the Eagles. McGlinchey is a good run blocker, but he’s vulnerable in pass protection.
NFL Divisional Round: Team of the Week & player awards - PFF
Defensive Player of the Week: Haason Reddick, Philadelphia Eagles. On the field for 24 snaps as a pass-rusher, Reddick registered a sack, a hit and five hurries. He impressed as a run defender, too, with two of his three tackles against the run resulting in a defensive stop. Including the playoffs, Reddick has now racked up 75 total pressures, including 19 sacks, from 472 pass-rushing snaps on the season.
Spadaro: 6 keys to beating the 49ers - PE.com
3. Find weaknesses in the San Francisco defense. There were only a few games during the season in which the 49ers’ defense gave up a lot. Patrick Mahomes passed for 423 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-23 Chiefs win on October 23, so what can the Eagles learn from that game when they go back and look at the play-by-play? Mahomes was sacked just one time, the Chiefs scored 30 points in the second half, and San Francisco just couldn’t match the aerial fireworks. A week earlier, the Falcons ran for 168 yards and quarterback Marcus Mariota played the part of a dual-threat quarterback by completing 13 of 14 passes with two touchdowns and running for 50 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta converted 9 of 14 third downs, played keep-away from the 49ers’ offense, and upset San Francisco. Maybe the best tell was the Week 17 game in which the Raiders nearly beat the 49ers, eventually losing in overtime. But quarterback Jarett Stidham threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns and the Raiders ran the ball effectively on the way to 500 total net yards. There is no denying the strengths of the San Francisco defense – it has strength all the way through. But there are weaknesses on every team, so the onus is on the Eagles finding a few and winning those battles on Sunday.
Roob’s Bonus Observations: A Roseman specialty we never talk about - NBCSP
11. We’ve talked a lot about what a terrific job Howie Roseman has done building this roster with blockbuster acquisitions like A.J. Brown and Haason Reddick and draft picks like Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith. But one thing Roseman has been exceptional at is the under-the-radar moves that barely cause a ripple when they’re made but wind up making a huge impact. Kenny Gainwell was a 5th-round pick. Boston Scott was signed off the Saints’ practice squad. Marcus Epps was a waiver claim. Reed Blankenship and Britain Covey are undrafted rookies. Josh Sweat was a 4th-round pick. T.J. Edwards was undrafted back in 2019. Jordan Mailata was a freaking rugby player. None of those guys made a splash when they got here, but they’re all contributing to a 15-win team that’s one win from the Super Bowl.
Ranking the remaining NFL playoff teams - DraftKings Nation
1. Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have had themselves a year, and as Jalen Hurts returned to face a Giants team in the Divisional round, Philadelphia proved that they were ready for playoff levels of competition on both sides of the ball. That 38-7 blowout was by far the biggest win of the weekend, and two of their three losses this season occurred while Hurts was out with an injury. Two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard running back paired with one of the best defenses in the country spell danger for any team going up against Philly in the coming weeks.
NFL FACT OR FICTION: Chiefs, Eagles clear favorites on Championship Sunday? QB problem for Cowboys? - NFL.com
4) The Eagles’ swagger is back. Oh, yeah: Big fact. A 38-7 smackdown of the rival Giants was indeed a statement performance. While injuries sapped these Eagles of the air of invincibility that developed during their 13-1 start to the season, Sunday proved the team is healthy once again and ready to rock. The defense flew around the field, sacking Daniel Jones five times and holding New York to just 227 total yards of offense. The ground game straight ran over the Giants, piling up a whopping 268 yards and three touchdowns. Jalen Hurts didn’t have to do much, but he looked healthier and contributed three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). At 31 points, this was the largest margin of victory in a playoff game between divisional opponents since the 1970 merger, per NFL Research. Philly has its groove back, which is why I can’t wait for this coming Sunday’s epic clash at the Linc. But wait, didn’t I already predict an Eagles loss? Yes, because they’re running into an immovable object ...
DVOA Prefers 49ers in Close Final Four - Football Outsiders
The final four teams are very balanced according to the Vegas odds, with all four given roughly 25% chance to win it all. At BetMGM, for example, they’ve got the Chiefs at +250, Bengals at +260, Eagles at +270, and 49ers at +280. Our playoff odds simulation prefers the NFC teams but also comes out very close, with all four teams listed between 21.2% and 29.4%. I was asked this morning on Twitter whether this is the most balanced final four we’ve ever seen by DVOA. The answer is no, but it’s a very balanced final four depending on which version of DVOA you want to look at. [BLG Note: The Eagles are actually the worst remaining team in the playoffs by weighted DVOA.]
How the NFL’s Final Four Teams Explain the 2022 Season - The Ringer
We can safely say that the Eagles have found one of those guys. Jalen Hurts has been a talented runner since his days leading Alabama’s offense, and Philadelphia has put that skill set to good use since he became the team’s starter at the end of the 2020 season. Now there are obvious benefits to that in the run game—option runs outperform traditional run concepts every season—but the more significant benefit is the space that rushing threat opens up in the passing game. There has been so much talk about the increase in two-deep safety coverages and the effect that’s had on the league’s passing numbers, but in order to keep two safeties deep, you have to play light in the run box. That is much, much harder to do when the quarterback can take off with the football.
Ranking the NFL head coach openings, a Super Bowl pick and more: Sando’s Pick Six - The Athletic
The Eagles were 2 1/2-point favorites over the 49ers and a little tougher to pick with Jalen Hurts playing through injury against a hard-hitting 49ers defense that could compromise his health additionally. I’ll trust Hurts more than I’ll trust his 49ers rookie counterpart, Brock Purdy, despite those familiar in-game TV graphics suggesting San Francisco is better offensively because of Purdy, as opposed to San Francisco being better offensively with Purdy. Purdy has so far done a great job executing an offense that enjoyed similarly productive stretches with Jimmy Garoppolo (not because of him). Purdy’s ability to so far avoid the killer mistake separates him from so many quarterbacks, including the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott on Sunday. Coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ dominant defense allow the 49ers to spare Purdy from the most difficult drop-back passing situations. The fact that Philly relies more on its quarterback than the 49ers rely on theirs works in San Francisco’s favor, unless the Eagles can score enough to put more pressure on Purdy. I think the Eagles will be able to do that better than the Cowboys or Seahawks could in the playoffs to this point.
Injury updates: McCaffrey, Mitchell, and Omenihu are day-to-day - Niners Nation
Charles Omenihu is day-to-day with an oblique strain. Christian McCaffrey is day-to-day with a calf contusion. Elijah Mitchell is day-to-day with a groin injury. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said he wasn’t overly concerned about each player’s availability for next week. [...] If anything, this could be a light week of practice for Omenihu and the running backs. We got another Jimmy Garoppolo question. It doesn’t sound like he’s returning any time soon: “I don’t think so. I think he gets an X-Ray tomorrow. Same as last week. I’d be very surprised if he was out there this week.”
Dallas Cowboys rumors: Ezekiel Elliott reportedly open to pay cut to stay with team - Blogging The Boys
It feels significant that this news is coming out less than 24 hours after the season officially ended. This offseason has long been the one where the team was going to face a fork in the road with one of their favorite players, and it appears that they are already working on a potential way to avoid either of the presented paths. It seems as if the Cowboys are laying the foundation for bringing Zeke back in some way, shape, or form. Perhaps the fibula injury that Tony Pollard suffered has them thinking differently than they were before. Who knows.
Daniel Jones the priority over Saquon Barkley? Giants’ GM Joe Schoen makes it seem that way - Big Blue View
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen seemed to indicate on Monday that while he wants both players back re-signing quarterback Daniel Jones might take precedence over bringing back running back Saquon Barkley. At his end of season media availability, Schoen, side-by-side with head coach Brian Daboll, did not say directly that the quarterback was the priority. In my view, though, it was apparent from the tone of his answers that if he has to choose bringing Jones back takes precedence. “We’d like Daniel to be here,” Schoen said. “There’s a business side to it, but we feel like Daniel played well this season. He’s done everything that we asked him to do ... we would like to have Daniel Jones back. “I don’t know the exact date or time when we were like Daniel’s our guy, but we’re pleased with how he played this season.” Schoen wouldn’t talk numbers and indicated the Giants won’t begin offseason planning meetings until later this week. There was, though, no hesitation is Schoen’s remarks. It seemed clear that whether it is with a long-term deal or use of the projected $32.445 million franchise tag that he expects to go forward with Jones as the quarterback. There was, however, wiggle room in his remarks about Barkley.
2022 Commanders Bold Predictions Revisited - Hogs Haven
8. Quarterback controversy will become a thing. I’ll keep this short. Carson Wentz was a four-alarm disaster, but that didn’t stop Ron Rivera from inserting him back in the lineup at his first, and thankfully last, opportunity. Backup Taylor Heinicke had the good fortune to start when the defense and running backs were winning games, but ultimately reminded people why he’s a backup. When we finally got a glimpse of Sam Howell in the last game of the season, people started asking why he wasn’t given a chance earlier. Verdict: Correct.
Even the Cowboys’ Twitter account is roasting Dak Prescott after latest NFL playoffs loss - SB Nation
Still, we never see a team account throw their own player under the bus like this. Especially a quarterback about to count $50M against the cap in 2023. We are well past the point where a single social media member on a team can tweet like this, or even a social team can go rogue. NFL teams are so buttoned up that at least four or five different people saw that this tweet was going out, and gave it their okay. Some people at the highest levels of the team also saw this and were fine. Simply incredible stuff. What a great way to start the week for Dak Prescott.
Monday Football Monday #124: John Sheeran on differences between this Bengals team and last years + The Final Four is set! - The SB Nation NFL Show
Cincy Jungle’s John Sheeran stops by to discuss the biggest difference with this Bengals team compared to last year and shares what was most satisfying about the Bengals Divisional Round Win against the Bills. Later in the show RJ Ochoa, Pete Sweeney and newest Monday Football Monday host Jeremy Reisman recap all of the Divisional Round action and look ahead to the title games.
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