Alshon Jeffery

Interesting prop bets for Eagles-Falcons

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Interesting prop bets for Eagles-Falcons

We all know the Eagles are home underdogs Saturday against the Falcons. Eagles fans seem really into being outraged about it … even though it makes sense.

Anywho, the rest of country doesn't expect an Eagles upset. According to Bovada, 77 percent of the betting public is going with the Falcons -3.

Some other interesting Eagles-Falcons prop bets:

Wentz mentions
How many times will Carson Wentz be mentioned during the game? The over-under is 2.5.

Air it out
Nick Foles is 6/1 to record the most passing yards in the divisional round. That places him fourth among the eight quarterbacks, behind Tom Brady, Drews Brees and Matt Ryan.

Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery are tied at 12/1 to record the most receiving yards in the divisional round. Those are the seventh-shortest odds among skill players. 

Nelson Agholor is far behind at 22/1.

On the ground
Jay Ajayi is 12/1 to have the most rushing yards of the weekend. Five running backs — Le'Veon Bell, Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry, Latavius Murray and Dion Lewis — are ahead of Ajayi.

LeGarrette Blount is 20/1, tied with Jerick McKinnon for the longest odds.

These 5 Eagles need to play better vs. Falcons

These 5 Eagles need to play better vs. Falcons

The Eagles haven't even stepped on the field this postseason and they're already making playoff history. Not the good kind. 

They're the first No. 1 seed to ever be an underdog in the conference semifinal round.

Of course, that doesn't mean the Eagles can't win. It just means that the loss of Carson Wentz and their performance down the stretch did enough to force Vegas to make the sixth-seeded Falcons the favorite in Saturday's game. 

The Eagles have to play better than they did down the stretch if they want to move on to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2008. 

Here are five Eagles who need to step up: 

Alshon Jeffery 
Jeffery brought up a good point after he went without a catch against the Raiders: No one asked him about his chemistry with Nick Foles after the Giants game. True. In that Giants game, Jeffery had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. It looked like the switch at quarterback wouldn't affect him too much. But that Raiders game is a real reason to worry. It was the first time since his rookie season he didn't have a catch in a game. And so much of Jeffery's game relies on trust between him and the quarterback; he simply hasn't played a ton with Foles. 

In the regular-season finale, the Eagles made it a point to get Jeffery involved early. The Eagles' first offensive play was an eight-yard pass from Foles to Jeffery. That makes sense. The Eagles would be wise to get Jeffery involved in the game plan early on Saturday against the Falcons. 

Jalen Mills
Remember earlier in the season, when some people were talking about Jalen Mills possibly being a Pro Bowler? Yeah, that was a long time ago. The Falcons can run the ball, but they're really dangerous through the air. They have a former MVP in Matt Ryan at quarterback and arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones. They also have Mohamed Sanu, who isn't a bad No. 2 wideout. 

We've seen Jim Schwartz hesitate to have one cornerback follow a top receiver, so it seems likely that both Mills and Ronald Darby will face off against Jones. Both of them will need to be up to the challenge. Mills has been beaten by double-moves a few times this year; his aggressiveness is his strength and his weakness. The good news for Mills is he never lacks confidence. 

Fletcher Cox
It's not that Cox hasn't been playing well. He has. He's on his way back to the Pro Bowl and absolutely deserves it. But it's the playoffs now and he needs to elevate his game. Aside from Wentz, he's the best player on the roster and he has a $100 million contract to prove it. It's time to earn that money. Sure, Cox is going to get double-teamed in this game but he needs to beat those double teams. With some extra rest, he needs to be the type of disruptive force that can wreck a game. 

Jay Ajayi
Doug Pederson said there's a possibility he could use Ajayi as a workhorse in these playoffs, which would be something new. The most carries Ajayi has had as an Eagle is 15, but he has certainly shown the capability of carrying the load before. Simply put, he's the Eagles' best running back. LeGarrette Blount is huge and can help in short-yardage, and Corey Clement and Kenjon Barner offer changes of pace, but Ajayi needs to be the featured back. There's a reason why the Eagles traded for him, and now that he knows the offense, it's time to deploy him. 

Ajayi seems up to the challenge (see story). Last week, he talked about getting ready for war and said he wanted to "punish people." One reason to think he'll be able to do it is that he's rested. Ajayi touched the ball 55 fewer times this season than last and this extended break should have him fresh and ready to go in the playoffs. 

Nick Foles
We saved the best for last. None of those other guys really matter if Foles can't get it together a little bit. No, he doesn't have to be Wentz; no one expects him to be. But if Foles doesn't play a little better against the Falcons, the offseason is coming early. Over the last two games, Foles completed 46 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 48.2. The Eagles need him to play more like the guy who finished the game in Los Angeles and took down the Giants in North Jersey. 

Now, a lot of this won't really fall on Foles. It'll be up to Pederson to put the quarterback in situations where he's comfortable. That's why Pederson was diving into film from 2013 last week. We'll see if he can come up with something to help Foles out on Saturday at the Linc. 

Playoffs finally reality for these vet Eagles

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Playoffs finally reality for these vet Eagles

Earlier this week, in the defensive backs meeting room, Malcolm Jenkins, Patrick Robinson and Corey Graham took turns talking about their past playoff experiences. 

They gave some tips, explained what they've learned and tried to get their teammates to understand what playoff football is like in the NFL. All of the Eagles' young defensive backs obviously listened closely. 

So did 27-year-old Rodney McLeod.

Because even though this is his sixth NFL season and even though he's played 95 games in the NFL, this will be McLeod's first trip to the playoffs.

"It means a lot," said McLeod, who spent his first four years with the Rams before coming to Philly as a free agent in 2016. "You never know when your opportunity is going to come so you have to make the most of it, cherish it. Just be where your feet are, man, and be in the moment. Don't let the opportunity slip away. That's just my mindset now.

"Because you just never know. It took me six years to get here, who knows the next time I will be here. I'm going to do whatever I can. I'll try to do whatever I can do to get better so when next week comes, I'll be prepared and ready to take advantage of the opportunity."

McLeod isn't alone. In fact, he's one of four veteran starters on the 2017 Eagles who have been in the NFL since at least 2012 without playing a single playoff game.

The others are Alshon Jeffery (in his sixth season), Nigel Bradham (in his sixth season) and Stefen Wisniewski (in his seventh). Those four Eagles have played a combined 369 regular-season games without reaching the postseason.

Wisniewski, 27, won the left guard spot earlier this season. He has played more regular-season games (107) than anyone else in the Eagles' locker room without a playoff game under his belt. He's been waiting for this a long time, but he'll get to start Jan. 13, when the Eagles host their divisional round opponent. 

"I'm really pumped," Wisniewski said. "I grew up my whole life watching the playoffs. As an NFL player, I've always been on the couch watching the playoffs. Always wanted to be a part of it and finally got a shot. And not just a shot but a No. 1 seed. I'm really excited. I've been waiting for this for a long time and it's finally here. I just can't wait."

Wisniewski, who played in Oakland and Jacksonville for a combined five seasons before joining the Eagles last year, said he's been told what a playoff atmosphere is like, but he's excited to see it for himself. He thinks maybe the difference is just that the speed goes from 98 to 100.

The most important thing, according to Wisniewski, is to make sure they don't treat the playoff game like it's too big. It's still just a football game, after all. He just wants to focus on blocking the guy in front of him.

Bradham, 28, has played in 88 career regular-season games. He spent four years in Buffalo before joining the Eagles last offseason. Bradham is on the last year of his two-year contract, so every next game could very well be his last as an Eagle.

"It's been a long wait for me, man," Bradham said. "Obviously, this is the best opportunity. I wouldn't want to be on no other team. And have this team to carry me into the playoffs, my first appearance, I think we got a great shot. Everything's gotta come through Philly."

Jeffery, 27, spent the first five years of his career in Chicago, where the Bears' best year came when he was a rookie in 2012; they went 10-6. Until this campaign, Jeffery hadn't had another winning season in the NFL.

So what does getting to the playoffs mean to him?

"What's it mean?" Jeffery repeated. "I mean, s---, I'm not satisfied just getting to the playoffs. I've been in this league six years, I know how it feels not to be there. That's already enough motivation for me."