Penn State vs Iowa Preview

It is finally time. The highly anticipated top four showdown at Kinnick Stadium is finally here. Penn State and Iowa always combine for exciting matchups and today should be no different. Both teams have gotten off to red hot starts and will be looking to prove themselves once again this afternoon.

Offensive Outlook:

Iowa’s defense has been stifling this season. They have allowed just 11.6 points per game, but have also recorded an astounding amount of takeaways. They have already scored three touchdowns and a safety in just five games this season. There isn’t a star player that the defense revolves around, but they play as a cohesive unit.

Typically Iowa teams are stout up front, which they are, but not as much as they have been in the past. Penn State’s run game hasn’t been incredible but they need to stick to it today. Keyvone Lee should be untilized throughout to get sure yards – something Noah Cain has not done recently. Cain is still the best back on this team, but Lee looks to be the better option to attack the Hawkeyes.

The strength of this defense is their secondary. Every player back there has years of experience and they capitalize on mistakes made by opposing Quarterbacks. However, they have not faced a test like this Penn State offense. It is important to get Jahan Dotson involved early because they do not have the star power to stop him. Once they become weary of him, that will open up easy reads underneath for Clifford to make.

Mike Yurcich needs to stretch out the offense and attack Iowa through the air. This is a game where they will need to target everyone and rely on Jahan Dotson in key moments to be the difference maker. Establishing the run is important, but will not be easy today, so that is why 11 personnel is this offense’s best option. Jack Campbell and the rest of Iowa’s Linebackers are excellent against the run, but have questionable coverage skills. The Nittany Lions must use that to their advantage.

Defensive Outlook:

Iowa’s offense is not going to take the top off of a defense as good as Penn State’s, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of moving the ball. Tyler Goodson is one of the best Running Backs in the Big 10 and has an incredible interior Offensive Line to run behind. Ellis Brooks has proven to be stout downhill, but Brandon Smith has not done so just yet. Today is the day for younger Linebackers like Smith and Curtis Jacobs’ to prove their toughness.

Redshirt Junior Quarterback, Spencer Petras has proven to be a very good game manager for the Hawkeyes. He does not have spectacular arm talent and is not too versatile but has a good read on the pocket and generally makes good, safe decisions. It is important for Brent Pry to dial up blitzes throughout the game to pressure Petras and expose his shortcomings. Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Nico Ragaini are better than your stereotypical Iowa Wide Receivers, but aren’t anything that Joey Porter Jr. and Tariq Castro-Fields haven’t seen before.

Furthermore, the Hawkeye Offensive Tackles are a big question mark. They are inexperienced and will face a very big test this week. Arnold Ebiketie and Jesse Luketa should have big games pressuring both Petras and Goodson.

Final Verdict:

The Nittany Lions are better than the Hawkeyes at nearly every position. They are the better team and need to prove so today. Iowa’s defense hasn’t faced Wide Receivers as good as Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington yet this season; moreover, they faced a Quarterback like Sean Clifford either. Iowa’s offense will move the ball, but Penn State’s red zone defense matches up well. Don’t expect the Hawkeyes to score many touchdowns. If Penn State plays smart, doesn’t make costly turnovers, and doesn’t beat themselves, they will make a huge statement today in Iowa City.

Final Score Prediction:

Penn State 23, Iowa 13

Offensive Player of the Game:

Parker Washington

Defensive Player of the Game:

Arnold Ebiketie

Eagles vs Panthers Preview

With three consecutive losses in the books, the Birds look to get back on track this Sunday as they travel down to Charlotte in an attempt to upset the Carolina Panthers. While things have been largely negative in Philadelphia, the opposite is the case in North Carolina. Even after a loss in which they gave up 36 points to the Cowboys, the Panthers still sit tied atop the NFC South with an impressive 3-1 record. Big name offseason acquisitions and young talent have exceeded expectations to bring them to this point. Things won’t be getting much easier this week for the Birds, but expect plenty of fight from a team that desperately wants to avoid falling to 1-4.

Offensive Outlook:

The Panthers defense has the ability to be one of the most swarming in the league. They have playmakers at every single level that have the ability to make game altering plays at any given moment. Their two leaders in the back seven, Jeremy Chinn and Shaq Thompson have embraced important roles; both players have missed just a combined five snaps so far this season. Both players possess the speed and size to cover both Running Backs and Tight Ends. Expect them to make the screen game difficult with their sideline to sideline speed.

Their defensive line is headlined by Brian Burns who is probably their best defender. Burns and Haason Reddick are tremendous edge rushers, and Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones are stout up the middle against the run. The Panthers starting Defensive Line is one of the best in the entire league, but they are on the field entirely way too much. Their defensive line depth is terrible, so the starters are often gassed. If Nick Sirianni is smart, he will run the ball and control the clock to tire out their front, but that is unlikely.

The Panthers’ achilles heel are their Cornerbacks. Newly added Stephon Gilmore is not eligible to play until week seven, so the only capable Corner they currently have is Donte Jackson. Eighth overall pick Jaycee Horn recently suffered a long term foot injury, so they are depending on a washed up A.J. Bouye, recently acquired C.J. Henderson, and other low end roster players. The Eagles need to do what they did last game and take what the defense gives them. They tried to force big plays against depleted secondaries the previous two weeks, but had a much smarter approach last week.

The Eagles should be looking to run a lot of 11 personnel once again to spread out the defense, give Jalen Hurts easier reads, and force Carolina into nickel or dime coverages. Donte Jackson is a good Cornerback, so Devonta Smith may have a tough day. Hurts will need to look to his secondary weapons like Quez Watkins and Dallas Goedert. If the Panthers have Jeremy Chinn playing more of a traditional deep safety position, then Goedert should have a big game running intermediate routes, but if they decide to have Chinn play more as a hybrid, there will be some big play opportunities downfield.

Defensive Outlook:

The Panthers’ offense has been extremely impressive and are now likely to have star Running Back, Christian McCaffrey back in the lineup. The Stanford product went down week three with a hamstring injury and was initially projected to be out through this week, but is now expected to play. He brings their offense to another level and will be nearly impossible to cover; he is what makes the offense good rather than decent.

Joe Brady helped evolve Joe Burrow into a Heisman winner and first overall pick when he was at LSU. He is now working the same magic on Sam Darnold. Darnold, selected third overall by the Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, was stuck in a terrible situation for the first three years of his career. Now that he has been placed in a properly run offense with weapons, his true potential is beginning to show.

The Eagles secondary has been underrated so far this season but are yet again going to be put to the test. Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore have been one of the best Wide Receiver duos in the game and are complemented by Terrace Marshall, a rookie second round pick who is a more than capable WR3. Darius Slay should not have too much trouble, but there is a good chance that Steven Nelson will. Don’t expect many deep shots down the field as Carolina will most likely take the easy reads that the Eagles give them underneath.

This is not a game that will be won in the trenches. The old cliche is normally very accurate, but not in this game. The Panthers Offensive Line is not too accomplished, but they often play outside of the tackles. The Linebackers will be tasked with defending Christian McCaffrey against both the pass and the run. That is a sentence no Eagles fan wants to hear. However, if Jonathan Gannon’s zone defense can properly defend him, the Birds have a good chance at limiting Carolina’s offense. However, that is a very big “if”.

Final Verdict:

Christian McCaffrey simply adds way too much to the Carolina Panthers. He is the difference maker in this game. I truly believe that the result of this game depends on his health; if he is 100%, I think the Panthers win, but if he is not then the Eagles should win. Aside from McCaffrey, the Eagles match up very well with Carolina on both sides of the ball. Regardless, this is still a very winnable game. If the Eagles increase their efficiency in the red zone and on third down, they should be in this game until the very end.

Score Prediction:

Eagles 23, Panthers 28

Offensive Player of the Game:

Dallas Goedert

Defensive Player of the Game:

Darius Slay

Eagles vs 49ers Preview

The 1-0 Eagles are back in front of a packed Lincoln Financial Field to host the 1-0 San Francisco 49ers! Fans have been anticipating this moment for well over a year and it’s finally here. The Linc is going to be rocking especially given last week’s thrashing of Atlanta.

Offensive Outlook:

The Eagles are coming off a win in which they were very balanced and methodical. Nick Sirianni can’t get away from the run game, but if the Eagles have success on offense it will be through the air.

San Francisco is stout up front. Their defensive line possesses the likes of Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, and Javon Kinlaw. Fred Warner is also maybe the best linebacker in football. Those guys are going to make it very difficult to run the ball with success.

The 49ers lost their best cornerback, Jason Verrett last week and will also be without their second best Cornerback, Emmanuel Moseley. Their secondary was sub par to begin with but is now banged up as well. Jalen Hurts and company must take advantage of this. If the Eagles can indeed take charge with a high flying passing attack, that will open up the entire field. The second that the 49ers come out with an extra defensive back to help accommodate, then it’s time for the Birds to run the ball down their throats to keep the game plan balanced. It is important that they don’t start looking for the big play too often. Even if it might be there, they still need to run the ball and take what is given to them on shorter routes.

If played right, expect the Eagles to have another successful day on offense.

Defensive Outlook:

This is where the Eagles need to be concerned. San Francisco’s head coach, Kyle Shanahan has the best running scheme in the NFL. The Eagles run defense was very bad in the first half of last week’s game. The defensive line got better as the game progressed, but the linebackers still have yet to show that they can be trusted. This game largely depends on how well the 49ers run the ball – which will most likely be very well. Shanahan’s scheme is incredible, but their talent up front is no joke. Not only does their offensive line have big names like Trent Williams, Alex Mack, and Mike McGlinchey, but Kyle Juszczyk and George Kittle are two of the best blockers in the league at their respective positions. The Eagles defensive front is going to be put to the test today.

The pass defense will also be put to the test. There are questions about second year wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, but Deebo Samuel is one of the most underrated in the league. Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox will have their hands full with him today. Lastly, George Kittle. The man is a matchup nightmare and no one on this team can cover him. It will be interesting to see what Jonathan Gannon draws up to defend him, but odds are Kittle will have a big day.

Final Verdict:

The Eagles and 49ers are built very similarly to each other – Strong offensive lines, multiple talented running backs, dominant tight end groups, and stout front sevens with question marks in the secondary. Even Jalen Hurts and Jimmy Garoppolo have very similar games. Considering the talented offensive minds and injuries in the secondary that both teams have, there should be an offensive showdown at the Linc today. The Eagles will move the ball well, but San Francisco will likely have a better grasp on the game. Their success on the ground will keep Kyle Shanahan in control and George Kittle is an x-factor that will probably be too much for the Eagles to handle. However, this is anyone’s game. It will certainly be up for grabs and should be close until the final whistle.

Score Prediction:

Eagles 28, 49ers 34

Offensive Player of the Game Prediction:

Dallas Goedert

Defensive Player of the Game Prediction:

Brandon Graham

Penn State vs Auburn Preview

The Auburn Tigers are coming to Happy Valley Saturday night to take on the Nittany Lions in the university’s first white out in nearly two years. Not only is this a gigantic game for PSU’s season, but also for the Big Ten conference as a whole. The entire country will be watching this game in prime time and there is no better opportunity for this football team to show what this program is all about and that Beaver Stadium is the best atmosphere in college football.

Offensive Outlook:

It’s Mike Yurcich’s time to shine. The offense has executed well ever since they came out of the tunnel to start the second half in Madison. Quite frankly, Auburn’s defense matches up phenomenally with Penn State’s offense. Their weakness is up front, but this Nittany Lions offensive line has yet to prove that they will dominate an inferior defensive line. Auburn’s back seven has some of the best talent the NCAA has to offer. Owen Pappoe and Zakoby McClain are two of the best linebackers in the nation. Expect to hear their names a lot, especially McClain who led the SEC in tackles last season. Cornerback, Roger McCreary and Safety, Smoke Monday headline their secondary which contains plenty of question marks. The Tigers’ secondary has plenty of potential, but that comes with a lack of experience. They will play a sound game, but mistakes will be made and there will be guys open down the field. These opportunities will be few and far between so it is important that Sean Clifford makes the most of them. Clifford needs to keep the ball out of opposing hands and make the throws that he is given.

Mike Yurcich should use his running back depth early. Noah Cain has taken another gigantic leap going into this season and has proven himself to be this team’s best running back. Due to his importance, he needs to be fresh for the second half. Devyn Ford and Keyvone Lee should hopefully get touches early. All three guys need to remain fresh and go right at Auburn to wear down their linebackers. Then once the second half comes, it’s Noah Cain’s time to shine and put the game on ice.

The Nittany Lions will move the ball by being creative. Yurcich has already shown his willingness to go up tempo often and run the offense out of a wide variety of different personnel packages and formations. More of that style is to be expected tonight.

Defensive Outlook:

This has all the feels of being a dog fight. Not only is Auburn’s offensive line returning all five starters, but they have seven linemen in total who started multiple games last season. The Tigers possess experience and depth up front, they also possess one of the best running backs in the nation, Tank Bigsby. The sophomore is a downhill runner with power and underrated agility. However, it doesn’t end there; backing him up is Shaun Shivers, also one of the Tigers’ best players. He will see the field plenty, providing the finesse and receiving ability that Bigsby doesn’t. However, Tank is their guy and their offense goes when he goes. He will prefer to ground and pound trailing his guards, so it is important that the only returning Defensive Lineman, P.J. Mustipher clogs up holes and takes on double teams to allow his linebackers to make plays. The defensive ends need to keep their heads up to better defend the run and prevent success on draws and screens. Expect Jesse Luketa to have a big night on the edge due to his experience reading the field at linebacker.

The Nittany Lions’ back seven is most likely where this game will be won or lost. Auburn’s offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo is known for using multiple running backs to run the ball in his creative run scheme but also as receivers in the screen game. Penn State’s linebackers will be tested by Auburn’s offensive scheme. They need to be cautious of Tank Bigsby bruising them up the middle, but will also need to range sideline to sideline. Ellis Brooks has been phenomenal in the three halves he’s played this season, but Brandon Smith and Curtis Jacobs have been timid. They need to trust their instincts and play aggressively like they began to do last week against Ball State. Since Auburn is unlikely to be too spread out and will likely be in 21 personnel quite often, Brent Pry should be able to stack the box and trust his cornerbacks on the outside. Joey Porter Jr. and Tariq Castro-Fields have played excellently but will be tested on Saturday night, likely without much safety help. If those guys hold Bo Nix and the Tigers’ passing offense in check and allow the Linebackers to play aggressively sideline to sideline, the Nittany Lions probably win this game.

Final Verdict:

This is going to be a close game. Both defenses match up excellently against their opponents on offense. A multitude of running backs will be getting touches on both sides. This is going to be a game won on big plays and the turnover battle. Most likely Bo Nix and Sean Clifford will have relatively quiet games and won’t be asked to do too much. With that being said, there is a large chance that they will be the deciding factors in this game. If one throws a costly interception, but their counterpart is able to find a receiver deep for a timely touchdown, that probably decides the outcome of this showdown.

Score Prediction:

Penn State 23, Auburn 20

Offensive Player of the Game Prediction:

Noah Cain

Defensive Player of the Game Prediction:

P.J. Mustipher

Eagles vs Falcons Observations

The Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts led Philadelphia Eagles handled the Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday by a score of 32-6. There is a lot to unpack from this game.

Offensive Observations:

Jalen Hurts had complete control of this offense. The highlights of his beautiful passes are what will have people excited, but what is most important is the poise he showed. Smart reads were made on the backside Defensive Ends in the run game and he went through his progressions in the passing game. He read the pocket effectively, escaping at the perfect time – not to early but also not too late. Many times Carson Wentz would remain stationary too long which would result in a sack, but we saw none of that from Jalen Hurts. When pressure got to him or the coverage was like a blanket, he didn’t force the ball down field, yet he found his check down instead. A+ effort from our QB1.

After Jalen Hurts, the next impressive is Nick Sirianni. His play calling and grasp of the situation at hand was masterful. From the precisely calculated first drive, to the two minute drill to close out the first half, to running the clock towards the end, he was in control all game and executed his game plan. Props to the new head coach.

With that being said, it all starts up front. If your linemen don’t do their job, good quarterback play and coaching does not matter. Although they desperately need to cut down on penalties, the offensive line had an incredible day.

There were many questions in the offseason regarding the Birds’ skilled position players. Not only was there drama surrounding Zach Ertz, but there were major question marks about the lack of experience at wide receiver, and there was also plenty of criticism surrounding Miles Sanders and his drop issues. Not one skilled player had a bad game. Devonta Smith obviously stands out as the Eagles’ most productive weapon on Sunday, but even Jalen Reagor matched his reception total with six grabs. Both guys notched a touchdown on top of that. Quez Watkins’ speed was showcased early and even J.J. Arcega-Whiteside had an excellent day. The third year wide out failed to record a catch, but he was a dominant blocker in the run game and on screens (which were very successful throughout the game). Like past Eagles teams, multiple tight ends and running backs were utilized. Rookie Kenneth Gainwell provided a nice change of pace and found the end zone for his first career NFL Touchdown.

Defensive Observations:

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but this defense will need to improve going into the home opener this week. There are plenty of positives to discuss, however the run defense is a major concern.

The Falcons accumulated one hundred yards on the ground by the second quarter. This coming against a front that is known for shutting down the run. The defensive line was able to pad their stats in the second half once Falcons head coach Arthur Smith abandoned the run, but their play prior to that is a major concern. If this is not fixed soon, Kyle Shanahan will have a field day against them. With that being said, Javon Hargrave looks to finally be 100% healthy and he had an amazing day up the middle.

The Linebackers collectively as a unit were very disappointing. Eric Wilson didn’t seem to position himself too badly, but came up short on too many tackles. Genard Avery is still receiving playing time which is baffling considering it seems as if he still has yet to learn how to properly fill a gap. Alex Singleton once again looks like this team’s best linebacker.

On the flip side, the secondary needs to give themselves a huge pat on the back. Every player played Jonathan Gannon’s zone scheme precisely how it was drawn up. Darius Slay looked to be back to his normal self and his counterparts Steven Nelson and Avonte Maddox also impressed. Anthony Harris was the most important member of the secondary. In his first game with wings on his helmet, he was all over the field playing a major role with both Rodney McLeod and Marcus Epps sidelined.

At the end of the day, the defense gave up a lot of yards early, but did a phenomenal job in the red zone and gave their offense time to gain a significant lead.

Special Teams Observations:

Special Teams cannot be taken for granted! Although the coverage on kick and punt returns was non existent, Sunday was a day to be celebrated. Jake Elliott nailed every extra point and field goal he attempted after an abysmal 2020 season. Arryn Siposs shined in his first game as an Eagle, landing three punts inside the ten yard line. That is an incredible performance from the punter that will be overlooked.

Overall, great game from the Eagles. The offense and special teams were outstanding and the defense also had a good outing despite some issues that will be talked down.

Eagles vs Falcons Preview

Eagles football is back.

The Eagles travel down to Atlanta to take on the Falcons today at 1 PM ET to kick off their 2021 season.

There is much skepticism to start off this season considering there haven’t been this many unknowns on the roster in at least half a decade. Expectations are low, but the potential is high. Putting aside all the drama from the offseason, this Eagles team has the pieces to contend for the playoffs right now. The Birds remain strong in the trenches, have added youth and speed to their skilled positions on offense, and have also added proven veterans to sure up holes on all three levels of the defense.

How the Birds will match up on offense:

This is likely to be a high scoring game. All the talk out of camp has been about how stellar Jonathan Gannon’s defense has looked, but the offense is primed to be the unit that shines today. As cliche as it is, if the Eagles win today it will likely be because of the running game. Running the ball today is important for a multitude of reasons – It will allow Jalen Hurts and this young offense to settle in, it will give the defense a chance to get rest, and simply put, the Eagles should dominate the Falcons upfront. The Falcons defensive front contains good players like Marlon Davidson and Dante Fowler, but the real disrupters are Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones. If the Eagles confuse and contain Jarrett and get to the second level to block Jones, Miles Sanders and company should have themselves a day on the ground.

As for the passing game, Jalen Hurts should have a lot of options to throw to. Giving Hurts easy reads against a bad secondary should be Nick Sirianni’s focus. Atlanta’s defense will most likely be using Deion Jones and one of their Safeties (likely Duron Harmon) to contain Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz. Expect a lot of sparring with the Eagles running the ball often to set up big plays. Also expect the running backs to be used out of the back field a lot. This will distract the safeties and ideally set up plenty of one on one matchups on the outside.

How the Birds will match up on defense:

The key to defense today will be shutting down the run and playing good red zone defense. The Falcons have a good offense. They are going to put up yards. Matt Ryan is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and although they lost Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley remains and Kyle Pitts may be an even more effective option than Jones. Russel Gage can’t be forgotten either. Marcus Epps is going to be in at safety for Rodney McLeod today which makes these matchup nightmares even more hellish. Darius Slay is likely to not have much safety help against Ridley and no one on the Eagles can cover Kyle Pitts man on man. Very few players in the NFL can. The Falcons are likely to put up a massive number of yards through the air.

However, the Eagles once again are the better team up front. Just like the offensive side of the ball, our line is better than theirs. Atlanta’s offensive line features many high round picks that have been serviceable but haven’t quite lived up to expectations. The Birds could potentially dominate up front which is important because Atlanta’s head coach Arthur Smith likes to run the ball. If they take that away, Atlanta’s entire game plan will begin to crumble. Additionally, a good pass rush will also cause Matt Ryan to hopefully miss open receivers down field (because there will be plenty).

Final Verdict:

This is set up to be a high scoring game. The over/under is currently set at 49 which should get absolutely crushed. Neither team’s secondary is good and both Arthur Smith and Nick Sirianni are coaching in their first game as an NFL head coach. Neither defensive coordinator has a book on their opponent. Ultimately this game will come down to red zone efficiency, third down efficiency, turnover differential, time of possession, and special teams.

Score Prediction:

Philadelphia Eagles 34, Atlanta Falcons 30

The Eagles are too strong up front. They should win the battle of the trenches and as a result win the time of possession battle as well. The best defense the Eagles have today is for the offense to have long drives to keep Matt Ryan off the field.

Offensive player of the game: Quez Watkins

Defensive player of the game: Javon Hargrave

My Dream 2020 Eagles Draft

Round 1 (Pick 10): WR CeeDee Lamb | Oklahoma

Round 3 (Pick 103): G Jonah Jackson | Ohio State

Round 4 (Pick 116): RB A.J. Dillon | Boston College

Round 4 (Pick 127): S Geno Stone | Iowa

Round 4 (Pick 146): LB Davion Taylor | Colorado

Round 5 (Pick 168): OT Cameron Clark | Charlotte

Round 6 (Pick 190): DE Chauncey Rivers | Mississippi State

Trades:

Philadelphia Eagles Receive:

10th Overall Pick

Cleveland Browns Receive:

21st Overall Pick, 53rd Overall Pick, 2021 Third Round Pick

Philadelphia Eagles Receive:

116th Overall Pick, 2021 7th Round Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars Receive:

145th Overall Pick, Rasul Douglas, 2021 6th Round Pick

As much as I am generally against trading up, I am on board this year. Besides from the 2016 draft when the Eagles traded up to land Carson Wentz, I have never been on board with moving up this early until now. There are obviously multiple needs going into this draft, but the glaring hole at Wide Receiver is overshadowing everything else. The Eagles have an opportunity to give up a reasonable amount of draft capital to go and get a potential star Wide Receiver for Carson Wentz. Not to mention the fact that Lamb would be here for half a decade on a rookie contract. I cringe at not having a second round pick, but it would be completely worth it. CeeDee is deceptively fast with excellent run after the catch ability and a large catch radius.

As for the third round pick, I love the idea of selecting Jonah Jackson. He may not be available at 103, but I think he goes right around here. He has solid strength with excellent balance and could instantly come in to compete with Isaac Seumalo at Left Guard. Odds are Jackson sits behind him this year, provides solid depth, matures throughout the season, and starts there in 2021 considering Seumalo is heading into a contract year.

To start off the fourth round, I have the Eagles trading Rasul Douglas to the Jacksonville Jaguars in order to move up and select A.J. Dillon. I believe that bringing in a downhill Running Back is the third largest need on this roster right now. Dillon has an impressive college résumé with underrated speed to compliment Miles Sanders in the backfield. This is also where I believe the best value at Running Back will be.

With the next pick in the third round, I have the Eagles picking Geno Stone. He is a Safety that doesn’t have excellent speed, but has amazing instincts. I truly think that he is going to be one of the steals of this draft.

With the last pick in the fourth round, I would like to see the Eagles draft Davion Taylor, an excellent coverage Linebacker. The Linebacker position is currently the second neediest on this roster behind Wide Receiver. I wanted to address this in the third round but I believe that Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither will be gone by 103, so the value just wasn’t there. Whether we all like it or not, Nate Gerry and T.J. Edwards are going to start in the middle of the defense this year. I suspect that the Eagles will bring in another veteran after the draft (potentially bring back Nigel Bradham), but I’d still like to provide insurance at the position. I love Taylor because he has the coverage skills to hold his own if he were to be thrown into the fire in his rookie season.

With the Eagles only fifth round pick, I have them taking developmental Offensive Tackle, Cameron Clark. He is a small school prospect who possesses a very nice blend of size and quickness. I think that Jeff Stoutland would have a field day with him.

With the Birds final pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, I would like them to select the troubled but talented pass rusher out of Mississippi State, Chauncey Rivers. He has had legal problems in the past, but has since cleaned up his act and there is no denying his talent. His motor is tremendous and I believe he has day two talent although he may end up going undrafted.

Super Bowl 52 To Now

Today is a rather typical winter day in the city of Philadelphia, yet it is a reminder of the magical emotions that were brought to this city now two years ago this weekend. I doubt that any of us will ever go into another Super Bowl Sunday without reminiscing the events that took place on the evening of February 4, 2018. The city of brotherly love was finally gifted with the opportunity to truly understand what it was like to be able to say that Vince Lombardi’s great trophy was ours. It seems like just yesterday that Trey Burton so effortlessly floated a touchdown pass to Nick Foles and Brandon Graham shoved aside Shaq Mason before executing the greatest strip sack in Eagles history. However, we are now more than 700 days removed from the day that changed all of our lives.

A lot has changed in that two year stretch to give us the team that we now possess. It appears that Zach Ertz may be the only starting skilled position player that remains, the entire left side of the offensive line will change, and that amazing defensive line depth has already seen its best days. Even with all those negatives, Doug Pederson’s group of men still appear to have that spark. We have all most likely done plenty of thinking when it comes to the current state of this team. There is a volatile situation that is about to potentially blow open the entire Wide Receiver depth chart, no one knows if it is truly possible to fix this secondary, and the fact that a large portion of the team was injured is a huge concern as well, not to mention the close to a dozen veteran players that are currently on the hot seat – Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Ronald Darby, Jason Peters, Nigel Bradham, DeSean Jackson, Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, etc. There is a gigantic slew of problems that surround the Eagles at the moment, but that will not deter this group of guys.

At the end of the day, this team has still gone on two incredible runs the past two seasons to make the playoffs when it seemed impossible. This team is incredibly tight knit and there is a special bond in this locker room. Players have already come and gone and that will continue this offseason, but just like that 2017 Super Bowl winning team, the Eagles are resilient. We have our franchise quarterback, one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, two dominant tight ends, one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, two great veteran safeties, and plenty of raw young talent all around. We have our core and everything else around that is a question mark, however that is the case with every NFL franchise. Super Bowl 52 may seem like an eternity ago, but if there is one thing that team thought me, it’s to trust in ourselves and good will come from that.

Wildcard Round Preview

Quarterback, Carson Wentz eludes pressure during a November 24th matchup with the Seahawks previously this season

The outcome of this evening’s wildcard round game will most likely be decided by Doug Pederson and the Eagles offense. The argument could be made that the two least talented rosters remaining in contention are indeed the Eagles and Seahawks. Injuries have hit both teams like a ton of bricks – Seattle has recently lost their top three Running Backs, their best Offensive Tackle, and plenty of other players as well. Then as we all know, the Birds are without their original trio of Wide Receivers, two of their best Offensive Linemen, a defensive starter at each level, and that doesn’t even begin to cover it!

Due to the bad luck both teams have had in terms of injuries, this game is going to be a psychological battle between two top notch coaching staffs – Each staff being led by Super Bowl winning head coaches, Pete Carroll and Doug Pederson. Every single high-level employee excels at getting the most out of their players in critical moments like this.

Eagles Head Coach, Doug Pederson and Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll embrace before a 2017 meeting at CenturyLink Field

Besides maybe a handful of gadget plays that may be incorporated by both sides, this matchup will presumably be smash-mouth football that lacks a whole lot of finesse. Seattle’s backfield is now bulked up to run north and south with Marshawn Lynch, while Russell Wilson has created a dynamic chemistry with receivers like Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Jacob Hollister. On the other side of things, the Eagles will look to ride the hot hands of Miles Sanders, Dallas Goedert, Greg Ward, and Boston Scott while also incorporating veterans like Jordan Howard and Zach Ertz back into the gameplan. And how will Doug do that, exactly?

Well, I expect him to keep the ground game consistent and rely on Carson to make efficient throws when needed. I am very intrigued to see what Pederson has in store for players like Boston Scott, Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert. How exactly will he use them in the passing game? All three excel on screen passes, but that stems from well coordinated blocking from the Offensive Line. With Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson absent from the lineup, will the offense find success in that department? Will Doug finally unleash a fun trick play? We’d all most likely agree that there’s no better time than now. The reality is that none of us will know the answers to these questions until the actual game is played, but that won’t prevent any speculation or curiosity.

The Seahawks defense is very strong in specific areas, but is also fairly weak in similar areas. This should come as a benefit to the Birds. For example, Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah are both quick Defensive Ends that will get very wide while rushing the Quarterback. With that being the case, the draw game should be available throughout the entire game given the Seahawks’ weaker interior Defensive Line. Seattle’s secondary also caters to the Eagles offensive unit. They are equipped with strong Corners on the outside, and have a vastly talented Deep Safety in Quandre Diggs. However, their weaker points come in the form of their Strong Safety and Nickel Cornerback. The Eagles don’t pose a deep threat to begin with and Greg Ward has been tremendous out of the slot. That should not change today. Philadelphia is going to threaten the Seahawks over the middle and I’m not completely sure that Pete Carroll’s team will be ready for it. That just so happens to bring up my final point. I think that the Eagles will exploit the hell out of “star” Linebacker, Bobby Wagner. Although highly respected, Wagner has given up nearly one thousand passing yards this season when in coverage. I expect that he’ll be given the responsibility of guarding Zach Ertz or the most threatening Running Back that lines up alongside Carson Wentz in the backfield. If Ertz is indeed truly healthy, I think he has the advantage over Wagner, as do Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Giving Seattle’s defensive leader fits would be a tremendous strategy implemented by Doug, Mike Groh, Duce Staley, Press Taylor, and the rest of the offensive staff.

There are seemingly endless questions to be asked regarding the x’s and o’s of this matchup, and all will certainly be answered come 4:40 this evening. Both teams are so incredibly strong in certain aspects of their rosters, while being so depleted in others. This creates a wonderful mystery of which matchups will benefit one team, and which ones will benefit the other. Pete Carroll and his experienced staff are no joke, but I remain confident in the Eagles chances. If this unit underwent the proper preparation this week and Doug, Carson, and the rest of the offense successfully exploit the weaknesses, I don’t see the Eagles losing this game.