Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Patriots in NFL Week 11

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Patriots in NFL Week 11

The Eagles (5-4) are back from their bye week with what might be their toughest game of the season against the Patriots (8-1) at the Linc.

The last time these two teams played against each other in a game that mattered, the Eagles won 41-33. But a lot has changed since then.

Here are five matchups to watch on Sunday:

Tom Brady vs. Jim Schwartz

No, the Patriots didn’t win Super Bowl LII — I remember that pretty clearly — but Brady did have a big statistical game. He threw for 505 yards with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That’s the most passing yards ever in a playoff game. I know they lost and I know that was nearly two years ago, but Brady carved up the Eagles that night. His numbers this season aren’t nearly as incredible. In nine games, he has 2,536 yards with 14 TDs and 5 INTs, but he’s still capable of having a big game.

“Yeah, he's a tough competitor and gives them a chance to win every week,” Schwartz said. “He doesn't make many mistakes.”

So it’ll be on Schwartz to find a way to force him into a few mistakes on Sunday. Maybe that means blitzing, maybe that means showing a few looks for which the Patriots won’t be prepared.

There will be pressure on Schwartz, with an extra week to prepare, to figure out a way to slow down Brady more on Sunday than he did in the Super Bowl less than a couple years ago.

Julian Edelman vs. Avonte Maddox

The Patriots’ top receiver this season has been Edelman, who missed Super Bowl LII 18 months ago. In 2019, the 5-10 slot receiver has 63 catches for 663 yards and four touchdowns. To put that in perspective, the Eagles’ top two receivers (not including tight ends) are Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. They have a combined 66 catches for 635 yards and six touchdowns. Edelman is a real threat.

Maddox returned for the Bears game before the bye and will be given a tough task on Sunday in Edelman. Edelman has been consistently good this season but also has two 100-yard games.

Stephon Gilmore vs. ???

The Patriots are famous for taking away their opponents best player and they do this in a few different ways. Gilmore is their best corner, so it would make a lot of sense if they just match him up against the Eagles’ best receiver. But Alshon Jeffery’s status is in question. So there could also be the possibility that the Patriots decide to put Gilmore on tight end Zach Ertz, a possibility offensive coordinator Mike Groh didn’t dismiss earlier this week. It’ll be interesting to see what the Patriots decide, especially if Jeffery doesn’t play.

It’s worth noting that the Eagles will probably use a lot of 12 personnel (two tight ends) in this game. And they already use that personnel package more than any other team in the league. It’s something the Patriots have struggled with. More on that from NBC Sports Boston.

Doug Pederson/Mike Groh vs. Bill Belichick

This is where Pederson needs to be innovative. The Eagles will have to have a few scenarios in their minds of how the Patriots want to defend them and have wrinkles ready to throw at them. In a lot of games, I think the coaching matchups are overblown; the players win or lose games. But the most intriguing thing about this game is the chess match that will go on between Belichick and the Eagles’ offensive staff, which includes Carson Wentz. The Patriots’ defense is an opportunistic bunch, leading the NFL in takeaways. So Wentz will have to be careful with the ball, but Pederson’s play-calling needs to be better in this game. Should be fun to watch.

Eagles’ run game vs. Patriots’ run defense

Before the bye week, we watched the Ravens run for 210 yards against the Patriots in their huge 37-20 win in Baltimore. Now, 61 of those yards came from Lamar Jackson and the Eagles won’t have that type of run game production from their quarterback this week. But the point is that I think the Eagles can run on the Patriots.

While they have the 11th run defense in the NFL, giving up 99.1 yards per game, you have to remember that they’ve been up on teams. In four of their nine games, the Patriots have given up fewer than 60 rushing yards. But in those four games, the Patriots have outscored their opponents 74-14 in first halves, including three first-half shutouts. Many teams got behind them and were forced to abandon the run.

And, overall, the Patriots are giving up 4.7 yards per carry, which ranks 26th in the NFL.

The Eagles have found success running the ball this season and they should try to get that run game going against the Patriots.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles fan Giovanni Hamilton is keeping everyone smiling with new video series

Eagles fan Giovanni Hamilton is keeping everyone smiling with new video series

If you’re avid on Eagles social media, chances are you’ve come across their biggest Eagles fan. That fan is none other than Giovanni Hamilton. 

Giovanni has been stealing hearts of Eagles fans for quite some time with his reaction videos to the team combined with an abundance of positivity, but he has definitely stepped up his game during the offseason. 

Recently, he started a video series breaking down some of his favorite fun facts that are located within the team media guide given out at the start of the season. He was gifted it and wanted to share his new knowledge with the rest of his followers. 

He has already covered some of his favorite players, but don’t fret. If you missed them, they’re below! 

The first video that kicked off his fun series was about his hero, Carson Wentz. There was too much information to pack into a quick post on Twitter, so he had to upload the whole thing to YouTube. What a way to start things off! 

Jalen Mills has always been a favorite for Giovanni. Ever notice how his hair was green in the past? He was inspired by Mills to dye it so he can match the Eagles’ safety. 

Earlier this week, he decided to focus on Zach Ertz in what was probably his most successful video yet. 

Success meaning the tight end himself saw and shared the video with his own message to Giovanni. 

Next, he completed a fun facts video on Jason Kelce. Not only did we learn Kelce’s love for another sport but his passion for Christmas music as well. 

Kelce, if you’re seeing this — make sure to let Giovanni know what your favorite Christmas song is … it’s safe to say we’re all curious about it now. 

Most recently, he went on to talk about the only Dallas that Philadelphia fans like — that’s right, Dallas, Goedert. 

“He just wants to help make this strange time we’re in better for people and hopes to put a smile on their face,” said Shannon, Giovanni’s mom.

The positivity of this series has been doing just that — adding smiles to every Eagles fan who has come across these wonderful videos. 

If you want to stay up to date with Giovanni’s series, you can follow him here

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

2020 NFL mock draft: Eagles secure an elite receiver

Eagles plan at safety in 2020 is even cheaper than we first thought

Eagles plan at safety in 2020 is even cheaper than we first thought

We finally have the details on Rodney McLeod’s two-year contract with the Eagles and it’s much less lucrative than we were first led to believe. 

Initially reported as a $12 million deal, McLeod’s two-year deal is worth just $8.65 million, according to a league source. But it also includes $7.8 million in guaranteed money. So you can count on McLeod being with the Eagles through the 2021 season. 

Now that we have full contract details for McLeod, Jalen Mills and Will Parks, we can see that the Eagles are going to have the entire safety position for a very reasonable price in 2020. Will the experiment work? We’ll find out later this year. 

But it is a cost-effective plan. In 2020, all three combine for a cap hit of $7,134,375 million. To put that into perspective, had the Eagles picked up Malcolm Jenkins’ option (if he were willing to play on it), Jenkins would have counted as a $10.887 million cap hit by himself in 2020. 

(By the way, Jenkins this offseason got a four-year deal with the Saints that might turn into a two-year deal.)

According to Spotrac, the Eagles used over $17 million in cap space at safety in 2019, the second-highest total in the league. They will be much lower on that list in 2020. 

Let’s take a look at each individual Eagles deal: 

Rodney McLeod

The Eagles used one of their favorite tricks with the McLeod deal and it’s one they already used earlier this offseason when they signed Javon Hargrave.

Technically, McLeod’s deal is for five years, but the final three years will void automatically (and are included only) for salary cap purposes. The shortest version of this is that the Eagles can spread out the salary cap hit from his $3 million signing bonus over five years instead of two, saving cap space each season. 

McLeod has base salaries of $1.05 million and $3.75 million over the next two seasons. 

Here are McLeod’s cap hits over the next three seasons: 

2020: $1.65 million 
2021: $5.2 million 
2022: $1.8 million 

Remember, in 2022, he won’t be on the team anymore (at least not with this contract) so that money is just left over dead cap money (prorated salary bonus money) the team wanted to push off its books for the next two seasons. 

So in total, McLeod’s two-year deal is worth $8.65 million with $7.8 million guaranteed. But he also has the chance to earn up to $1.7 million in incentives. 

Jalen Mills 

Mills is back with the Eagles in a new hybrid safety/corner position on a one-year deal worth $4 million, but he has the potential to earn another $1 million in incentives. So this could end up being worth a total of $5 million. 

Mills has a base salary of $2 million and got a signing bonus of $2 million, so both count against the cap this year:

2020: $4 million 

His cap hit in 2020 is the highest of the three safeties, but McLeod has a higher one coming in 2021. 

Mills’ deal guaranteed just $2 million and he got that in the form of his signing bonus. His base salary this season isn’t guaranteed, so the Eagles could theoretically cut him to save $2 million but they didn’t sign him to cut him. 

Will Parks 

The newcomer of the group, Parks signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Eagles. He has a $1M fully guaranteed base salary, a $375K signing bonus and $125K in per-game roster bonuses. 

It’s a little tricker to figure out Parks’ salary cap figure for 2020 so stick with me here. For per-game roster bonus money, the cap figure is calculated based on the amount of games Parks played last season, which was 14. So the full $125K would could toward the cap if he played a full season in 2019 — but because he didn’t, we count just $109,375. This doesn’t mean Parks earns any less money; it’s just for cap purposes. 

So we add the base salary, signing bonus money and per-game roster bonus cap hit for a grand total of … 

2020: $1,484,375

It’s a very team-friendly deal for Parks, who is coming off his rookie contract and has some potential. We know McLeod will be with the Eagles in 2021 and it seems like Mills and Parks will get a chance to earn a contract to join him. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles