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Eagles News: Philadelphia is the betting favorite to repeat as NFC champions

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 7/18/23.

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NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Eagles are favored to win the NFC, but Lions are the most popular bet - PFT
The Eagles are the betting favorites to repeat as the NFC champions. But there’s no more popular bet than the Lions. More than 36 percent of the bets on this season’s NFC champion have been placed on the Lions, and more than 34 percent of the money placed to win the NFC has been on the Lions, according to BetMGM. All that money has shifted the Lions’ odds of winning the NFC from +1100 to +850.

Can anybody beat the Eagles? Ranking the NFC teams by the threat they pose. - Inquirer
2. Cowboys. If we were still doing tiers, we’d start a new one here. Yes, the Cowboys are the Cowboys. Mike McCarthy is Mike McCarthy. But the defense is for real, and the quarterback is good enough to win a game on his own every now and then. So, call them No. 2. [...] 1. 49ers. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if San Francisco got to play last year’s NFC championship with an actual quarterback. At the same time, let’s remember who that quarterback was. Even if Brock Purdy is healthy to start the season, it speaks volumes that the Eagles’ top competition is a second-year second round draft pick who is coming off a season in which he averaged 152.7 passing yards per game. The defense and coach can pose problems. Which puts the Niners well ahead of the rest of the pack.

Remembering how Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders used to spend the NFL’s Dead Zone period - BGN
For anyone who was sports conscious during the late 1980s/early ‘90s, the images of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are indelible in our brains. On the football field, there was none better than “Prime Time,” a ball-hawking cornerback with the speed of Flash who could stick like glue to any wide receiver thrown his way. Sanders essentially forced an opposing quarterback to eliminate his entire half of the field, knowing his pass would either be knocked down or intercepted if it came Deion’s way. Just watching the highlights doesn’t do him justice. He is perhaps the greatest cornerback to ever play the game, and one of the fastest football players ever as well.

Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs Fall Victim to a Position That’s Too Replaceable - SI
One camp storyline maybe only I am interested in—the Eagles’ young corners. One was a fourth-round pick (Georgia’s Kelee Ringo), the other was undrafted (Alabama’s Eli Ricks), and what’s unique about this situation is both have a boatload of potential athletically, and each comes with strings. Both faced character questions pre-draft, and those questions are what prevented these big, strong, fast guys from fulfilling what many saw as first-round potential earlier in their college careers. Ricks started as a true freshman for LSU. Ringo started for Georgia’s historic 2021 defense after getting injured as a freshman and redshirting. Both have had flashes. And the truth is, with Philly set to open the season with two really solid 30-something corners (Darius Slay and James Bradberry), both of whom appeared to be on their way out earlier in the offseason, the Eagles could really use an infusion of youth at the position. Ricks and Ringo could give them that. Or they could wash out quickly. Neither conclusion would be surprising to see, which should make camp pretty interesting at the position for the defending NFC champions.

Execs, coaches, scouts rank NFL’s top 10 wide receivers for 2023 - ESPN+
7. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles. Highest ranking: 2 | Lowest ranking: Unranked. Age: 25 | Last year’s ranking: Honorable mention. Brown was a fixture on top-10 ballots after a banner first year in Philadelphia. The Eagles sent their first-round pick to Tennessee on draft night in 2022 for the right to acquire Brown, then turned around and paid him $100 million over four years. Brown validated that faith with career highs in receptions (88) and yards (1,496), the latter breaking Philadelphia’s single-season receiving record. That’s on top of 11 touchdowns. “Exceptionally strong,” a veteran NFL scout said. “Great ball skills and feel for the game. Doesn’t have great speed to create deep separation but makes big plays through tight coverage.” Brown can take over a game. He surpassed 150 yards in three games, tied for second-most in Eagles history for a season. [...] DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have a true No. 1 in A.J. Brown, but Smith is 1A with No. 1 abilities. Pre-2021-draft concerns about his slender frame haven’t deterred Smith, who has 159 catches and 2,112 yards through two seasons. His 6.9% catch rate above expectation ranks first among this group. “Excellent at the nuances of the position,” a national NFL scout said. “Really good pure receiver. Needs to win at the line with technique due to his size, but he does that well.”

Top 10 NFL players from 2021 draft heading into 2023 season -
9) DeVonta Smith. Drafted: Round 1, No. 10 overall. If I’m being honest with myself, Smith could probably be higher on this list. He had a solid rookie season as the team’s WR1 with 64 catches, 914 receiving yards and five touchdowns, before his game taking his game new levels of brilliance in 2022, when Smith had 95 receptions, 1,196 receiving yards and seven scores. He benefitted from Jalen Hurts’ development as a passer and the arrival of star wideout A.J. Brown, which helps explain why Smith is often overlooked in the Eagles’ offense. When researching for this piece, I forgot (and know you did, too) Smith led all players with 100 receiving yards in Super Bowl LVII. He’s constantly flying under the radar, but the Slim Reaper’s ability to consistently produce on Sundays makes him an irreplaceable asset. He’s poised to have another productive campaign this fall.

Eagles training camp 2023: 5 candidates to be fan favorite - NBCSP
WR Tyrie Cleveland. The 25-year-old receiver is relatively new in Philly but he got a bit of a head start. The Eagles signed Cleveland to their practice squad during the playoffs and then kept him around after the season ended. While so many of the bottom-of-the-roster receivers on this team don’t have much experience, Cleveland does. Not only did he get a head start in Nick Sirianni’s offense but Cleveland also has some NFL experience. In some ways, he’s in a similar situation to Cain last year. The Broncos drafted Cleveland (6-2, 209) out of Florida in the seventh round back in 2020. In three years with the Broncos — in 23 games — Cleveland caught 8 passes for 91 yards. Cleveland also returned some kicks for the Broncos. He returned 12 kicks for 252 yards (21.0) in 2020 and 2022. Cleveland also played quite a bit on special teams in other aspects for the Broncos, which could give him his best shot of making the roster. At Florida, Cleveland never had great productivity but he did test well at the 2020 combine and appears to have some raw athleticism.

Training Camp Position Preview: Tight End -
Dan Arnold – Arnold is entering his sixth NFL season having previously played for the Saints, Cardinals, Panthers, and Jaguars. In 59 games, Arnold has 95 receptions for 1,258 yards and seven touchdowns. He played in all 19 regular-season and playoff games for the Jaguars last season and his longest catch of the year (26 yards) came against the Eagles. In 2020, Arnold led all NFL tight ends in yards per catch (14.1).

Travis Kelce, Micah Parsons highlight our non-QB MVPs for all 32 NFL teams - The Athletic
OT Lane Johnson. It’s hard to believe there’s anyone else in the NFL whose team has such an extensive and disparate win-loss record based on the player’s availability. Since Johnson entered the league in 2013, the Eagles, including playoff games, are 85-52-1 (.620 winning percentage) with Johnson and just 13-22 (.371) without him. So while a time will eventually come in which the now-33-year-old Johnson is no longer the league’s best tackle, it hasn’t come yet. The runner-ups here are A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, whose individual values are each a touch muted given the presence of the other.

Cowboys Dak Prescott comes in just inside top 10 of ESPN’s collective ranking of position - Blogging The Boys
Where the problem often lies in terms of argument and discussion is the intensity that certain things reach. Last year Prescott unfortunately threw a lot of interceptions and as turnovers are a serious no-no in this game that opens the door for extreme (and justified) criticism of his game. Prescott has obviously been an insane value for the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick, heck he’s the only one on this list taken beyond the second round (Hurts is the only other non-first rounder himself as a second-round selection back in 2020). The Cowboys are a volatile and polarizing team by their nature so Dak having so much success without the ultimate success and owning an seven-year piece of the ongoing drought leads to the way things often tend to go.

Is this the beginning of the end for Saquon Barkley and the Giants? - Big Blue View
Barkley has to be disillusioned. Disappointed. Angry. Hurt. Even if, from the outside, it seems like he spent much of this process fooling himself into believing that because he was Saquon Barkley he could land a bigger, longer contract than current market forces deemed feasible. Barkley can stay home throughout training camp and hope he can convince the Giants to agree that they won’t use the franchise tag on him again in 2024. I doubt that gets him anywhere. Why would the Giants willingly give up the hammer given to them by the Collective Bargaining Agreement? Eventually, though, he will realize that he has to sign the tag and play. If he doesn’t, sure he hurts the 2023 Giants. He hurts himself even more. He loses $10 million. He loses a season in a short career that he could use to try and prove once and for all that he deserves a mega-contract — from the Giants or someone else. The Giants always seemed comfortable with Barkley playing on the tag in 2023. They are probably comfortable with him doing so again in 2024, even though Barkley would probably try to force a sign-and-trade in that scenario. I can’t help but think that if the Giants weren’t willing to meet Barkley’s price this time, even though they got close, they aren’t likely to do so a year from now. This means that, barring something extraordinary, divorce could be on the horizon.

A peek around at the rest of the NFC East: Saquon Barkley likely to stay away from the Giants for a while - PhillyVoice
Five of those opponents went to the playoffs in 2022. An already tough start to the season will be all the more difficult if Barkley isn’t playing. It has been widely stated that “Barkley has no leverage.” That is nonsense. His absence could theoretically wreck the Giants’ season. If I were a Giants fan, I’d prefer to be excited about building on the first positive season in over a half decade, not fretting over the repercussions of a contract squabble (over a relatively small amount of money, at that). Bad vibes to start their season.

NFL running backs lash out at Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs not being signed - SB Nation
The biggest topic in football right now is running backs. More specifically: Running back pay. The devaluing of the position has been happening for some time now, but reached a fever pitch this offseason. Ezekiel Elliot and Dalvin Cook are both unsigned after being released, while Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs are set to play under franchise tags with the Giants and Raiders respectively not willing to sign their feature backs to long-term deals. This situation is a mess with no good solution. Running backs absolutely need to be paid better so their best years aren’t wasted for free in college before playing under a rookie pay scale and being released. Meanwhile the best teams in the NFL are thriving without top-tier backs, making it a death knell to competitive hopes to commit too much money from the salary cap to a running back. Running backs around the NFL lashed on Monday with the news that Barkley (who ran for over 1,300 yards last season) and Jacobs (who rushed for 1,653) aren’t worth big money to their teams.

Monday Football Monday #142: Candidates that are likely to go from first to last in their division - The SB Nation NFL Show
Jeremy Reisman and Michael Peterson discuss candidates that are likely to go from first to last in their division. The guys also share their thoughts on DeAndre Hopkins signing with the Titans and the Jets on Hard Knocks.


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