Eagles

Don't be surprised if Eagles vs. Saints is close

Don't be surprised if Eagles vs. Saints is close

The Eagles are nine-point underdogs this Sunday in New Orleans. The Eagles are coming off an embarrassing loss on national television. The Saints look unstoppable seemingly rolling out of bed and putting up at least 30 points. Why does all of that point to the Eagles staying within the number and maybe even winning outright?

Every football fan can be prone to being a prisoner to the moment. This gets especially magnified when you get dominated on Sunday or Monday Night Football. That type of loss in front of a national audience can skew one's opinion on the team too far one way or the other. This season, there have been 10 occasions when a team has gotten embarrassed on Sunday or Monday night (embarrassed defined as losing by at least two scores). Yes, the Eagles only lost by one score, but I think the whole region can agree that it was an embarrassment this past Sunday night. Here's how the previous ten teams fared:

Week 1:
Jets 48, Lions 17. Next game: Lions 27, 49ers 30 (Lions cover +6, lose outright)
Rams 33, Raiders 13. Next game: Raiders 19, Broncos 20 (Raiders cover +5.5, lose outright)

Week 3:
Patriots 10, Lions 26. Next game: Dolphins 7, Patriots 38 (Patriots cover -6.5)

Week 4:
Ravens 26, Steelers 14. Next game: Falcons 17, Steelers 41 (Steelers cover -3.5)

Week 5: 
Redskins 19, Saints 43. Next game: Panthers 17, Redskins 23 (Redskins cover +1, win outright)

Week 7:
Bengals 10, Chiefs 45. Next game: Buccaneers 34, Bengals 37 (Bengals fail to cover -3.5 despite leading 34-16 at the start of the 4th quarter)

Week 8:
Saints 30, Vikings 20. Next game: Lions 9, Vikings 24 (Vikings cover -5)
Patriots 25, Bills 6. Next game: Bears 41, Bills 9 (Bills fail to cover +10)

Week 9:
Packers 17, Patriots 31. Next game: Dolphins 12, Packers 31 (Packers cover -12)
Titans 28, Cowboys 14. Next game: Cowboys 27, Eagles 20 (Cowboys cover +7.5, win outright)

Week 10:
Cowboys 27, Eagles 20. Next game: ???

Teams that got blown out on Sunday or Monday night are 8-2 against the spread their next game (including two outright wins by underdogs). Aside from a blown cover from the Bengals, the only team that failed to cover were the Nathan Peterman-led Buffalo Bills.

Teams are never as bad as their worst game (Eagles losing to the Cowboys) or as great as their best game (Saints winning 51-14 in Cincinnati). The elephant in the room of course is New Orleans has a different kind of home field advantage. However, it is so uncommon for an elite quarterback like Carson Wentz to get that many points. Russell Wilson covered +10 and Aaron Rodgers covered +7.5 at the Rams. 

Don't be surprised if the Eagles keep it close on Sunday.

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Pa. Gov. Wolf responds to Trump’s hope of normal NFL season

Pa. Gov. Wolf responds to Trump’s hope of normal NFL season

Less than a week after President Donald Trump reportedly said he believed the NFL season would start on time despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf isn’t so sure. 

Wolf, during his press conference on Wednesday afternoon, was asked if Trump’s timeline is realistic. 

“I think it’s too early to call what happens in the fall,” Wolf said, via PennLive.com.

Trump said he believed the NFL would start on time on a conference call Saturday with commissioners of the country’s major sports leagues, according to ESPN. Trump also reportedly said he hoped to have fans back in stadiums by August and September. 

Wolf is just the latest governor to express trepidation about the NFL’s starting on time in September — at least starting normally. 

According to ProFootballTalk, the governors of Ohio, California and Illinois have also expressed some skepticism about a normal start to the NFL season. 

California is home to four NFL teams, the most of any state in the country. And its governor doesn’t expect a “normal” start to the NFL season. 

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.'"

In addition to the question about the NFL, Wolf was also asked about winter and spring high school sports. He said every winter sport — professional and amateur — has shut down and Pennsylvania needs to follow that. 

"We need to stay safe,” Wolf said. “Again, our first priority is to keep people safe.”

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NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3

NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3

The odds of finding a difference maker at wide receiver on Day 3 aren’t great. 

But it can happen.

And this draft is unique because it’s so deep up top. That’ll push guys who would normally be 1st- rounders into the 2nd round, which will push 2nd rounders until the 3rd and so on. 

So there is a chance of finding good value on Day 3, when the fourth through seventh rounds will be held.

The Eagles haven’t found many functional receivers after the third round, but Jason Avant was a fourth-rounder in 2006, Calvin Williams a 5th-rounder in 1990 and of course Harold Carmichael was a 7th-rounder in 1971 and goes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this fall.

Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon and Julian Edelman were all drafted in the fourth round or later.

And several Hall of Famer wideouts – Steve Largent, Charlie Joiner, Don Maynard and Kutztown’s Andre Reed – were taken in the fourth round or later.

So were Harold Jackson, Drew Hill and John Stallworth.

The Eagles currently have three picks in the fourth round – No. 127, 145 and 146 overall – along with one each in the fifth (168) and sixth (190) rounds.

The odds aren’t great. But the Eagles will have some intriguing options at wide receiver prospects when Day 3 of the draft rolls around.

Here are some of them:

Collin Johnson, Texas

Another prospect whose father was in the NFL. His dad, Johnnie, spent 10 years as a cornerback with the Rams and had 22 interceptions. Collin Johnson has crazy size at 6-6, 220, and good hands but has below-average speed. He may be strictly a jump-ball guy or short-yardage zone guy in the NFL.

Devin Duvernay, Texas

After three lackluster seasons, exploded for 106 catches, nearly 1,400 yards and 9 TDs as a senior. Only 5-11, 200 but terrific hands and speed and physical after the catch. Needs work on route running and his breaks and might take some time to develop but has the tools.

Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State

Another son of an NFL player - fullback James Hodgins - the younger Hodgins entered the draft after a breakthrough junior year with 86-for-1,171 and 13 TDs. Has very good size at 6-4, 210 and is a technically sound and polished player, just doesn’t have the speed to match. Only six WRs ran slower than Hodgins’ 4.61 at the Combine.

John Hightower, Boise State

The All-American intermediate hurdler certainly has the wheels. Ran 4.43 at the Combine, so speed isn’t an issue. His size and strength are an issue. Hightower doesn’t project as a starting NFL receiver but could be an interesting guy as a returner, third or fourth receiver and gadget guy.

Bryan Edwards, South Carolina

Four-year starter whose production was unspectacular but steady - between 590 and 846 yards all four years. Looks the part at 6-3, 210 but prone to drops and a below average route runner. 

Antonio Gibson, Memphis

After playing two years of JUCO, had only one season as a full-time player at Memphis and caught just 38 passes, although he did average a legit 19.3 yards per catch and added 369 yards on 33 rushing attempts, highest in college football last year with a minimum of 30 carries. Had 12 TDs on just 71 touches. Intriguing long-range prospect who may have only begun scratching the surface of his ability.

Quartney Davis, Texas A&M

Sure-handed but inexperienced and unpolished prospect who turned pro after his junior year despite never having more than 616 yards in a season. Davis's position coach during his 2017 red-shirt freshman year at A&M was current Eagles receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.

Jauan Jennings, Tennessee

Big, strong slot receiver at 6-3, 215 who's able to use savvy and toughness to make some plays but is also one of the slowest receivers to test at the Combine. His 4.72 was second-slowest of the 45 WR prospects in Indy.

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