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January 05, 2018

What they're saying: One stat that matters for Eagles ... and why they may have several holes to fill in offseason

Eagles NFL
010517_Foles-Eagles_usat James Lang/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders.

On Thursday, we took a look at who the various NFL experts around the country were predicting to win the NFC wild-card games this weekend in an effort to see who the Eagles might host in their playoff opener next Saturday. 

If the experts prove to be correct, it's looking like a rematch of the 2014 matchup against the Saints, one the Eagles lost in Chip Kelly's first season at the helm. That's not great news for Birds fans, as Vegas sees them as the toughest potential divisional-round opponent for Philly. 

As we pointed out earlier this week, even the most-favorable potential matchup (the Falcons) would still be a pick-em at this point, so it's not like there are any great options for the Eagles. 

If this edition of What They're Saying is a little glass-half-empty for your taste, just know it's not my fault. It's called What THEY'RE Saying for a reason – and right now, it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of positives surrounding this team as it heads into the playoffs. 

But we'll try to start it on a positive note, if you stick around to the end, I promise we'll end it on a high note and send you into the weekend the right way.

Protect this house

Tim McManus | ESPN.com

While taking a look at the Eagles' potential opponents – and ranking them based on how tough they are – Tim offers up a stat that should calm some nerves ... right up until you read the next sentence.

Here's an interesting stat: The three quarterbacks the Eagles could face -- Drew Brees, Ryan and Cam Newton -- have a combined road playoff record of 1-7. That's encouaging from an Eagles perspective, save for the fact that the one win belongs to Brees and came in Philly against Nick Foles and the Eagles in 2013.  [espn.com]

No love in the Twin Cities

Jim Souhan | Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Meanwhile in Minnesota, they're pretty confident the Eagles will be long gone by the time the Vikings would have to potentially face them in the NFC Championship.

Philadelphia earned the NFC’s No. 1 seed but without quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles are a relay team without a baton. Here are the true, current power rankings for the six teams in the NFC bracket:

6. Philadelphia Eagles

This isn’t fair, but then football is not about fairness. Before Wentz’s season-ending knee injury, the Eagles looked like the NFC favorite because of their balance and Wentz’s ability to make big plays. He might have won the MVP award.

Without him, the Eagles have tried Nick Foles, one of those players who piques your interest until you see him in person... The drop-off from Wentz to Foles makes the Eagles the weakest playoff team in the NFC playoffs.  [startribune.com]

No love anywhere, really

Staff | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Seriously? Only one of the nearly two dozens writers polled here think the Eagles will win their first playoff game? Yikes... 

Outside the locker room, the national media is abandoning ship. Down MVP candidate Carson Wentz, the top-seeded Eagles are not just no longer the NFC favorites, they are now looking at a divisional round exit, according to Sports Illustrated

Of 11 staffers polled, 10 have the Eagles losing in the divisional round, when they will host either the winner of Saints-Panthers or the Falcons, should they beat the Rams — fingers crossed. Shoutout to Andrew Brandt for picking the Eagles to knock off the Saints in the divisional round before losing to the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. 

Things were equally grim over at ESPN, where nine of 11 writers picked the Saints over the Eagles.  [nbcsports.com]

Mass exodus?

Dave Zangaro | NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles could lose more than just a game in the coming weeks. Several of their assistants have been tapped for interviews for head coaching vacancies, most recently with the Cardinals interviewing defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who has already been contacted by the Giants, as well as QB coach John DeFilippo, who is also drawing interest from the Bears.

Perhaps more importantly, the Birds could also lose Joe Douglas, who has been an integral part of building this current roster. According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, Douglas is one of six names being mentioned in relation to the Texans' vacant GM position.

Douglas is under contract and the Eagles will likely do everything they can to block the Texans, but it becomes tougher because the Texans' new GM will have "full authority over personnel." 

The Eagles hired Douglas in May of 2016 to take over the personnel department. When Jeff Lurie put Howie Roseman back into power, one of the conditions was that he find a top-notch personnel man. That man was Douglas. As far as we know, the two have been able to work well together...

The Eagles have taken over Douglas' scouting philosophy, so losing him would be a huge blow. They need to do everything they can to keep him happy.  [nbcsports.com]

Foles gold?

David Hennessey | The Eagles Wire

Remember when I promised you something positive?

The turnover on downs is what sticks in the minds of most fans, as does Foles’ ugly interception a couple of series later. But in that ultimately unsuccessful first drive against the Cowboys, Foles showed he still has the ability to effectively run the Eagles offense.

Coach Doug Pederson is great at scheming players open, which should give Foles some relatively easy throws in the postseason. If he can stay upright, remain confident and accurately deliver passes the way he did early against Dallas, Foles can lead the Eagles to postseason wins.  [theeagleswire.usatoday.com]


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