Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles are scheduled to report to the NovaCare Complex this morning before taking the weekend off. There will be no media access until early next week. So the attention now shifts to the wild card games. …
- Titans at Chiefs (Saturday, 4:35 p.m.): Former Eagles coach Andy Reid has taken Kansas City to the postseason in four of his five seasons since leaving Philadelphia, but he’s only won one playoff game during that time. Reid has lost six of his last seven playoff games dating back to his Eagles tenure. Look for the Chiefs to win this game and advance to play either New England or Pittsburgh next week. Former Eagles running back DeMarco Murray, now with the Titans, is out with a knee injury.
- Falcons at Rams (Saturday, 8:15 p.m.): If the Falcons pull off the upset in Los Angeles, the Eagles would host the Falcons next Saturday. If the Rams win, the Eagles play the winner of Sunday’s Panthers-Saints game. (Marcus Hayes sized up the Eagles’ three potential opponents) The Falcons are the defending NFC champions and should not be taken lightly – this game has the narrowest point spread during the wild card weekend. Look out for former Eagles linebacker/defensive end Connor Barwin on the Rams – he was injured when the Eagles visited Los Angeles, but he’s healthy now and a key contributor.
- Bills at Jaguars (Sunday, 1:05 p.m.): The Bills are perhaps the story of the postseason, breaking a 17-year playoff drought in dramatic fashion last week. They’re heavy with Eagles ties. That includes coach Sean McDermott, a La Salle High School product and former Eagles assistant; and running back LeSean McCoy, the leading rusher in Eagles history. McCoy injured his ankle on Sunday, but is hoping to play.
- Panthers at Saints (Sunday, 4:40 p.m.): The Eagles will watch this game closely if the Rams win on Saturday. Of the three potential second-weekend opponents, the Saints are the worst-case scenario for the Eagles. Both teams are 11-5, but the Saints are six-point favorites and beat Carolina by an average of 15.5 points in two games this season. The Eagles haven’t played the Saints. They beat the Panthers on the road in October, which could be an encouraging sign for the Eagles if the Panthers are the Round 2 opponent. The Saints haven’t made the playoffs since the 2013 season, when they beat the Eagles. The Panthers have made it in four of the past five seasons, including a Super Bowl trip two years ago.
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— Zach Berman
What you need to know about the Eagles
- The Eagles need Jay Ajayi to be their workhorse running back. How is Ajayi’s knee feeling? Jeff McLane examines. McLane also has an update on Derek Barnett.
- Les Bowen looks back at the last time the Eagles had a first-round bye in the playoffs.
- The Eagles need their pass rush to wake up, Paul Domowitch writes. He also offers his 2017 awards.
- Torrey Smith says Carson Wentz is the MVP. Also, Smith speaks out about the lack of heat at a Baltimore school.
- Is home-field advantage a myth? Mike Sielski explores.
- Marcus Hayes looks at the Eagles’ potential opponents.
- If you missed Thursday’s newsletter, the Eagles are self-scouting this week.
From the mailbag
Will Alshon Jeffrey be a factor in the playoffs?
— yusuf mannan (@guyusuf1180) January 4, 2018
Alshon Jeffery needs to be a factor in the playoffs. I’ve admittedly been more bullish on Jeffery than others, and I’m the first to admit he hasn’t been nearly as productive this season as I expected. (I thought 80 catches, 1,100 yards, eight touchdowns. He finished with 57 catches, 789 yards, nine touchdowns.) But he’s their top target on the outside and will be important if Nick Foles rebounds. Jeffery hasn’t had a 100-yard receiving game this season, so it’s tough to predict he’ll reach that mark until he shows he can. But when he scores, it usually means the Eagles’ offense is clicking. Consider this: The Eagles average 34.4 points when Jeffery scores and 22.8 points when he doesn’t. I’d feed him the ball and trust him to make the plays. The Eagles paid Jeffery to be their top receiver — this is a chance for him to prove he is.