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Eagles News: Buccaneers pose “a brutal matchup” for Philadelphia

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/10/24.

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NFL: SEP 25 Eagles at Buccaneers Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

The Key to Every NFL Wild-Card Matchup - The Ringer
On paper, this is a brutal matchup for Philly. Tampa Bay should be able to run the ball this time around, which will make things easier for offensive coordinator Dave Canales and quarterback Baker Mayfield. And on the other side of the ball, you have the blitz-happy Todd Bowles going up against an Eagles offensive brain trust that hasn’t had an answer for Cover Zero all season. Philadelphia’s dominant run game mitigated that issue in the first matchup. But with the Eagles passing game no longer posing the threat it once did—not with Hurts, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith all nursing injuries at the moment—the Bucs should be able to focus on defending the run more effectively. Philadelphia opened as 1.5-point favorites on Sunday night, but don’t be surprised if that line has flipped by next week. The Bucs have the advantage on paper. If they win on early downs, they’ll have one on the scoreboard, as well

Eagles at Buccaneers: Five matchups to watch, when the Eagles have the ball - PhillyVoice
Orlovsky put the lack of the hots on Hurts, which, if this were one isolated example I might agree. However, it’s far more likely on the Eagles’ scheme, as the complete lack of quick-hitter options against the blitz has been a consistent season-long issue that the staff has not corrected. Bowles has come up with good game plans for Hurts in the past. In the Eagles-Bucs playoff game during the 2021 season, for example, Bowles recognized Hurts’ extreme tendency to throw to the right side of the field, so he took away Hurts’ first look to that side of the field on the back end while the Bucs’ pass rush made sure that if Hurts escaped the pocket, he had to do so to his left. Hurts is a different player now than he was then, so Bowles will no doubt have a new plan. Spoiler: That plan will involve a heavy dose of blitzing, as the Eagles have proven that they cannot make opposing defenses pay when they send extra guys.

Do the Eagles have the worst home field advantage in the NFL? - BGN
More recently though, and especially during their time at the Linc, playing at home has not seemed to make much of a difference. The friendly crowd must certainly help, but there must be other factors at work which counteract it. Or, another way to look at it is that they’ve just been better than most teams at playing on the road. The Eagles may well lose next week in Tampa, but if so we shouldn’t attribute much of the reason to having to play on the road.

NFC East Mixtape Vol.146: Welcome to the playoffs - BGN Radio
Brandon Lee Gowton and RJ Ochoa discuss everything that went down in the division Week 18.

Chiefs and Eagles limp into playoffs as the NFL’s most disappointing ‘good’ teams - SB Nation
This was a team who had FOUR double-digit sack players along their defensive line a year ago. The pressure they generated up front defined this team. Now they have just one, Haason Reddick — and even then his production has fallen from 16.0 sacks to 11.0 this season. On the whole this team fell from 70 team sacks to 41, while also recording nine fewer interceptions. That has had a mammoth effect on how scary this unit is, and as a result the Eagles fell from 8th in the NFL in points allowed, to 29th. When this is compounded with the offense taking a step back we’re left with a team that lacks its teeth. Luckily for the Eagles they get a very easy game on Super Wild Card Weekend. They will head to Tampa Bay to face the NFC South winning Buccaneers, which might be the easiest playoff game of the entire weekend.

NFL playoffs: Which AFC/NFC teams are most likely to hit Super Bowl LVIII? Who’ll lift Lombardi Trophy? - NFL.com
In my model, defensive efficiencies correlated more strongly to wins in 2023 than in any of the previous three seasons. So if the Eagles want to make a deep postseason run, they will have to improve against the pass. Philly allowed the fourth-highest passer rating (97.6), the second-most passing TDs (35) and the fourth-most explosive pass plays (96 passes of 16-plus yards allowed) this season. The good news is that NGS shows the Eagles having some success in the quick-passing game on offense, with a 78.7% completion rate (second-best) and 6.6 yards per attempt (tied for fourth-best) on such throws. If the offense can be effective in that realm and the defense tamps down on the explosive pass plays, they will give themselves the best chance to succeed.

In Roob’s Eagles Stats, nightmarish facts and figures to close out regular season - NBCSP
2. The Eagles this year faced the most pass attempts in NFL history by a team without recording at least 10 interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks threw 652 passes against the Eagles this year – 8th-most in NFL history - but got picked off only nine times. The Eagles’ nine INTs are just one off the fewest in franchise history. The 1983, 2012 and 2020 teams had eight. 3. The Eagles finished the season without a sack from an edge rusher in their last four games. It’s the first time in 18 years the Eagles have gone four straight games without getting a sack from an edge. Late in 2005, they had one sack against the Packers and it was from defensive tackle Mike Patterson, then no sacks vs. the Seahawks, then one sack vs. the Giants from safety Brian Dawkins, then no sacks vs. the Rams.

Spadaro: A sign of things to come? Revisiting the Monday night win in Tampa Bay - PE.com
Tampa Bay used some one-on-one coverage against wide receiver A.J. Brown and quarterback Jalen Hurts took advantage. He targeted Brown 14 times overall and completed 9 passes for 131 yards to Brown. On the first offensive drive, Hurts threw to Brown on a shallow cross and his catch and run gained 28 yards and then Hurts came right back on the next play with a 16-yard completion to Brown over the middle. Getting Brown going early opened things up for everyone – Hurts completed passes to seven players on a 23-of-37 for 277 yards night. “They were giving us some one-on-ones on the outside to A.J., so we took that and so you know it was a check by Jalen and Brian – I thought (Offensive Coordinator) Brian (Johnson) did a good job on the second play of the game getting to the check that sprung A.J.,” Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. “That ball wasn’t going to A.J. and then it went to him because we checked out of it and then he had the next one that gave us a certain coverage that was able to get it as well. So we’re always going to want to get A.J. involved, it just so happened he had the first couple catches of the game, 44 yards, I think it was on the first drive and he kept rolling from there.” Something to consider: Tampa Bay didn’t have its best cornerback, Carlton Davis, for that game. He is healthy now and could see Brown in one-on-one situations.

Jason Kelce: We don’t need a complete shift or revamp on offense - PFT
Kelce said on WIP Wednesday morning that the Eagles “just didn’t handle the blitz” against the Giants and that it’s a matter of learning from where things went wrong so that their “execution” will be better against the Buccaneers this weekend. “I don’t think we need to do a whole complete shift or revamp of the offense,” Kelce said. “I think we need to do some things better and put ourselves in better situations — coaches and players. The reality is the plays that we have in and have been doing all year are ones that we can have success with and have had success with.”

Why this may be the year things finally turn in the Cowboys’ favor - Blogging The Boys
If the Dallas Cowboys are going to make the Super Bowl for the first time in 27 years, it’s going to take better on-field performance in the playoffs than they’ve had in the past decade. But it will also take a little bit of luck, and the universe letting some things finally break their way. Those little breaks have already started happening and the Cowboys are in the best position to reach a Super Bowl that they’ve been in since 2007. Maybe this year things will be different. Maybe this is the year the tides turn and things go Dallas’ way.

Giants’ coaching staff mess is Brian Daboll’s to clean up ... and he better - Big Blue View
Something to note is that as of this writing, Martindale has not officially resigned. The expectation, of course, is that he will but it has not happened yet. Why? This is simple. It’s about power. It’s about control. It’s about Martindale’s next move. Martindale is reportedly still under contract to the Giants for another year. That means the Giants, should they choose, can deny Martindale the opportunity to interview for other defensive coordinator jobs. Sorry, Eagles! Sorry, Commanders! The Giants can’t stop Martindale from interviewing for head coaching jobs, but they can stop him from interviewing for jobs that would be lateral moves.

Washington Commanders request to interview Cowboys VP Will McClay - Hogs Haven
Washington has also requested to interview Dallas Cowboys VP of Player Personnel Will McClay. He started his NFL career as a Assistant Direct of Pro Scouting for the Jacksonville Jaguars(2001). He was with the Cowboys the following year as a pro scout(2003-08). then Pro Scouting Coordinator(2009-10), Director of Football Research(2011-13), Assistant Director of Player Personnel(2014), Senior Director of Pro/College Scouting(2015-16). He was promoted to his current position(VPoP) in 2017, and has been working directly under “GM” Jerry Jones ever since.

Evaluating which NFL teams are best set up for the 2024 offseason based on draft capital and cap space - PFF
The Washington Commanders are in a good spot to spend big this offseason, with the second-most effective cap space and the second-most draft capital in the NFL. They can use that money to build their offense around whichever quarterback they likely will select with the No. 2 overall pick. Washington should look to upgrade their offensive line room to protect that signal-caller. Typically, though, good to great offensive tackles don’t hit free agency, as they are usually re-signed, so it might be tricky to navigate that space.

Taking the Points: Previewing the AFC Wild Card games - The SB Nation NFL Show
JSpence the King (Buffalo Rumblings), and producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera preview all three AFC playoff games this weekend. Taking the Points on the SB Nation NFL Show is presented by DraftKings Fantasy Sports. Check out what DraftKings has to offer this season with code SBNFL. Because life’s more fun when you’re in on the action. DraftKings - the crown is yours. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Age and eligibility restrictions apply. Void where prohibited. See DraftKings dot com for details.

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