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[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 14:18:55 EST from rss

Subject: Which Seattle Seahawks player would the Philadelphia Eagles take?

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Pick one and one only.

A common post the SB Nation NFL team sites have been done in the past and will continue to do throughout this season is "Which [opposing team's] player would [your favorite team's] fans take?" With the Philadelphia Eagles set to play the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, it's time to address the question and familiarize yourself with the opponent's roster.


There aren’t many quarterbacks in the NFL I’d take over Carson Wentz right now. Russell Wilson is certainly in the conversation, though.

He’s just such a pesky player to defend. He can make plays with his arm. He can avoid pressure. He can take off running. Wilson is Seattle’s leading rusher this season with 401 yards. The Eagles’ defense will have to remain disciplined this week.

Wilson is the type of quarterback who can still succeed despite lacking ideal circumstances around him. The Seahawks haven’t had any consistency at running back this season. The offensive line is perpetually in shambles. The defense has faced some significant injuries. And yet the Seahawks still have a chance to win every week because the quarterback is really good. Seattle hasn’t suddenly crumbled into one of the worst teams in the NFL (unlike the Cowboys).

For the sake of this activity, I’m not taking Wilson over Wentz because there are bigger upgrades to be had. Wentz’s future success might be enough to eventually forgive the Eagles for passing on Wilson three times in 2012.

Wilson isn’t the only good player on Seattle’s offense.

The Seahawks’ offensive line certainly isn’t known for being a strength, but Duane Brown could be an upgrade over Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle.

Doug Baldwin is a very productive receiver. He even threw for a touchdown against the Eagles last year. The matchup between him and Patrick Robinson in the slot should be fun to watch.

The Eagles’ don’t need help at tight end, but Jimmy Graham is still a threat, especially in the red zone.


Byron Maxwell. OK, that’s not funny.

There’s actually this player on the Seahawks’ defense who is really good. He plays safety. You probably haven’t heard of him before, but his name is Earl Thomas. Another little known fact is that the Eagles drafted Brandon Graham ahead of him in the 2010 NFL Draft. Crazy, right? This is probably the first time you’re ever hearing this.

Seriously, though, Thomas is a very good safety. He has great range on the back end of Seattle’s defense.

But Thomas isn’t even the best defender on the Seahawks right now. That honor goes to Bobby Wagner, who is a beast in the middle of Seattle’s defense. Wagner has logged 76 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed, 1.5 sacks, one defensive touchdown, and one safety this season. He’s a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

When you throw on the tape, it doesn’t take long to see Wagner is just a different kind of player to most NFL linebackers this season. The speed with which he reads and reacts to plays with movement is incredible. He is able to get himself into holes and running lanes before blockers have had a chance to position themselves to account for him, and even when he isn’t making the play, he is causing disruption to the blocking scheme, often causing the dominos to begin to fall which gives somebody else a free play to make.

But putting some numbers to that tape backs up Wagner’s credentials this season. He leads all inside linebackers in run stop percentage (10.9 percent), tackling efficiency (98.0), is second in pass-rush productivity (27.2), and has top 10 coverage numbers while posting the best PFF coverage grade (94.7).

Wagner is the player I’d steal for the Eagles. Middle linebacker is a big need with Jordan Hicks out for the season and Joe Walker banged up. A linebacking corps of Wagner, Nigel Bradham, and Mychal Kendricks would be pretty impressive.

Wagner’s presence will make it tough for the Eagles to run the ball against Seattle’s defense. Even some of the league’s toughest run defenses (Broncos, Panthers) haven’t been able to shut down Philly’s ground game, however. That’ll be another interesting battle to watch on Sunday.

Other standout players on Seattle’s defense include: defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Jarran Reed. The Eagles are already set in the trenches, though.

Richard Sherman (and Kam Chancellor) would be included here if he was healthy, but he’s not. Also corner isn’t as big of a need as it used to be, which is crazy to say.


If you were deciding for the Eagles, who would you take? Vote in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it).

[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 14:50:59 EST from rss

Subject: LeBron James to the Sixers? The Idea Gets Less Absurd by the Day

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Before the season started, the thought that LeBron James would consider Philadelphia as the next stop on his unabashed ring hunt was sort of silly. Apparently, it’s not that silly anymore. Per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today: If James, who can become a free agent after this season, decides to leave the Cavaliers, he could…

[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 16:32:59 EST from rss

Subject: Defectors Cite Malcolm Jenkins

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Trust the process, unless it’s not as transparent as you’d like it to be. That’s the explanation given by NFL athletes Eric Reid and Michael Thomas for stepping away from the Players Coalition run by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin. The clash in ideas is documented in an ESPN story published this morning,…

[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 17:16:13 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles Injury Report: Two players returned to practice, three were limited, one sat out

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Update on the Eagles-Seahawks injury situation.

The Philadelphia Eagles released their first official injury report on Wednesday in advance of their Week 13 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Only one player did not practice: linebacker Joe Walker. Walker suffered a stinger injury during the Eagles’ Week 12 game against the Bears and did not return.

Walker has been starting at middle linebacker in place of the injured Jordan Hicks. If he can’t play on Sunday, perhaps the Eagles will go with Dannell Ellerbe on the inside. The Eagles signed the veteran defender earlier this month. Ellerbe has been a healthy scratch for his first two games with Philly.

Three players were limited in Wednesday’s practice: wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, center Jason Kelce, and nickel cornerback Patrick Robinson. None of these players left the Eagles-Bears game early on Sunday. I’d guess this was Doug Pederson taking it easy on some veteran players who’ve been dealing with nagging injuries prior to a long road trip.

Two players returned to practice after missing the Eagles-Bears game: backup tackle Beau Allen and backup tight end Trey Burton. Both players were full participants in practice. That bodes well for their playing chances against Seattle.

Rookie defensive end Derek Barnett was also listed as a full participant on Wednesday.



LB Joe Walker (neck)


WR Alshon Jeffery (foot)
C Jason Kelce (ankle)
CB Patrick Robinson (knee)


DT Beau Allen (knee)
TE Trey Burton (back)
DE Derek Barnett (groin)


Official Seahawks injury report to be announced. Check back for updates.

[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 18:47:41 EST from rss

Subject: John Boruk does the impossible and distracts us all

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We're not fighting today, hooray!

Things are bad for Flyers fans. This is not a secret. Not only is the team performing poorly, they’re not doing it in the worst possible way. Fans are on edge and the media is either sanctimonious or frustrated, in the trenches, along with the fans. Many of us use this sport and this team to get away from the constant misery that is life, and that’s not possible right now because the pain is unrelenting.


Wait, wait, wait. Before I really dive into what happened today, let’s take a walk through history here. A sampling of the best/worst Boruk tweets from this year:

Let’s set the scene. Everything is on fire. The GM is the dog sipping coffee; everything is in fact fine, Ronald. The coach is launching Molotov cocktails into the few corners where there are currently no flames. Together, they just waived the most exciting offensive spark the team has had in the past handful of games.

Smash that send button.

If you are left feeling very confused please know that I am, too. I checked three times to make sure this was not a parody account. On this 29th day of November in the year 2017, the Flyers Insider and Anchor for NBC Sports Philadelphia staged a photo to make his son feel bad about wanting to wear the color that some people refer to as fuchsia, although Boruk cannot confirm nor deny the existence of such a color.

We are led to believe that this shirt with the problematic caricature of a Native American just happened to fall in snapshot range of a Victoria’s Secret bag. That at least has two colors of pink Boruk can name: light and dark. Strategically placed next to some family photos WHERE NO SISSYS ARE WEARING PINK LEMME TELL YOU. The color of the shirt, not the logo, is supposed to be the biggest problem in this photograph.

What Boruk is really saying, to his children and to all of the members of the hockey community that follow him, is this: it is not ok for my son to wear this color that is associated with femininity.

It was not enough for him to say this in the privacy of his own home. It wasn’t even enough for him to make a joke about it in the locker room among the beat writer fraternity. He had to let the entire Philadelphia Flyers fanbase and the Greater Philadelphia Area know that he is not comfortable with his son’s choice to wear a color that girls wear. Not only has he put archaic gender stereotypes on his own personal loudspeaker, he is cyber-bullying his own son.

Let’s look at timing, shall we? Last night the Flyers took to the ice in lavender (that’s light purple, John) in recognition of Hockey Fights Cancer.

 Kate Frese/SB Nation
Me too, Ivan

They are also in the middle of their annual dad’s trip, which celebrates hockey dads supporting their sons no matter what.

 Kate Frese/SB Nation
Dad Konecny: Son, I support you in your sports career
Travis: Dad I want to wear fuchsia
Dad Konecny: I will not tweet about this

This would be an egregious post without the hilariously poor timing, but the combination shows how out of touch this man is with the world around him. He is actively alienating the fans that are women, LGBTQ, and men who don’t feel the need to prove some inane level of masculinity to strangers on the internet.

This is an embarrassment for anyone associated with the network and the team. We are constantly told Everyone Can Play, and constantly shown that is really only a sport for white, straight, cisgendered men. For all intents and purposes, this man is the Face of the Flyers, and he just compared a boy wearing pink to putting on a lacy bra and panties. Which is bad, in case you hadn’t put that much together yet — it is bad to wear a bra and panties. Those things are for girls, and girls don’t play sports. Or, what if, :shock gasp: his son is gay? Is that better or worse than being girly?

And then he doubled down. Now, I am no journalist, but when Crossing Broad is insinuating there is a problem with what you’re saying ... there is certainly a problem with what you’re saying. Related, love your wife more than buying her Victoria’s Secret trash. That is a post for another day.

Oh look! We have a non-apology!

There is nothing sincere in here, there is no recognition of the damage done and the communities affected. He was told he was offensive. He was told he was demeaning. Instead of asking questions and trying to understand what the issue is, he slapped together incredulous words about how he MAY have impacted some people. Maybe. He’s still not sure. Might have. But at least fuchsia is now a color so we’ve made some headway.

I’ve spent too much time thinking about this man today — he is trash and his opinions are trash. He has no business representing NBC and he has no business speaking on science or gender issues. But here he is, doing all of these things, and we are worse for it.

[#] Wed Nov 29 2017 23:29:33 EST from rss

Subject: NFL Power Rankings Roundup Week 13

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A look at what the experts are saying about the Birds.

Today we continue our weekly roundup of how various media outlets have ranked the Philadelphia Eagles in their NFL power rankings. It’s always interesting to see how the Birds stack up from an outside perspective. But first we’ll start by revisiting mine.

Bleeding Green Nation

1 - Nine wins in a row. The Eagles rank first overall in point differential at +160. The next closest team is 37 points away. Dominance. (LW: 1)

SB Nation

1 - Jerry Jones thinks the Cowboys can turn things around, but with the Eagles so far ahead in the NFC East and a bunch of teams doing well in the NFC Wild Card race, he’s wrong. It’s over for Dallas in 2017. (LW: 1)


1 - The Eagles have the best record in the NFL and are the most efficient team, according to FPI -- and that's all thanks to balance. They've thrown for the most touchdowns, rushed for the most yards after contact, allowed the fewest rushing yards per game and allowed the second-fewest yards per pass attempt. (LW: 1)

1 - The Eagles are rolling through the league right now -- or electric sliding, if you happened to catch the late stages of their declawing of the Bears. Carson Wentz continues to be the talk of the league, but as my colleague Steve Mariucci pointed out this weekend, general manager Howie Roseman must be given credit for the depth he's acquired to bolster Doug Pederson's roster. Is this group stronger than the 2004 Philly team that made the Super Bowl with Terrell Owens? Or Dick Vermeil's boys in 1980, the first Super Bowl squad in franchise history? If you're really old school, maybe Wentz can equal Norm Van Brocklin, the last Eagle to win MVP, in 1960 -- then really earn some kudos by winning the championship, like Van Brocklin's team that year. Exciting times in Eastern PA. (LW: 1)

CBS Sports

1 - They just keep right on rolling and Carson Wentz is getting better. They are the class of the NFC - by far. (LW: 1)

Yahoo! Sports

1 - The Jay Ajayi trade looks peculiar three weeks into it. Ajayi has just 22 total touches in three games. He had just six touches on Sunday. It seems that rookie Corey Clement could have handled the role Ajayi has and it wouldn’t have cost the Eagles a draft pick. However, Philadelphia will be playing deep into January, and perhaps Ajayi becomes more of a factor later in the season. (LW: 1)

[BLG Note: Ajayi is still getting familiar with the offense and the trade wasn’t just for this year.]

Washington Post

1 - The Eagles’ last three wins have come by 28 points each. They haven’t had a single-digit margin of victory since a five-point triumph at Carolina on Oct. 12. Will their lack of experience in close games come back to plague them at some point? Perhaps. But if that’s your biggest problem, you don’t have many problems. (LW: 1)

Bleacher Report

2 - I view the Patriots as the top team in football, but I don't think it would be unfair for them to share the No. 1 spot with the Eagles. Carson Wentz finds new ways to use different players each week. It's getting to the point where the Philadelphia offense is nearly as hard to defend as New England's because you don't know who to try to stop. Now, I still think too much of the offense is on Wentz's shoulders because this isn't a scheme that just gets guys open. It's more Wentz throwing into tight windows or escaping pressure and making plays on the run. Still, it's hard to argue with the results. When Philadelphia gets a lead, the Eagles are almost impossible to beat. It gives them the chance to lean on a physical run game. It also allows the defense to unleash the pass rush, which is one of the best in football. The Eagles are Super Bowl contenders. (LW: 2)

[BLG Note: This is still so dumb.]

USA Today

1 - Peaking too soon? They've won past three games by 28 points apiece, which is why NFC East may be wrapped before three-game road trip starts Sunday. (LW: 1)

[BLG Note: Ah, yes, peaking too soon. If only the Eagles were playing worse, that’d be better!]


1 - Fun facts: the Eagles have won their last four games by an average of 27 points and allowed their opponents 3 offensive touchdowns during that span - total. The Bears entered Sunday's match-up averaging 132 yards rushing per game for the season and exited with 14 carries for 6 yards on the day. The Eagles defense gave up 1 touchdown during November, equal to 1/13th the amount the Dallas Cowboys defense gave up during the same month. (LW: 1)

Sporting News

1 - Too bad they can't be ranked higher than this after three consecutive 28-point victories. Carson Wentz and the defense have kept them rolling. They'll get some good tests with back-to-back long road trips to the NFC West. (LW: 1)

Pro Football Talk

1 - They’re making it look too easy. At some point, it won’t be. (LW: 1)


1 - Alshon Jeffery’s scoring binge continued with another touchdown against the Bears, his former team, in Week 12. Jeffery, who extended his scoring streak to four games on Sunday, already has more touchdowns this season (seven) than he had in his previous two years combined (six). Jay Ajayi was expected to work as the featured back upon his arrival in Philly, but instead LeGarrette Blount has out-touched him 37-22 over the last three games. (LW: 1)

Sports Illustrated

1 - No explanation (LW: 1)

Pro Football Focus

2 - The sixth-best offense and the fourth-best defense in our rating system have provided great balance for what is the clear frontrunner in the NFC through 12 weeks. There are concerns that the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t beaten anyone, but road wins against the Panthers and the Chargers (especially in hindsight) suggest otherwise. Carson Wentz faces a substantial test this week against a Seahawks defense that has a player of the year candidate in Bobby Wagner (98.5). We have a feeling that the fifth-highest rated passer when under pressure (81.6) and when clean (111.8) has the goods to continue his hot streak and move the Eagles closer to a first-round bye. (LW: 2)

Football Outsiders

2 - The fourth of the dominant NFC teams is Philadelphia, of course, which currently owns the league's best record at 10-1. The Rams may be back in the top spot this week but it's just barely over the Eagles, by one-tenth of a percentage point, and the Eagles are still No. 1 in Weighted DVOA which drops the strength of September games. The Eagles have not yet clinched a postseason berth but they only miss the playoffs in ONE of our 50,000 playoff odds simulations this week. (LW: 1)


1 - No explanation (LW: 2)


The rankings range from as high as 1 to as low as 2. The most common ranking is 1. The average ranking is 1.18, which is identical to last week’s average of 1.18.

The Eagles are in pretty good shape right now. Perhaps a win over the Seahawks in Seattle would convince the people who have Philly at No. 2 (looking at you, B/R). New England has to play the Bills in Buffalo this week, so a loss there would certainly help move Philly up as well.

It’s silly that the Eagles aren’t the No. 1 consensus. They’re clearly the best team in the league. But now they’ll be facing some of their biggest tests of the season. If they leave this West Coast road trip against the Seahawks and Rams with two wins, I don’t know how anyone can have any doubts about them.

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 06:00:01 EST from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: We needed this little break

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Okay so before we get into the real meaty stuff, here are ten things to learn from what was absolutely the worst effort we’ve seen all season. Also, puppies. [BSH]

*Yesterday afternoon, Danick Martel was sent back down to the Phantoms. Some assume that this is because the Phantoms play twice between now and Saturday and that Martel will be back for Saturday’s game. Guess we’ll see! [NBC Sports Philly]

*Right. On to what we all want to talk about, probably. Ron Hextall made some comments after Tuesday’s game that are, of course, getting quite a bit of attention. First, he thinks the Flyers are still a playoff team. [Courier-Post]

*He thinks the team has played well during this losing streak. Up until last night, he is generally correct about this! [ProHockeyTalk]

*Fans called for Hakstol’s head on Tuesday night but the GM stood by his coach throughout his post-game comments. Charlie highlighted this well in his most recent observations: “That's the primary takeaway here for me: Hextall isn't ready to make a coaching change, or shake up the roster dramatically … at least not yet.” [The Athletic]

*Ron’s comments seemed to indicate that he doesn’t feel that the coach should shoulder all the blame for this team’s under-performance since he was hired. []

*Also something to note from Charlie’s article is the quote from Hextall about playing “too many” kids on defense. But for christ’s sake, even Sammy thinks it’s time to just throw the kids in and see what happens. []

*The 9th loss in a row spurred a lot of national conversation about the Flyers Wednesday morning. Pierre McGuire was on NHL Network Radio vehemently defending Dave Hakstol as a coach. The hosts of the morning show seemed to blame the Flyers’ goaltending which is...curious. What’s even more curious is that they weren’t the only ones to bring it up. [Sportsnet]

*Anyhoo, Kate took some great photos from the Sharks game. Let’s enjoy those. They’re good. [BSH]

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 07:34:05 EST from rss

Subject: A game-by-game look at how the Eagles made it to 10-1

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Updating our weekly notebook

Week One: Eagles 30, Redskins 17: Year Two of the Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson regime started with the Birds ending a five-game losing streak to the Redskins at FedEx Field, where Jim Schwartz’s front-four rotation led the way. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan combined for four sacks and two forced fumbles, the second of which was returned 20 yards for a touchdown by Cox, sealing a two-score, fourth-quarter lead. After fellow cornerback Ronald Darby was carted off with an injury, Jalen Mills also aided an Eagles “D” that gave up just 64 rushing yards and three third-down conversions, intercepting Kirk Cousins on a red-zone pass when the ‘Skins trailed by two. With uneven protection and a non-existent running game, Wentz (26-39, 307 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INTs) was the victim of a Ryan Kerrigan pick six but channeled his inner Donovan McNabb on an opening-drive scramble and 58-yard TD heave to Nelson Agholor, then extended plays with tight end Zach Ertz (8 receptions, 93 yards) to set up three Caleb Sturgis field goals and a Gatorade bath for Pederson.

Week Two: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20: Late-game grit and a stout start for Jim Schwartz’s defense weren’t enough for Doug Pederson to best ex-Eagles coach Andy Reid at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs used a 53-yard touchdown run from rookie Kareem Hunt, back-to-back fourth-quarter scores and six sacks of an overburdened Carson Wentz to decide a close one. Big stands from a banged-up Eagles secondary offset a rare Darren Sproles fumble on a punt return inside Birds territory, holding Kansas City to a 6-3 halftime lead, but heavy pressure on the Eagles QB led to a tipped interception and more red-zone chances for Reid’s unit. Still, Wentz (25-46, 333 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) started efficiently (7-of-9), spread 19 first-down throws to Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Zach Ertz and scrambled his way to a team-high 55 rushing yards on another dismal day for the backfield. Down two scores with :14 left, his 9-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor preceded a perfect onside kick from fill-inJake Elliott, who made up for an earlier 30-yard field goal miss and set up a game-ending Hail Mary try.

Week Three: Eagles 27, Giants 24: They were without four injured starters on defense, gave up 366 passing yards to Eli Manning and lost a 14-0 lead after 21 unanswered Giants points, but Doug Pederson found — and stuck with — a rushing attack, not to mention a clutch kicker, as the Eagles sent New York to 0-3. LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement battered their way to a combined 160 yards on the ground, the former putting Philadelphia up 7-0 in the first. Clement tied the contest at 21 on a 15-yard fourth-quarter run after back-to-back-to-back TDs from the Giants — two acrobatic grabs by Odell Beckham Jr. and a 77-yarder by Sterling Shepard. But rookie kicker Jake Elliott, in his second game replacing an ailing Caleb Sturgis, was the real Eagles hero, booting a team-record 61-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Carson Wentz (21-31, 176 yards, 1 TD) again found tight end Zach Ertz for a score, while the Eagles “D” had a goal-line stand and stout play from young cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas, the latter of whom had a pick along with Patrick Robinson.

Week Four: Eagles 26, Chargers 24: With Eagles fans turning Los Angeles’ StubHub Center into an unofficial home game, Doug Pederson kept the pedal to the metal, pushing Philadelphia atop the NFC East with a run-first approach sans an injured Darren Sproles. LeGarrette Blount (16 carries, 136 yards) led the way with a 68-yard Marshawn Lynch-esque gallop on a fourth-quarter drive that prefaced a diving Wendell Smallwood (79 total yards) touchdown and helped the Eagles dominate time of possession. Corey Clement also got five third-down carries for an offense that didn’t turn the ball over and set up four field goals, including a 53-yarder, from Jake Elliott. The Chargers kept it close as Philip Rivers (347 yards) extended drives with Keenan Allen, found Tyrell Williams for a 75-yard score and pulled L.A. within two with 6:48 to go shortly after a 35-yard TD run by an untouched Austin Ekeler. But the Eagles defense set the tone with an opening-series takeaway, a Chris Long strip sack, and helped establish an early 7-0 lead on a throw from Carson Wentz (17-31, 242 yards, 1 TD) to Alshon Jeffery.

Week Five: Eagles 34, Cardinals 7: A career day for Carson Wentz (21-30, 304 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) and a suffocating start for Jim Schwartz’s defense all but put the Cardinals away after one quarter, when the Eagles led 21-0 after consecutive Doug Pederson-scripted marches down the field. A 15-yard lob from Wentz to tight end Trey Burton started the scoring, and a 76-yard punt return from recently reacquired Kenjon Barner (133 total yards) preceded TD passes to Zach Ertz and Torrey Smith, the latter of whom went 59 yards. Arizona’s Carson Palmer found John Brown for a second-quarter TD, but otherwise, the contest was all Eagles — the D-line got in Palmer’s face, the Cards got just 31 rushing yards and Philly’s Patrick Robinson broke up pass after pass, also blocking a field goal try. Barner and LeGarrette Blount also found lanes vs. a typically feisty Arizona “D,” and receiver Nelson Agholor’s 72-yard third-quarter bomb, with a juke and backward fall into the end zone a la DeSean Jackson, was the icing on the cake. Safety Rodney McLeod forced a fumble to stop a potential last-minute Cards TD.

Week Six: Eagles 28, Panthers 23: On the road with three days of rest, the Eagles overcame 10 penalties -- to Carolina's one -- and a scrappy Panthers defense that capitalized on injured tackle Lane Johnson's absence to pressure Carson Wentz and force an opening-drive fumble. Quarterback Cam Newton kept Carolina close with a 16-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 10, plus a late throw to rookie Christian McCaffrey that kept his team within one score. But Philly also engulfed his ground support via linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham (25 combined tackles), and cornerbacks Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and Rasul Douglas all intercepted him -- Douglas after Fletcher Cox pressure, Robinson off a juggled dump-off and Mills on a wayward deep ball that headlined back-to-back defensive stands with about three minutes left. Two of the turnovers came deep in Panthers territory, where Wentz (16-30, 222 yards, 3 TDs) found Ertz for two TDs and, later, slot receiver Nelson Agholor for a 24-yard catch-and-run. A two-point try and two Jake Elliott field goals at one point had the Eagles up 28-16.

Week Seven: Eagles 34, Redskins 24: If 2017 is the year of Carson Wentz’s magical leap forward, Monday night vs. Washington was when the rest of the country got the memo. Dogged by four Eagles penalties and a punt-like pick on the opening series, Wentz (17-25, 268 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) quickly took command of the game, finding rookie Mack Hollins, tight end Zach Ertz and reserve back Corey Clement for three straight scores — Hollins on a 64-yard bomb and Clement on an improbable sideline touch pass that came with Redskins swarming an off-balance Wentz. While erasing a 10-3 deficit, the quarterback also gained a team-high 63 rushing yards, 17 of which came on an inexplicable escape from a scrum in the pocket. The Eagles defense, which lost an injured Jordan Hicks, gave up two Jordan Reed touchdowns as Washington pulled within 10. It also sacked QB Kirk Cousins four times, forcing an easy Corey Graham interception. Philly later lost left tackle Jason Peters to injury but sealed a Redskins sweep with a fourth-quarter Nelson Agholor TD and two Jake Elliott field goals.

Week Eight: Eagles 33, 49ers 10: It was an off day in the rain for Carson Wentz (18-32, 211 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT), who gave the 49ers an easy third-quarter pick and felt pressure behind a Jason Peters-less line, but the Eagles used two turnovers and four sacks from four different players (Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Chris Long, Mychal Kendricks) to beat up on the rookie pairing of coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback C.J. Beathard. San Francisco kept Philadelphia to three points up to the two-minute warning in the first half, but a short TD throw from Wentz to tight end Zach Ertz came just 17 seconds before cornerback Jalen Mills picked off Beathard and weaved his way to a 37-yard score. A 51-yard Jake Elliott field goal put the Eagles up 20-0 early in the third, and a 53-yard connection between Wentz and receiver Alshon Jeffery on a jump-ball sideline pass countered the Niners’ only TD of the day, a shovel-pass catch-and-run by Matt Breida. A 12-yard fourth-quarter scoring run by LeGarrette Blount, tipped-pass INT by safety Rodney McLeod and late field-goal block by rookie Derek Barnett helped seal the win.

Week Nine: Eagles 51, Broncos 23: Even without an injured Zach Ertz, the Eagles out-schemed one of the NFL’s top-ranked defenses, racking up 419 yards and moving at will on another monster day for Carson Wentz (15-27, 199 yards, 4 TDs). Right tackle Lane Johnson kept Denver’s Von Miller at bay, and the Eagles owned the trenches to go up 31-9 by halftime. Leading the way behind the line, Jay Ajayi (77 yards) broke off a 49-yard TD run five days after arriving via trade, and No. 3 man Corey Clement went off for three scores — one on a screen pass and another on a perfect option pitch from Wentz. Wideout Alshon Jeffery (6 receptions, 84 yards, 2 TDs) also got behind the Broncos secondary with ease, and tight end Trey Burton corralled a 27-yard touch pass for Wentz’s third TD of the first half. Denver, meanwhile, mustered just two field goals and two garbage-time scores, including a strip-sack TD off Eagles backup Nick Foles, after going up 3-0 in the first. With picks from corner Patrick Robinson and safety Rodney McLeod, the Birds muzzled quarterback Brock Osweiler and held Denver to 35 rushing yards.

Week 11: Eagles 37, Cowboys 9: Desperate Dallas contained the Eagles early on, forcing four three-and-outs after a touchdown run by Philadelphia’s Kenjon Barner and leading 9-7 at halftime thanks to three field goals. But the Eagles ultimately overtook Jerry Jones’ house, scoring 30 unanswered points and rattling Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (18-31, 145 yards, 3 INTs). Reserve Corey Clement found paydirt on an 11-yard run behind a mauling line to start the second-half surge, and a 71-yard sprint by Jay Ajayi set up the next TD, an 11-yard strike from Carson Wentz (14-27, 168 yards, 2 TDs) to wideout Torrey Smith. Early in the fourth, Alshon Jeffery got his own TD catch on a diving fourth-down grab over the middle, and a 37-yard fumble return score by linebacker Nigel Bradham, after one of two sacks by rookie Derek Barnett, came three plays later. Rodney McLeod, Malcolm Jenkins and the newly healthy Ronald Darby all picked off Prescott, and the Eagles padded their lead with three two-point conversions after linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill replaced an injured Jake Elliott as emergency kicker.

Week 12: Eagles 33, Bears 3: Four fumbles and 11 penalties had the Eagles looking sloppy, but a stingy showing from the front four made rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (17-33, 147 yards, 2 INTs), Pro Bowl runner Jordan Howard (7 carries, 6 yards) and the Bears look worse. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox had sacks, limiting Chicago to eight first downs — the Bears moved the chains just once in the first half, when safety Malcolm Jenkins picked off Trubisky but then lost a fumble. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz (23-36, 227 yards, 3 TDs) found Zach Ertz (10 receptions, 103 yards) and Alshon Jeffery (52 yards) with regularity, floating short scoring passes to each and putting Philadelphia up 24-0 at halftime. Receiver Nelson Agholor also scored twice, first on a sprint and flip across the goal line after a second-quarter screen, then on a fourth-quarter recovery of a Jay Ajayi fumble into the end zone. Celebrating along the way, the Eagles also converted three fourth-down tries, got 97 rushing yards from LeGarrette Blount and a pick from safety Corey Graham, holding Chicago to just a field goal.

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 08:06:49 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles News: ESPN says Philadelphia has the best quarterback situation in the NFL

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/30/17.

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

QB Confidence Index: Rating all 32 NFL quarterback situations - ESPN
1. Philadelphia Eagles - The only negative here is sample size, as Carson Wentz is still less than two years removed from playing for North Dakota State. But the other shoe kind of refuses to drop in Philly, where Wentz's development has accelerated quicker than even the Eagles could have imagined. He's hanging 30 points on the board every week, converting every third down, exhibiting total command with no sign of letting up. He's 24 years old, which means the future is bright. He won't cost them any real quarterback money until 2020. Nick Foles is an experienced backup who knows the system, should anything happen. It's crazy that it happened so fast, but the Eagles' quarterback situation may be the envy of the league right now.

Why does 2017 feel like more fun than 2004? No pressure. - BGN
Why this Eagles team feels like more fun than the last one that went to the Super Bowl.

Next LVL Podcast: Run The Ball Against The Seahawks -
Turron and Barrett Brooks take a look back at Chicago where the Eagles basically did anything they wanted on both sides of the ball. Plus Barrett thinks the Eagles can really exploit Seattle this week on the ground... if the RBs can hold on to the football. All that and more on this edition of the Next LVL Podcast.

Brandon Brooks: We're always trying to make good better - PhillyVoice
Bobby Wagner leads their defense. He’s definitely one of the best all-around linebackers in the game. I would put him up there with [Luke] Kuechly neck-and-neck as far as what he does with the defense and what he means to the team. I definitely give their defense a lot of respect. I know some of the secondary guys have gotten hurt, but they just got hurt. We’re not taking them lightly. We’re not looking past them. We know who Seattle is, and obviously with the crowd noise.

Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll's praise of Carson Wentz went beyond normal lip service - Daily News
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was quite impressed with Carson Wentz and the Eagles, when Carroll spoke with Philadelphia-area reporters Wednesday on a conference call. This is the time-honored way of the conference call. Never yet heard a coach say, “gee, the team you guys cover really stinks and we ought to win easily this week.” But Carroll mentioned a few specifics that were worth noting. “He’s got leadership, he’s got confidence, he’s got awareness,” Carroll said of Wentz, the Eagles’ second-year quarterback, who continues to lead Pro Bowl balloting at his position. “He just has all the elements to be a great player, I think.”

Glad to be Wrong - Iggles Blitz
I didn’t think the Eagles should keep Corey Clement. He did some good things this summer, but I just didn’t see him as a player who would contribute much to this team. I didn’t think Jalen Mills would be more than an adequate CB this year. I didn’t think Brandon Brooks was as good as his reputation. These players have proven me wrong this season and I’m happy to admit that.

Philadelphia Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins defends Players Coalition, discusses NFL donation offer - PennLive
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he spoke with Eric Reid on Tuesday night and was surprised to learn Wednesday morning that the 49ers defensive back had broken from the NFL Players Coalition, which Jenkins formed to organize those who wanted to spotlight what they say is social injustice in the United States. Jenkins and other members of the coalition had been discussing this week the NFL's offer to donate at least $89 million to charities designed to benefit African Americans in hopes of ending the movement of national anthem demonstrations. Reid, the first player the kneel alongside former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year, told ESPN he and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas were leaving the Players Coalition because Jenkins and Anquan Boldin had not listened to their concerns. Jenkins disputed that notion.

NFC East: The Picture Once Again Changes -
There was a time, from 2001-2004, when the Eagles ruled the NFC East with authority, using division titles as a launching point to four straight NFC Championship Games. Led by head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb, the Eagles were the Beasts of the NFC East. There was no disputing which team ruled the roost ...

Eagles numbers that matter: Derek Barnett already an impact player - The Athletic
12.8 – The percentage of pass-rushing snaps in which rookie Derek Barnett has produced either a sack or a hurry. He ranks first on the team in that category. Here's the full rundown.

Brandon Graham making Eagles fans forget about Earl Thomas - NBC Sports Philadelphia
Brandon Graham has been through so much in his eight years with the Eagles. He's gone through three head coaches, five defensive coordinators and six position coaches. He missed most of a season with an injury. He missed most of a season riding the bench. He was blasted for years by fans who wanted Earl Thomas instead. And Graham is still here, still always smiling and playing better than ever. “We’ve been here a long time," Graham said. "I’m just happy to be a part of this. I’m just happy that they stuck with me and now we’re out here and we put a team together and now we’re trying to take advantage."

Eagles rookies seem masterfully prepared for extended season - Morning Call
An upcoming West Coast road swing that has them playing NFC West title contenders in back-to-back weeks without coming home in between normally would raise the alert level for young players. But thanks to sports science, some strong veteran leadership and the overall feeling of euphoria generated by the team’s 10-1 start, the infamous “rookie wall” is not what it used be 10 years ago or even five years ago. “I feel great,” Douglas insisted Wednesday, four days before the Eagles visit Seattle on Sunday Night Football. “I guess it’s because I’m still young. But I want to play, play, play. I just watch the vets, talk to the vets, see what the vets do, how they recover and keep their bodies right.”

What I didn’t expect from the Seahawks this season - Field Gulls
Did you know that the Seattle Seahawks tight ends have caught at least one touchdown in nine straight games? Jimmy Graham has been the main headline here, leading all TEs in receiving touchdowns with an impressive eight, but the Seahawks as a whole have 12, with three from Luke Willson and one from Nick Vannett. That means more than half of Russell Wilson’s 23 TD tosses have gone to a TE. For perspective, Seahawks TEs caught 31 TDs total in the regular season from 2012-2016, which averages out to roughly a half-dozen.

Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning in a desperate attempt to save his job - SB Nation
The Giants head coach has been candid inside the building that Manning’s part of the team’s problems. Some of his colleagues think this move was part of the coach’s last-ditch effort to save himself.


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[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 08:28:48 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles can officially clinch the NFC East tonight

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The NFC East is virtually over. The Philadelphia Eagles are 10-1 with five games to play. The Dallas Cowboys currently rank second in the division at 5-6.

The NFC East will be officially over if the Cowboys lose to the Washington Redskins tonight on Thursday Night Football. The only way the Eagles can still miss the 2018 NFL playoffs is if they lose out and Dallas wins out. That’s clearly very unlikely to happen.

Winning the division is hardly the ultimate goal for this Eagles team. Philly is still looking to maintain the lead for the No. 1 seed in the NFC with the Minnesota Vikings only one game behind them.

But clinching the division is still a noteworthy moment for the Eagles. They haven’t won the NFC East crown since Chip Kelly’s first season with Philadelphia in 2013. And how many teams can say they clinched the division in the month of November?

So here’s to a Cowboys loss on Thursday night.

Dallas opened this game as 2.5 point favorites. The line has since shifted to make the Cowboys two-point underdogs at home. Looks like a lot of people are betting on Washington to win this game.

It’s no surprise as to why. The Cowboys have flat out sucked without Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup. Dak Prescott has been historically incompetent.

Even if the Cowboys can somehow beat Washington, the Eagles will still clinch the NFC East if they defeat the Seahawks in Seattle this week.

It’s only a matter of time.

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 08:49:17 EST from rss

Subject: Your Thursday Morning Roundup

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Just like Donald Trump, the Wizards needed the Wall last night. Washington, sans-John Wall, fouled their way back into the game, but the Sixers held on to win, 118-113. With the victory, the Sixers are now on pace for 48 wins this season. Joel Embiid had 25 points in his 32 minutes, and Ben Simmons had…

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 09:52:41 EST from rss

Subject: Hack-a-Simmons: Four Observations from Sixers 118, Wizards 113

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Ben Simmons didn’t have much to say after attempting 24 free throws in the 4th quarter of last night’s nail-biting win. “It’s not gonna happen much longer. I’m gonna knock em down,” the Sixers point guard explained. Down by 19 points going the fourth quarter, a short-handed Washington team clawed its way back into the…

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 10:43:21 EST from rss

Subject: Crunching The Numbers: Seattle Seahawks

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Will the Eagles steal a win in CenturyLink Field?

We’re rolling full-stop into December with another edition of Crunching The Numbers, a weekly series where I use a few selected statistics to analyze the Eagles’ upcoming matchup. For an explanation of why I picked the metrics I used, along with an archive of past installments, check out this hub.

I’m not going to dive too much into what I said last week about the Bears, because there wasn’t much to say. Despite having an alarming case of fumblitis, Philly rolled over the hapless Bears for their fourth straight victory by 23 or more points. Even though the final score was 31-3, this was somewhat of an “ugly” win for the Eagles, as there were several reminders in the game that they aren’t perfect. I checked to see if the Bears force more fumbles than the average team, and they don’t, so this was just the Eagles getting lazy with ball security. Laziness makes them beatable, which is why I think “ugly” wins are a good thing every now and then (and preferable to a “quality” loss). They serve to keep the team in check and focused on the ultimate goal, which is perfection. Being “good enough” isn’t good enough. They know that fumbling four times won’t be so easy to cover up against a better team.

Speaking of which, the Seahawks are a much better team. This will most likely be the biggest test and most hostile environment the Eagles have faced since they traveled to Carolina on a short week. And even though they’ve been struggling somewhat lately, I think Seattle might have something of a “kryptonite” for the Eagles. We as fans might be licking our chops at the Seahawks’ poor pass protection and awful running game as playing right into our strengths on defense, but that’s exactly why they are terrifying. The Seahawks have struggled to stifle the pass rush and run the ball all season - meaning they’ve had to learn how to win while having those problems. In other words, it doesn’t matter that we can get after the passer or stuff the run, because they can’t block against that anyway. What makes the Eagles’ defense “scary” for most teams is simply what they’ve been dealing with all season en route to a 7-4 record.

And they’ve dealt with that by asking Russell Wilson to give his best Aaron Rodgers impression, and he’s mostly delivered. Wilson has kept the Seahawks relevant almost single-handedly as the defense has succumbed to injuries with both his legs and his arms. The last time the Eagles faced a seasoned dual-threat quarterback in Cam Newton, they gave up 71 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but picked him off three times. Wilson is a much more polished passer and expecting the defense to force turnovers like that in Seattle is simply not realistic.

So then, how do the Eagles beat the Seahawks? Let’s see what the statistics have to offer us...

Matt Takes

Like last week, the Eagles have the edge in every category. Unlike last week, the Eagles’ opponent isn’t terrible in every category. They aren’t particularly good - I was mildly surprised that Seattle isn’t top ten in any area - but they are, by definition, above average.

There is one place where they are decidedly mediocre, and that’s PTS/1HLF. Seattle is barely averaging more than three field goals (or a touchdown, extra point, and safety, whichever you fancy) in the opening half. The Eagles’ modus operandi is to jump out to a lead early, and the Seahawks’ sluggish starts don’t exactly threaten that strategy. It is important to note that Russell Wilson is captaining the league’s tenth-highest scoring offense in spite of this, so their ability to make second-half adjustments should be respected.

The other statistic to pay attention to is the Eagles’ OY/CMP, which ranks fourth. This might look exciting considering how poor the secondary was projected to be, but in their last four games the Eagles have faced two rookie quarterbacks, a Zeke-less Dak Prescott, and Brock Lobster. There is a chance this high ranking is fools’ gold, especially since the last quality quarterback the Eagles played, Kirk Cousins, completed 75% of his passes at a clip of 10.1 yards per completion. It is entirely possible Wilson has a similar outing on Sunday night.

Okay, this is all well and good, but how does this factor into the game? What should the Eagles be doing to win?

When the Eagles have the ball

While I said it would behoove the Eagles to score early (although that statement applies to every team in every situation), points are not going to come as easily as they have over the past four games. This is because Seattle is actually decent at making teams “work” for their scores, as their 16.2 OY/PT ranks thirteenth. All season long I’ve been saying that the Eagles need to be aggressive - well this game might be a good time to exercise caution. Facing a 4th and 4 with a 53-yard field goal? Trot Elliott out there and take the points. It might be a while before they have another opportunity to score.

Outside of PTS/1HLF, the Seahawks “worst” stat is OY/CMP, where they are fourteenth. This is certainly not a bad ranking, it’s just not really all that great either. Even with Sherman and Chancellor out, the Eagles are probably better off utilizing rhythm passes and anticipation throws to pick up medium chunks of yards. Take what the defense gives you. Try to go deep to keep them honest, but don’t force anything! Wentz had a few almost-interceptions against an inept Bears team. At least one of those would have been picked by Seattle’s veteran secondary.

When the Seahawks have the ball

Strangely enough, this represents the more intense chess match for me. As I mentioned before, the Seahawks make good halftime adjustments and have dealt with a poor running game and no pass protection all season. What the Eagles bring to the table isn’t new to them. And there’s no sure-fire way to shut down Russell Wilson, whose ability to extend plays turns professional games into sandlot football.

If there’s one weakness to Wilson’s game, it’s that he hasn’t been much of a downfield threat this season (6.9 YPA - 12th). Combined with the rather average clock control (30:32 TOP - 12th), the best strategy might be to simply ask Wilson to beat them as a pocket passer. Don’t abandon the pass rush, obviously, but don’t attack so ferociously that he initiates a scramble drill. The Eagles are best off dropping seven in coverage and bringing an exotic variety of rushes and stunts from Wilson’s blind side, while running more pedestrian fronts on the other - even possibly drop a lineman into coverage and bring a delayed blitz from a safety or linebacker. By using longer-developing rushes on Wilson’s right side, the Eagles can create the illusion that he has more time in the pocket than he actually does. When the rush hits home, Wilson won’t have the time or real estate to make magic happen, and if he tries to step up in the pocket he’ll be charging right into the teeth of the defense.

I won’t talk much about the run, since the Seahawks can’t really do it and the Eagles are so good at stopping it. I think they should spread out the back seven of the defense, however, since they’ve been susceptible to stretch and sweep plays to the outside. This would also double as insurance against Wilson scrambles. With the receivers, the Seahawks’ biggest threats are players on the inside - tight end Jimmy Graham and slot receiver Doug Baldwin. As such, I expect Schwartz to run his two-deep look he’s been relying on all season and force the Seahawks to play underneath. The Eagles have been more than happy to give up sixty yards and a field goal all season, and unless the offense really struggles to find its footing all game, I don’t see that tendency going away.

Closing Thoughts

Even though it feels like the dominant Seahawks of 2012-2016 are finally starting to fade away, the fact remains that Seattle is an incredibly difficult opponent to beat at home. The Eagles opening as road favorites for the first time in five years should only serve to galvanize their team and boisterous fans.

Given all that, this Seahawks team is still beatable at home, and as long as the Eagles play smart, clean football they will be in this game until the very end. Granted, they weren’t exactly “clean” against the Bears, but that’s all the more reason to practice harder during the week. I have no doubt that the Eagles will rise to the occasion.


(I was going to say “real birds” but it turns out a seahawk is a thing that exists. TMYK.)

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 12:30:01 EST from rss

Subject: November Phantoms report: It could be worse

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At least they’re not on a nine game losing streak...

After starting the season 7-2-1, the Phantoms coming out of November with a 5-5-1 record is disappointing, but I feel that they did better than it seems given their circumstances.

Along with injuries to Cole Bardreau, Philippe Myers, Samuel Morin, Reece Willcox, and Maxim Lamarche, the Phantoms were without top defenseman, Mark Alt, and AHL leading goal scorer, Danick Martel, for six and three games, respectively, due to recalls to Philadelphia. Their schedule was not too kind to them either. They opened November by playing three games in three nights followed up by immediately going on a six game road trip. I’m not trying to make excuses for the team, the results have to be better, but the challenges they faced should be taken into perspective.

The only “positive” trend this month was 5-on-5 goals against which is, well, not exactly positive. I guess the takeaway here is that despite the challenges they faced, they ended the month hovering right around 50% CF, which isn’t bad.

Positives for the rookies

Rookie skaters James de Haas, Mark Friedman, and Mikhail Vorobyev all had great months when it comes to driving play. Friedman was the most surprising of the trio as he had the 4th-worst CF% relative to his teammates in October, at -6.58%. The eye test would tell you he’s improved recently as well, especially when it comes to setting up chances in the offensive zone.

O’Neill continuing to shine

Early this season I’ve learned that whatever pair Will O’Neill is on will usually end up with the best CF% that night. I attribute this to his ability to get the puck of out the defensive zone. It’s not always with control, but it’s a rare sight to see him fail to exit the zone and turn the puck over.

Lindblom trending in the right direction

There were high expectations for Oskar Lindblom after scoring 47 points in 52 games as a 20-year old in the SHL, and after a rough -6.76 CF% relative to his teammates in October, he seems to have turned a corner as far as driving play goes. While his production stayed mostly static, his underlying numbers improved quite a bit, putting his full season CF% at 50.26% (-1.18 CF% Rel). Whether it was his linemates, his own play, or some combination of both, it’s great to see him on the positive side of things this month.

The Good: Special Teams

The Phantoms were outplayed and outscored at 5-on-5 this month, but two areas of concern showed signs of improvement; The power-play and the penalty kill.

The power-play scored on 20% of their 55 opportunities this month, scoring 11 goals, which was a huge improvement on their pretty terrible 11.76% in October. As of the morning of November 30th, the Phantoms power-play has climbed up from the bottom of the league to 19th.

The penalty kill, while still not great, had some minor improvement as well. An 80% penalty kill isn’t something to be excited over, but it’s an improvement on the 75.56% last month so I’ll take that as a positive.

The Bad: Goaltending

There’s no way to sugar coat this: the numbers are bad. Like, really bad. Keep in mind that using save percentage to judge a goalie without accounting for shot quality isn’t ideal, but this is the best we have so let’s get into it.

Alex Lyon: 2-4-0, .878 SV%, -0.12 average Game Score

Lyon’s first game really set the tone for the month he had. In his first start, he was pulled prior to the third period after allowing four goals on fifteen shots (.734 SV%) against the Binghamton Devils. However, he did rebound nicely after that game and went on to play one of his best games this season by the numbers. In a Wednesday morning game against the Sound Tigers, he made a season high 42 saves on 44 shots en route to a 4-2 victory. Following that game, he would have just one more appearance with a save percentage above 90%. That’s just not good enough.

Dustin Tokarski: 3-1-1, .876 SV%, -0.16 average Game Score

While Tokarski exits November with the superior record, his individual numbers were just as poor as Lyon’s. He did do something this that most goaltenders don’t when he played in every game during the 3 in 3 weekend to open November. Twice due to getting the start, and once in relief. He only had one positive Game Score this month, a 5-2 victory over Laval in which he made 28 saves on 30 shots. That was his only game with a save percentage above 90%.

These numbers don’t fall solely on the goaltenders and it should be noted that the Phantoms’ defensive play was, at times, suspect to say the least. I fully expect both goaltenders’ numbers to improve based on their past performances.

3 Stars of the Month:

1. Phil Varone

Visually, I felt that Varone was the Phantoms most creative player in November and his points speak for themselves. He led the team in points with 14 and was tied for second in goals with 4 behind only Greg Carey. While a -3.94 CF% relative to his teammates isn’t pretty to look at, his average Game Score of 0.93 accurately depicts his impact this month. Varone is currently tied for 4th in league in points with 22.

2. T.J. Brennan

After missing time with an injury October, Brennan returned to the line-up with four multi-point performances this month. He had nine more points than any other Phantoms’ defenseman and although his 41.99 CF% doesn’t bode well for his future success at 5-on-5, his 8 even strength points and +2 5-on-5 goal differential shouldn’t be ignored. Brennan also led the team in shots on goal this month with 33. With just 2 goals on 44 shots this season, we can expect more goal scoring from Brennan soon, as his career shooting percentage is almost double the 4.55% he has shot at thus far.

3. Nicolas Aube-Kubel

This spot could’ve gone to a multitude of players but in the end I decided on Aube-Kubel. It’s true that his production wasn’t in the top three for the Phantoms this month, but, in my opinion, his all around game really shone through. Besides Cole Bardreau, who only played in three games, he was the only forward with a positive 5-on-5 goal differential this month, and he had a solid +4.51 CF% relative to his teammates as well. His 0.58 average Game Score was the 4th-best among players who played in at least half of the games this month.

Highlight of the Month:

11/3/2017: T.J. Brennan scores from a ridiculous angle against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Quick Notes:

  • Mark Friedman had the best penalty differential this month at +5. He drew six and took one.
  • Chris Conner’s 3.97 Game Score on 11/4 was the second highest this season.
  • Congrats to James de Haas for scoring his first professional goal on 11/24.
  • Mike Vecchione, who I neglected to mention, had great production this month as well, with four goals and four assists.
  • For the second time this month, Philippe Myers left mid-game with an apparent knee injury on 11/25. He missed the Phantoms’ last game and his status is currently unknown.

All stats via Phancy Stats, Prospect-Stats, and

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 13:25:51 EST from rss

Subject: NFL Picks Week 13 2017: Predictions by Football Writers

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Predicting the winners of this week's NFL games.

The Bleeding Green Nation writers picks are in for Week 13 of the 2017 regular season schedule! Each week we'll predict the winners of each and every NFL game. We'll tally the results along the way and see who comes out on top at the end of the season.

After Week 12, the collective BGN Community is still in sole possession of first place. Killing it.

To some surprise, the Philadelphia Eagles are big favorites over the Seahawks IN Seattle this week. The odds-makers have the Eagles favored by as much as six points. That’s a lot!

Feel free to post your own predictions or discuss the writer predictions in the comments. You can also vote for who you think will win the games. I’ll tally those results in a “BGN Community” column. Vote in the polls beneath the table. (Click here if you can’t see the polls.)

Let's get to this week's picks!


Vote for YOUR picks below. (Once again, click here if you can’t see the polls.)

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 13:32:48 EST from rss

Subject: Swingin

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Death, taxes, and Joel Embiid getting a swing-through foul call. These are life’s certainties. If you’ve watched at least one Sixers game this season, you’ve probably seen the 7’2″ center frustrate defenders with a high-IQ low block play, one where he anticipates contact and motions upward through it, drawing a whistle. It happened twice last…

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 15:05:57 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles vs. Seahawks Preview: Seattle provides Philadelphia's toughest test in what feels like a long time

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The newest edition of BGN Radio is here! (Episode #281). In this episode, we preview the Eagles vs. Seahawks game in Week 13, analyze key matchups, playoff implications, and much more.

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 15:29:34 EST from rss

Subject: Shipping Update: Devastation

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The holiday weekend – Black Friday through Cyber Monday – has decimated our stock, the local post office and, potentially, my marriage. My wife has been fulfilling orders around the clock for four straight days now. Cruel and unusual? Maybe a little. But she’s getting two meals per day and adequate hydration. Shop now I…

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 15:35:32 EST from rss

Subject: Eagles Injury Report: Two players were limited, one sat out

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Update on the Eagles-Seahawks injury situation.

The Philadelphia Eagles released their second official injury report on Thursday in advance of their Week 13 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

For the second day in a row, only one player did not practice: linebacker Joe Walker. It seems like he won’t be able to play this week. If that’s the case, it could be Dannell Ellerbe making his first start with Philly. Or maybe the Eagles split playing time between Ellerbe and Najee Goode. With both Walker and Jordan Hicks hurt, Philly is now down to their third string linebacker option(s).

Two players were limited during Thursday’s session: starting center Jason Kelce and rookie defensive end Derek Barnett. Kelce was also limited on Wednesday. The veteran blocker is pretty good about playing through injury so I doubt his status is in jeopardy. As for Barnett, he was a full participant on Wednesday, so it’s interesting to see he got moved down to limited. If he can’t play, that would mean more playing time for Steven Means.

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and slot cornerback Patrick Robinson were upgraded to full participants on Thursday after being limited yesterday. Both players are on pace to suit up on Sunday. The same goes for Trey Burton and Beau Allen, who missed the Eagles-Bears game but returned to practice as full participants on Wednesday.



LB Joe Walker (neck)


C Jason Kelce (ankle)
DE Derek Barnett (groin)


WR Alshon Jeffery (foot)
CB Patrick Robinson (knee)
DT Beau Allen (knee)
TE Trey Burton (back)


Official Seahawks injury report to be announced - check back for updates.

[#] Thu Nov 30 2017 16:37:25 EST from rss

Subject: Malcolm Jenkins explains why he plans to stop demonstrating during national anthem

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Hear from the Eagles safety.

Malcolm Jenkins will no longer be raising his fist in the air during the national anthem prior to NFL games. The Philadelphia Eagles safety said as much in the locker room on Thursday.

Jenkins has been demonstrating since the start of the 2016 season, shortly after Colin Kaepernick began kneeling on the sideline. So why the change now? Here’s a lot of good information from a recent ESPN report:

In an unprecedented move for a major professional sports league, the NFL has proposed partnering with its players to effect social justice change, though not all players are in agreement on the proposal.

On Monday, the league submitted to players the final draft of a proposal that, according to documents reviewed by ESPN, would contribute nearly $100 million to causes considered important to African-American communities. The NFL hopes this effort will effectively end the peaceful-yet-controversial movement that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started when he refused to stand for the national anthem last season.


Under the proposal, money at both the national and local level would provide grants for nonprofit organizations focused on law enforcement and community relations, criminal justice reform and education reform.

As a leader of the Players Coalition, Jenkins has been one of the main people involved in negotiations with the NFL.

Not everyone is on board, though. San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid — Kaepernick’s former teammate — and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas withdrew from the Players Coalition on Wednesday. They both issued the following statement:

"The Players Coalition was supposed to be formed as a group that represents NFL Athletes who have been silently protesting social injustices and racism. However, Malcolm and Anquan [Boldin] can no longer speak on our behalf as we don't believe the coalition's beliefs are in our best interests as a whole."

Jenkins disputed their claims and called their decisions to withdraw “disappointing.”

Jenkins’ decision not to protest anymore indicates a level of satisfaction with the NFL’s response to demonstrations. Some players clearly feel differently.

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