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 »
Arlington, Texas — Chip Kelly took the podium with a little water in his eyes and a smudge mark on his right cheek — presumably eye black that rubbed off one of the players during the celebration.
It was late in Dallas but the energy from Sunday night’s breath-stealing conclusion was still dancing in the air. The 16-game schedule was complete. And, though it took everything they had, the Eagles were still standing. Year One of the Chip Kelly era, and the Eagles are NFC East champions.
“I told those guys, I thought the first time I met them that it was a special group. I can’t tell you how much they’ve made this transition for me coming from college to the pros, it was those guys,” said Kelly. “They’ve bought in. It’s an awesome feeling when you can work as hard as they’ve worked and to see it pay off, and the results are you’re 10-6 and you’re division champs, it’s a real credit to those guys. They didn’t flinch.”
Looking back, did you honestly expect this to be the end result to your first regular season?
“I expected us to win,” said Kelly. Read more »
Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 24-22 win over the Cowboys.
* The Eagles’ offense was up-and-down in their 24-22 win against the Cowboys. Nick Foles went 17-for-26 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But he did most of his damage in the first half (12-for-16 for 197 yards). In the second half, Foles was 5-for-10 for 66 yards and he fumbled once.
* The Eagles put together an 11-play, 60-yard drive in the fourth quarter, running the ball on nine plays. Bryce Brown got in the end zone from 6 yards out. LeSean McCoy came up big on the drive as well. Overall, McCoy ran it 27 times for 131 yards (4.9 YPC). Brown had two carries for 11 yards and a score.
* On the Eagles’ first drive, Foles found Chris Polk on a wheel route for 34 yards down the right sideline. He also rifled a 16-yard pass to Riley Cooper to set up a 47-yard Alex Henery field goal. Lane Johnson was called for holding on the drive, which set up third-and-long. Read more »
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about this weekend’s Eagles-Cowboys game. Read more »
Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Eagles got two players named to the Pro Bowl Friday evening: LeSean McCoy and Jason Peters.
McCoy leads the NFL with 1,476 yards. Among the 30 running backs who have totaled at least 150 carries, only DeMarco Murray (5.4) has a higher yards-per-carry average than McCoy (5.1). His eight runs of 20+ yards are tied for third-most, and McCoy has only fumbled once, despite leading the league in carries (287).
McCoy has also piled up 51 catches for 536 yards. He’s averaging 10.5 yards per reception.
Peters has had a good year coming back from from an Achilles’ injury that sidelined him for all of 2012. This is the sixth time Peters has earned Pro Bowl honors. Read more »
Here is a complete breakdown of Sunday night’s Eagles-Cowboys matchup.
THE BIG PICTURE
It’s pretty simple: Winner hosts a first-round playoff game next weekend, while the loser goes home.
The Cowboys have been up and down with two losses in their last three games, but they pulled out a 24-23 victory over the Redskins in Week 16.
The Eagles have won six of seven and are averaging 39.3 points per game in their last three. Read more »
Pro Bowl rosters will be announced tonight. With the new format, there is no AFC and NFC designation. The field is chosen, and then there will be a fantasy-style draft to determine the two teams.
I know – try to contain your excitement.
Mocking aside, the honor of being recognized as one of the best in the game is important and meaningful to most players. So below is a look at nine current Eagles who deserve to be mentioned in the conversation. Read more »
Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week. Read more »
When Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker met with reporters Monday, he noted that the Eagles basically used the same five run plays out of different formations Sunday night to pile up 289 yards on the ground.
If Chip Kelly heard that assessment, it would probably put a big smile on his face – because it’s true.
By now, we’ve seen Kelly’s Eagles team take the field 15 times, and we have a pretty good idea of what he head coach values offensively. He wants his offense to play fast – which means simplifying things and going back to the same concepts until the defense proves it can stop them.
He wants to run first and take shots downfield. He uses packaged plays to put defenders in situations of conflict. And he wants to spread the field both horizontally and vertically.
Sunday’s 54-11 victory against Chicago was a pretty good example of all those things at work. Read more »
As the Eagles prepared for their final possession Sunday night, Nick Foles stood on the sideline next to tight end Zach Ertz and quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor.
The offense gathered briefly before running onto the field. Foles had a green and black baseball cap on instead of a helmet. He paused his conversation, joined his teammates briefly, put his arm around James Casey and returned to the sideline as Michael Vick took a couple kneel-downs to end the game.
There was a hug from Chris Polk and a handshake from Brent Celek. Foles then made his way past cameras towards midfield to greet the Bears’ quarterbacks as the clock showed triple zeroes. He removed his hat, knelt down for the prayer circle with members from both teams and joined LeSean McCoy for an interview with NBC.
Foles’ performance will not be the first or even second topic of conversation among Eagles fans today. And that’s saying something considering he went 21-for-25 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 131.7. Read more »