Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Giants in NFL Week 14

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Giants in NFL Week 14

The Eagles (5-7) are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins and will host the Giants (2-10) on Monday Night Football at the Linc. 

The Giants haven’t won a game since Sept. 29, but the Eagles have lost three in a row. 

Here are five matchups to watch on Monday: 

Eli Manning vs. Jim Schwartz 

Rookie Daniel Jones has a high ankle sprain, so it sounds like the 38-year-old veteran will be starting on Monday night. The Giants’ offense will look different with Manning. Schwartz explained that the Giants have been using some zone read with Jones and they certainly won’t with Manning. We know the ball is going to come out of his hands quickly. 

“It's going to be important to cover quick and get to the quarterback quick and knock their timing off of their passing game when Eli is back there, because he's such a timing quarterback,” Schwartz said. 

Last season, Manning’s average time to throw was 2.65 seconds. This year, Jones’ average time to throw is 2.88 seconds. That’s a pretty big difference. 

Evan Engram vs. Malcolm Jenkins 

The Giants’ talented tight end hasn’t played since Nov. 4 because of a foot sprain but will likely return against the Eagles this weekend. In eight games this season, Engram has 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns. 

In two career games against the Eagles, Engram has 13 catches for 132 yards. 

The good news is that the Eagles have performed fairly well against tight ends this season. They’ve given up 50 passes, 533 yards and four touchdowns against opposing tight ends. Just eight teams have given up fewer yards to opposing tight ends. 

Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles’ linebackers 

It probably has something to do with the ankle injury he suffered earlier in the season, but Barkley hasn’t followed up his Pro Bowl rookie season with another big year. This year, in nine games, he has just 544 rushing yards and 291 receiving yards and just three total touchdowns after he had 15 last year. 

His rushing yards per attempt have dropped from 5.0 in 2018 to 4.0 this season. What’s even more noteworthy is that his average yards after contact per attempt have dropped from 2.8 to 1.9 this season. He hasn’t been the same. 

Still, Barkley was great against the Eagles last year: 

Week 6: 13 carries, 130 yards, 1 TD, 9 receptions, 99 yards

Week 12: 13 carries, 101 yards, 1 TD, 7 receptions, 41 yards, 1 TD 

That’s 371 yards from scrimmage for Barkley against the Eagles last year. Just five players have ever had more yards from scrimmage against the Eagles in a single season: Tiki Barber, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown (x2), Herschel Walker, Ezekiel Elliott. 

The Eagles need to be sure to slow down Barkley on Monday. 

Golden Tate vs. Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc

The former Eagles receiver is expected to return from a concussion to play in this game. Tate played the second half of the 2018 season with the Eagles last year and wasn’t very productive. Look at his numbers in 10 games with the Eagles (including playoffs) and his numbers in seven games with the Giants this year: 

2018 with Eagles: 10 games, 37 catches, 342 yards, two touchdowns 

2019 with Giants: 7 games, 36 catches, 450 yards, four touchdowns 

With an entire offseason, the Giants have been far more successful plugging Tate into their offense. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby really struggled against the Dolphins, so it covered up the fact that Maddox didn’t play very well either. We’ll see what the split at the nickel is this week, but Maddox or LeBlanc will need to cover Tate, who still gets most of his snaps in the slot. 

Carson Wentz vs. Giants’ pass defense 

I know they lost and I know the offense struggled to score in the second half in Miami, but Wentz had a pretty good game. He threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He had his only interception on the Hail Mary that he was forced to throw because the defense couldn’t stop the Dolphins at all. Before that Hail Mary, Wentz’s passer rating was over 100. 

The Giants are the eighth-worst passing defense in the league, giving up 258.6 passing yards per game. And you have to remember that they’ve lost six games by at least two touchdowns, so teams aren’t even trying to pass on them for whole games. Janoris Jenkins has recently voiced his frustration about not traveling. First-round pick DeAndre Baker hasn’t had a great rookie season and he’s been rotating in and out. 

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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