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[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 07:06:13 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia has the third best playoff chances in the NFC

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/7/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

NFL playoff odds and predictions for all 32 teams after Week 4 - ESPN
Chances of making the playoffs: 63.3 percent — Although the Eagles are only 12th in DVOA, they get a big advantage with both a one-game lead in the NFC East and head-to-head wins over both the Redskins and Giants. Philadelphia's schedule also gets much easier from here on out. The schedule so far ranks seventh and included three games on the road; the Eagles' remaining schedule ranks 26th and features seven home games and just five road games. (Washington ranks 8th, Cowboys rank 9th, and Giants rank 15th.)

Eagles Injury Updates: Latest on Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones - BGN
I’ve seen a lot of people asking about the statuses of injured Eagles cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones lately so I figured it’d be good to write a post about them instead of individually replying to all of the tweets I keep getting. Here’s the latest.

Eagles vs Cardinals Preview -
Vince Quinn and John Barchard breakdown this matchup on Sunday.... Is it yet again another time for Larry Fitzgerald to shine in Philadelphia? Probably.. BUT will it be enough for a Cardinals win? Eagles have been really successful with the run for 2 weeks, will it last for another week? We go over everything and give you are NFL Picks of the week.

How Eagles guard Brandon Brooks blocked anxiety from consuming him - The Athletic
“The business we’re in, you make a mistake, people magnify it. It makes it way bigger than what it should be. Just realizing that, s***, everybody makes mistakes. It’s the law of averages. That’s what calmed me down. And what I mean by that is, say you’re an eight out of 10 player. Some days, you’re going to have 10 out of 10 days. Some days, you’re going to have six out of 10 days. S*** averages out, man. So as much as you want to control everything that’s going on, as much as you want to be a 10 out of 10 player, some days you’re going to be f***ing six, man. That’s life.”

Mailbag: Are the Eagles only winning because they've had soft opponents? - PhillyVoice
I'm not sure what the Eagles are yet. We're only one-quarter of the way through the season and they're 3-1, like they were at this time last year. So a lot has to play out the rest of the season. That said, minimizing the Eagles' wins by framing the teams they've beaten as crappy opponents is entirely unfair.

Game Review – PHI 26, LAC 24 - Iggles Blitz
Carson Wentz had a strong game. 17-31-242 with a TD. Did a good job protecting the ball. Didn’t throw an INT. Bobbled a shotgun snap on a 1st Qtr play and wisely dove on the ball rather than forcing anything. Took sacks on a couple of plays rather than taking a chance with the ball. Isn’t overly cautious, but is smart about not taking dumb chances. That’s critical for a young QB. Jameis Winston drives his coaches crazy with some of the plays where he forces things and turns the ball over. That’s a good way to lose a game. Wentz had some great moments. He hit Agholor on the opening drive down the seam with a terrific throw. Right on the money. Great touch. Easy for his guy to catch. Big gain that set up at TD. That score came on a simple play. Wentz made the correct read and a good throw to Jeffery for the TD. Made a huge play late in the 1st Qtr. Chargers blew up a play-action pass. Wentz moved to his right and then threw back to the other side of the field and hit a wide open Blount for a gain of 20 yards. Not many QBs could pull that off. Showed escapability, arm strength and vision.

Is It A Blount-Clement RB Duo On Sunday? -
Head coach Doug Pederson says it will be a “game-time decision” on running back Wendell Smallwood and his status for Sunday’s game against Arizona, potentially altering the three-back system the Eagles used with so much success last week in Los Angeles ...

Eagles-Cardinals 5 matchups to watch - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Jared Veldheer vs. Brandon Graham: The Cardinals' right tackle has struggled this season and is going against the Eagles' best edge rusher. Veldheer has given up two sacks, three QB hits and 16 QB hurries so far this season, according to ProFootballFocus. He really struggled against Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence. On a conference call with Philly reporters earlier this week, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said QB Carson Palmer is in the best shape he's ever been. "We've just got to quit getting him hit so much," Arians said. Palmer has been sacked 17 times through four games. That's more than any other quarterback in the NFL and just the eighth time in the last 10 years a QB has been sacked that much through four games. Meanwhile, the Eagles had eight sacks in the first two weeks of the season but have had just two over the last two weeks. Graham might have a chance in this one.

Rookie Report: Derek Barnett - Crossing Broad
The results haven’t been there yet for Barnett, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. He is a high-energy end who is always finishing plays. In addition, as we saw above, he may be a bit of a one trick pony at this point in his career, but that one trick is elite. That, combined with his high-energy play, will result in guaranteed production year-in and year-out. The floor is there. To get to that next level as a pass rusher, though, he still needs to add an effective inside counter to his arsenal. Forcing opponents to respect his ability to go inside will further expose them to his bread and butter move. Barnett is only 21 years old and, by all accounts, is a Carson Wentz-like worker. With his combination of natural talent, effort on the field and work ethic off of it, the future is still really bright for Derek Barnett.

Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles: Why The Eagles Will Lose To The Cardinals - Revenge Of The Birds
This week, we have looked at the Eagles and which player you would want on the Cardinals roster as well as an in-depth look at the Eagles from the Bleeding Green Nation editor Brandon Lee Gowton. Today, BLG was kind enough to give us three reason Arizona Cardinals fans should have confidence in the Birdgang as they head east to take on the Eagles.

Top 10 graded interior defenders - through Week 4 - PFF
PFF Elite Stat: Timmy Jernigan’s eight total QB pressures are good enough for a tie for 15th among defensive tackles. Jernigan has found a nice home on the front end of the Eagles front seven, grading positively in every facet, in every game this season to date. In doing so, Jernigan currently holds the league’s ninth-highest run defense grade and 16th-highest pass-rush grade among all interior defenders.

Malcolm Jenkins' Criminal Justice Season - The Philadelphia Citizen
This week, the Eagles safety shares what he has learned on police ride-alongs and issues a call for better police/community relations

NFL will change rule that banned some rookies from OTAs. It’s about time. - SB Nation
The NFL will finally change a rule that barred rookies from participating in organized team activities (OTAs) if their school was still in session, according to Pro Football Talk. While the rule aimed to prevent athletes from cutting classes and leaving school just before the finish line to practice with their new NFL squads, it often punished rookies who weren’t even enrolled and forced them to deal with a sharper learning curve. So while it had good intentions, it was definitely time for the NFL to dump the rule. Whether or not it will be scrapped entirely remains to be seen, but it will presumably be tweaked to avoid keeping players away from their team facilities unnecessarily.


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[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 08:12:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Three Eagles numbers that matter for the Cardinals game

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Previewing this week’s matchup.

Here’s a look at three numbers that matter as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5.

17 - Sacks allowed by the Cardinals, tied for most in the NFL.

The Cardinals have a lot of issues up front. Their offensive line isn’t all that great to begin with (24th in run blocking, 25th in pass blocking) and now they’re dealing with multiple injury issues. Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Starting left guard Mike Iupati is on injured reserve. Iupati’s top backup, Alex Boone, is a game-time decision after being ruled questionable on the final injury report.

Starting in place of Humphries will likely be John Wetzel. He’s allowed 25 total pressures in 196 pass block snaps this season, per Pro Football Focus. That ranks 54th out of 57 tackles. This game will be a big opportunity for Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett to generate pressure. Barnett is still looking for his first sack of the season and he just might get it this week. Heck, he might notch multiple takedowns.

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham is also poised for a big game. Starting right tackle Jared Veldheer has allowed 21 total pressures in 201 pass block snaps this season, per PFF. That ranks 49th out of 57 tackles.

The Cardinals’ tackles aren’t the only issue. The interior offensive linemen also struggle in pass protection. Starting right guard Evan Boehm has allowed 13 pressures in 201 snaps, which ranks 53rd out of 71 guards. Boone has been good in pass protection (13th out of 71) but hasn’t performed well as a run blocker. If Boone can’t play, the Cardinals will be starting the NFL’s worst pass protecting guard: Will Holden. He’s allowed nine pressures in just 57 snaps played. That’s 71st out of 71 guards. And then there’s center A.Q. Shipley. Yes, former Eagle A.Q. Shipley. Crazy how he’s lasted this long, right? Shipley has allowed seven pressures in 201 snaps, which ranks 17th out of 28 centers. This could be a big game for Tim Jernigan and/or Beau Allen.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. Everyone thought the Eagles were going to kill the Giants’ offensive line but they didn’t even register a sack. That’s true, but Philly’s defensive front totally forced the Giants into a quick-release offense that wasn’t very effective for the first three quarters of that Week 3 game. And just because the Giants did that doesn’t mean the Cardinals will copy the strategy. Arizona has a lot of speed at receiver and Bruce Arians likes to get vertical. Carson Palmer’s release time (11th) is slower than Eli Manning’s time to attempt (2nd).

The Eagles should have a lot of opportunities to sack Palmer. The rushers really need to get home in order to take pressure off their vulnerable secondary.

3.8 - Opponent rushing yards per attempt allowed by the Cardinals’ defense.

Arizona’s run defense ranks fifth best in the NFL.

Philadelphia rushed for a whopping total of 407 yards in their last two games. It’s going to be a challenge to be repeat those efforts against the Cardinals. Their run defense isn’t among the worst in the league like the Giants and Chargers.

Making matters tougher for the Eagles is that one of their best running backs, Wendell Smallwood, seems unlikely to play due to a knee injury.

The Eagles will have to rely on the likes of LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner in order to move the ball on the ground. The good news is that Blount has looked pretty good for two weeks now. The Eagles should give him the ball early and see how he fares. His running style might be able to bust through a tough Cardinals run defense. I remember watching Marshawn Lynch being able to do that when he was with the Seahawks. Now, I’m not saying Blount is Lynch, but obviously they share some similarities in terms of running style.

The Eagles don’t need a massive performance from their rushing attack, though that’d certainly be nice. They just need to be able to move the ball efficiently and take some pressure off of Carson Wentz’s arm.

If the Eagles can’t run the ball at all, that’ll be a concern. Wentz has played well this season but it’d be ideal to not have him throw 40-plus times against a secondary that features talented defensive backs such as Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Tyvon Branch, etc.

Philadelphia’s offensive line has really been mauling their opponents over the past two weeks. It’ll be interesting to see how they hold up against a tougher challenge this week.

63.3% - The Eagles’ chances of making the playoffs, per Football Outsiders.

The Eagles are currently sitting pretty at first in the NFC East at 3-1 with a 2-0 division/conference record. If they beat the Cardinals, they’ll be 4-1 with a 3-0 conference record and 2-0 division record. That certainly looks a lot better than the implications of falling to 3-2.

A win for Philadelphia this week would increase their playoff odds to around 80%. So this is an important game. The good news is the Eagles are favored to win this one. ESPN’s FPI model projects the Eagles-Cardinals game to be this week’s biggest blowout … in Philly’s favor. The Eagles have a 75.9% chance of winning.

Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Cowboys are set to play another important game this week. Last week’s loss to the Rams dropped Dallas’ playoff chances by 20%. A loss to the Green Bay Packers this week would be another big hit to the Cowboys’ postseason aspirations.

A rematch from the memorable NFC divisional round last season -- and a matchup of two of FPI's top five teams in the NFC -- is the highlight of the Sunday afternoon slate. The Packers currently are FPI's pick to end up with the top seed in the conference, but only narrowly. Green Bay is projected to win the top seed 17 percent of the time, just ahead of the Falcons at 16 percent. Dallas, however, is in a slightly less enviable position, currently projected to make the playoffs only 30 percent of the time.

While the leverage for both teams to make the playoffs is similar -- 19 percent for Dallas and 18 percent for Green Bay -- the Cowboys' situation is more desperate. A Dallas loss nearly halves its probability to reach the postseason, from 39 percent down to 20 percent, while the Packers would still be 60 percent to make the playoffs with a loss.

FPI has the game as a near coin flip, with the home Cowboys holding a slight 54 percent edge, so maybe we see 50-yard-plus field goals in the last 93 seconds again.

Go Pack Go.

The 0-4 New York Giants aren’t very relevant in the playoff conversation. Therefore, one could argue it’s better for them to win this week in order to lessen their odds at getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. New York scoring a victory over the winless Chargers wouldn’t be very meaningful since L.A. is an AFC team. The G-Men would still be 0-4 in the conference and 0-2 in the division.

Washington doesn’t play this week after losing to the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. They return from their bye to play the 49ers in Week 6. They’ll be without Josh Norman for that game and a few more.

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 08:38:00 EDT from rss

Subject: LeGarrette Blount drilled a three-pointer at the Sixers game (VIDEO)

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Is there anything the he can’t do?

LeGarrette Blount took a shot at the Sixers during his first press conference with the Philadelphia Eagles back in May.

On Friday night, Blount took a shot with the Sixers as he showed up to their preseason game against the Boston Celtics.

The big dude has range!

(I’m gonna ignore the fact it looks like his shot may have been aided by being hit by another ball. Still counts. I’m also gonna ignore the Celtics being in town was probably the reason why the former New England Patriots running back was at the game in the first place.)

Here’s hoping Blount scores some six-pointers against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

It’ll be cool to see Blount and some of the other key Eagles players (such as Carson Wentz) show up for Sixers game as the team is expected to improve. #TrustTheProcess


For more Sixers coverage, check out our friends over at Liberty Ballers. LB is currently accepting applications for a new site manager.

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 09:03:38 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Cardinals 2017: Game time, TV schedule, online streaming, channel, radio, and more

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Learn more about the Philadelphia-Arizona matchup set to take place on Sunday.

After playing three out of their first four games on the road, the Philadelphia Eagles are back home at The Linc this week. The Eagles are set to face the 2-2 Arizona Cardinals.

Though their record indicates they’re a .500 team, the Cardinals have certainly looked a lot less than average in their first four games. Arizona’s two wins have both come in overtime against really bad teams: the 1-3 Colts and the 0-4 49ers. As a result, the Cardinals own the league’s 11th worst point differential.

That’s not to say this Cardinals game is guaranteed to be a walk in the park. When he’s at his best, Bruce Arians is one of the better coaches in the NFL. I don’t even need to remind you about how Larry Fitzgerald constantly kills the Eagles when these two teams play. Arizona’s defense presents a bigger challenge than the Eagles have faced in the past two weeks.

With that said, there’s reason to feel confident about the Eagles in this one. The Cardinals’ offensive line is a major weakness. Even without Fletcher Cox, who has been ruled out, Philadelphia should be able to generate pressure.

The Eagles are still looking for that first blowout win of the season. All good teams need to dominate their opponents at some point. Maybe that happens this Sunday.

Here's everything you need to know about how to watch the game.

TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, October 8, 2017

Time: 1:00 PM ET

Channel: FOX

Announcers: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Location: Lincoln Financial Field | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

NFL Network replay: TBD

Radio: SportsRadio 94WIP | Full listings here

Online Streaming

NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL Game Pass

FOX Sports GO


Per Bovada, the Eagles are heavy favorites.

Arizona Cardinals +6.5 (-105)

Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 (-110)

History Lesson

The Eagles are 55-57-5 in 117 all-time regular season appearances against the Cardinals. These two teams last played in Week 15 of the 2015 NFL season. The Eagles lost to the Cardinals by a final score of 40 to 17. Philadelphia is 1-5 in their last six games against this team.

Eagles vs. Cardinals Game Preview Articles

Eagles Game Preview: Scouting the Arizona Cardinals

Three Eagles numbers that matter for the Cardinals game

Cardinals writer gives 3 reasons why the Eagles will beat Arizona

Eagles vs. Cardinals Game Preview: 5 questions and answers with the enemy

Eagles vs. Cardinals Week Five: Five Friday “For Sures”

Which Arizona Cardinals player would the Philadelphia Eagles take?

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Eagles 2017 Regular Season Schedule

Week 1 - at Washington Redskins (Sept. 10, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 2 - at Kansas City Chiefs (Sept. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 3 - vs. New York Giants (Sept. 24, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 4 - at Los Angeles Chargers (Oct. 1, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)

Week 5 - vs. Arizona Cardinals (Oct. 8, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 6 - at Carolina Panthers (Oct. 12, 8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFLN) Thursday Night Football

Week 7 - vs. Washington Redskins (Oct. 23, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football

Week 8 - vs. San Francisco 49ers (Oct. 29, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 9 - vs. Denver Broncos (Nov. 5, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Week 10 - BYE

Week 11 - at Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 19, 8:30 PM ET, NBC) Sunday Night Football

Week 12 - vs. Chicago Bears (Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 13 - at Seattle Seahawks (Dec. 3, 8:30 PM ET, NCB) Sunday Night Football

Week 14 - at Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 10, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Week 15 - at New York Giants (Dec. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Week 16 - vs. Oakland Raiders (Dec. 25, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football on Christmas

Week 17 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 31, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 10:09:49 EDT from rss

Subject: College Football Week Six NFL Draft Preview: 5 prospects for Eagles fans to watch

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Week Five of the 2017 college football season is here! Today features a good slate of games and always with good games comes great opportunities for NFL Draft prospects to boost their profile. Who should Eagles fans keep an eye on today?

  • Mitch Hyatt, Offensive Tackle, Clemson: Mitch Hyatt is an important part of Clemson’s success on offense. The 6’5”, 300 pound junior is a nasty player who is among the top offensive linemen in the country. With Wake Forrest coming to town (12 PM ET on ESPN2), Hyatt Will need to face one of the better pass rushers in the country in Duke Ejiofor. Ejiofor and the rest of Wake Forrest have been a thorn in the side of teams all season and Clemson could stumble into a tough game. Hyatt keeping the Demon Deacon line at bay will be crucial in helping Clemson avoid a trap game.
  • Justin Crawford, Running Back, WVU: One of the more underrated backs in the country, Justin Crawford is an explosive player who is somehow the centerpiece of West Virginia’s pass heavy offense. Crawford has his work cut out for him today with WVU playing in the biggest game of the weekend against TCU (3:30 PM ET on FS1). TCU has bee playing great football this year and a strong game from Crawford will help WVU to a win and give him strong tape against top competition.
  • Derrius Guice, Running Back, LSU: Derrius Guice has not enjoyed the season many expected from him, yet. After a monstrous sophomore year, Guice was poised to dominate college football since he would no longer be splitting carries with Leonard Fournette. However, injuries and surprisingly middling play have held him to only 314 yards on the ground at this point at 4.8 yards a carry, a low number for a top college back. Guice is expected to be back in the fold this week after missing LSU’s upset to Troy. Today, against Florida (3:30 PM ET on CBS), Guice has a chance for a breakout game against a big opponent. Florida always has a stingy defense and is still ranked for some reason. A big game from Guice could quiet concerns that he has taken a step back this year.
  • Hercules Mata’afa, Edge Defender, Washington State: One of the coolest names in the country and also, probably, one of this draft’s most underrated prospects. The junior defender is an impressive athlete who is third in the country in tackles for a loss through five games. He is an explosive defender who can take over as a pass rusher or run defender at any moment. Washington State will have a formidable match up against Oregon (8 PM ET on Fox) and their productive run game. A strong game from Mata’afa will likely mean a win for the Cougars.
  • Lowell Lotulelei, Defensive Lineman, Utah: If you're willing to stay up, Lowell Lotulelei and the Utes will take on Stanford (10:15 PM ET on FS1) in what should be a great match up. Lowell Lotulelei is a fantastic run defender and the 320 pound defensive tackle has a huge task ahead in slowing Bryce Love, the nation’s leading rusher by far. If Love gets loose tonight, the game is over, but Utah has a great chance if Lotulelei anchors a strong defensive effort against the Cardinal.

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 11:30:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles Jeffrey Lurie approval poll: October 2017

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Do you approve of the Eagles’ owner?

We conclude our October edition of Philadelphia Eagles approval polls with CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie. If you missed the Howie Roseman/Joe Douglas approval poll from Wednesday, the Jim Schwartz approval poll from Thursday, and the Doug Pederson approval poll from Friday, go vote in them.

Last time we ran a Lurie approval poll was in July. He earned a 76% rating. There obviously wasn’t a lot going on with the team at the time; the poll was more about how you feel about the franchise in the big picture.

With the big picture in mind, there’s more to just consider than the team’s current 3-1 record. How do you feel about their long-term chances of competing? Are you satisfied with his choices of Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson? How do you feel about the reports of Lurie taking a more “involved” role with the team? As fans, how do you feel about other aspects of the team: jersey colors, ticket prices, etc?

I’ll let you decide. I’m curious what you have to say.

Are you confident in Jeffrey Lurie as owner of the Philadelphia Eagles? Vote now in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments (click here if you can’t see the poll).

Lurie Approval Polls:

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 12:59:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Previewing the Eagles-Cardinals game

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Listen to BGN Radio on SportsRadioWIP!

BGN Radio, our site's podcast, will be streaming live on SportsRadio 94WIP this afternoon (Saturday, October 7) from 1:00 - 3:00 PM ET. (Click here to listen to us) We’ll be talking about the Philadelphia Eagles and taking your calls! Join the conversation by dialing 888.729.9494. Tweet at us on Twitter: @BGN_Radio.

Brandon Lee Gowton (that’s me), John Barchard, and James Seltzer will be broadcasting live from the Tastykake studios to talk about the EAGLES’ WEEK 5 GAME AGAINST THE ARIZONA CARDINALS, grading the team through the first quarter of the season, Philadelphia’s pass rush, Doug Pederson, Jim Schwartz, Carson Wentz, the NFC lEast, NFL picks, and much more.

Listen to the WIP show via online stream by [CLICKING HERE] or turning your radio to 94.1 FM. Listen on your phone by downloading the brand new app.

Also stay tuned to Bleeding Green Nation’s official Facebook page (click here) for any live videos we might do.

If you want to hang out with the BGN Radio crew after today’s WIP show, you can find us at the live Rights To Ricky Sanchez podcast starting at 4:00 at Underground Arts. Tickets info here:


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[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 17:19:20 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Ducks preview: One last night in California

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One more night of staying up late.

Welcome to the first weekend of regular season hockey. Tonight, the Flyers will play the third and final game of their West Coast run to start out the season.

The Flyers, sitting at 1-1, are coming off a loss against the Kings, and will hope to gather up a second win against a beat up Ducks team. Anaheim will be without top-scoring forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kessler, as well as defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen, and will have to continue to look for replacements for their production.

On the Flyers’ side, here are three things to look for in tonight’s game.

1. Travis Sanheim’s comeback

Sanheim made his NHL debut on Thursday in LA, and faced a bit of a rough start. The first two period saw him giving up turnovers, taking penalties, and in one instance, getting beat on his coverage on a play that would lead to a goal. It wasn’t a pretty start, but what was impressive was the way he rallied back in the third period. Instead of spending the rest of the game stuck in his own head, he got back the basics and trusted his own game. And it worked, as he looked more confident, even jumping in on the rush and putting two shots on goal. With him looking distinctly more settled towards the end of his first game, tonight we’ll see if he can keep this going, and hope to get our first proper look at what he can bring to the Flyers’ regular season squad.

2. Where do special teams go from here?

Over the first two games, the power play units brought a mixed bag, in terms of results. In their first game against San Jose, they went 3/5 attempts, after converting on each of their first three. Against Los Angeles, however, they went 0/5 on the night. You have to think that these types of polarized performances are not sustainable, that they would even out at some kind of middle ground, whatever that may be, and find some kind of consistency. Tonight’s game will serve as their chance to, at the very least, even out.

And while the power play has proved a bit volatile, the penalty kill has remained consistently very good. In Los Angeles, they held the Kings without a power play goal, keeping them tied up and unable to get much momentum going. The Ducks finished the regular season last year with a middling power play-- ranked at seventeenth in the league-- and the Flyers will hope that their penalty kill can hold steady and contain the Ducks.

3. Still need more from the second line

One of the most exciting lines the Flyers have put forward is its second. Centered by Nolan Patrick, with Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds on the wings, they present on paper as a line with the potential to bring a great amount of offense and scoring. But we haven’t quite seen that yet. The three have shown some initial chemistry, but haven’t really been able to translate this into tangible results. Their underlying possession numbers have been middling, but middling is much less than this line has the potential to be. Now, I’m not ready to write them off entirely, and it very well may be that despite their chemistry, we’re still seeing some growing pains.

We may be getting a bit of a movement on the second line, though, as John Boruk reported this afternoon that Patrick and Filppula may be switching lines for tonight’s game. This will offer an interesting change up, to see if this can get the second line moving a better clip, as well as what kind of chemistry Patrick and Konecny might have.

The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia and 97.5 The Fanatic.

You can check out the Flyers’ full roster below, and Charlie’s video preview here.

Forwards (projected)

Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Weal - Filppula - Simmonds

Weise - Patrick - Konecny

Leier - Laughton - Raffl


Provorov - MacDonald

Sanheim - Gudas

Hagg - Gostisbehere




[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 18:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Getting to know the competition: Anaheim Ducks

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The final game of the California road trip has arrived with tonight’s game against the Ducks

We are well accustomed to Flyers fans not being allowed to have nice things. Turns out Anaheim feels the same way!

Heading into tonight’s contest against an injury-riddled Anaheim Ducks team, BSH Radio’s Charlie O’Connor sits down with CJ Woodling from Anaheim Calling to discuss the last of the Flyers’ west coast road trip games. Topics of discussion include:

  • What will the Ducks do tonight in Ryan Getzlaf's absence?
  • Who's an under-the-radar player on the Ducks that Flyers fans should know about heading into tonight?
  • What's a weakness for Anaheim that the Flyers can exploit tonight?

And more!

You can get CJ’s answers at the video below. Thanks to CJ for taking the time to speak with us. Tonight’s game begins at 10:00 p.m. ET.

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 17:00:57 EDT from rss

Subject: Cardinals-Eagles Predictions

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After beating the Chargers in Los Angeles even though it felt like a home game, the Eagles return to their actual home this week to take on the Arizona Cardinals. To recap, here’s where the staff stands after three weeks: T1: Bob, Tyler (4-0) T2: Coggin, Kevin K, Kyle, Tim (3-1) T7: Chris, Kevin L,…

[#] Sat Oct 07 2017 21:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers vs. Ducks lineups, TV / radio / live streaming info and discussion thread

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The California road trip comes to an end tonight.

Tonight’s game in Anaheim will start at 10:00 p.m. ET (and, since there’s no season-opening pre-game festivities, the game should actually start pretty close to 10, rather than 10:20 or so, so that’s nice). Locally, you can watch on NBC Sports Philadelphia; elsewhere, Fox Sports Prime Ticket or NHL.TV are your options. If you’re listening on radio, 97.5 The Fanatic is your go-to.

Projected Flyers Lineups:


Giroux - Couturier - Voracek

Weal - Filppula - Simmonds

Weise - Patrick - Konecny

Leier - Laughton - Raffl


Provorov - MacDonald

Sanheim - Gudas

Hagg - Gostisbehere




[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 01:55:22 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers at Ducks recap: Couturier, Simmonds close as Flyers soar over Ducks in OT

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Nolan Patrick collected his first NHL point, and the Flyers closed things out less than a minute into overtime for their second win of the season.

The Flyers closed out their West Coast run tonight in Anaheim. The Ducks had won the last eight meetings between these two teams, but the Flyers broke that streak with an exciting 3-2 overtime win.

Brian Elliott, despite his less than exemplary career record against the Ducks, showed early strength. Fending off a number of high danger shots, he held steady and kept the Flyers in the race against and active Anaheim team. Elliott proved consistent through the duration of the game, even as he allowed two goals, keeping cool under the heavy pressure faced.

One of the greatest advantage-challenge balances faced in this game was that of odd man rushes. Especially in the first period, we saw a real back and forth with this, as one team would develop an odd man rush and put some heavy pressure on the opposing goaltender, only to turn around and allow another to develop for the other side.

The Flyers brought the pressure early in the game, as Couturier nearly capitalized on an odd man rush in the first minute of the game, followed shortly by Nolan Patrick very nearly tallying his first NHL goal just 1:17 in. The Ducks got rolling soon after and rushed into the Flyers’ zone for a shot on goal. With eight shots on goal in the first five minutes of the game, the tone was set for the game.

The fourth line brought some early pressure in Anaheim’s zone, controlling on a three-on-two opportunity. Leier’s shot was shut down, but Sanheim was able to keep play going, bring the puck back in and putting a shot of his own on goal.

The first penalty of the game came with 13:42 to go, as Antoine Vermette was sent to the box on a roughing penalty, and the Flyers went on the power play. It started a little shaky, as the Flyers allowed a Ducks breakout and odd man rush, but they immediately rallied back to put a number of shots on goal, all to be somehow saved by a rolling Gibson. But he couldn’t maintain that composure, as just a second after the power play ended, Ivan Provorov scored from the circles on a feed from Patrick just below the net, giving Provorov his first goal of the season, and Patrick his first NHL point.

It wouldn’t be long before the Flyers got another chance to snag the elusive power play goal. After just over two minutes of 5-on-5, Giroux drew a holding penalty on Anaheim’s Dennis Rasmussen. After Simmonds nearly tipped the puck in on goal, the Flyers’ man advantage would come to an early end, as a bouncing puck would get away from Gostisbehere, and he would take a slashing penalty, trying to retrieve it. The four on four would prove active, as a turnover on the boards in the Flyers’ defensive zone would lead to a Vermette goal on Elliott.

First scrum as Gudas was sent into the boards by Bieksa, and the two would both go to the box with roughing penalties. The four on four would be short lived, as Giroux would draw his third penalty of the night-- a slash by Cogliano-- that would send the Flyers on a four on three. They brought some pressure early, but were unable to capitalize.

AFTER ONE: Tied 1-1

The game saw no decrease in speed in the second period, as both teams set into a real run and gun, but generated far fewer shots in the early part of the period. Both sides were kept tied up, bringing movement but few scoring opportunities.

And with 15:24 to go, and the Flyers headed to the power play again. It proved unproductive as, after an early shot by Gostisbehere, the power play fell apart. DIsjointed and riddled with turnovers, Anaheim killed off the penalty with relative ease.

The game fell into a bit of a lull at this point, with a fair bit of back and forth, a lot of time spent in the neutral zone, but little else. The intensity would be ratcheted up as a Simmonds penalty would send Anaheim to the power play. Elliott faced a dangerous shot early, but it would go off the knee of Corey Perry, who would go to the locker room to walk it off. Anaheim would then allow a Flyers breakout and a shot by Laughton, and the Flyers would kill of the remaining penalty.

This would jumpstart the Flyers’ offense, as shortly thereafter the Flyers would again take the lead. Voracek would pick up a long pass from Giroux and, pushing the puck up close on the net and feed to Couturier, who collected the goal.

The speed would be maintained through the rest of the period, with a subsequent uptick in shots, but there were no more points where it matters, and the teams headed off for the second intermission.

AFTER TWO: Flyers 2 - Ducks 1

Down by one, the Ducks went right on the offensive off the first faceoff with a shot on goal that caused a bit of mayhem, but the Flyers would take the puck down to the Duck’s zone for a shot of their own, and we were back to moving at a first period clip.

After a shot by Sanheim, Weal went to collect the rebound and take a slash from Vermette. On the power play, the Flyers coughed up the puck and allowed for Fowler to breakout, gaining speed to put up a shot to beat Elliott and tie the game 2-2. The Flyers, with about a minute and a half left on their power play, couldn’t convert from there.

This held as the theme of the middle of the period, as the Flyers, heavily outshooting the Ducks, just couldn’t seem to get a puck past Gibson. They lost a bit of this momentum with around three minutes left in the period, as the Ducks kept them pinned in their own zone, putting pressure on Elliott but failing to convert, themselves.

The Flyers moved into the final two minutes of regulation, driving into Anaheim’s zone for a last push at gaining the league. Controlling well, they directed a number of high danger shots at Gibson, but all to no avail. They would spend the last thirty seconds or so stuck in their own zone, but were able to keep the Ducks tied up. And off to overtime we went.

AFTER THREE: Tied 2 - 2

Overtime was not a long time. Just forty five seconds in, Couturier, controlling the zone entry and getting pinned on the boards stayed patient, and sent the puck over to Simmonds who sent it in low on and past Gibson for the game winning goal.

FINAL: Flyers 3 - Ducks 2

Now off to bed, everybody.

[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 07:18:11 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Picks Against the Spread 2017: Week 5 Games

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Here are some suggestions when trying to beat the odds.

Before the fifth Sunday of the 2017 NFL regular season kicks off, let’s have some fun by taking a look at the spreads for today’s games. (Click here for NFL Week 5 picks without regard to the spread.)

Here are suggestions when trying to beat the odds. You can find all of today’s NFL betting lines and more via SB Nation. My regular season record after the fourth week is 28-29-1. Let’s get to the picks.

NFL Week 5 Games

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5): The Cardinals are not a good team. It’s been said all week: Arizona’s two wins have come in close games against very bad teams. That doesn’t mean this game is a guaranteed win for the Eagles. But I do feel good about the (midnight green) Birds. The Eagles haven’t had that “blowout” win yet this season. I’m not saying the Eagles are gonna beat the Cards by 30 points, but I do think this could be a double-digit win for Philadelphia. The Cardinals’ offensive line figures to be overmatched against the Eagles’ pass rush. PICK: Eagles -6.5

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals (-3): Looks like a weird line, right? The Bills have played well. They’re coming off wins against the Broncos and the Falcons (in Atlanta). Why are they dogs in this one? Especially against a bad Bengals team? Taking the point is an easy call, right? Not so fast. Cincy has been playing better recently. They only lost to the Packers by three in Lambeau and then they blew out the Browns. There’s a reason why the Bengals are favored here. PICK: Bengals -3

Tennessee Titans (-3) at Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins are baaaaaad. Their offense is averaging 7.7 points through three games. Jay Cutler is very uninspiring. Buuuuuut ... the Titans might not be all that much better, especially if Marcus Mariota is out. Tennessee’s quarterback is questionable for this game. The Titans will likely be starting Matt Cassel under center. Give me the home dogs in an upset. PICK: Dolphins +3

Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions (-2.5): The Panthers are coming off an impressive road win over the Patriots. Can they repeat in Detroit? Eh, not so sure. The Lions are arguably the second best team in the NFL. I like them at home over the Panthers, especially since they’re getting less than a standard three points at home. PICK: Lions -2.5

Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5): If you read our weekly fantasy column (written by James Seltzer), you know there’s a big difference between Ben Roethlisberger’s home versus road numbers. With this game set to place take in Pittsburgh, they’re the pick. The Jags are a little hard to read based on what they’ve done this season but a loss to the Jets should inspire confidence in picking the home team. PICK: Steelers -7.5

New York Jets (-1) at Cleveland Browns: Will the Browns get their first win of the 2017 NFL season? I don’t think so. The Jets aren’t good, but they’re not as bad as they were expected to be. New York’s ground game has been effective recently which takes pressure off of Josh McCown. With this game essentially set to be a pick ‘em, I’ll take the Jets here. There’s no reason to feel good about taking the Browns until they show something. PICK: Jets -1

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants (-3): The battle of the two winless teams. Which one sucks less? Three out of the Chargers’ four games this season have been close. It’s not like they’ve been getting blown out of the water every single week. The Giants, meanwhile, have looked a little more competent in recent games after looking really terrible in the first two weeks. It’s going to be tough for L.A. to travel to the East Coast and come out with a win, methinks. The G-Men get their first win of the season today. Not that it’ll do anything to change the outcome of their season. PICK: Giants -3

San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts (-2): The 49ers have shown some nice fight recently. After losing by 20 points in Week 1, Kyle Shanahan’s squad lost by three points to the Seahawks (in Seattle), two points to the Rams, and three points to the Cardinals in overtime. So I like their chances of at least being competitive against an Andrew Luck-less Colts teams that’s been a disaster at times this season. At the very least, this could be another tight tilt, so the points are tempting. PICK: 49ers +2

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders (-3): The Raiders will likely be starting E.J. Manuel (instead of Derek Carr) against the Ravens. That definitely should make anyone feel less confident about Oakland’s chances. However, it’s hard to feel great about the Ravens as well. They’ve been outscored 70 to 16 in their last two games. I think Oakland can do enough at home to cover against a team that’s really struggled to score. PICK: Raiders -3

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (-1.5): Good stat here from BGN reader Joshua: the Rams haven’t covered as a favorite against the Seahawks since 2002. 2002! It’s been 15 years. That could change today. The Rams’ defensive front should be a big mismatch for Seattle’s offensive line. Sean McVay’s offense, led by Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, has really been clicking. PICK: Rams -1.5

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-3): My strategy usually involves betting on the NFC East team to win/cover so that I’m either 1) glad I got the pick right or 2) glad the NFC East team lost. But I can’t take the Cowboys here. Aaron Rodgers has their number. This Dallas team just isn’t as impressive as last year. At worst, this will probably be a close game. The points make too much sense not to take here. PICK: Packers +3

Kansas City Chiefs (-1) at Houston Texans: This could be a really good game. Deshaun Watson and the Texans have been making some noise recently. Now it’s time for their biggest test of the season: facing the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL. The Chiefs are coming off a short week after playing on Monday night. I’m tempted to be against them here ... but it’s hard not to like what Kansas City has done this season. It just seems like they find a way to keep winning. They’re objectively the better team so it has to be them in a pick ‘em. PICK: Chiefs -1

Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Chicago Bears: Call me crazy but I like the Bears on MNF. There are concerns about rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky going up Mike Zimmer in his first NFL start. But the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s class flashed some nice potential in the preseason. Not to mention the Bears have played decent at home this year; Chicago lost to the Falcons by six and beat the Steelers. With the Vikings’ quarterback up in the air, I’ll take the Bears in the upset. PICK: Bears +3

[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 07:25:46 EDT from rss

Subject: Know Thine Eagles Enemy: Cardinals Film Review

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And y’all complained about Doug Pederson’s run/pass ratio

Let’s chuck out some stats as an opener:

Philadelphia is second in the NFL in 3rd down conversion percentage, at 50.85%. First is Carolina, their upcoming opponent (51.92%), and Arizona ranks 15th in the league with 39.06%. Defensively, Philadelphia (37.21%) and Arizona (37.10%) are neck and neck as far as 3rd down conversion percentage allowed. The difference, however: Philadelphia is last in the league, having forced 10.8 third downs per game; Arizona leads it, forcing 15.5 third downs per game.

Philadelphia, having given up 13.0 points on average in the fourth quarter this season, is second-worst in the NFL. Arizona, however, has the 19th best scoring offense in the 4th (5.5 points/game). Let’s see if Philly can more easily close out a game at home this time.

Arizona is tied for 3rd-worst in the NFL with only 3 takeaways across four games; Philadelphia is tied for 3rd-best in the NFL with 7 takeaways across four games.

My favorite: Philadelphia is first in the NFL with a 59.13% time of possession percentage. Ooh, that feels good.

Cardinals Offense

Let’s call this what it is: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, and Larry Fitzgerald are old. Quite old. That’s not to say their respective talents have fallen off the cliff. There’s certainly a decline in Palmer’s arm and Fitzgerald’s strength, but they’re still talented NFL players.

The true impact of such a geriatric trio? They know their time is running to an end. At 2-2 (wins over San Francisco and Indianapolis by a combined 9 points), with injuries to elite offensive weapon RB David Johnson and excellent DE Markus Golden, they need every win they can get if they’re to salvage together any semblance of a last hurrah.

As such, Arians is still taking shots deep—even more frequently than he has in years past, by my eye. Their offense isn’t reckless, per se—but it’s looking for a jailbreak play at every opportunity.

This first play is worthy of note due to the frequency with which the Cardinals attack downfield out of 3 WR stacks and bunches. The Cardinals don’t particularly disguise their passing plays—they’ll go 3 x 1, with a 3-route concept on the strong side, and expect Palmer to make the correct read and the WR to make the play. Very few backside screens or 1-on-1 isolation routes.

The Cardinals motion into the bunch here (a very common occurrence) with their veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald. He’ll immediately draw a lot of defensive attention. Fitz runs a delayed flat route, and on a short-yardage situation, or against Cover 3 or 4, Palmer may hit him right away.

But against Cover 2, like you see here, Palmer knows the threat of Fitzgerald will hold the flat corner, and the corner route ran by the #1 WR will be open against the boundary. The post route run by the inside slot receiver holds the deep safety long enough to keep the window open.

That inside slot post route? Don’t be surprised if you see Palmer attack that route against Cover 3 or Cover 4. You’ll often see in Arizona’s offense what’s called a MOFO/MOFC read (Middle Of the Field Open/Closed): depending on the action of the deep safeties, that post route could become a go down the field, or potentially even a dig across the middle.

Philadelphia will likely look to play a ton of Cover 2/Cover 4 this week, as they don’t need to rotate an extra safety into the box against Arizona’s non-existent rushing attacks. Keep an eye out for 3 WR sets to the wide side of the field, and particularly this flat-7 divide concept here, as the Cardinals look to acquire leverage advantages against those deep zones

As stated, the Cardinals just don’t run the football (21.5 att/game, tied for 4th worst). Last week, RB Chris Johnson saw 13 carries for only 32 yards, while RB Andre Ellington saw 14 touches—but 9 of them came through the air.

Ellington’s ability as a receiving back cannot be underestimated, however. Remember how I said the Cardinals rarely throw it backside? They will, on occasion--but those occasions have tells. For example, look for 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE), with a 3 x 1 formation, and an inline TE to the weak side. Out of this alignment, there will be a ton of space to the weak side, and the primary receiving threat on the defense’s radar will be that inline TE. Ellington will leak out of the backfield, read the leverage of the closest defender, and break out on an option route.

Against SF, it looks to be a Cover 3 shell. The corner on the weak side gets sucked in by the vertical release of the TE, and Ellington has green pastures to the outside. Against DET, the Lions run a Cover 2 look, and Ellington slices upfield, inside of the flat corner, for an easy catch up the seam.

Expect Philadelphia to carry Ellington in space with man coverage as often as they can—but a healthy dose of zone, to protect the young CBs, is likely. Avoiding the temptation to cheat to the strong side against Arizona’s 3 route concepts will be key, as well as sound tackling in space.

As stated, the Cardinals just don’t run the football—woah, déjà vu. The stat that shocks me the most about Arizona? Across the 41 red zone plays I charted, they threw the ball 33 times (80.4%) and only ran it 8 times. Inside the 5 yard line, they threw it 9 times and only ran it 2 times. That’s roughly 300 types of bonkers.

You’ll see Arizona work from empty sets a ton in the red zone, moving Ellington and TE Jermaine Gresham out as WRs. On this play, we see a favorite red zone concept of Air Coryell coaches everywhere: Double Smash-7.

The primary target on this concept, and often in the red zone, is Larry Fitzgerald. Working from the inside slot, he does very well to work through the physical coverage of the slot CB and get to the empty area behind the boundary corners. Even though the slot corner is in decent position, there’s still a good window for this football to arrive.

Those boundary corners are sucked in by the quick-breaking in routes of the two receivers (oh wow, look at that, a 3-route concept to the wide side of the field). These are the smash routes, which are designed to hold up all of the underneath traffic and leave space in the back of the end zone for Fitzgerald.

The issue here is pressure: Palmer can’t get a clean throwing hallway and is forced to release the ball earlier than he’d like, attempting to jam it inside to one of the smash routes. The Cardinals are coming to Philadelphia with a battered offensive line, and many of these route concepts are long-developing. If Philadelphia can disrupt Palmer’s pocket, they’ll ruin his vision and timing with his receivers down the field.

Watch that play again. The slot corner does just enough to delay Fitzgerald getting into his route, and the pressure does all of the rest. Philly’s D better come to disrupt.

Cardinals Defense

Arizona is playing pretty solid defense this year, folks. They have an impressive backfield between All-World CB Patrick Peterson, SAFs Tyrann Mathieu and Tyvon Branch, and kinda-meh CB Justin Bethel (we’ll get to him). There’s some good depth in that secondary as well, with 2nd-round rookie Budda Baker and veterans CB Tramon Williams and S Antoine Bethea.

Remember, Arizona helped herald in the age of the SS/LB hybrid—the moneybacker—with LB Deone Buchanon, who plays beside veteran Karlos Dansby in the middle. The defensive front is a little lacking, especially with the recent injury to EDGE Markus Golden, though OLB Chandler Jones is always difficult to handle, and first-round rookie LB Haason Reddick—a Philly kid—will likely see increased playing time this Sunday.

Let’s start with the running game, which has been the grease on the wheels of Philly’s machine these last two weeks. Dallas busted a 20-yard gain against Arizona from a formation and blocking concept that should be familiar to Eagles fans.

The Cowboys work an overloaded line here—Philly loves to do this, bringing in OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai as a TE. And on this play, Dallas runs a sweep with two pullers—the RG and RT . This sort of sweep, from an under center, singleback alignment, has shown up multiple times in the Eagles’ tape. Corey Clement’s touchdown against New York comes to mind.

Though Philly tends to run against lighter boxes, and not overload the play side like Dallas does here, this iteration of one of their staple plays is undoubtedly in the book.

Though the frontside does its job perfectly (peep #82 Jason Witten sealing Robert Nkemdiche nicely) it’s the backside that makes this play. C Travis Frederick (#72) gets a perfect reach block, while LG Chaz Green (#79) does excellent work cutting off backside pursuit at the second level against Reddick (#43). The Cardinals’ front seven is generally smaller than the average NFL team’s, which is advantageous against bigger, plodding offensive lines that can’t tag them in space.

Philadelphia does not have a bigger, plodding offensive line.

Expect the Eagles to move linemen like C Jason Kelce and OTs Lane Johnson and Jason Peters into space and bust open some big runs. I like this sweep concept, as well as a healthy dose of outside/split zone, for the game plan on the ground.

When the Eagles take to the air, Carson will likely look to attack Justin Bethel. Patrick Peterson will track WR Alshon Jeffery for the majority of the game, and given the issues Jeffery had with Casey Hayward last week, it’s unlikely he sees an improved outing on Sunday.

This play is important to highlight for a few reasons. One you can’t see—the Lions went no huddle on this drive, and in an effort to substitute, Arizona became discombobulated and struggled to get their personnel and call in. Philly hasn’t shown it as much this year, but Pederson has utilized tempo in the past—with a few young players on the field for the Cardinals, he may look to do so again.

What you can see, is that Arizona has 8 in the box against 12 personnel here. The Lions ran the football with some success against the Cardinals, and Arizona resorted to a single-high coverage in response. If the Eagles, who run a decently similar offense to Detroit, can consistently pound it on the ground, they’ll have advantageous coverages against which to dial up shot plays.

And finally, let’s highlight Bethel. Whether because of the aforementioned confusion with the call, or because Bethel has sub-par short area quickness, Golladay is able to blow by Bethel’s tight coverage. Stafford delivers a beautiful ball, the free safety can’t cover that distance, and the Lions score six.

Carson’s deep ball, discussed ad nauseam, is one of the few missing pieces of the serious playoff contender that could be the Philadelphia Eagles. He’ll have Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor matched up against Bethel—a corner that both receivers should be able to beat down the field. If Carson can’t hit this throw, teams will play single-high on Philadelphia all year long.

The one area in which the Cardinals are struggling, in my opinion, is pressure. While they have 9 sacks (Philly has 10), the manufacturing and effects of these sacks are wildly different for both squads. Arizona is one of the most blitz-frequent teams in the NFL, but of their 9 sacks, I only charted 1 as the result of a blitz. They like to muddle the line of scrimmage with their various hybrid players, but only send 5 rushers at a time—if those players don’t arrive, QBs like Wentz should be able to pick apart 6-man coverage schemes.

The one blitz that resulted in a sack? Just a doggone good play by Tyrann Mathieu.

You’ll notice that, on these nickel blitzes, the Cardinals often shift the edge defender on the blitzing side to the next interior gap. That’s common for this character of blitz. At home, Carson should be able to work a hard count and force this pre-snap movement, thereby adjusting the protection to the true source of the two or three possible extra rushers

Besides these looks, however, the Cardinals pressure for most of the season has either come from excellent play and effort by EDGE Chandler Jones, or from coverage forcing the QB to hold the ball for too long. They cannot consistently generate a rush at all.

Having faced off against elite duos in Olivier Vernon/Jason Pierre-Paul and Joey Bosa/Melvin Ingram, OTs Jason Peters and Lane Johnson should have no issue stymieing Jones for most of the game. Should Wentz and Kelce succeed at diagnosing and neutralizing extra rushers, pressure should not factor much into the game for Philadelphia’s offense.

[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 07:59:55 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Alshon Jeffery is having a bigger impact than his stats suggest

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/8/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Eagles Film Review: Alshon Jeffery's hidden impact - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Jeffery may not be busting out of the box score on a weekly basis, but he’s doing a heck of a lot more damage than the numbers suggest. Look no further than what the presence of a true No. 1 receiver has done for Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. “It’s benefited (Ertz) tremendously,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Friday. “He’s getting a little more of the one-on-one stuff. You’re not seeing the combo coverages necessarily on Zach until you get in the red zone area. “Having Alshon on the outside, on the perimeter, has really allowed him to have better one-on-one matchups. He does a great job with that, and a good route-runner – obviously, it’s really helped him.” Ertz is currently tied for fourth in the NFL with 26 receptions and ranks sixth with 326 receiving yards. The fifth-year player is off to the by far best start of his career, and it is absolutely thanks in part to Jeffery.

Three Eagles numbers that matter for the Cardinals game - BGN
The Cardinals’ tackles aren’t the only issue. The interior offensive linemen also struggle in pass protection. Starting right guard Evan Boehm has allowed 13 pressures in 201 snaps, which ranks 53rd out of 71 guards. Boone has been good in pass protection (13th out of 71) but hasn’t performed well as a run blocker. If Boone can’t play, the Cardinals will be starting the NFL’s worst pass protecting guard: Will Holden. He’s allowed nine pressures in just 57 snaps played. That’s 71st out of 71 guards. And then there’s center A.Q. Shipley. Yes, former Eagle A.Q. Shipley. Crazy how he’s lasted this long, right? Shipley has allowed seven pressures in 201 snaps, which ranks 17th out of 28 centers. This could be a big game for Tim Jernigan and/or Beau Allen.

Five over/unders for Eagles vs. Cardinals - PhillyVoice
After eight sacks through their first two games of the season, the Eagles have recorded just two over their last two. So why do I have the over/under for this so high? That's largely because of the Cardinals offensive line, or lack thereof. They've allowed 17 sacks so far this season, tied for the most in the NFL. If the Birds can do what they did last week against the Chargers – get ahead early and force the opposition to throw the ball – they should have plenty of chances. Even without Fletcher Cox, there's a chance they hit the over in this one; it's not like the rest of their defensive front is incapable.

Air Attack - Iggles Blitz
The Eagles secondary better be ready on Sunday. Carson Palmer has thrown 183 passes this year. He’s been sacked 17 times. That is 200 called pass plays in four games. 50 called passes per game. The Cardinals have no run game right now so they have to rely on Carson Palmer and the air attack to move the ball. This is going to make for one heck of a challenge for the secondary. One bit of good news is that it sounds like Jaylen Watkins and Corey Graham will return to action. Those guys aren’t great DBs, but they are veterans and they give Jim Schwartz options. He can put together a gameplan that uses the various DBs.

Larry Fitzgerald, Eagles killer, on minds of Philly defenders - ESPN
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins considers Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald a good friend. They've known one another since Jenkins entered the league in 2009, and train together in the offseason. When they go toe-to-toe, like they will Sunday when the Eagles host the Cardinals (1 p.m.), Fitzgerald keeps things friendly while trying to rip his old pal's heart out. "He’s a nice guy on the field. He tries to distract you with kindness," said Jenkins, "so I try to ignore him.”

Report card: Grading the Eagles' defense after the first quarter of the season - The Athletic
Cornerback: C. This was probably the toughest position to grade. Expectations were not high coming into the season, and they were lowered after Ronald Darby went down with an injury. Jalen Mills has been targeted often, and he's had ups and downs. Rasul Douglas played well in his first start but struggled against the Chargers. Patrick Robinson has exceeded expectations in the slot. The Eagles' defense ranks 17th against the pass. The good news for the Eagles is that if they can weather the storm during this upcoming stretch, they should get Darby back in the second half of the season. And Sidney Jones probably has a chance to contribute as well.

Eagle Eye: Carson Wentz Must Be Prepared For Arizona's Exotic Pressure Schemes -
After looking at Arizona's explosive offense and what the Cardinals will likely look to do against the Eagles on Sunday, let’s now focus on the other side of the ball. Arizona’s defense is a high-volume pressure team that ranks in the top 10 in the NFL in terms of the number of blitzes this season. Arizona was known for its various A-gap pressures back when Todd Bowles was the defensive coordinator. The A gaps are the spaces between the guards and the center along the offensive line. Bowles was a master at getting extra rushers clean right up the gut at the quarterback. One of those blitz concepts is what we call the triple A-gap blitz, where three rushers come straight up the gut. One of those defenders comes completely unblocked. Bowles was replaced by one of his former assistants in James Bettcher, who has kept the triple A-gap pressures as part of the scheme.

Eagles, 3-1 again, say they're different this time - Inquirer
Brent Celek has been down this NFL road before. He has had to navigate a few on the opposite side, as well. In fact, the tight end has nearly seen it all in his 11 seasons. And in Celek’s estimation, the Eagles’ second straight 3-1 start — despite the near-universal claim in the locker room and from Doug Pederson that this year’s team is different from last year’s — translates to nothing more than three wins and one loss at the quarter-pole of the season. “We can sit here and say everything’s different,” Celek said last week, “but at the end of the day, we as players have to go out on the field and execute. Because if we sit here and say, ‘Oh, it’s different,’ and then we go out there and think something’s just going to happen, it’s not.

NFL odds, picks Week 5: Advanced computer model loves Steelers, Eagles - CBS Sports
Another team SportsLine's proven model loves: the Philadelphia Eagles, who are 6.5-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. The model predicts an easy eight-point win and cover for the Eagles, who will end the week 4-1. The Cardinals are 0-4 against the spread this season, and the Eagles are winning 68 percent of simulations.

NFL Week 5 Preview: Cardinals at Eagles - PFF
WR Alshon Jeffery vs. CB Patrick Peterson – Despite pacing the Eagles with 34 targets, Alshon Jeffery has battled inconsistency this year. Jeffery has caught only half of his targets, but has scored twice in four games. His 1.41 yards per route run ranks 51st out of 92 wide receivers. Unsurprisingly, Patrick Peterson has thrived when matching up against his opponents top pass catchers. Last week, Peterson limited Pierre Garcon to just one catch for 16 yards on four targets while defending one pass. In Week 2, the shutdown corner held T.Y. Hilton to just one catch for 16 yards in coverage. This may not be the matchup for Jeffery to have a breakout game.

Eagles' running back Blount knows about last chances - Press of AC
Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount knows a lot about last chances. Over a decade ago, he was playing for East Mississippi Community College. The junior college program, located in the one-stoplight town of Scooba, Mississippi, has become famous lately as the site of the popular Netflix series, “Last Chance U.”

7 things to watch in NFL’s Week 5: Are the Cowboys already in must-win mode? - SB Nation
For the Giants, it’s a rushing offense in which Eli Manning is the top scorer and a defense that’s given up nearly 24 points per game. In Los Angeles, it’s the looming spectre of 16 straight road games — de facto or otherwise — and an offense that looks great on paper but unable to execute. Team owners, executives, and coaches on each side are saying all the right things, but it’s fair to begin wondering if these four 0-4 franchises have begun to plan for 2018. Week 5 will be a big indicator of which teams are still trying and which have slid into tanking mode.


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[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 08:37:11 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Injury Update: Wendell Smallwood reportedly out

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Plus an update on the Cardinals.

Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood will NOT suit up for Philadelphia’s Week 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

This news hardly comes as a surprise considering Smallwood didn’t participate in practice all week. Smallwood was ruled “questionable” on the final injury report and Doug Pederson said he’d be a game-time decision (so much for that).

The exact extent of Smallwood’s injury is unclear. When asked multiple times about it on Friday, all Pederson would say is that it was a knee issue that occured in the Eagles-Chargers game.

Smallwood played the most snaps of any Eagles in Week 4. He ranks second on the team in rushing (113) and ranks second among Philly running backs in receiving yards (56).

With Smallwood expected to be out, the Eagles will rely more heavily upon LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement. Kenjon Barner could also see some offensive snaps in addition to returning kicks and punts.

The Eagles have been able to run the ball very effectively in their past two games. Arizona’s defense presents a tougher matchup than they’ve faced recently.

In other injury news, Cardinals wide receiver John Brown is expected to play despite being ruled questionable with a quad issue.

[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 08:50:43 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-Cardinals game TV coverage map

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Check to see if you get the game.

IT’S GAME DAY - time for Philadelphia Eagles football! But can you watch their NFL Week 5 game against the Arizona Cardinals from where you are? If you live in the BLUE on the television coverage map below, you’re in luck (via

If you live in the blue, you can watch the Eagles-Cardinals game on FOX starting at 1:00 PM ET. Gotta love how the North Dakota state area is getting this game just because of Carson Wentz.

Chris Myers (play-by-play) and Daryl Johnston (color analyst) are on the call. Alternatively, you can turn on SportsRadio 94WIP to listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick during the game.

If you DO NOT live in the blue, you’re likely either stuck in the red, green, or yellow. The red represents the Carolina Panthers versus Detroit Lions game. Green is the New York Jets at Cleveland Browns game (Zzzzz). Yellow? That’s the San Francisco 49ers versus the Indianapolis Colts. May God have mercy on your soul.

For more information on how to watch today’s Eagles game, CLICK HERE.

[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 10:03:17 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Cardinals 2017: Updates, time, TV schedule, predictions and more

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Everything you need to know!

Welcome to NFL game day! The Philadelphia Eagles are set to face the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5 of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule. The matchup kicks off at 1:00 PM ET on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read on for live updates from the game. [Click here for how to watch the Eagles vs. Chargers game via online streaming.]

[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 09:49:20 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles-Cardinals 2017: Game Predictions

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Who will win this week?

For the third week in a row now, I’ve seen people suggest the Eagles are facing a “trap game.”

There’s just something about the Eagles being heavily favored that scares people.

In some ways, I get it. It’s the NFL: Any Given Sunday. And we’ve certainly seen the Eagles lose games they were favored to win on paper.

But that doesn’t mean every time the Eagles are favored to win means it’s a trap game. And yet I feel that’s how this season has gone so far. What will it take for people to start having a lot more confidence in the Eagles?

Maybe a blowout victory would help. The Eagles just might have the chance to do that today against the Cardinals. Yes, Arizona has some talented defensive players, but their offense struggles to score — 17.2 points per game, 26th in the NFL.

The Cardinals’ offensive struggles could very well continue this week. The Eagles’ defensive line going up against their offensive line figures to be a big mismatch. It’ll be critical to get pressure on Carson Palmer. Arizona has a number of speedy wide receivers and they’ll likely look to air it out during the course of the game. It’d be surprising to see the Cardinals get as conservative as the Giants did in Week 3.

Philadelphia’s offense will likely have a hard time running the ball as effectively as they did the past two weeks. The Cardinals’ run defense is much better than the units the Eagles have faced recently. With Wendell Smallwood out, the Eagles will be counting on the likes of LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement to pound the rock.

The running game might become even more important in this matchup depending on how the weather holds up. As of now, it’s expected to be rainy and windy at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cardinals haven’t been able to run the ball well while the Eagles have, so the elements could be in Philly’s favor.

But it’s not like the Eagles are going to shy away from their passing attack completely. Carson Wentz is coming off one of the better games of his career. He’s given the Eagles plenty of reason to trust him as he controls the offense. One matchup that could really work in Philly’s favor is Torrey Smith versus Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel. Smith has struggled to actually, you know, catch the ball but he’s still capable of getting open deep. When it comes to the Alshon Jeffery matchup, I wouldn’t expect Wentz to avoid throwing his way just because Patrick Peterson will be shadowing him. The Eagles weren’t totally shy to throw towards Josh Norman in Week 1 and Marcus Peters in Week 2. Wentz has to pick his spots and be careful with the ball.

There’s no real good reason the Eagles should lose this game. The West Coast area Cardinals are traveling east to play a 1:00 PM game. Arizona’s track record this seaosn isn’t very impressive. The Eagles are home.

I don’t think the Eagles can lose this game by being simply outclassed. They’d have to beat themselves in order to fall short. The feeling here is that won’t happen. Philadelphia is poised to take care of business today. Bruce Arians’ side probably won’t go down easy, but I still think the Eagles can finish with a comfortable double-digit margin of victory.

Trap game be damned.

For more predictions, check out BGN’s weekly NFL game predictions and our NFL picks against the spread.


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Score prediction: Eagles win, 28-17.

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[#] Sun Oct 08 2017 09:25:03 EDT from rss

Subject: Wayne Manor! Seven Takeaways from Flyers 3, Ducks 2

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When the NHL schedule was released last summer, the Flyers’ first few games seemed daunting. A four-game road trip to start the season, including the California three-step in four days. It didn’t look promising. Yet, here we are, at the end of the Golden State portion of the trip and the Flyers have earned four…

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