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 »
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 »
Here’s a position-by-position review of the Eagles’ offensive performance against the Vikings after having re-watched Sunday’s game.
* Tough game to critique for Nick Foles. He threw for 428 yards, three touchdowns (one INT) and averaged 8.9 YPA. Normally those are phenomenal numbers. And Foles did have some excellent moments. But I came away thinking he could have closed in on 600 yards. Keep in mind this is without the benefit of the All-22 (not released yet). There were a lot of times where he identified open receivers but was off-target with his throws. Read more »
The Eagles punted four times and turned it over once on their first five possessions last week against the Lions.
After each series, when the offensive players ran off the field and towards the sideline, assistant coaches were waiting for them with questions.
They wanted to know what the conditions were like, why certain things weren’t working and what the Lions were doing defensively.
“You don’t even need to wait until halftime,” said guard Todd Herremans. “We get enough breaks during the game where you come off the field. We had a lot of stuff that was based off of the speed of their ends rushing upfield and penetration of their tackles and stuff. We thought we would be able to take advantage of that, use our speed to our advantage. But obviously during the conditions, they just kind of slowed everybody down and it just became more of a power/downhill game.”
The players let the coaches know that they were slipping, that the Lions’ front four wasn’t getting upfield, that it was difficult to change direction and get to runs which required a certain degree of lateral movement.
And so Chip Kelly and his staff decided to implement some changes. Read more »
Moments after setting a franchise record for rushing yards in a single game, LeSean McCoy turned the attention directly towards his offensive line.
“I mean the guys up front just gave me opportunities one-on-one, blowing those guys off the ball,” he said. “I think everybody is so intimidated and scared of their guys up front on Detroit, but I think the big guys on my team took a challenge and stepped up.”
Tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are the strength of the Lions’ defense. The onus fell on interior linemen Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans to try and keep them under control. They not only did that, but dominated down the stretch to blast open some holes for McCoy to prance through.
Herremans in particular stood out for his handling of Suh. Read more »
The Eagles are coming off an emotional, memorable win over the playoff-hopeful Lions. They have won five straight and, after a Dallas loss to Chicago Monday night, find themselves in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. Up next is a 3-9-1 Vikings team that could very well be without star running back Adrian Peterson.
Any concern about a letdown in this spot?
“No,” said Chip Kelly. “We’re just a one-week operation. I was literally thinking of the Vikings game running off the field on Sunday. It’s, ‘What is our next opportunity to go out and see where we are as a team?’ That’s what this deal is all about. I think the teams that are mentally tough can work their way through it, and I think we have a mentally tough group. Read more »
Dec 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) hands off to running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a position-by-position look at what we saw from the Eagles’ offense against the Lions, after having re-watched the game.
* There was good Nick Foles, and there was bad Nick Foles. Obviously, the weather conditions were a factor. Foles started the game 4-for-13 for 35 yards. When he missed, he generally sailed his throws. That’s what happened on the first-half interception. Foles was also off-target on a hitch to Riley Cooper, and he fired a quick throw to Cooper into the ground. Last week, on the same throw, Foles fired the pass over Cooper’s head. Both attempts came with him under center. I think that has something to do with it. That’s an easier throw when you’re in shotgun and can just take the snap and fire. Read more »
Chip Kelly and his coaching staff worked all week on a special gameplan to neutralize the aggressiveness of the Detroit Lions’ defensive front.
Screens, draws, read-plays that would have left linemen unblocked. Those were all part of the plan as of Sunday morning.
“We had a lot of plays in the gameplan to attack their scheme and attack a lot of their explosion and things like that,” said center Jason Kelce. “I was excited to run them coming into the game because I thought they were awesome. But the weather really took them out of their typical way that they played football because they couldn’t get their footing, they couldn’t get upfield as fast.
“I think the coaches got to some more downhill stuff and some more vanilla stuff where we could just kind of get together and get double teams and get moving vertically.”
The word vanilla has been used in the past as a jab at Kelly’s offense. On Sunday, vanilla was what saved the Eagles. Read more »
Photo | Jeff Fusco
McManus: Todd Herremans
Alex Henery was college teammates at Nebraska with Ndamukong Suh and says he has been texting with him this week as the Eagles get set to welcome in Suh’s Lions. Henery noted that when he and Suh were at Nebraska the Cornhuskers faced a Nick Foles-led Arizona club in the Holiday Bowl back in 2009. Nebraska rolled 33-0. Henery remembers Suh creating all sorts of problems for Foles.
“I think he was 0-for-20 or something,” said Henery.
Actually, Foles was 6-of-20 for 28 yards with an interception. Read more »