Eagles

NFL playoff picture set with Giants-Packers highlighting wild card weekend

NFL playoff picture set with Giants-Packers highlighting wild card weekend

Rodgers tossed four touchdown passes to help the Green Bay Packers capture the NFC North title with a 31-24 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday night. The Packers (10-6) will host the Giants (11-5) next Sunday while the Lions (9-7) visit Seattle (10-5-1) on Saturday night.

New York's 19-10 win at Washington eliminated the Redskins (8-7-1) and allowed the Packers and Lions to secure playoff spots before their game kicked off. But the teams are heading in opposite directions. The Packers have won six in a row while the Lions lost three straight.

Earlier in the day, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (11-5) secured a first-round bye with a 38-32 win over New Orleans. The Seahawks beat San Francisco 25-23 and earned the No. 3 seed.

The Cowboys (13-3) already locked up the NFC's No. 1 seed before they played last week.

In the AFC, Tom Brady and the Patriots (14-2) beat Miami 35-14 to secure the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Chiefs (12-4) clinched a first-round bye thanks to Denver's win over Oakland coupled with their victory over San Diego.

The Raiders (12-4) fell from No. 2 to the fifth spot and will open the playoffs on the road at Houston (9-7). That matchup could feature rookie quarterback Connor Cook making his first career start for the Raiders after they lost Derek Carr last week and backup Matt McGloin went down in the second quarter against the Broncos.

The Texans also have uncertainty at quarterback. Tom Savage sustained a concussion in a loss at Tennessee and was replaced by former starter Brock Osweiler.

The Steelers (11-5) will host the Dolphins (10-6) in the AFC's other wild-card game.

Here's a look at the playoff teams by seed:

AFC

1. New England Patriots
Brady and coach Bill Belichick will begin their quest for a fifth Super Bowl championship against either Houston, Oakland or Miami on Jan. 14 at 8:15 p.m.

2. Kansas City Chiefs
Coach Andy Reid is 3-0 in divisional playoff games when his team has a bye. All three wins came with the Eagles. The Chiefs open against Pittsburgh, Houston or Oakland on Jan. 15 at 1:05 p.m.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown had an early bye. They sat out an overtime win over Cleveland in preparation for the Dolphins next Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

4. Houston Texans
They need to sort out their quarterback issues before the Raiders visit next Saturday at 4:35 p.m. Oakland beat Houston 27-20 in Mexico City on Nov. 21.

5. Oakland Raiders
Carr's season-ending injury deflated a team making its first playoff appearance since losing the 2003 Super Bowl to Tampa Bay.

6. Miami Dolphins
It's unknown whether QB Ryan Tannehill will return from injury when the Dolphins play their first playoff game in eight years. Matt Moore was 2-1 in Tannehill's absence.

NFC

1. Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott only played two series and Ezekiel Elliott sat out a loss at Philadelphia to get ready for the playoffs. The Cowboys will open against Green Bay, New York or Detroit on Jan. 15 at 4:40 p.m.

2. Atlanta Falcons
They will host Seattle, Green Bay or New York on Jan. 14 at 4:35 p.m.

3. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks start their drive for a third NFC championship title in four seasons against the Lions next Saturday at 8:15 p.m.

4. Green Bay Packers
Rodgers has the Packers riding high into the playoffs. They were a No. 6 seed in 2010 when the last won a Super Bowl. Green Bay plays the Giants in this season's final wild-card game next Sunday at 4:40 p.m.

5. New York Giants
Were locked into the No. 5 seed, but Manning played the entire game and the Giants knocked out the Redskins. Manning has won two playoff games at Lambeau Field, beating Brett Favre and the Packers in a frigid NFC championship game following the 2007 season.

6. Detroit Lions
Wilson, Richard Sherman and The 12s stand in the way of Detroit's first playoff win since the 1991 season.

Eagles mailbag: Moving Rasul Douglas, keeping Donnel Pumphrey

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Eagles mailbag: Moving Rasul Douglas, keeping Donnel Pumphrey

We split up your questions, so Part I of the mailbag ran yesterday (see story).

Just a reminder: training camp starts on July 25 and the first practice will be July 26. 

Let’s not waste anymore time. 

I’ve heard this a ton from people and it makes sense. Douglas seems to have what you’d look for in a safety and the Eagles value coverage skills in that position, something Douglas clearly has. So I see that as a possibility, but the Eagles have seemed hesitant to move him or even to really cross-train him. For me, the time to do it would have been during the OTAs and minicamp. Why not slide him back there for a few days to see how he handles it? That’s how I would have handled it. Without any extended time at safety in the spring, it’s hard for me to envision real cross-training in the summer. Eventually, though, you’re right; this makes sense. 

I don’t think so. Pumphrey looked a little better this spring, but he better have a great training camp. Right now, I have the Eagles keeping four running backs: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Matt Jones. If they keep five, Pump has a real chance; he’d just need to beat out Wendell Smallwood for that final spot. I think he has a decent chance, but I haven’t seen enough to give him a roster spot. He’s a player I’ll be watching extremely close at training camp. 

I’ll preface this by saying I’m no punter expert, but Cameron Johnston looks pretty solid to me. He was a really good punter at Ohio State and seemed to boot the ball pretty well this spring. The Eagles were comfortable enough with him to move on from Donnie Jones. 

To answer the second part, he will be the holder for Jake Elliott. The two have been working together this spring. While Johnston held last summer, Elliott was still in Cincinnati. They have to gel. 

In my latest 53-man roster projection, I actually don’t have Tre Sullivan in there. Instead, I went with Corey Graham, who is still on the street. I agree with you that in most situations going with the younger guy is the move, but not with this team. Not this year. Graham was such an important part of last year’s team. And because the Eagles have a legitimate shot to repeat, I’d try to bring him back. The Eagles have about $6 million in cap space. Get it done. 

Hi, John. Mango. Always mango. 

Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

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Eagles Mailbag: Biggest concern on 2018 roster

We’ve officially reached the only sort of dead period on the NFL calendar. The Eagles are through their spring practices and won’t be back at the NovaCare Complex until July 25 for the start of training camp. 

That sounds far away, but it’ll be here before you know it. 

You guys were great and gave me a ton of questions, so I’ll answer half today and half Sunday. Let’s go: 

I’m tempted to say defensive tackle just for health concerns surrounding Tim Jernigan, but I have to answer linebacker. Jordan Hicks appears to be healthy after tearing his Achilles last year, but as good as he is when healthy, it’s just tough to count on him. Two years ago, he was able to play a full season and things were looking good, but then he suffered another serious injury. If Hicks and Bradham stay healthy, linebackers aren’t a concern. The Eagles will have either Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry or Corey Nelson take the weakside spot on base downs and they’ll be OK. 

But without Mychal Kendricks, it’s fair to be concerned about their depth at the position, especially after veteran pickup Paul Worrilow was already lost for the year. Kendricks came up huge last year as a fill-in; not sure the Eagles have that kind of depth this year. 

Not sure yet. What I can tell you about De’Vante Bausby is that he was impressive this spring and the coaching staff seems to love him. I remain very, very skeptical that he’s good enough to keep Sidney Jones off the field. With that said, I do think he’s talented enough to make the 53-man roster. We’ll get a better sense at camp when the pads go on, but I have him penciled in to make the team. 

Yes on both. The Nate Sudfeld hype is real. In our first extended looks at the young quarterback, he’s been incredibly impressive. It’s starting to make sense why the Eagles snatched him from Washington and then blocked the Colts from signing him last season. They kept him on the 53 in the second half of last year, so they’re completely prepared to keep three QBs on this year’s roster if Foles is still on the team. 

This is going to be the summer of Nate Sudfeld. We’re going to see him play a ton in those preseason games and that will let us know if he’s ready to be QB2 behind Carson Wentz. But the fact that the Eagles didn’t bring in a more experienced veteran after Wentz went down last year pretty much tells you all you need to know about what the Eagles think of him. 

We tried that. Didn’t work out well. We’re up for suggestions. 

You have no idea how out of water this fish is. This is like taking a fish from the ocean and dropping it in Kansas. 

How about Portugal? I’ll go with them because of Ronaldo.