Week Nine Preview: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Eagles are coming off an impressive win at the perfect time. They are looking to build off the momentum of last week and carry it into Sunday afternoon’s home match-up with the reeling Chicago Bears. Finally, a home game.

The Eagles are in a tough situation. With their record at 4-4, they find themselves looking up at teams in the playoff race. However, they are certainly within reach of a playoff spot, especially with the season only half over.

With that being said, if they want to remain in the thick of the playoff hunt, Sunday’s game is the type of game they cannot afford to lose. After this week and the bye week next week, the Eagles have two huge home games against the NFL’s elite: the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

Chicago is in desperation mode right now. They sit at 3-4, bad enough for last in the highly competitive NFC North. Worse than that is the fact that they have played such uninspiring football. The 2019 Bears look like a shell of the Bears team the Eagles faced in the playoffs just last season.

With the Bears hanging by a thread, the Eagles need to kick them while they’re down. The Birds need to take advantage of a team playing with an extreme lack of confidence.

Continue reading "Week Nine Preview: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles" »


Week Eight Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Birds are reeling as they travel to Western New York to take on the 5-1 Buffalo Bills. Before the season started, if you were to guess which team would have five wins and which team would have three coming into this game, you probably would have had the two teams reversed.

The Bills are 5-1, and the only team that they have played that has a current record over .500 is the Patriots. They lost that game. The combined record of the other five teams they’ve played: 6-28. Not exactly top-tier competition.

That being said, there is a reason Buffalo is 5-1. In every game this season, the Bills defense has shined. Quite the opposite of the Eagles.

The Eagles are in free fall right now, having suffered two straight blow-out losses where every aspect of the team has looked terrible.

It seems as if the Eagles only shot at getting into the playoffs, especially with the NFC looking strong through seven weeks, is going to be by winning the NFC East. They did themselves no favors last week against Dallas. This game has essentially become a must win for the Birds.

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Week Seven Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

(One of my all-time favorite Eagles moments. Lito Sheppard picks off Drew Bledsoe and returns it 102 yards to seal an Eagles win over the Cowboys. It was TO’s first game back in Philly.)

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

There is no game that an Eagles fan looks forward to in the regular season more than the two games against Dallas. The hatred is obvious and mutual. The games are that much better when both teams are good and competing for the division title.

That’s the situation we have set up for us as fans on Sunday. Winner takes sole possession of first place on Sunday Night Football. In that stupid stadium they call “Jerry's World.” In a lot of ways, I think Eagles fans enjoy beating Dallas in their place more than at home. At least I do.

Another underrated part of beating Dallas is when the camera inevitably pans to Jerry Jones in his owner’s box, showing him pound his fist in disgust like a child. It makes me laugh every time. Let’s hope we get to hear Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth discussing that late in the fourth quarter on Sunday night.

As Eagles fans, we are going to need to channel all of the 44-6, “They stop him again,” Brandon Boykin and Lito Sheppard game-winning interceptions, and 1980 NFC Championship game thoughts we can possibly have on Sunday. I think the Eagles are going to need all the help they can get to win on Sunday.

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Week Six Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

This week, the Eagles travel up north to their second home in Minnesota to take on the Vikings. For those of you who forgot, the Eagles won Super Bowl LII in the Vikings' house, after they kicked the living daylights out of them in the NFC championship game two weeks prior.

Make no mistake about it, this week is a rivalry week. It may not have the history that the Eagles rivalry with the Cowboys or Giants has, but oh baby does it have the bad blood.

It’s not necessarily bad blood between the two teams, but these two fan bases have genuine hate for each other. Here’s one reason why:

Before the NFC championship game, Vikings fan pulled this stunt, claimed they were “taking over Philadelphia," and then whined and complained that Eagles fans were mean to them after all they did was talk trash before the game.

Philadelphia fans hate this fanbase. I despise this fanbase. Minnesota fans are everything Philadelphia fans are not. They have this kind of fake toughness aura around them, evidenced by the way they acted during that NFC championship. Most of all, though, Minnesota fans are soft (again, see the way they acted after the NFC Championship). This is one thing that Philadelphia fans will never be accused of, and the fans take extreme pride in that.


Eagles Offense vs. Vikings Defense

The Eagles offense finally got off to a strong start in the first quarter last week against the Jets. Unfortunately, after Jordan Howard plunged in from a yard out on the first possession, the Eagles offense only mustered 10 points the rest of the way against the woeful Jets. Nobody on the offense had their best game, including head coach Doug Pederson.

Since DeSean Jackson sustained an abdominal injury in week two, this offense has really lacked explosiveness. The offense will be without DeSean again this week, but he is aiming toward a return next week in Dallas. With the offensive weapons they have outside of Jackson, the lack of explosiveness honestly makes sense. I wouldn’t label anyone else on the offense as “explosive.”

Other than maybe the occasional wheel route from Miles Sanders or the missed deep shot to Nelson Agholor, all of the offensive weapons are more possession type players. It’s time for Pederson to get creative with the play calling. He’s going to have to against Minnesota’s stingy defense.

The Vikings boast one of the best defensive units in the league. Minnesota is allowing the fourth-fewest yards per game (292.4), while also allowing the fifth-fewest points per game (14.6). There isn’t a weakness on this defense, as they also rank in the top ten in pass yards and rushing yards allowed. Not to mention, they are a brick wall in the red zone, as they allow less than 50% of red zone possessions to end with a touchdown.

Minnesota’s defensive line has some monsters, as they have 15 sacks through five games. Pass rushers Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen will have maybe their toughest match-ups of the year, though, against Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. Linval Joseph is a beast of a defensive tackle and is a key cog of Minnesota’s game plan against the run. The Birds offense will have to neutralize him if they want to run the ball effectively.

The Vikings linebackers are strong against the run and the pass. Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr form one of the best duos in the middle of any defense in the league. Barr recently re-signed with Minnesota over the offseason, landing a lucrative contract. He is worth the money.

Minnesota’s secondary has not been the same force that they have been the past few years. Make no mistake about it, they are still an above average unit, certainly better than the Eagles secondary. Although, it is clear that this year they can be beaten.

Starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes has not had a good start to his season, so I expect the Eagles to target him. In recent years, that would have been an absurd idea. Safety Harrison Smith is still a fantastic football player with incredible instincts. My advice would be to throw to the side of the field he is not on. Zach Ertz isn’t afraid of him though.



Related Reading:
Injury Report: Eagles at Vikings


Eagles Defense vs. Vikings Offense

The Eagles defense had easily the best game of their season last week. While the Jets are awful and they were starting their third-string quarterback after giving all the practice reps to their regular starter during the week, the defense played far better than anyone anticipated. 10 sacks to go along with two defensive touchdowns is one heck of a performance. Unfortunately, The Birds do not play the Jets every week.

The Eagles remain dominant against the run, ranking as the best team in the league in terms of rushing yards allowed. They will face easily their toughest test this week though, against young stud running back Dalvin Cook. The Vikings have the third most rushing yards per game, at a whopping 166 yards per game. When your quarterback is Kirk Cousins, you have to do what you have to do to keep the offense afloat.

Okay, Kirk Cousins is not that bad. He’s a strictly average quarterback. The thing that separates Cousins from other average quarterbacks, though, is that even average quarterbacks can stumble their way into a big win. Cousins has the most incredible stat I may have ever seen.

Kirk Cousins possesses a career record of 5-27 (1-8 with the Vikings) against teams with a winning record. Five wins. In 32 games. That’s a 15.6% winning percentage against perennial playoff teams. Also known as teams you would have to beat to, you know, win the Super Bowl.

Simply put, when the lights shine brightest, and the pressure is on, you probably don’t want Cousins leading your team. It’s okay though, Vikings fans. Your team is only paying him (checks notes)...$28 million per year, fully guaranteed. All that money to have a 15% chance at beating a team with a winning record. Incredible.

All that being said, Cousins played well last week after his own receivers called him out the week before for being bad. Speaking of those wide receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs form quite the duo. They are very talented players who run great routes and don’t drop the football. They should absolutely torch our banged up secondary. If I know the Eagles the way I think I do, this defense has the capability to make Kirk Cousins look like Joe Montana.


My Prediction

I’m very nervous about this game. I think if the Eagles were at full strength and didn’t have so many injuries to key players, they would have the advantage over Minnesota. Alas, the Eagles are missing two of their top three cornerbacks, their deep-threat wide receiver and two key special teams returners in Darren Sproles and Corey Clement.

The Vikings also play much better at home than they do on the road. Both of their losses this year have come away from their spaceship that they call a stadium. However, something that is in the Eagles favor is their incredible ability to stop the run.

If the Eagles can stifle the Vikings potent running attack, that means the ball will be in the hands of Kirk Cousins more than Minnesota would like. Sign me up for that. Stopping the run is the key to this game. Make Kirk Cousins beat you. History has shown that he probably won’t. If Jim Schwartz’s unit stops the run, they will win the game. If they don’t, it will be a long afternoon.

I’m putting my trust in Schwartz and his men to do what they’ve done with consistent greatness all year. Eagles escape with a 23-21 win. Cousins has a good game against our putrid corners, as Thielen and Diggs are open all day long. Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz have big games, and Carson Wentz doesn’t turn the ball over yet again. Cousins has the ball late in the game with a chance to drive his team down the field and win the game. He doesn’t get it done.

Eagles fans take over U.S. Bank Stadium and mock the Vikings skol chant (again).


Broadcast Information

Time: 1:00 p.m.

TV: FOX

Radio: 94.1 FM WIP

Online: NFL Gamepass


Week Five Preview: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Eagles are coming into this week soaring after a thrilling victory last week against Green Bay. It was a game they had to win and they got the job done. They proved me wrong.

This week, the Birds return home to face a depleted and uninspiring New York Jets team that has yet to win a game this season.

While the Jets have nowhere near the same level of talent that the Eagles do, this team is not as bad as some may think. They have some solid players in running back Le’Veon Bell and safety Jamal Adams.

This game will be determined by which Eagles team shows up. Will it be the Eagles team that won in Green Bay last week, or will it be the team that laid eggs against the Falcons and Lions.


Eagles Offense vs. Jets Defense

The Eagles offense got back on track last week. 34 points against that Packers defense is a very good sign. Doug Pederson called a great game, and did exactly what I’ve been begging him to do all year long: run the dang ball. The Birds rushed for 176 yards last week. They were paced by Jordan Howard, who had 87 of those yards and three touchdowns.

The Eagles actually had more yards on the ground than through the air. Carson Wentz only had 160 yards passing, but he was extremely efficient when he did throw the ball. He tossed three touchdowns to three different receivers, and didn’t turn the ball over. In fact, the Eagles had no turnovers all game. This was far different from the games they lost the previous two weeks, when it felt like they were turning the ball over at any opportunity.

One gripe that I did have with Philadelphia’s offense last week, however, was that they once again started sluggish in the first quarter. Over the past 20 regular season games, the Eagles offense remains dead last in first-quarter scoring.

The Eagles cannot just continue to rely on being a second-half team to get them wins. While last week was as close as they’ve come to playing a full 60 minute game, they still aren’t there yet. Look for the offense to start quickly against the Jets mediocre defense this week.

Speaking of the Jets defense, they are by far the strength of this team. That’s really not saying much when you look at their current state on offense. The Jets defense ranks as a very average unit compared to the rest of the league. They are in the middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed and points allowed.

However, New York ranks eighth in the league against the run. That has a lot to do with a very solid front seven that includes stud defensive end Leonard Williams, number three overall draft pick Quinnen Williams, and big free-agent signing C.J. Mosley. However, Mosley is yet to practice this week and has been out since week two with a nagging groin injury. Quinnen Williams has also been limited in practice this week with an ankle injury.

Where the Jets defense is really vulnerable is against the pass. They rank fifth-worst in the league in pass yards allowed. New York’s secondary gets torched about as much as the Eagles does, which is really saying something. Their cornerbacks, Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts, have not played well at all. Safety Jamal Adams is a playmaker though, in both the run and the pass game. You will see him make a lot of plays on Sunday.



Related Reading:
Injury Report: Jets at Eagles


Eagles Defense vs. Jets Offense

The Eagles defense showed up when they had to last Thursday night. They were burnt between the 20’s, per usual, but resembled the ‘85 Bears defense in goal-to-go situations in the fourth quarter. Not only with Nigel Bradham’s interception, but also when they forced the Packers to turn the ball over on downs when they had four plays from the one-yard line the possession prior.

I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but the Birds cornerbacks remain the liability of this team. With Sidney Jones nursing a hamstring injury, Avonte Maddox recovering from a concussion and Ronald Darby out at least a few weeks, it’s a possibility the Eagles could be trotting out two back-up corners.

Although, I will say Rasul Douglas has played the best of any Eagles cornerback this year. If Jones can’t play, expect Orlando Scandrick or last week’s hero, Craig James, to play the opposite him.

The Eagles pass rush was much better last week, with a huge sack-fumble from Derek Barnett. They got pretty decent pressure against Rodgers last week, but only ended up with that one sack from Barnett. Hopefully the defensive line is able to get some pressure this week against a below average offensive line. The more pressure they get, the less Jim Schwartz will be forced to blitz every defender we have. I'm not a big fan of a blitz that leaves our corners in man coverage with no help over the top.

The Jets offense is well, not good. Starting quarterback Sam Darnold remains out with (checks notes)...mono? The Jets will be trotting out third-string quarterback Luke Falk, a rookie from Washington State. He made his first career start against New England two weeks ago. You can guess how that went.

The Jets best offensive weapon is running back Le’Veon Bell. However, Bell has not had a good start to this season. I attribute that more to him having absolutely no help around him, and the Jets not being able to run the ball much because they’re always behind in games. The offensive line is also not that great, having allowed 13 sacks through only three games.


My Prediction

The Eagles are coming off of a season-defining win. The Jets are a winless team playing with their third-string quarterback and dealing with a boatload of injuries on defense. If the Eagles lose this game, don’t listen to Philadelphia sports radio next week.

The Eagles win, 30-14. The Eagles will start slow in the first quarter again, and it will actually be a close game in the first half, with the Jets defense keeping them in the game. The Birds will pull away in the second half with a pair of rushing touchdowns, one from Jordan Howard and the other from Miles Sanders, the first of his career. Carson Wentz will be efficient again, although with unimpressive stats. Zach Ertz will go another game without breaking a tackle.


Broadcast Information

Time: 1:00 p.m.

TV: CBS

Radio: 94.1 FM WIP

Online: NFL Gamepass


Phillies Aim to Avoid 7th Straight Losing Season, 11,000th All-Time Loss Behind Eflin

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

With the Philadelphia Phillies failing to qualify for postseason play, largely just two things remain for the club to accomplish, or better put, avoid, this season.

Sitting at a 2019 record of 80-80, and a franchise all-time record of 9,824-10,999, a Phillies win in their second-to-last game of the season on Saturday against the Miami Marlins would avoid their seventh straight losing season (guaranteeing they cannot lose 82 games), and their 11,000th-ever loss overall.

To avoid this, the Phillies will start one of their more reliable starting pitchers this season, RHP Zach Eflin, who is 9-13 with a 4.16 ERA and 123 strikeouts. Over his last seven starts, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.13 ERA. Right-hander Aaron Nola, on the other hand, finished his season going 0-4 with a 5.27 ERA over his last seven starts — all of which resulted in Phillies losses.

Continue reading "Phillies Aim to Avoid 7th Straight Losing Season, 11,000th All-Time Loss Behind Eflin" »


Week Four Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers

(I know DeSean isn’t playing Thursday night, but back in 2013 he inexplicably caught this ball for a touchdown.)

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

I’m not typically a big believer in a week four game being considered a “must-win” game, but this game sure feels like one. The 1-2 Eagles, yes 1-2, travel to iconic Lambeau Field to battle the unbeaten Green Bay Packers under the Thursday night lights.

The Eagles find themselves at 1-2, but could easily be 3-0 entering Thursday night’s game if their receivers could do the main thing that’s expected of them: catch the ball.

Agholor dropped what would have been a game-winner week two in Atlanta, and Eagles receivers couldn’t catch a cold last weekend against Detroit (SEVEN drops). The biggest drop of them all came from rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who dropped a ball that hit him in both hands that, you guessed it, would have won the Eagles the game.

Obviously, there is a lot more that happened in those two games that led to the Eagles losing both contests. Injuries, slow starts, a no-call on a facemask that nearly saw Miles Sanders lose his head, and fumbles all played a part, among many other things, in the Eagles being where they are right now.

The Eagles certainly have their work cut out for them this week. Traveling to Green Bay, where the Packers have been historically fantastic since Rodgers took over at quarterback, combined with this being a Thursday night game make this a tough hill to climb for our Birds.


Eagles Offense vs. Packers Defense

Carson Wentz is not the problem. This offense has plenty of other problems, so let me get it out of the way early that this article will not contain any Carson Wentz slander. However, I will now detail all of the offense’s current problems.

First, and the most glaring, the injuries. Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert (except for the fourth quarter last week) all missing the last two games has been far and away the biggest issue. This has caused Zach Ertz to be consistently double-teamed. It has also caused the Eagles to rely heavily on Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, and the aforementioned Arcega-Whiteside. If you’ve watched the last two games, you know why that’s a problem.

Second, the Eagles offensive line has not played anywhere close to their potential. It seems as though they aren’t getting good push off the ball on run plays. This is leading to a lot of 3-5 yard gains, and not a lot of big runs. Furthermore, with the rag-tag group of receivers getting absolutely no separation, Wentz has had to stand in the pocket forever. Obviously, the offensive line can’t hold 300+ pound men back that long.

Nevertheless, with a quarterback like Wentz, who can make something out of nothing, you can never give up on a play. Last week, there was a play in the fourth quarter, where Wentz was running around trying to make a play. All five offensive lineman literally stopped playing. If you haven’t seen the play, here it is. What a joke.

The final most glaring problem I see with this offense is the running back rotation. First and foremost, Jordan Howard needs to be getting the most caries. Miles Sanders has made it clear he isn’t quite ready to take the reins yet. I’m not saying the Eagles should give up on Sanders, that would be foolish.

However, there is no way that he should be getting more snaps than a player with the third most rushing yards in the whole league since 2016. Howard has done nothing to deserve being out-repped by an unproven rookie.

Also worth noting: Sanders fumbled TWICE on the SAME possession last week. That’s on Doug Pederson and running backs coach Duce Staley. Sanders shouldn’t have been out there the rest of that series once he put the ball on the floor the first time. Unacceptable.

There is some good news going into Thursday night: the Eagles will have both Alshon Jeffery and Dallas Goedert active. This will take the double coverage off of Ertz, and Wentz will get two playmakers back on the field. Not to mention, Wentz will be getting a reliable receiver back in Jeffery who doesn’t drop many passes. That alone should be cause for celebration

As for the Packers defense, they have some holes. It certainly isn’t the trainwreck it was last year, but it’s not top-tier. While it is true that Green Bay has given up the second-fewest points in the league, I attribute that to the quality of their opponents.

Let’s take a look at their opponents: the dumpster fire of an offense that is the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos, who are both in the bottom seven in terms of points per game. They also hosted the Minnesota Vikings, who are led by a quarterback that has a career record of 5-26 against teams with a winning record.

The Packers have been absolutely abused in the run game. They rank 25th in the league in rush defense, giving up a whopping 131 yards per game on the ground. The strength of this defense is the secondary. They are fifth in the league in pass defense, giving up just 197 pass yards per game. I’m hoping that the Eagles offense skews run-heavy Thursday night. If Doug Pederson doesn’t take advantage of Green Bay's horrid rush defense, it will be a bad night to be a television in my living room (sorry in advance to my roommates).



Related Reading:
Injury Report: Eagles at Packers


Eagles Defense vs. Packers Offense

This is where the game will be won or lost for the Eagles. There’s good news, bad news, and even worse news regarding the Eagles defense.

The good news: The Eagles have the second-best rush defense in the league, allowing just 57 yards per game so far this season. The bad news: The Eagles have the fourth-worst pass defense in the league, one spot behind the openly tanking Miami Dolphins. Honestly, it’s hard to believe there are three worse teams in the league against the pass. Oh, and the even worse news: The Eagles are playing a future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.

Other than the Atlanta game in week two when Matt Ryan threw passes directly to our defense, the Eagles haven’t forced any turnovers. It isn’t going to get any easier this week either, as Rodgers does not turn the ball over, ever. I think our inability to force turnovers is for a combination of reasons.

One of those reasons is the most obvious: the Eagles cornerbacks struggle mightily in coverage. They simply haven’t been in many positions to make plays on the receivers or the football when a pass is thrown. The other reason is that the Eagles have gotten absolutely nothing from their pass rush. They have two sacks through three games, which is second worst in the league, only to the Denver Broncos who have no sacks through three games. With the talent, as well as the money invested in the Eagles defensive line, that is absolutely unacceptable.

It won’t get easier for the Eagles pass rush, as they go against a Packers offensive line that is solid. They allowed seven sacks through the first two games, but allowed none last week against the aforementioned Broncos. Rodgers was appreciative of their performance.

While the Packers do have a lot of talent around Rodgers, they are yet to put it all together under new head coach Matt LaFleur. They rank fifth-worst in yards per game and tenth-worst in points per game. I’d imagine, though, that Rodgers won’t have many issues against our secondary.

Aaron Jones, their main running back, has only gotten better since his rookie season in 2017. He has three touchdowns in the last two games, and scored eight touchdowns in just 12 games last season.

Number one receiver Davante Adams is going to torch our secondary. There is simply no other way around it, so I’m warning you to prepare yourselves, you will see #17 in green and yellow a lot. They also have a good compliment of receivers around Adams, in Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Tight end Jimmy Graham isn’t the threat he once was, but he is definitely still a weapon.

Some good news on the injury-related front for the Eagles, though, is that they will be getting linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill back from injury. He was reportedly looking very good in training camp before suffering an MCL sprain that has sidelined him the first three games as well as most of the preseason. Ronald Darby is set to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and attribute his poor start to his hamstring. Hopefully, he can get back to 2017 form once he is fully healthy.


My Prediction

I’m very nervous for this game. I’m not even sure what my expectations for this game should be. To me, it feels like a must-win, especially with our schedule looking tough over the next seven weeks. But with the way the Eagles have looked the past two weeks, it’s hard for me to see them going up to Lambeau and getting a win on a short week.

For the first time this season, I am predicting the Eagles to lose. Packers 31, Eagles 21. I think the Packers will jump ahead early, and that will cause Pederson to abandon the run game early. As I noted, attempting to beat the Packers defense through the air isn’t the way to win.

Rodgers will have his best performance under LaFleur’s offense, passing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Davante Adams will expose our shaky cornerbacks for over 100 yards. Wentz will be hit a lot, and our running game won’t get the chance to get off the ground.

The fan in me wants me to believe they will win this game because they have to. The analytical side of me tells me there is no way I can justify picking the Eagles to win this game. Prove me wrong, fellas.


Broadcast Information

Time: 8:20 p.m.

TV: FOX or NFL Network

Radio: 94.1 FM WIP

Online: NFL Gamepass


Week Three Preview: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

The Eagles suffered one of the most strange, painful losses I’ve ever seen last week in Atlanta. No one on the team looked good and the Eagles definitely didn’t deserve or play well enough to win, yet it still feels like they should have won (Zach Ertz, would it kill you to break a tackle?). But, that’s football.

This week, the Eagles are limping, pun intended, into a Sunday afternoon match-up with the Detroit Lions.

The Lions, much like the Falcons, are one of those teams that are tough to figure out. I think the best way to describe Detroit would be that they will always play to their competition. Whether that is playing down to their competition, like they did week one against Arizona, or playing up to their competition, like they did last week against the Chargers.

Therefore, if anyone is expecting the Eagles to roll over the Lions, they should probably lower their expectations. Especially considering the Eagles are probably one of the most banged-up teams in the history of football after just two games.

Continue reading "Week Three Preview: Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles" »


Week Two Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

After a thrilling week one victory over Washington last Sunday, the Birds travel south to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. It is a Sunday night game, the first of five prime-time games for the Eagles.

The Falcons are coming off an embarrassing week one loss to Minnesota, a game they lost 28-12. The game wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. Atlanta didn’t score their first points of the game until five minutes into the fourth quarter, when they were down 28-0. In no uncertain terms, it was one of the worst performances by any team last week.

With that being said, I expect the Falcons to play a lot better this weekend. It seems like Atlanta always gives the Eagles a tough game. It’s easy to remember their last two match-ups, which came down to eerily similar final possessions for the Falcons that were denied by the Eagles defense.

A Proven Track Record, With Some Caveats

The Eagles and Falcons have played every season since Doug Pederson took over as head coach, and the Eagles are 3-0 in those match-ups. All of those games were in Philadelphia. This game is in Atlanta, so it will be a new experience for Pederson. Furthermore, Carson Wentz hasn’t played against the Falcons since his rookie year. Nick Foles started the previous two match-ups with the dirty birds.

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Week One Preview: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer

It’s finally here. Week one of the regular season has already kicked off, and the Birds will begin their quest for the franchise’s second Super Bowl (man that felt good to say) this Sunday. We are so close to watching Carson Wentz drop 60-yard dimes to DeSean Jackson, Fletcher Cox bully offensive lineman and punish opposing quarterbacks, Merrill Reese give us memorable calls and Jason Peters having his inevitable half-second too early false start.

The Birds open up the season at home against a divisional foe in the Washington Redskins. Zach Ertz expects the Linc to be rocking, “I expect a playoff atmosphere, and I’m sure our fans won’t let me down.”

Folks, if that doesn’t have you ready to run straight through a brick wall all the way down Broad Street and into the Linc screaming “Go Birds” at the top of your lungs, then you are simply not rooting for the right team. This Eagles team has that special feeling to it. We’ve been hearing about them and analyzing them all offseason, now it’s time to see them prove it on the field.


Eagles Offense vs. Redskins Defense

Simply put, Carson Wentz, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert form one of the most dangerous skill position groups the league has to offer. Oh, and the offensive line is littered with depth and experience, matched with the perfect amount of youth.

Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson will start this weekend for certain. The right guard position will be determined by Brandon Brooks’ availability. It is looking like Brooks is going to be ready to go, as he wasn't even listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. What an incredible recovery for Brooks, who suffered a torn achilles in mid-January.

As for the Redskins defense, that unit is probably the strength of their team. Their defensive line is young and raw, but extremely talented. They are lead by Alabama standouts Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. The linebacking corps is solid and filled with veteran leadership such as Jon Bostic and notorious Eagle-killer Ryan Kerrigan. Their secondary is well above-average, boasting big names such as Josh Norman and free-agent signing Landon Collins.

Expect the Eagles to run the ball early to set up the play-action passing game. Zach Ertz should get his usual double-digit targets, as the Redskins have consistently had trouble covering Ertz in past match-ups.

Even remembering the regular season finale last season against Washington, the Eagles attacked the middle of the field like there was no such thing as a sideline. Nick Foles, who started in place of Wentz, torched the Redskins defense to the tune of 25 straight completions, tying the NFL record for consecutive completions.

While I don’t expect the Eagles offense to break any records this week, I definitely give them the advantage over the Redskins defense. I expect Washington’s defense to play well enough to keep them in the game, but they won’t hold Doug Pederson’s offense down long enough to win the game.


Eagles Defense vs. Redskins Offense

The Eagles defensive line is easily one of the best in the league. With it looking more and more like Derek Barnett is going to be able to play, the Birds starting line-up will include him as well as Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and new addition Malik Jackson.

Nigel Bradham is back after not playing all preseason. Doug Pederson confirmed that he will play this weekend and will not face any suspensions for skipping the Eagles final preseason game. Former Redskin Zach Brown will start at one of the other linebacker spots. I expect Nathan Gerry to get the other starting position with Kamu Grugier-Hill still nursing a leg injury.

The Eagles secondary brings back defensive captain Malcolm Jenkins. We will also see the return of Rodney McLeod at the safety position after suffering a torn ACL last season. With Jalen Mills out at least the first six weeks of the season, Pederson said that the starters this week will be Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones on the outside, with Avonte Maddox in the slot. As has been the case the last couple of seasons, the cornerback position will be the weakness of the defensive unit.

The Redskins offense is, to put it nicely, not great. They will be led by journeyman quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum has been the poster-child for inconsistency as an NFL quarterback, as he had a great 2017 season with Minnesota, but a horrible year last season with Denver. The Redskins are Keenum’s fourth different team in four years. You never know which Case Keenum you're going to see from week-to-week. It’s also worth mentioning that Keenum’s last game in Philadelphia was the 2017 NFC championship. You may remember that game.

The Redskins receiving corps is led by Paul Richardson Jr., Trey Quinn and the often injured Jordan Reed. Reed has been limited in practice this week with a concussion, but with his injury history, you probably could have guessed that. Not the best unit in the league, to say the least.

The Redskins running backs are lead by a past-his-prime Adrian Peterson, but he is still more than capable of running between the tackles. LSU product Derrius Guice, who missed all of his rookie season with a torn ACL, will make his NFL debut Sunday. Chris Thompson should see time in his usual role as a third-down back, assuming he stays healthy throughout the game. It’s worth mentioning the Redskins also have former Eagle Wendell Smallwood.

The Redskins offensive line is questionable to say the least. With starting left tackle Trent Williams continuing his holdout, the Redskins will trot out 36-year old Donald Penn at left tackle. To his right is former disgruntled New York Giant Ereck Flowers. Expect the Eagles defensive line to dominate that side of the line. Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff is very good, but he can’t play all five offensive line positions.



RELATED READING: Injury Report: Redskins at Eagles


My Prediction

The Eagles are just too talented of a team to lose this game. They hold the advantage over Washington in just about every single facet of the game: offense, defense and special teams. I would be flabbergasted if the Redskins came into Philadelphia with this squad and left with a win. Eagles win, 31-17, and DeSean Jackson has a 50+ yard touchdown. I’m speaking it into existence.


Broadcast Information

Time: 1:00 p.m.

TV: FOX

Radio: 94.1 FM WIP

Online: NFL Gamepass