Eagles

5 key Eagles matchups vs. Giants

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5 key Eagles matchups vs. Giants

Even with Nick Foles, the Eagles should probably crush the Giants this weekend. After all, what's been going on in North Jersey has been a disaster all season. 

The head coach and GM have already been fired. The franchise quarterback was benched and then brought back. Oh yeah, and the Giants have just two wins all season. 

It's a mess up there. 

But this is probably a good time to remind you that the Giants had a three-point lead on the Eagles until the final minute of regulation in Week 3. And had it not been for a 61-yard field goal from unknown rookie kicker Jake Elliott, the game would have gone to overtime and then who knows what happens. 

Sure, it's been a long time since Week 3, but the Eagles can't overlook any team, especially after losing Carson Wentz for the season. 

Here are five matchups to watch: 

Sterling Shepard vs. Patrick Robinson 
In the first meeting between these two teams, Shepard had a really good game. He caught seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. The big play was a 77-yarder. Believe it or not, that was the only touchdown of the season for Shepard. 

On that 77-yard touchdown, Robinson let Shepard catch the ball, but Chris Maragos took a bad angle toward Shepard that allowed him to go the distance. Maragos actually took out Robinson on the play. 

In that game, Robinson played pretty well and had an interception. Really, he's been solid all season. He's been one of the more pleasant surprises this year. 

Evan Engram vs. Malcolm Jenkins
While Robinson will be dealing with Shepard, Jenkins will have his hands full with Engram, who has become the team's top receiving threat with Odell Beckham Jr. on IR. Engram, the rookie tight end, has 55 catches for 623 yards and six touchdowns this season. He's already become a threat for the Giants. 

The good news for the Eagles is they've been decent against opposing tight ends, giving up 59 catches for 597 yards and five touchdowns. Eleven teams have given up fewer receiving yards to opposing tight ends. Jenkins is their best shot against Engram. 

Chad Wheeler vs. Brandon Graham 
On a line that still features Ereck Flowers at left tackle, it's worth noting that the Giants are down to rookie Wheeler at right tackle. Wheeler went undrafted out of USC, but has become the Giants' third right tackle this year. Bobby Hart began the season, then Justin Pugh got his turn, now it's on Wheeler. 

Wheeler has started the last three games at right tackle. During those three games, he's given up four sacks and 11 quarterback hurries, according to ProFootballFocus. 

This weekend, he'll see Brandon Graham, who has been an absolute force all season. Graham leads the team with a career-high 8 1/2 sacks and has been even more disruptive than that. 

Nick Foles. vs. Steve Spagnuolo
You might have heard that the Eagles have a new quarterback this week. Carson Wentz is out for the season after tearing his ACL, which means Foles will get the start against the Giants. It'll be up to defensive coordinator and interim head coach Spagnuolo to try to rattle him. 

All week the Eagles have said nothing changes with the quarterback switch. Sure, Wentz is just a more athletic player than Foles, so they'll miss that. But they claim they're just going to run their offense. That seems to be what the Giants are preparing to see. 

"We're going to play to defend the scheme," Spagnuolo said on a conference call with Philly reporters this week. "They're just a well-oiled machine right now." 

Eagles receivers vs. Giants cornerbacks
With a backup quarterback, it would make sense to see the Eagles come out and run the ball a ton on Sunday afternoon. But there will be the opportunity to pass against the Giants and their messy cornerback situation. Now, the Eagles should be able to run, too. The Giants are the 31st-ranked run and pass defense, so they stink in both areas. 

But what better opportunity for Foles to get a chance to work with his new receivers. Running the ball is probably going to be a key for the Eagles the rest of the way. They should absolutely run the ball. But running the ball alone won't be enough to win a championship. They'll need Foles to play well too. This could be a chance for him to build that confidence and have his teammates grow their confidence in him. 

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

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Eagles

Eagles are raffling off a real deal Super Bowl ring for charity

Jeff Lurie has turned into Willy Wonka for a good cause. 

The Eagles on Wednesday announced that they’re going to raffle off a Super Bowl ring and all the proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge, Inc. 

This is pretty cool. 

Click here to donate and enter.  

The coolest part is that the ring the Eagles will give away on Dec. 3 before Monday Night Football against Washington at the Linc, is the real deal ring. The one the players got, with all 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. And it'll be personalized. 

The contest is underway and runs through Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. Fans can enter the contest by making a donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, starting at $10 for 100 entries. The fan who wins will also get 50-yard line seats to that Dec. 3 game. 

There are also other incentives for fans who submit 2,500 entries or more. 

The Eagles have already done incredible work through their autism challenge, raising over $2.5 million at the inaugural event in May. This is a pretty cool way to raise even more money for a good cause.

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On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

On his 35th birthday, a look at possible Darren Sproles milestones

Generally speaking, running backs either begin to decline or hit a wall around the time they turn 30. 

That hasn’t happened to Darren Sproles. 

In fact, today is Sproles’ birthday. He turns 35 and after rehabbing his way back from a torn ACL and a broken forearm, he still hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. That, in itself, is pretty incredible. 

Since it’s Sproles’ birthday, it seems like a good time to look into the elite company he can join this year as a productive 35-plus-year-old in the NFL. 

Sproles will enter the 2018 season with 19,155 all-purpose yards. He’s already eighth in NFL history and has a chance to surpass quite a few names on this list with a productive season. There are just seven players in front of him and five of them are already Hall of Famers: 

Jerry Rice: 23,546
Brian Mitchell: 23,330
Walter Payton: 21,803
Emmit Smith: 21,564
Tim Brown: 19,682
Marshall Faulk: 19,190
Steve Smith Jr.: 19,180

It’s impossible to know just how productive Sproles will be in 2018, especially as he’s coming off a significant knee injury. Last year, he had only two healthy games and he had just 88 all-purpose yards in them, putting him on pace for 704. That would have been significantly lower than his three previous seasons with the Eagles. 

In those three previous seasons, we saw a very slight decline from 1,237 in 2014 to 1,171 in 2015 to 1,108 in 2016. 

But if Sproles can return to form and is able to eclipse 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2018, he’d become just the eighth running back in NFL history to do it at age 35 or older. A search of Pro Football Reference shows the top mark ever for a running back over 35 (must be 35 or older on Dec. 31 of that year) was Herschel Walker’s season in 1997 (1,336). 

If Sproles eclipses that 1,000-yard mark, he’d also become just the second Eagles player (any position) to do it at 35 or older. The only other Eagle to do it was Irving Fryar, who had 1,316 back in 1997 too. 

He’d also move past Smith, Faulk and Brown into fifth all-time in all-purpose yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to surpass the 20,000-yard mark. 

Even in 2016, when he had a down year as a punt returner, Sproles still had 224 punt return yards. If he surpasses the 200-yard mark this season, he’d be just the third player in NFL history to do it at 35 or older. The other three are Michael Lewis (336 in 2007), Leo Lewis (225 in 1991) and Mel Gray (205 in 1996). 

And this year, with the new kickoff rules, there’s a chance the Eagles might use him as a kick returner too. More chances to pile up yards. 

The man himself doesn’t care too much about individual achievements; he’d rather win another Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tracking his progress. 

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