Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles visit Bills in NFL Week 8

5 matchups to watch as Eagles visit Bills in NFL Week 8

The Eagles (3-4) are heading to Buffalo this weekend to face the Bills (5-1) for the first time since 2015. 

After losing in Dallas last weekend by 27 points, the Eagles are now 0-2 in their last two games and have been outscored by 45 points during that span. They are just trying to salvage one win from this three-game road trip. 

The Bills’ 5-1 record looks pretty great. Their only loss was to the undefeated Patriots and they lost 16-10. But their wins aren’t that impressive either. They’ve beaten the Jets, Giants, Bengals, Titans and Dolphins. Those five teams have a combined record of 6-27 this year. 

Alshon Jeffery vs. Tre’Davious White 

The Eagles haven’t gotten enough from their wide receivers since Week 2, when DeSean Jackson went down. And things won’t get any easier for them this week. White, who was taken with the 27th pick in the 2017 draft, has become one of the best corners in the game. My guess is that he travels with Jeffery in this game. Why waste him on Mack Hollins? Quarterbacks are completing just 47 percent of passes when targeting White. 

He hasn’t used it as an excuse, but maybe Jeffery isn’t completely over that calf injury he suffered in Week 2. Either way, the Eagles need more from him. 

In six games this season, Jeffery has just 26 catches for 253 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for his worst season since his rookie year in 2012. All the anonymous did-he-or-didn’t-he stuff aside, Jeffery needs to play better. 

And if you’re thinking it’s fine if Jeffery gets shut down, it’s important to note that the Bills have been very good against opposing tight ends. They’ve allowed just 17 catches for 192 yards. Only the Patriots have been better against opposing TEs. 

Eagles’ offensive coaches vs. Bills’ defense

I know they haven’t exactly played world-beaters, but this Bills’ defense is legit. It has given up just 15.2 points per game and just 292.7 yards per game. Even though they lost to the Patriots, the Bills held them to 16 points (seven came from special teams) and 224 total yards. The Bills have playmakers at every level of their defense. Surprisingly, the Bills haven’t gotten a ton of pressure on opposing QBs. They’re getting pressure just 20.8 percent of drop backs. 

I think this game is on Doug Pederson, Mike Groh and Carson Wentz to figure out creative ways to produce offense. When you look at it, the Eagles were down just two starters against the Cowboys: Jackson and Jason Peters. Those are important starters, but it’s not like this offense has been completely decimated. And I know the loss of Jackson is huge, but it shouldn’t completely derail what we expected to be a really explosive offense. On Wednesday, I asked Sean McDermott about Pederson’s offense and he said Pederson has really turned that old Andy Reid offense into his own. But McDermott and Leslie Frazier have an understanding of what Pederson likes to do. It’s up to Pederson to be creative. 

Josh Allen vs. Eagles’ discipline 

No, the Bills’ quarterback isn’t the best pure pocket passer. This season, he’s completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,324 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. But his strength is his ability to use his legs. There are plenty of guys who use their legs to buy time, but Allen is a threat to take off running. Through six games, he has 190 rushing yards and three touchdowns. And last season, he rushed for 631 yards in 12 games. 

Likely without Nigel Bradham (ankle) for another game, the rest of the Eagles’ linebackers will need to keep an eye on Allen. 

John Brown vs. Jalen Mills 

In his first game back in nearly a year, Mills played pretty well against the Cowboys, but the Eagles have seemed to struggle with deep balls for a while now and Brown is the guy you have to worry about on the Bills’ roster. Brown leads the Bills with eight catches of 20-plus yards. The next closest Bill has just three. The leader on the Eagles’ roster is Zach Ertz with six. 

It’s not like Brown is a great receiver, but he’s the best the Bills have. He has 33 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns. And with how the Eagles’ corners have played this year, you have to worry about receivers each week. 

Brown has played the Eagles three times and has a touchdown in each game. His best performance against the Eagles came back in 2014, when he caught five passes for 119 yards with the Cardinals. His 75-yard game-winning touchdown from Carson Palmer handed the Eagles a 24-20 loss. 

Carson Wentz vs. Trumaine Edmunds 

Through seven games, Wentz has played fairly well, but even he admitted there’s more he can do. I thought Sunday’s game in Dallas was his worst of the season, which is a shame, because it was the most important game of the season. Earlier this week, Roob tried to figure out how much Wentz is to blame for the Eagles’ struggles, but it’s a hard question to answer. Can he play better? Sure. Is he their biggest problem? Not even close. 

This is going to be a big test for Wentz against a really good defense. Edmunds is a game-wrecker. If you watch Bills games, he’s everywhere on the field. He leads the team with 43 tackles, but also has five TFLs, five passes defended, and a QB hit. 

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

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USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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