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A look back at Eagles' preseason over-unders

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A look back at Eagles' preseason over-unders

If you took the over on Eagles wins for the season, you’ve been sitting back and waiting to collect your winnings for more than a month already.

The Eagles shattered Bovada’s 2017 over-under win total of eight games. In fact, they won their ninth game way back on Nov. 19, and with a 13-2 record, have a shot to finish six games above the mark handicappers installed back in August.

The only other team to best their futures win total by five or more games this season are the 11-4 Rams, whose over-under was set at 5.5.

Of course, it’s no secret the Eagles vastly outperformed expectations this season, as even the most optimistic projections usually topped out around 11 wins. As far as individual numbers are concerned, Eagles players were far more hit or miss on prop bets.

Carson Wentz - Total Passing yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 4,100

Result: UNDER (3,296)

Carson Wentz - Total TD Passes in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 20.5

Result: OVER (33)

Carson Wentz - Total Interceptions in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 13

Result: UNDER (7)

If you were going over, you might’ve gotten screwed by Wentz’s injury. He was easily on pace to eclipse 4,100 yards, anyway. In retrospect, 20.5 touchdowns was a low projection for Wentz entering his second NFL season, with so much more talent around him. It was so low, he needed only nine games — so before the Eagles’ bye week.

LeGarrette Blount - Total Rushing Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 700

Result: OVER (729)

LeGarrette Blount - Total Rushing & Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 7

Result: UNDER (3)

Blount needed only 233 yards to make the over by the time Jay Ajayi arrived, which was fortunate depending on which way you bet. Some people may have had this reversed, as it was questionable whether Blount would be the Eagles’ feature back but seemed certain to get goal-line duties. Instead, he was the starter for a good portion of the year, but Wentz wound up vulturing Blount’s touchdowns.

Alshon Jeffery - Total Receiving Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 1,100

Result: UNDER (781)

Alshon Jeffery - Total Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 7

Result: OVER (9)

Jeffery hauled in at least seven touchdowns in each of his two full, healthy seasons with the Bears, so the over was probably a safe way to go. Yards were a lot tougher to come by than scoring opportunities, as Wentz spread the ball around, and Jeffery never really became the focal point of the offense as some might have expected.

Torrey Smith - Total Receiving Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 800

Result: UNDER (430)

Torrey Smith - Total Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 4.5

Result: UNDER (2)

Oddsmakers were apparently thinking a bounce-back year for Smith. Obviously, he didn’t even sniff those numbers and was barely part of the game plan many weeks. Now Smith could wind up being bounced from the Eagles' roster during the offseason.

Zach Ertz - Total Receiving Yards in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 800

Result: PENDING (800)

Zach Ertz - Total Receiving TDs in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 4.5

Result: OVER (8)

Betting for Ertz to finally have a “breakout year” finally paid off in '17, or at least it will if he gains one yard in the Eagles’ final game. At worst, that’s a push, and all while the Pro Bowl tight end shattered the over-under for touchdowns, setting a career high in the process. Ertz posted 800 yards for the third straight season, so perhaps that was low, but his emergence as a threat in the red zone undoubtedly made some bettors happy.

Fletcher Cox - Total Sacks in the 2017 Regular Season
Over/Under — 7

Result: UNDER (5.5)

Technically, Cox could still hit the over if he plays against the Cowboys on Sunday, but if he suits up at all, he will likely need to do it the first series or two. The All-Pro defensive tackle has reached 7.0 sacks only once in six seasons, and his impact often isn’t measured by numbers, so even accounting for his second season in the same system, the over was a gamble.

Mask-wearing pioneer Rip Hamilton has advice for Joel Embiid

Mask-wearing pioneer Rip Hamilton has advice for Joel Embiid

Detroit Pistons star Richard Hamilton wasn't the first player to wear a mask in the NBA but sometimes it feels like he was.

Newsweek caught up with Rip this week to talk about his mask-wearing days and to see if he had any words of wisdom for Joel Embiid. Hamilton first wore a mask for breaking his nose, but he continued to wear it for the remainder of his career.

Embiid made his first playoff appearance of his career last night in Miami while rocking a new mask complete with a custom visor to protect his eyes. It was clearly bothering him but he didn't let it dictate his play.

“It was difficult,” Embiid said of the mask. “But to me it wasn’t really about getting used to it because at the end of the day, no matter how much it bothers me, I’ve still got to be a basketball player."

Hamilton has famously said that he embraced the mask to the point of it becoming his "Batman cape" which allowed him to be more aggresive.

"Over a period of time I started to get used to it. As basketball players, a lot of times you go to the basket and it’s a lot of elbows being thrown, guys are getting poked in the eye," he told Newsweek this week. "You tend to clench up because you don’t want to get hit in the face. Once I started wearing that mask I wasn’t clenching up no more. I was willing to take contact more. I was able to get to the free throw line more because now I’m not scared of getting hit in the face. It kind of made me into a more aggressive and better basketball player."

Hamilton's message to Embiid prior to the series?

"Embrace it. Make it cool. Make it fun. Make it like a prop. Don’t get caught up in saying like, 'I got a piece of plastic on my face. I’m worrying about how I look, I’m worrying about my perception when I shoot.' When you’re out there in, like, shooting drills, don’t be so caught up in putting the mask on and trying to worry about how you shoot with it on. Put it on in the game and just wear it because our game is a non-thinking sport. React. You gotta read and react as quick as possible. The less thinking you do, the better you’ll be."

Rip also took notice of Embiid's frustration with the mask following the game. He encouraged Jo that it only gets easier.

I’ve thrown my mask off numerous times lil bro @joelembiid ...It will get more comfortable game by game ..Trust The Process. #MaskOnMaskOff#YouGotTheJuiceNow #Holdat #Yessir#Mask #TnT #nba #nbaplayoffs #sixers#sixersvsheat #LoveThisGame

Eagles players with the most to gain at OTAs — S Tre Sullivan

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Eagles players with the most to gain at OTAs — S Tre Sullivan

The Eagles don’t hit the practice field as a team for another five weeks, yet each year coaches point to players who distinguish themselves during the months of April and May. These are the players with the most to gain in phases one and two of OTAs.

There isn’t an unheralded prospect in better position to climb the Eagles’ depth chart this spring than Tre Sullivan.

Never mind the fact that vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas just got done lauding Sullivan’s performance in a pre-draft interview on Thursday. The 24-year-old also happens to be one of only four safeties on the Eagles roster for the time being, creating a huge opportunity for an undrafted free agent from Shepherd College.

Competition will come soon enough, as safety is an obvious target for the Eagles in the upcoming draft. Even then, Sullivan could find himself in the mix for a big role with a good spring.

Last season, Corey Graham was the Eagles’ third safety behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Graham, a free agent departure, wound up playing nearly 40 percent of the team’s snaps.

This isn’t merely a backup job. There’s serious playing time at stake – and Sullivan can get a jump on the competition.

Sullivan made a name for himself in last year’s preseason opener against the Packers with a vicious hit on wide receiver Malachi Dupre. It was a scary moment, as Dupre was knocked out by the collision, but also a clean play and an example of the defensive back’s physicality.

Sullivan forced a fumble on the hit and finished with four tackles. He would go on to acquit himself well in three other preseason games, eventually landing on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Listed at 6-foot-0, 200 pounds, Sullivan is a relatively average size for a safety, but plays downhill and hits like a truck.

The Eagles liked the instincts and aggressiveness they saw on the field. Now, Sullivan has a chance to work out and learn from coaches in an environment where there really aren’t any other young players right now and he can be the focus of a lot of attention. Phases one and two of OTAs and the two weeks before the draft in particular could be a pivotal period.

If Sullivan impresses during these early stages, it could go a long way toward solidifying his place with the team.

Even if Sullivan is bested for the third safety spot, he could still wind up on the 53-man roster. The Eagles may opt to carry five since Chris Maragos primarily plays on special teams.

Sullivan will likely enter training camp as a player who’s considered to be on the bubble, and what he does when the pads go on will be most important. However, if he showed up and really nailed these workouts, that could go a long way toward how the team views him heading into this summer.