Golden Tate

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. 



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Giants in NFL Week 14

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Giants in NFL Week 14

The Eagles (5-7) are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins and will host the Giants (2-10) on Monday Night Football at the Linc. 

The Giants haven’t won a game since Sept. 29, but the Eagles have lost three in a row. 

Here are five matchups to watch on Monday: 

Eli Manning vs. Jim Schwartz 

Rookie Daniel Jones has a high ankle sprain, so it sounds like the 38-year-old veteran will be starting on Monday night. The Giants’ offense will look different with Manning. Schwartz explained that the Giants have been using some zone read with Jones and they certainly won’t with Manning. We know the ball is going to come out of his hands quickly. 

“It's going to be important to cover quick and get to the quarterback quick and knock their timing off of their passing game when Eli is back there, because he's such a timing quarterback,” Schwartz said. 

Last season, Manning’s average time to throw was 2.65 seconds. This year, Jones’ average time to throw is 2.88 seconds. That’s a pretty big difference. 

Evan Engram vs. Malcolm Jenkins 

The Giants’ talented tight end hasn’t played since Nov. 4 because of a foot sprain but will likely return against the Eagles this weekend. In eight games this season, Engram has 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns. 

In two career games against the Eagles, Engram has 13 catches for 132 yards. 

The good news is that the Eagles have performed fairly well against tight ends this season. They’ve given up 50 passes, 533 yards and four touchdowns against opposing tight ends. Just eight teams have given up fewer yards to opposing tight ends. 

Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles’ linebackers 

It probably has something to do with the ankle injury he suffered earlier in the season, but Barkley hasn’t followed up his Pro Bowl rookie season with another big year. This year, in nine games, he has just 544 rushing yards and 291 receiving yards and just three total touchdowns after he had 15 last year. 

His rushing yards per attempt have dropped from 5.0 in 2018 to 4.0 this season. What’s even more noteworthy is that his average yards after contact per attempt have dropped from 2.8 to 1.9 this season. He hasn’t been the same. 

Still, Barkley was great against the Eagles last year: 

Week 6: 13 carries, 130 yards, 1 TD, 9 receptions, 99 yards

Week 12: 13 carries, 101 yards, 1 TD, 7 receptions, 41 yards, 1 TD 

That’s 371 yards from scrimmage for Barkley against the Eagles last year. Just five players have ever had more yards from scrimmage against the Eagles in a single season: Tiki Barber, Emmitt Smith, Jim Brown (x2), Herschel Walker, Ezekiel Elliott. 

The Eagles need to be sure to slow down Barkley on Monday. 

Golden Tate vs. Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc

The former Eagles receiver is expected to return from a concussion to play in this game. Tate played the second half of the 2018 season with the Eagles last year and wasn’t very productive. Look at his numbers in 10 games with the Eagles (including playoffs) and his numbers in seven games with the Giants this year: 

2018 with Eagles: 10 games, 37 catches, 342 yards, two touchdowns 

2019 with Giants: 7 games, 36 catches, 450 yards, four touchdowns 

With an entire offseason, the Giants have been far more successful plugging Tate into their offense. Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby really struggled against the Dolphins, so it covered up the fact that Maddox didn’t play very well either. We’ll see what the split at the nickel is this week, but Maddox or LeBlanc will need to cover Tate, who still gets most of his snaps in the slot. 

Carson Wentz vs. Giants’ pass defense 

I know they lost and I know the offense struggled to score in the second half in Miami, but Wentz had a pretty good game. He threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He had his only interception on the Hail Mary that he was forced to throw because the defense couldn’t stop the Dolphins at all. Before that Hail Mary, Wentz’s passer rating was over 100. 

The Giants are the eighth-worst passing defense in the league, giving up 258.6 passing yards per game. And you have to remember that they’ve lost six games by at least two touchdowns, so teams aren’t even trying to pass on them for whole games. Janoris Jenkins has recently voiced his frustration about not traveling. First-round pick DeAndre Baker hasn’t had a great rookie season and he’s been rotating in and out. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Who's still left? Updating statuses for all Eagles' free agents

Who's still left? Updating statuses for all Eagles' free agents

The craziness of free agency has finally died down, so it’s time to take a breath and take stock of the Eagles’ free agents. 

So far, several Birds from the 2018 team have re-signed, others have signed elsewhere and plenty are still on the open market. 

Here’s a complete look: 

Brought back 

Brandon Graham: Graham never made it to free agency, signing a three-year, $40 million deal before the new league year. Just the first two years of the contract are guaranteed, but it was still a nice payday for the 30-year-old defensive end. 

Ronald Darby: He’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL, but Darby is back for the 2019 season to join a crowded cornerback room. His deal is reportedly worth $8.5 million. There’s some question as to whether or not he’ll be ready for the opener. 

Paul Worrilow: Worrilow didn’t make it to free agency either. The veteran linebacker was re-signed back in January. He tore his ACL early in OTAs, so he’s far along and could factor into the linebacker rotation. 

Nate Sudfeld: The Eagles slapped a second-round tender on the restricted free agent. It all but guarantees he’ll be back for 2019 at a salary just north of $3 million.  

Rick Lovato: The long snapper signed a one-year deal. He was an exclusive rights free agent. 

Jake Elliott: Ditto. Elliott signed a one-year deal too. 

Signed elsewhere 

Golden Tate: Tate talked a lot about wanting to win, but then cashed out with a four-year, $37.5 million deal to join the directionless Giants. He spent just half a season with the Birds, but will now see them twice per season for the next several years. 

Jordan Hicks: The Eagles would have welcomed Hicks back, but not with the deal he got. Hicks signed a four-year, $34 million contract to join the Arizona Cardinals. It includes $20 million guaranteed for the former third-round pick. 

Jordan Matthews: Matthews’ second stint as an Eagle came to a close when he agreed to a one-year deal with the 49ers. The Eagles brought back Nelson Agholor for $9.4 million and he will be their slot receiver. 

Nick Foles: The inevitable happened and Foles is no longer an Eagle. He got a huge four-year, $88 million contract with over $50 million guaranteed with the Jaguars. At least he left the NFC.  

Still available 

Jay Ajayi: He’s recovering from an ACL tear and had knee issues before the injury, but Ajayi might be a cheap option for 2019. We’ll see where he ends up, but the Eagles will at least know how his recovery is going.  

Haloti Ngata: The 35-year-old played better down the stretch, but he wasn’t worth the $3 million the Eagles paid him in 2018. Can’t imagine he’ll be back. 

Mike Wallace: For a while, I thought maybe Wallace would be back on a cheap deal. But after trading for DeSean Jackson, the Eagles have found their deep threat. 

D.J. Alexander: Alexander was a key special teams contributor when healthy, but he missed four games in 2018. He is a former special teams Pro Bowler, but the addition of L.J. Fort might not bode well for the 27-year-old’s chances to return. Still a chance, though. 

LaRoy Reynolds: Another special teams linebacker, at least Reynolds played limited snaps on defense in 2018. Wouldn’t be the worst thing to bring him back. 

Darren Sproles: Sproles is 35 now and his initial plan was to retire. We haven’t heard otherwise yet, but we know he was thinking about one more season. Doug Pederson said he would welcome Sproles back, but I wouldn’t count on that happening. 

Richard Rodgers: The Eagles might sign a veteran tight end to be their third behind Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, so Rodgers is still a possibility. But maybe the Eagles would be happy with Josh Perkins or Will Tye, who are already on the roster. 

Chance Warmack: The Eagles need depth on the interior of their line, but I don’t want to hear the collective groan from all Eagles fans if they bring Warmack back. 

Corey Graham: My guess is Graham finally retires. He was really close after the 2017 season and I think this time it sticks.  

Tim Jernigan: The Eagles didn’t pick up Jernigan’s option, a move that saved them $7 million in cap space. Perhaps they could bring him back on a cheaper deal, but Malik Jackson is definitely the new starter next to Fletcher Cox. 

Chris Maragos: A significant knee injury suffered in 2017 kept Maragos out all of last season and he needed another surgery late in the year. Heckuva career for an undrafted safety.  

Stefen Wisniewski: The Eagles declined Wiz’s option and will save $3 million because of it. He’s on the market and maybe he’ll find that starter job he’s been coveting since he arrived to Philadelphia.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles