Eagles-Patriots NFL Week 11 predictions 2019

Eagles-Patriots NFL Week 11 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-4) host the Patriots (8-1) on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (4-5) 
There are two things the Eagles have to do if they're going to have any chance of beating the Patriots Sunday. They have to be able to run the ball effectively throughout — let's say 40 times for 160 yards will do it — and they're going to have to pressure Tom Brady consistently. Even if Jordan Howard can't play, I think the Eagles can run the ball effectively. The Patriots are allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry over the last six weeks, and teams have been running at will against them.

The only run defense the Patriots really have is building a big early lead, and I don't think that'll happen Sunday because the Eagles have been better early in games recently and the Eagles are generally much better defensively at home. The Eagles have the second-most sacks in the NFL over the last five games, and they're ninth in rushing over the same span. Harrass Brady and pound the rock. That's the magic formula. 

Eagles 23, Patriots 20

Dave Zangaro (4-5) 
I initially wanted to pick the Eagles in this game because I do think it’s winnable. I really do think the Patriots’ 8-1 record is inflated by the competition they’ve faced. And if the Eagles were healthier, I would have picked them. I still think the Eagles’ defense will be able to hold the Patriots in check, but I have no confidence that the Birds will be able to score. Alshon Jeffery is out, which means the Patriots can focus all their energy on taking Zach Ertz out of the game. And initially I thought this was going to be a Howard game and now his status is in question. It wouldn’t shock me if the Eagles pull off the upset, but there’s too much evidence that tells me they won’t. 

Patriots 17, Eagles 13

Derrick Gunn (3-6)
Both teams are coming off byes and are well-rested. The Eagles are riding a two-game high. The Patriots are still seething from being embarrassed by the Ravens in Baltimore. A ticked-off New England squad, plus Bill Belichick having extra time to fix the problems on his team and preparing for what’s to come is not good for the opposition.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they enter this showdown shorthanded. Darren Sproles is done for the year with a torn hip flexor muscle. Jeffery has an ankle injury and isn’t expected to play in this game. Plus, Howard has a shoulder issue and is questionable. The big question for the Birds is can they establish their run game against the Patriots similar to what they did previously against two good run defenses Buffalo and Chicago? 

The Eagles cannot turn the ball over. The Patriots are No. 1 in the league in takeaways with 27. Two of their 19 INTs have been returned for touchdowns and so has one fumble recovery. Can the Eagles’ defense, still without Nigel Bradham, contain Brady? The Patriots don’t get much production from their tight end position. The Pats’ four tight ends combined have just 18 catches for 242 yards and one touchdown. And their running game has been lethargic. Doug Pederson is 1-0 vs. Brady/Belichick, but this time it doesn’t look good.

Patriots 27, Eagles 23

Ray Didinger (4-5) 
I know what the numbers say and they say never pick against the Patriots, especially when they are coming off a loss (they are 44-8 in that role since 2002) and when Belichick has two weeks to prepare. He is 14-5 off the bye as the Patriots coach. Plus they are the Patriots and they just know how to win.

So why do I think the Eagles can pull this off? Am I having flashbacks to Super Bowl LII or something? Maybe a little. But I do think the Pats' 8-1 record is a bit inflated by playing a lot of lousy teams and when they faced Baltimore they got rolled. The Ravens exposed some cracks in the Patriots' No. 1-ranked defense and while Carson Wentz isn't Lamar Jackson he is mobile enough to give New England problems.

I don't see the Patriots running the ball against the Eagles — Sony Michel is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry — so Brady will be in shotgun all day. If the Eagles' pass rush, which has reappeared lately, can get some pressure on the Patriots' quarterback and throw off the timing of their passing game, I look for the home team to hang in this one and steal it late.

Call me crazy but ...

Eagles 27, Patriots 24

Andrew Kulp (6-3) 
The Patriots are 8-1, boast the top scoring defense in the NFL — allowing 10.9 points per game — the No. 2 scoring offense, and the best turnover differential by eight! Practically sounds like one of the best squads ever assembled.

Except their eight wins have come against opponents with a combined 24-51 record (only the Bills are above .500, and even the Eagles beat them), including five teams with two wins or less. And the Pats have beaten those five teams by a combined score of 174-35 with a plus-10 turnover differential, which really has those rankings in the previous paragraph out of whack.

The Patriots are a good team with an opportunistic defense and a quarterback who knows how to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. But they aren't some impenetrable force because they can knock off Washington or the Jets (even the Eagles did that, too.)

I could into greater detail busting New England down a peg, though the fact is the Patriots are the reigning Super Bowl champs, they'll be back in the playoffs this year and likely with a first-round bye. By no means do I believe the Eagles, who have their own problems, will whip this team. But they're home, unafraid of the Patriot mystique, and I've got a nice lead in these standings here, so what the heck, I'm taking the Birds.

Eagles 23, Patriots 21

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DeMarco Murray bidding against Josh Harris for the Mets? It could happen

DeMarco Murray bidding against Josh Harris for the Mets? It could happen

It’s nice to see that some of that $9 million the Eagles paid DeMarco Murray is going to good use.

Murray, a free agent disaster after the Eagles signed him to a five-year, $40 million contract in March 2015, emerged Monday as part of a consortium led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez that is trying to buy the Mets, according to the New York Post.

That’s not the only Philly connection to the impending Mets sale. Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the 76ers and Devils, have also bid about $1.7 billion for the ballclub, according to the Post.

Which raises the bizarre possibility that a group led by the owner of the 76ers could wind up bidding a group including a former Eagles running back for ownership of one of the Phillies’ biggest rivals.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, younger brother of Jason; former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher; and long-time Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas are also among the so-called J-Rod investment group trying to buy the team from the Wilpon family.

Murray earned just over $9 million for his one year with the Eagles — $1 million in base salary, a $5 million signing bonus and a $3 million roster bonus, along with $16,609 in various incentives.

According to Spotrac, Murray earned a total of $25,715,703 in his seven-year career with the Cowboys, Eagles and Titans that ended in 2017, with only $3.6 million of that coming from the Cowboys and more than $13 million from two years with the Titans.

Thomas earned $122.85 million in his 11-year career that ended in 2017, Urlacher earned $80.18 million in 12 seasons before retiring in 2012 and Kelce has already earned $40.11 million in four seasons.

After leading the NFL in rushing and making first-team all-pro in 2014, Murray had a miserable season in Philadelphia, averaging 3.6 yards per carry and rushing for only 702 yards — more than 1,100 fewer than the year before.

He had one carry longer than 30 yards all year, and that was a 54-yarder against the Giants on the final day of the season after Chip Kelly had been fired and replaced by interim coach Pat Shurmur.

Soon after being restored to general manager, Howie Roseman traded Murray and a 4th-round pick to the Titans for a higher 4th-round pick that wound up going to the Browns as part of the deal that gave the Eagles the second pick in the 2016 draft.

Murray spent 2019 as running backs coach at Arizona and was hired in January as running backs coach at Oklahoma, his alma mater.

The Wilpon family has been losing somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million per year. The Mets have only had three winning seasons since 2009 and haven’t won a playoff series since 2015.

FoxBusiness’s Charles Gasparino reported that the top bid of $2 billion came from investor Steve Cohen.

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NFL agents vote Eagles' Howie Roseman smartest general manager in the league

NFL agents vote Eagles' Howie Roseman smartest general manager in the league

NFL agents carry a sneaky amount of power across the league, but they often choose to avoid talking publicly about their day-to-day work.

So when The Athletic polled 30 agents from across the league this week on a whole host of topics, from COVID-19 to Cam Newton, I tuned in - and one question in particular caught my eyes:

"14. Among general managers or front-office leaders, who is the smartest?"

General managers juggle plenty of things throughout the year, one being a spiderweb of relationships with a number of player agents. (A failure to get on the same page with agents was one of the main critiques of former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie!) So if agents think highly of a certain guy, it's obviously a good sign for the whole organization.

So the answers should have Eagles fans feeling pretty good.

Howie Roseman finished in the No. 1 spot, receiving five votes. He landed one vote ahead of New England's Bill Belichick, and two votes ahead of Colts general manager Chris Ballard.

Here are a couple specific quotes about Roseman's acumen, from the agents themselves:

"He knows how to put teams together. And he's working with a limited amount in terms of the cap. He knows how to maneuver and get players that he feels like will fit the scheme even if he doesn’t have to pay them top dollar. He's very smart in terms of chess moves. I'm not a huge fan. I will say that, as well. But he knows what he's doing in terms of putting things together."

"If I was gonna go into the lab and build a GM, it's a guy that can deal with the media, a guy that knows personnel and a guy that knows money. Those are the three things. Howie Roseman is a guy who I think is very good with the media from what I can tell. I know that he knows the money game very well. And I've known him for 15-18 years and he's worked incredibly hard to learn football and how to evaluate to the point now where he's really good. I give him a lot of credit that he can handle all three parts of the job."

That's the kind of evaluation you pin to the fridge. Good stuff.

This echoes what we heard earlier this year from Browns general manager Andrew Berry, a former Eagles front office member, who had nothing but amazing things to say about Roseman:

"With Howie, I've said it before: I think he's the best general manager, currently, in the sport. Very well-rounded skillset. I've taken a lot from in him, in terms of my approach to free agency, trades, general aggression with roster building, contract management, and then just overall people management and philosophy."

Roseman brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl, kept Carson Wentz around on a team-friendly deal, and generally keeps the Eagles in good standing with the salary cap.

Keep doing what you do, Howie.

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