Marshawn Lynch

5 key Eagles' matchups vs. Raiders

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5 key Eagles' matchups vs. Raiders

There's a perfectly good chance the Eagles won't have much to play for on Monday night against the Raiders. 

If the Vikings lose to the Packers on Saturday night, the Eagles clinch homefield advantage, which would make the last two games pretty meaningless. 

But they've spent all week getting their starters ready to face the Raiders and Nick Foles definitely needs the work. Backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld could also use some reps. His next NFL snap will be his first. 

Forget all that for a second. Doug Pederson and the Eagles have prepared all week to beat the Raiders. Here are the matchups they'll need to win to make that happen: 

Lane Johnson vs. Khalil Mack 
Mack is just the latest on the murderers' row of pass-rushers this season. Johnson has already seen Von Miller, Demarcus Lawrence and Chandler Jones and held them in check. It's a big part of the reason Johnson is heading to his first Pro Bowl. 

While offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Mack has been moving around a little more this season, Mack's most comfortable lining up against right tackles. Mack, along with those other guys we mentioned, is a reason why Johnson didn't move to left tackle after Jason Peters went down. 

This season, Miller has 10 1/2 sacks. It's his third consecutive double-digit sack season. Since the start of 2015, only Jones has more sacks. Another big test Monday night for Johnson.  

Jared Cook vs. Malcolm Jenkins 
If Patrick Robinson (concussion) is able to play Monday night, it'll make a big difference, because then Jenkins can focus on Cook. 

Cook never became a super top-tier tight end like some expected, but he's still dangerous. This year, he has 50 catches for 638 yards and two touchdowns. He has some huge games and then some nothing games. The Eagles have to try to make this a nothing game. 

The Birds are around the top of the middle when it comes to defending tight ends. Thirteen teams have given up fewer yards to tight ends. 

Kelechi Osemele vs. Tim Jernigan 
This one will be fun because Osemele and Jernigan were teammates in Baltimore in 2014 and 2015. Osemele, the Pro Bowl left guard, will definitely be matched up 1-on-1 against Jernigan, which is probably an advantage for the Raiders. But at least Jernigan knows he won't have to deal with any double teams. 

Things might be different for the guy next to him. Fletcher Cox will line up against Gabe Jackson, who isn't anywhere near Osemele. Expect to see the Raiders try to help Jackson throughout the afternoon. 

David Sharpe vs. Vinny Curry 
The Raiders lost two-time Pro Bowler Donald Penn for the rest of the season, so there's a good chance they'll start a rookie in his place at left tackle. Sharpe, a fourth-round pick from Florida, has played in just three games this season. 

Curry hasn't had a flashy season. He has just three sacks. But he's been really solid. So he and Derek Barnett — who also lines up on the left tackle — should be able to get some pass-rush pressure on Derek Carr in this game. 

Marshawn Lynch vs. Eagles' run D
Lynch isn't the same guy who terrorized defenses while he was in Seattle, but he can still do some damage. Lynch is averaging 74.4 yards per game and 4.83 yards per attempt over his last five games. 

But the Eagles are the best rushing defense in the NFL. They have given up just 71.5 yards per game. The next closest team is Minnesota, which has given up 85.3 yards per game. 

Through 14 games, the Eagles have given up 1,001 rushing yards. That's the best in the league since 2014 (Lions, 893) and the best for the franchise since the 1991 team (977). 

NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

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NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

NEW YORK — Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills (see full story). 

Packers place QB Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers placed Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Friday after the quarterback had surgery on his broken collarbone.

Rodgers would be eligible to return from injured reserve after eight weeks and able to return to practice after six weeks. But coach Mike McCarthy has said that there is no timeline for Rodgers' return, and that the two-time NFL MVP might miss the rest of the season.

"Everything went very well is my understanding talking with (team doctor Pat McKenzie), and he's recovering," McCarthy said Friday morning. The Packers did not practice Friday.

The procedure on Rodgers was done Thursday outside of Green Bay. He was hurt in the first quarter in a 23-10 loss last weekend to the Minnesota Vikings.

Rodgers posted an Instagram message early Friday thanking well-wishers for their "love, support, thoughts and prayers" in a photo of himself in a hospital bed (see full story).

Injured QB Jameis Winston will start against Bills
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston tested his injured throwing shoulder in practice and will start Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter made the announcement Friday after the third-year quarterback worked with the first-team offense for the first time since spraining his right shoulder during last week's 38-33 loss at Arizona.

Winston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, taking "mental reps" while backup Ryan Fitzpatrick prepared to face the Bills.

"Jameis threw the ball well today," Koetter said following the team's hour-long practice at One Buccaneer Place. "Jameis is our starter. He will be out there."

Winston has made 37 consecutive starts after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft (see full story). 

Rob's Rants: Eagles' start; Seumalo's struggles; Marshawn's dancing

Rob's Rants: Eagles' start; Seumalo's struggles; Marshawn's dancing

Here's the latest edition of Rob's Rants in which CSNPhilly's Rob Ellis does just that about the hottest topics in Philly sports.

If I told you before the season the Eagles would be 1-1 after starting with two road games — one against a division opponent, the other in one of the tougher venues in sports — an objective person would have been satisfied. That doesn’t mean losing a very winnable game in Kansas City wasn’t a tough pill to swallow, but when you consider that the Birds' neighbors in the NFC East have not exactly looked like world beaters, there is room for much optimism if they can clean some things up. Despite his costly turnovers and tendency to hold the ball too long, I’m convinced Carson Wentz will be a star. The Eagles' defensive line has looked fierce. And certainly in part because of the line, the Birds' defensive backs — despite major injuries — have held up pretty well. There are absolute positives with this club. 

But here are some of the things with the Eagles and beyond that have me in rant mode. 

Get your tokens ready
Saying Isaac Seumalo has been bad is like saying Donald Trump is polarizing. Seumalo's been a turnstile. His play has been alarming through two games and Doug Pederson may need to make a decision fast to avoid getting Wentz killed. But the Seumalo issue runs much deeper than the surface. He was a third-round pick last year, 79th overall. The club’s next selection after Wentz. Third-round picks need to be able to play. 

Now, you could very well chalk his struggles up to growing pains. By Week 10 we may see a completely different player. But perhaps even more disturbing was the Eagles' judgment that Seumalo was ready to start. Howie Roseman dealt veteran Allen Barbre early in camp to Denver for a 2019 seventh-round pick. The Eagles did save minimal cap space as well. And while Barbre won’t be confused with Zack Martin any time soon, he was a competent player. Surely an upgrade from what we’ve seen from Seumalo thus far. The objective is to keep your franchise quarterback upright and available. So far, not so good. 

Escape plan
Since signing that monstrous contract prior to last season, Vinny Curry has made no big plays. That streak continued Sunday against the Chiefs. Go back to the fourth quarter, game tied at 13, K.C. driving with a 3rd-and-4 on the Eagles' 25-yard line. Curry had Alex Smith all but wrapped up for the sack, which at the very least would have forced Kansas City into a long field goal attempt. Smith escaped the 6-3, 279-pound defensive end and two plays later the Chiefs scored on a shovel pass to Travis Kelce to take a 20-13 lead. That play, along with the Eagles' two turnovers, were game-changing plays. Once again, Curry came up small.

Catch the Damn Ball Part II     
Last week this rant was directed at Alshon Jeffery. This week it applies to the Eagles' other big money offseason wide receiver signing. There were two plays Sunday that again weren’t easy but need to be caught by a good receiver. The pass catcher in question is Torrey Smith. The first drop on the Eagles' opening drive could and should have been a touchdown. Later in the game, Wentz made a nice back-shoulder throw that was covered well but the ball was where it needed to be and Smith could not bring it down. These plays are the difference between three points and seven points or keeping a drive alive or winning and losing. 

Cue Lee Ann Womack
I don’t think “I Hope You Dance” was what Marshawn Lynch was Beast Mode-ing  to on the sideline during the Raiders' 45-20 smackdown of the woeful Jets. In fact, it was “I’m Really From Oakland Tho” by Vell and DJ Mustard. Love it when those two crazy kids collaborate. New York in fact was not loving Lynch’s sideline moves. Some Jets players were upset that the Oakland native was dancing with time still left on the clock. There’s a simple solution to that issue: Stop him. If the score was flipped, Lynch would not have been shaking his groove-thing. It’s OK for a player to have fun and celebrate. It’s all about time and place. And by the way, the Jets should get accustomed to opposing players celebrating. In fact, when your front office’s objective is to tank the season, it could look like a conga line on the opposite sideline all season.