Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles will practice at 11:50 a.m. on Thursday for their final full practice of the week. Doug Pederson will hold a 10:30 a.m. news conference and the players will speak after practice.
- Alshon Jeffery will play in his first playoff game on Saturday. The Eagles’ No. 1 receiver signed with the Eagles planning on playing in games like this – although he planned for it to happen with Carson Wentz. He hasn’t had as strong of a connection with Foles – he has five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown since Foles became the starter, and he was held without a reception in Week 16 against Oakland. It didn’t look much better in the first quarter against Dallas in the season finale. However, Jeffery reminded those who question their connection to not forget about the Week 15 game against the Giants when he caught a touchdown from Foles. “Me and Nick had a great game against the Giants,” Jeffery said. “Oakland didn’t go as well, but it’s part of the game. Some games you’re going to have some good ones, some games it isn’t going to go [as well].” The Eagles need it to be a good on Saturday, when Jeffery will likely be covered by cornerback Desmond Trufant. Jeffery said he’s seen Foles “a lot more confident this week.” Jeffery thinks the work during the bye week helped. The Falcons might load up against the run and force Foles to try to beat them on the perimeter. “If they stack eight in the box, we have to make plays on the outside,” Jeffery said. Foles said he’s going to have to give Jeffery chances for contested catches. “It’s really just me giving him opportunities to make plays, because he will make them,” Foles said. “He’s a super talented receiver. And that’s on me to give him opportunities to do so.”
- Jay Ajayi rushed for 130 yards against the Falcons on Oct. 15 while a member of the Miami Dolphins. It’s the most rushing yards the Falcons have allowed this season. “I thought on that day … he’s got excellent change of direction, so we lost some leverage on some tackles where he was able to extend some plays,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said in a conference call. “Definitely give credit to him. He’s definitely a guy that we’ve got our respect for.” The Eagles are going to rely on Ajayi this week. Look for more on Ajayi, including what he has in common with Brian Dawkins, on philly.com on Friday and in the Saturday Inquirer and Daily News.
- The NFL will announce the 2018 London games on Thursday, and don’t be surprised if the Eagles are on the schedule. The Eagles are one of six teams that haven’t played there yet in the regular season, and there’s a desire for them to make the trip. They have a road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 and the Jaguars host a game in London. The Eagles will also have Ajayi, a London native who’s a popular player in England.
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— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
- All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson faced top competition all year. Next up? Falcons edge rusher Vic Beasley, Paul Domowitch writes.
- The Atlanta Falcons had good things to say about Nick Foles, Bob Brookover writes.
- Should Howie Roseman win executive of the year? Marcus Hayes says so.
- Falcons linebacker Deion Jones, who was Jalen Mills‘ college teammate, is thriving in Atlanta.
- Julia Terruso explains why Philadelphia fans are most at home as underdogs.
- What did NBC’s Michele Tafoya say about the Eagles? Rob Tornoe has the story.
- If you missed Wednesday’s newsletter, it looked at Doug Pederson setting the tone for the week.
From the mailbag
— Tom Maffettone (@tommaff) January 10, 2018
I’d say yes — a healthy Nick Foles would start in the NFC Championship. Even if it’s an ugly win, the Eagles will look at it as a win. It’s hard to see the Eagles winning if Foles has a dreadful game. If he’s average or below average but did enough to squeak out a win, I still think they stick with him. Nate Sudfeld has played three quarters in his NFL career. The Eagles aren’t looking to make the switch to Sudfeld. I guess if Foles somehow did not finish the game on Saturday and Sudfeld excelled in his place, Doug Pederson would have a decision to make. I saw what Nick Saban did at halftime of the national championship and I applaud the bold move, but I don’t see something similar happening with the Eagles. I suppose you never know until you’re in the moment, like Pederson said last week. But I don’t think there’s a “next round” if it’s a poor game from Foles.