Normally we use this space for a thorough recap of the previous day’s game, and there will be some of that.
But it’s a playoff week for the first time in three years in Philadelphia, so let’s lead off with 10 things you should know about the next opponent: the Saints.
1. New Orleans took care of business Sunday, crushing the Bucs 42-17 to improve to 11-5 on the season – that’s 8-0 at home and 3-5 on the road. The Saints won four of their last five and were 2-3 overall against teams that are in the postseason. Going into Week 17, Football Outsiders had New Orleans as the No. 7 team overall – fifth on offense, 11th on defense and 24th on special teams. Read more »
With 1:49 left, Kyle Orton and the Cowboys took the field from their own 32-yard-line with a chance to put together a game-winning drive.
But instead of moving into field-goal range, Orton was picked off by Brandon Boykin. And just like that, the Eagles had a 10-6 record and an NFC East title during Chip Kelly’s first season.
“It’s an awesome feeling when you can work as hard as they’ve worked and to see it pay off and the result is 10-6 and you’re division champs,” Kelly said. “It’s a real credit to those guys. They didn’t flinch. That was an interesting fourth quarter to say the least, but this group keeps battling, and they just found a way.” Read more »
The consensus within the Cary Williams circle of trust was that the cornerback wasn’t playing with the same type of edge that he had in Baltimore. Sounds strange, seeing as the feisty corner always seems to be an inch away from throwing haymakers on the field, but this has more to do with what’s been going on between the whistles. His brother said something about it. His best friend. Even his pastor felt he needed to be a bit more ferocious.
But when his wife, Amanda, broached the subject, that was the tipping point.
“When my wife said it, it really kind of sunk in,” said Williams. “I listened because she has been following me for a long time and watching how I played, and she said I just didn’t have the same aggressiveness like how I used to,” said Williams. “I gave a bunch of excuses why, but then when I look in the mirror it just is what it is. I am what I put out there on the field.
“I just wanted to get back into character.”
The defense as a whole was trying to do the same thing. Read more »
Here is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday night’s home game against the Bears:
Out: S Colt Anderson (knee), S Kurt Coleman (hamstring)
Probable: CB Brandon Boykin (concussion), LB Najee Goode (hamstring), LB Mychal Kendricks (knee), WR Brad Smith (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)
The most significant piece of news is that Boykin made it through the concussion protocol and is expected to play against Chicago. That’s big, particularly because standout wide receiver Brandon Marshall will line up in the slot from time to time.
Also of note is that Wolff will likely make his return after missing several weeks with a knee injury. Billy Davis plans on easing Wolff back in, so don’t expect him to be taking all the reps at safety opposite Nate Allen. He will likely rotate with Patrick Chung. Read more »
Before we get to the predictions, here’s the iTunes link to this week’s podcast. Tim and Sheil talked Eagles-Bears, expectations for the final two weeks and more on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Player I’ll be watching:
McManus: Brandon Boykin
The cornerback returned to practice Thursday after being sidelined earlier in the week with a concussion. The fact that he’ll be able to play in this one is big. The secondary needs all hands on deck to try and slow a dangerous Chicago pass attack. Brandon Marshall will line up inside at times, making Boykin’s role that much more critical. Read more »
The Eagles got good news on the injury front today when Chip Kelly announced that Brandon Boykin has been cleared to practice and should be “good to go.”
Boykin suffered a concussion during a special-teams play last week. But he’s undergone the league-mandated protocol and is expected to be on the field against the Bears Sunday night.
The Eagles’ main injury concern now is on special teams. Kurt Coleman (hamstring) and Colt Anderson (knee) did not participate in practice. The team signed Keelan Johnson off the practice squad yesterday.
The Eagles will release their official injury report later today. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ defensive performance after having watched the All-22 from Sunday’s game.
* Going in, the Eagles should have expected to dominate the Vikings’ ground game, given that Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were out. And that’s what happened. Matt Asiata needed 30 carries to get to 51 yards (1.7 YPC). The pass-rush could have been better, but Matt Cassel did a good job of getting the ball out quick, and most of the problems through the air were the fault of the secondary. Read more »
Going into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, the Eagles appeared to be peaking at the right time.
They had won five straight, were in the driver’s seat in the NFC East and looked like a team capable of making some noise in the postseason.
Less than 24 hours after kickoff, the outlook has changed a bit. The 48-30 loss to the Vikings was either just one bad letdown game or a true reality check of where this team is.
Keeping that in mind, let’s take a point-by-point look at some of the issues that surfaced in Minnesota, debuting The Kapadia Concern Scale. Each issue is given a ranking from 1 to 10. Read more »
Here is the Eagles’ injury report for Sunday’s road game in Minnesota.
Doubtful: LB Najee Goode (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)
Probable: CB Brandon Boykin (hip), CB Cary Williams (hamstring).
Williams popped up on the report Thursday after apparently hurting his hamstring during practice. The fact that he is probable suggests it’s not a significant injury, but it’s something to keep an eye on Sunday nonetheless.
Wolff was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday. He described himself as a game-time decision this week, but admitted that he wasn’t quite at 100 percent yet. Patrick Chung is in line for another start opposite Nate Allen.
Boykin was listed as a full participant all week.
As for the Vikings, all eyes are on the running back position. Read more »
Here is a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ defense after having reviewed the All-22 tape.
* This group led the charge. Joique Bell needed 23 carries to gain 69 yards (3.0 YPC). And the Lions failed to gain more than 8 yards on any single run. Cedric Thornton was outstanding, leading all defensive linemen with six tackles (per team stats) and a forced fumble, which the Eagles turned into a takeaway. Thornton helped blow up a Bell run that gained 3 in the second and was disruptive throughout. Read more »