Eagles

Eagles-Cowboys NFL Week 16 predictions 2019

Eagles-Cowboys NFL Week 16 predictions 2019

The Eagles (7-7) host the Cowboys (7-7) in a game that will likely decide the NFC East at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (7-7)

The Eagles are a modestly talented team that always plays hard. The Cowboys are a talented team that sometimes feels like showing up and sometimes doesn’t. Makes it a tricky matchup to predict because you never know which Cowboys team you’ll get. If the Cowboys feel like playing Sunday it’s going to be tough for the Eagles to win. But as impressive as the Cowboys looked against the Rams last weekend, this is a Dallas team that’s won 4 of its last 11 games and has lost to four teams the Eagles beat (Packers, Jets, Bills, Bears). If you jump on them, they’ll stop fighting. If you give them a reason to keep playing, they’ll take it. The way I look at it, this is the Cowboys’ game to lose. The Eagles usually play well at home and will win if they can slow down the Cowboys’ ferocious running attack, make a few big plays on defense and start strong. But the Eagles just rarely do all those things on the same day. This Eagles team will show me a lot if they win. But I’m going … 

Cowboys 30, Eagles 27

Dave Zangaro (8-6) 

I love the way the Eagles fight. I love the way that they never gave up this season and always seemed to give it everything they had for Doug Pederson. But as I watched them scratch and claw to win their last two games against the Giants and Redskins, it’s just clear that they’re not that talented. For as bad as the Cowboys have been this year, they have talent and that talent showed up in their blowout win against the Rams last week. 

I don’t expect the Eagles to get blown out, but I have no reason to pick them in this game. Could they win? Sure. Maybe Dallas implodes, maybe the Eagles finally put together a complete game. It really could happen. I just don’t think it will. 

Cowboys 27, Eagles 20 

Derrick Gunn (7-7)

It has been a long, frustrating, injury-plagued season for the Eagles. Thanks to the Cowboys’ bumbling and stumbling along the way, it has allowed the Eagles to still be relevant heading in this huge Week 16 showdown. Carson Wentz has had to get comfortable in a hurry with Greg Ward Jr., Josh Perkins, and Robert Davis. Miles Sanders has been more than adequate out of the backfield and Boston Scott has been a nice complement. As for the Eagles’ defensive performance, it has tailed off considerably in recent weeks, getting little pressure on QBs and pass coverage has been frightening. The Dolphins, Giants, and Redskins each had a receiver catch at least 130 yards worth of passes.

The Cowboys finally woke up this past Sunday and demolished the Rams. Dak Prescott is dealing with a shoulder injury but says he will be good to go against the Eagles. The Birds must find a way to contain Ezekiel Elliott, which is easier said than done. In five career games against Philadelphia, Zeke has averaged just under 30 touches, 163 yards from scrimmage, and he’s yet to lose to the Birds. If Elliott gets going on the ground, it opens up the play-action for Prescott to look for Amari Cooper (1,073 yds, 15.1 ypc), Michael Gallup (911 yds, 16.3 ypc) and Randall Cobb (647 yds, 15.0 ypc). Jason Witten, who’s almost old enough to collect social security, still finds a way to get open and young TE Blake Jarwin has become another viable offensive option. The Boys have 61 pass plays of 20-plus yards. Also, let us not forget about RB Tony Pollard, who is a nice change of pace from Elliott. He is averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

The Eagles abundance of injuries may be just too much to overcome this time. They will fight to the end, but Dallas will slip out of town with a win and put an end to the Eagles’ playoff hopes.

Cowboys 30, Eagles 10 

Ray Didinger (6-8) 

I'd like to tell you I know what's going to happen Sunday but that would be a lie. I have no idea what to expect from the Eagles and I have no idea what to expect from the Cowboys. They have been that unpredictable all season. The Eagles won back to back games in dramatic fashion but they beat two lousy teams, the Giants and Redskins. Does this mean they have momentum? Twice this season the Eagles had back-to-back wins and each time they lost the next week. So much for momentum.

The Cowboys opened the season with three straight wins and looked very impressive then they lost three in a row and looked awful in the process. Then they pummeled the Eagles and Giants and people got back on the bandwagon. Oops, they lost four of the next five and the axe was poised over coach Jason Garrett's red head. Then last Sunday they crush the Rams, 44-21, in their best performance of the year. So what are we to think?

Here's what we know. The Linc will be full and very noisy on Sunday. We also know the Cowboys have won six of their last seven games at the Linc. We also know Zeke Elliott is 5-0 in games against the Eagles and the Eagles allowed opponents 4.6 yards per rush in the last eight games. Dak Prescott has a sore shoulder but he can still hand off.

Cowboys 24, Eagles 21

Andrew Kulp (8-6) 

There isn't a question, given all the injuries the Eagles sustained this season, the Cowboys are the more talented team right now. I would no doubt pick Dallas to win if it weren't for one thing:

Dak Prescott's injury.

Sure, he'll probably play -- but how effectively? If he's been unable to throw all week, why would he miraculously be OK on Sunday? And there are some compelling reasons to believe the injury is even more prohibitive than reported.

The Eagles still need to stop Ezekiel Elliott, but the defense hasn't surrendered more than 17 points at home since September. Which means as long as Carson Wentz and his ragtag supporting cast continue scoring — though certainly not a given — a win is within reach.

Eagles 28, Cowboys 24

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NFL free agency: Weighing pros and cons of a Darius Slay trade for Eagles

NFL free agency: Weighing pros and cons of a Darius Slay trade for Eagles

The Eagles desperately need some help at cornerback and one of the top ones in the game is reportedly available. 

Of course the Eagles should be interested. 

Schefter doesn’t list any teams in that report but it would make plenty of sense if the Eagles were one of them. In fact, during the 2019 season, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported the Eagles were interested in possibly trading for Slay before the trade deadline. That obviously didn’t happen. 

And now the three-time Pro Bowler is about to enter the final year of his contract with the Lions. 

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of a possible deal for the Eagles: 

Pros

• Slay is good and still in his prime. This is pretty obvious. The 6-0, 190-pound cornerback was an All-Pro in 2017 and has been a Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons. And he’s been good for a long time. Since 2014, Slay has 19 interceptions, which ranks him fourth in the entire league behind Marcus Peters, Stephon Gilmore and Reggie Nelson.  

And Slay during his time in Detroit has traveled with their opponent’s best receiver a ton. That’s something Jim Schwartz hasn’t done in his time with the Eagles but would probably want to if he had a player of Slay’s caliber. And in a division with Amari Cooper, Darius Slayton and Terry McLaurin for the next few years, that would be nice to have. 

• The Eagles desperately need help at cornerback. Whether it comes through the draft, free agency or a trade, the Eagles need to revamp a position that has been a problem for years. They have struggled to sign cornerbacks as much as they’ve struggled to draft them. Slay would immediately be the best cornerback to suit up for the Eagles in a decade. Their last Pro Bowl caliber cornerback was Asante Samuel, who hasn’t played here since 2011. 

• The trade might not cost as much as you’d think. ESPN’s Mike Clay projected a Slay trade for the Eagles a few days ago. In that trade, he had the Eagles sending a third-round pick and Sidney Jones to Detroit. That sounds like a small haul for a perennial Pro Bowl player but Slay is entering the final year of his contract and if the Lions are going to move on, they probably want to get something for him. Lions new DC Cory Undlin seemed to like Jones when he was here and a change of scenery could help him live up to his potential. 

Plus, if the Eagles trade for Slay and can’t work out a long-term deal, they’d probably get a compensatory pick back for him. 

Cons 

• Slay is 29. The Eagles want to get younger and Slay is nearing 30. While he has been durable, playing at least 13 games in all seven of his NFL seasons, it’s fair to wonder how long he’ll be in his prime. So many of the Eagles’ best players are near or over 30 and adding Slay would mean adding another aging player to the core. 

• He wants a contract. Slay is a 29-year-old Pro Bowler entering the final year of his deal. He has a base salary of $10 million in 2019 but wants to get paid and he’s earned that. The highest-paid six cornerbacks in the NFL make over an average of $14 million per season, so to sign Slay to a long-term deal, it’ll take at least that. The highest-paid CB in the NFL is Xavien Howard at just over $15 million per season. Slay is three years older but that’s likely where his agent will want to start. 

• There might be more attractive options. Sure, it’s hard to imagine a better option than a three-time Pro Bowler who still appears to be in his prime, but there might be cheaper and younger options. There’s a deep free agent class this offseason with guys like Logan Ryan and Kendall Fuller and then there are plenty of solid options in the draft. One of those options might be more appealing to the Eagles but those possibilities might also keep the price (trade and contract) at a reasonable level for Slay. 

So …. 

The Eagles should absolutely be interested in Slay, especially if we’re talking about a trade like the one Clay put forward. For that trade price, it might even be worth getting Slay for one season and seeing what happens. I don’t know how Slay would feel about playing out the final season of his contract but if he’d show up, that might be the best move because the Eagles will have enough cap space to pay him $10 million in 2020. The Eagles could trade for Slay, draft a corner or two and then see where things stand heading into the 2021 season. Not saying this is a slam dunk, but we all know Howie Roseman isn’t shy to pick up the phone. And this time it’s warranted. 

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NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 4.0: Plenty of Eagles options at WR

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 4.0: Plenty of Eagles options at WR

I didn’t plan on this but it’s not that surprising either. 

In this latest 2020 mock draft roundup, you’ll notice there’s a common theme for every Eagles’ pick at No. 21. They’re all receivers. All five. 

With the team’s situation at receiver, they clearly need to upgrade and it just so happens that this is a pretty good class for receivers. There are six or seven likely to go in the first round, so there’s a legitimate shot the Eagles will take one of them at No. 21. 

In the modern era, the Eagles have taken a receiver five times in the first round and four of them were taken around where they’ll pick this spring. 

2015: Nelson Agholor (20)
2009: Jeremy Maclin (19)
2001: Freddie Mitchell (25) 
1984: Kenny Jackson (4) 
1982: Mike Quick (20) 

Here are some options for the Eagles in a couple months: 

The Draft Network, Benjamin Solak

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado 

What they said: It’s no secret that I’m a big Laviska Shenault fan, but the bigger secret in Philadelphia is that it may have exactly zero 2021 starting receivers from its current 2020 roster. With rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside struggling to find the field, Alshon Jeffery looking like an eventual cap casualty once his figure goes down and DeSean Jackson yet to prove he’s back healthy, the receiving corps needs an overhaul something fierce.

Enter Shenault, who can line up anywhere and win with a simple route tree early given his dominant athletic ability and quality hands away from his frame. He makes a lot of sense as well if Jeffery and Jackson are healthy. Shenault can win as an underneath player whose best trait is his yards-after-catch ability. That’s where Shenault is truly dominant.

My take on Shenault: I agree with Ben that Shenault (6-2, 220) would make a ton of sense for the Eagles. His college production wasn’t off the charts but I think that will matter less to the Eagles this time around. And if Shenault goes to the combine and shows off his speed and athleticism, I will have seen enough. He’s a versatile player who could become a dynamic playmaker in the NFL, so he certainly checks off all the boxes. 

Solak has Shenault as the fourth receiver off the board after CeeDee Lamb (13th), Henry Ruggs III (15th), Jerry Jeudy (19th). Tee Higgins is still available here but I kind of agree that Shenault would be a more exciting pick. 

CBS Sports, Chris Trapasso

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Here’s what they said: Higgins is there for Philadelphia. Marvelous situation for Carson Wentz. Higgins has otherworldly ball skills and deceptive long speed.

My take on Higgins: About a month into mock draft season, it seems like Higgins has been the most common pick for the Eagles. At 6-4, 215, Higgins is a different player than Sheanault and is coming off back-to-back 59-catch seasons. Let’s see what Higgins does in the 40 at the combine — I think that number will matter. 

In this mock draft, Higgins is the fifth receiver selected after Lamb (8th), Ruggs III (11th), Jeudy (13th) and Shenault Jr. (18th). TCU’s Jalen Reagor goes at 24. 

CBS Sports, R.J. White

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama 

Here’s what they said: Ruggs certainly could go much higher than this, but if he's available, he'll bring the dynamic presence the Eagles sorely lacked last year when DeSean Jackson, who is 33, missed most of last season with an injury.

My take on Ruggs: I fully expect Ruggs III (6-0, 190) to be long gone by the time the Eagles pick at 21 but there are surprises every year, so I won’t sit here and say there’s no chance. I do think that with the talent at receiver in this class, there will likely be more than two in the top 20. To put it simply with Ruggs: the Eagles need speed and no one has more speed than him. 

White has just two receivers — Lamb (12th) and Jeudy (13th) — going before Ruggs. 

The San Diego Union-Tribune, Eddie Brown

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Here’s what they said: The Eagles wide receiver corps is in shambles. The inconsistent Nelson Agholor faces free agency while DeSean Jackson isn’t getting any younger (or healthier). Lamb has elite hands and ball skills (he’s special with the ball in the air). He can also contribute as a blocker. 

My take on Lamb: I think this is the first time I have seen Lamb (6-2, 189) mocked to the Eagles and that’s mostly because he’s usually off the board long before this. Same situation with Ruggs — I guess there’s an outside chance Lamb could be available, but I doubt it. 

For reference, the other four mock drafts we’re looking at today had Lamb off the board on average at 11.5. So his falling to 21 seems unlikely … at least for now. 

Yahoo Sports, Eric Edholm

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State 

Here’s what they said: The need for (receiver) speed is real. I thought about a corner here, with the Eagles smelling a possible run at that position. But I believe they could be smitten with the vertical ability of Aiyuk, who also earned the apt nickname of “Ai-YAC.” 

My take on Aiyuk: It’s an interesting name and among the guys mocked to the Eagles, Aiyuk (6-1, 206) is probably the name you’re least familiar with. He has speed and is a big YAC guy, so he would certainly seem to fit a need. He has traits to possibly become a dynamic play-maker but 21 might be too early. 

Opinions are clearly split on him. Trapasso and White had him at 26 and 24, respectively, while Solak and Brown had Aiyuk in the second round at No. 54 and 56. 

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