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Eagles, Rams a mirror image in many ways

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Eagles, Rams a mirror image in many ways

Who would’ve thought the Eagles would be 10-2 and preparing to face a 9-3 Rams squad when the schedule came out in April? Yet, here were are, waiting for an unlikely Week 14 showdown between two of the top teams in the conference.

This is no fluke. The Eagles and Rams both have talented rosters from top to bottom, with ascending, young quarterbacks in the midst of breakout seasons, and outstanding coaching staffs with sharp, fresh minds and time-tested defensive coordinators.

In many ways, these teams are like a mirror image of each other when you begin to compare.

Quarterbacks
The No. 1 and 2 choices in the 2016 NFL draft, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, will be linked — and therefore compared to one another — forever. So far, you’d have to take what's behind Door No. 2. Most of their 2017 stats are comparable, but Wentz has nine more touchdown passes with the same number of interceptions and is a threat to run with the football. Wentz is further along in his development in terms of responsibilities at the line of scrimmage, too. Goff looks legit, and time will tell who is going to be better. Right now, it’s probably Wentz.

Slight advantage: Eagles

Running backs
LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement are great backs. So what does it say that you would trade all of them for Todd Gurley? With 1,502 yards from scrimmage, Gurley ranks second in the NFL behind Pittsburgh's Le’Veon Bell. That’s only 279 yards less than the entire Eagles’ backfield, including Wendell Smallwood and an injured Darren Sproles. There’s a reason Gurley is a rare viable MVP candidate at running back. Who needs three or four backs when one guy can do it all?

Advantage: Rams

Wide receivers and tight ends
The Rams’ leading receiver — Robert Woods with 703 yards — is doubtful to play Sunday with a shoulder injury. Goff still has quality weapons. Sammy Watkins leads the club with six touchdown catches while Cooper Kupp has a team-high 51 receptions playing largely in the slot. Woods has been the most consistent, though. Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor all have at least 40 receptions, 599 yards and seven touchdowns, giving the Eagles one of the most well-rounded receiving corps in the league. The Rams need Woods for there to be any comparison.

Advantage: Eagles

Offensive lines
Halapoulivaati Vaitai has started to struggle a bit at left tackle for the Eagles the past couple weeks, perhaps a sign Jason Peters' replacement is coming back down to earth. But from center Jason Kelce to tackle Lane Johnson, the Eagles still have arguably the best right side in the NFL. Similarly, from tackle Andrew Whitworth to center John Sullivan, the Rams have one of the best left sides after rebuilding in free agency. However, their weak link is right guard Jamon Brown. All things considered, both are strong units.

Even

Defensive linemen and linebackers
Aaron Donald leads all defensive tackles with 8.0 sacks this season, and that’s after missing the first game of the season over a contract dispute. He’s also tied for eighth among all players with 20 quarterback hits. Donald may very well be the most feared pass rusher in the entire NFL, but beyond him, the Rams’ front seven is a little lacking. Look no further than these run defenses. Los Angeles ranks 27th; the Eagles are atop the league. Donald is great, but there is strength in numbers — such as the collective of Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Nigel Bradham up the middle.

Mild advantage: Eagles

Cornerbacks and safeties
These are two of the most opportunistic secondaries in the league. The Eagles hold the slightest of edges over the Rams statistically, with 16 interceptions to 14, and a 77.0 opponents’ passer rating against a 77.3. Once again, the difference may come down to injuries, as Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner is banged up with a shoulder injury. Even if he plays, Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are head and shoulders above John Johnson III and Joyner, while the cornerbacks are comparable.

Slight advantage: Eagles

Special teams
The Rams are the rare opponent who can actually boast better special teams than the Eagles. Greg Zuerlein has been by far the best kicker in the NFL this year, and punter Johnny Hekker has been named to the Pro Bowl in three of the past four seasons. Pharoh Cooper has emerged as one of the league’s top return specialists as well, averaging 12.6 yars on punt returns and 28.7 on kickoff returns with a touchdown. Even their coverage units are superb, limiting opponents to 5.3 yards on punts and 20.9 on kicks.

Advantage: Rams

Coaching
Doug Pederson and Sean McVay are two of the brightest young head coaches in the NFL. It’s not difficult to envision a scenario where these two are meeting in the playoffs for years to come. With such limited résumés, it’s difficult to choose one or the other, so look at their respective staffs. As much credit as Jim Schwartz deserves for turning the Eagles defense around, Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is an all-timer. Phillips has taken a front with only one dominant player in Donald and assembled one of the most disruptive pass rushes in the NFL — almost entirely by his scheme.

Slight advantage: Rams

Overall
One could argue the Eagles might be the better product altogether. Of course, that’s at least partly a result of injuries. The Rams likely won’t have their complete receiving corps or secondary intact Sunday. Otherwise, things might look a little different. Even with the perceived advantages in the Eagles’ favor, the Rams can make up the difference with stellar special teams play and coaching. In other words, the comparison between these two opponents is very, very close, injuries or not. Assuming they can keep their respective teams together, it should make for a fun rivalry for years to come.

Even

Eagles vets give rookies some bad, hilarious haircuts

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Twitter

Eagles vets give rookies some bad, hilarious haircuts

These Super Bowl champions sure do know how to have fun … at the expense of the rookies.

The Eagles veterans on Tuesday took to social media to showcase their hazing of the team's rookies. Don't worry, it's not the bad kind of hazing. Except if you think bad haircuts and no eyebrows are cruel.

We're going to let the haircuts do the talking.

You can watch more of the Eagles' barbershop here.

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Eagles fans troll Patriots fans again with billboard outside Gillette Stadium

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@GinaMarie0125 on Twitter

Eagles fans troll Patriots fans again with billboard outside Gillette Stadium

The Eagles swear they've moved on from Super Bowl LII, but fans? Yeah, that's never going to happen.

With the Super Bowl rematch just two days away and the Birds heading up to Foxboro, Massachusetts, Eagles fans are making sure the Patriots and their fans remember who won the Super Bowl just a few months ago.

Gina Lewis, a Massachusetts-based Birds fan, erected a billboard at the intersection of Route 1 and North Street, which is about one mile outside of Gillette Stadium.

So folks driving to Gillette Stadium from Boston, and even up from Philly, will see the billboard as they head to the Eagles-Patriots preseason game Thursday.

In terms of billboards, it's not exactly the prettiest. The idea was fantastic, but the execution could have been better. The notion that Patriots fans will have to be reminded that the Eagles beat New England, 41-33, in Super Bowl LII is brilliant.

That's not a knock on the person who designed the billboard, though. Jordan Spector is a Philadelphia-based artist who designed the billboard.

The original text on the billboard was supposed to be: "No one likes us and we don’t care." But the billboard company forced them to change it.

To be fair to Spector, the actual design of the billboard is crisper than the one that went up. You can support Spector's work (you should because art is fun) here.

Some background as to how the billboard came to be a thing. Back in June, Lewis tweeted this:

It doesn't appear the coworker came through on his promise, but that doesn't really matter. Lewis started a GoFundMe, which remains active, to raise the $5,000 to pay for the billboard.

After it reached its goal, the GoFundMe remains active and the next $5,000 will be donated to Carson Wentz's AO1 Foundation. At the time of this posting, it's raised $6,530 out of its $10,000 goal.

If you're obliged to donate, you can here.

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