Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles visit Giants in Week 17

5 matchups to watch as Eagles visit Giants in Week 17

The Eagles (8-7) are coming off a big 17-9 win over the Cowboys and will face the Giants (4-11) coming off a shootout overtime win over the Redskins. 

With a win, the Eagles would clinch the NFC East. 

Let’s get to the matchups: 

Daniel Jones vs. Jim Schwartz 

When these two teams played in Week 14, the Eagles faced Eli Manning. But now Jones is healthy again and is coming off the best game of his young career. Against the Redskins, Jones completed 28 of 42 passes for 352 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. He was great. 

“Like a lot of rookie players he has his ups and downs, but he's playing his best late in the season,” Jim Schwartz said. “I don't know if it had anything to do with sort of — a lot of times rookies can get in there and take a step back. He took a step back for a couple weeks, watched; sometimes that benefits guys.”

Since taking over as defensive coordinator in Philly, Schwartz is 5-1 against starting rookie quarterbacks (Dak Prescott x2, C.J. Bethard, Mitchell Trubisky, Luke Falk, Dwayne Haskins). The only loss came to Prescott back in 2016. But Haskins was pretty good against the Eagles a couple weeks ago, throwing for 261 yards and two touchdowns. 

Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles’ linebackers 

Schwartz said he thought Barkley looked like he was 100 percent in the last meeting between these two teams, but it didn’t look like it to me. But Barkley definitely looked healthy against Washington last week. 

In that game, he rushed for 189 yards and a touchdown and added another 90 and another touchdown as a receiver. That was his second straight game going over 100 rushing yards. 

The Eagles finally handled Ezekiel Elliott last week, but now they face another tough challenge. Tackling will be key. 

“He is a guy you always need to know where he is, you need to account for him both in the run game and pass game,” Schwartz said. “And in the run game, you have to account for all of your gaps. He is a guy that can spin. He is a really good spin move guy and can break contain, so it's not just your interior guys. Your edges have to hold up well against him.”

Darius Slayton vs. Eagles’ corners 

In the last meeting between these two teams, Slayton went off for five catches for 154 yards. Both of his big plays came on Ronald Darby’s side in that game. Darby is done for the year after being placed on IR earlier this week. So expect Slayton to work against Jalen Mills or Rasul Douglas, two guys who aren’t known for their speed. 

Both of Slayton’s touchdown catches in that game went for 35-plus yards. On the season, the Eagles have given up 17 pass plays of 35-plus. Just five teams have given up more and the top number in the league is 20. 

Golden Tate vs. Avonte Maddox 

The Eagles held Tate in check a few weeks ago, when he had just one catch for 11 yards. But he’s now coming off a 96-yard game against Washington. And even though he wasn’t great against Miami in the previous week, he did have a 51-yard touchdown catch. He’s 31 but Tate can still hurt a defense. 

I thought Maddox had what was arguably his best game of the season last week against the Cowboys. Cre’Von LeBlanc didn’t play in that game so it looks like this is Maddox’s role going forward. This will be an important matchup to watch against a team that certainly has its fair share of offensive weapons. 

Carson Wentz vs. Giants' pass defense 

This has been a very good month for Carson Wentz. In December (including the first Giants game), Wentz has completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,220 yards, 9 touchdowns and one interception. He has a rating of 101.7 in the month. 

Among players with at least 50 passing attempts this month, Wentz ranks fifth in passer rating behind Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Jackson and Jimmy Garoppolo. He’s also fourth in passing yards and tied for fourth in touchdowns. For a guy who hasn’t been able to play much in the last couple Decembers, Wentz has been very good this month. 

The Giants have given up 263.1 passing yards per game this season, which ranks them 26th in the NFL. The Giants have a pretty stout front that has allowed just 3.9 yards per carry, but they’re susceptible to the passing game. 



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Eagle Eye podcast: Eagles still not ready to invest at linebacker

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Eagle Eye podcast: Eagles still not ready to invest at linebacker

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank is joined by a tired Dave Zangaro, still in Indianapolis at the combine. 

They guys break down Howie Roseman’s recent comments about the linebacker position and Howie’s radio remarks about the Jadeveon Clowney hit. 

The latest on Malcolm Jenkins, the proposed CBA and Rich Scangarello’s role in the Eagles’ offense. 

• Still not ready to spend on linebackers 
• Howie speaks out about Clowney’s hit
• Latest on the Malcolm Jenkins situation 
• A closer look at the proposed CBA and why it’s going to pass 
• Figuring out Rich Scangarello’s importance to the offense 
• And what if the Eagles bring back Alshon Jeffery? 

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NFL Free Agency: Eagles could face Jadeveon Clowney next year on NFC East rival

NFL Free Agency: Eagles could face Jadeveon Clowney next year on NFC East rival

Jadeveon Clowney is Public Enemy No. 1 for Eagles fans right now, after his dirty hit in the Wild Card round injured Carson Wentz and ended the Birds' playoff hopes.

Can you imagine facing Clowney twice in 2020? That might end up a reality, according to a report from none other than ESPN's Josina Anderson, another villain from the Wentz hit fallout.

Anderson reports that Clowney is opening to returning to the Seahawks in 2020, but is also open to other opportunities, and could be courted by an Eagles rival:

Ignoring the football implications for now - Clowney, antics aside, is good at football - let's think instead about the absolute mayhem that would meet Clowney when the Giants visited The Linc.

It would probably be... a lot. For a fanbase willing to boo its own guys, that's nothing compared to the wrath Philly fans unleash when they feel they've been wronged by a player, justified or not. Just ask Sidney Crosby how his last decade-plus of visits to this side of the state have been, without anything nearly as malicious on his rap sheet.

The entire organization was angry about the play, from guys like Jason Peters in the hours after the hit to Howie Roseman talking about its lingering effects just this week (see story), which means we'd likely see a fired-up team take the field in that first Giants game, especially if it happened to be at home, emotions swirling in the South Philly winds.

Roseman encapsulated most fans' feelings when he spoke at the NFL Combine on Wednesday:

We thought that was a foul. We’re sick to our stomach about the way our season ended for our team and Carson in particular. (...) Doug’s sick. Jeffery’s sick about it. Our whole organization is sick about it. We’re there, we have a home playoff game, eight plays in? Come on.

Luckily for Eagles fans seeking to voice their frustration, even if Clowney goes back to Seattle, he'll still visit the Linc next year. But it would be doubly satisfying to beat him while he plays for a division rival.

Can you imagine the roar of the crowd as Wentz spins out of a Clowney sack attempt, rolls to his right, and rifles a pass to Dallas Goedert to go up by two scores? The Linc might not survive.

We'll see what happens.

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