Giants’ Barkley on Eagles: ‘They’ve got some different fans’

Saquon Barkley racked up a career-high 229 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown during his first experience in the Giants-Eagles rivalry last season. In the second, he added 142 total yards and two more scores.

“Well, the first game I just was in a groove,” Barkley recalled in the locker room after Thursday’s practice. “Not really much more to say about that.”

While we wait to see what he delivers in the third chapter on Monday night, all the twists and turns since his last trip to Philadelphia have led to a probable on-field reunion with Eli Manning. The two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback in all likelihood will be one handing the ball off to Barkley when the Giants face the Eagles in primetime. Daniel Jones, the rookie sixth overall pick who succeeded Manning in Week 3, suffered a moderate high ankle sprain last week against Green Bay and consequently did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.

Barkley dealt with a similar injury for the better part of two months. After getting injured in Week 3, Barkley missed the next three full games and has yet to record a 100-yard game on the ground since. Last week was promising, though. He ran for 83 yards on 4.4 yards per rush, both the highest post-injury.

“I guess in my standards it’s not really a good game,” Barkley said. “But that I broke over 100 yards [from scrimmage], was averaging over like four yards a carry, something like that, so I feel like I’m getting back to myself, but I’m not really focusing on individual stats. I don’t care if I go for 250 yards, I don’t care if I go for 50 yards, I just want to go out there and help my team win football games. Coming down to the home stretch of the season, got four games left, try to finish it strong as a team and it starts with Monday Night Football in front of everyone, so try to go out there and execute better as a team and put ourselves in position to win.”

The Giants will look to break their eight-game losing streak against the Eagles, whom they have not defeated since 2016 and have not beaten on the road since 2013.

“Honestly, it’s a rivalry, but playing in Philly last year, they’ve got some different fans, so it would be pretty dope to go out there and get a win,” Barkley said. “But not the fact because it’s a rivalry, just because, like I said, it’s the next game and it’s on Monday night and like I was saying … a win could help spark something. The only thing we’ve got left is this last month of the season, so why not go out there and put it on the line?”

Barkley and the Giants will enter that home stretch with Manning, whose last victory as a starter came a year ago this Monday. And in that 40-16 win at Washington, Barkley ran for a career-high 170 yards.

“Eli, he’s a legend,” Barkley said. “He’s a Hall of Famer. He just sees the field so well. He understands the game so well, he’s been doing it for a very long time and it’s what you expect from Eli. Obviously, I love the way he handled the situation when D.J. ended up being the starting quarterback, the way he operated in practice, the way he operated in the building was the same Eli that we know. So, good to see him come out this week and get a chance. It’s going to be awesome for him.”

The future of Barkley and the Giants lies with Jones, but the running back knows the value of Manning’s experience.

“I don’t think it just helps me, I think it just helps the team, helps the offense,” Barkley said. “They’re both great quarterbacks and I’m not here to compare and contrast Eli versus D.J., they’re two different style quarterbacks, one has been doing it for a very long time, one is in his first year. But Eli, like I said, like you said, he’s seen every defense, so it’s like second hand to him. He’s going to be able to help put us in positions to succeed, and I think D.J. has been doing a great job of that, too. So, like I said, I’m just happy for Eli to get an opportunity.”

Courtesy: Dan Salomone
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Pederson on Eagles: ‘We control our own destiny’

What happened to the Philadelphia Eagles in Miami yesterday was totally unexpected and very unacceptable. The Eagles, who had an opportunity to gain a share of the top spot in the NFC East, lost to the Dolphins(3-9) 37-31. 

In the third quarter, it seemed the Eagles(5-7) had full control of the contest after going up 28-14, but Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins scored 23 straight points to take control and, ultimately, win the game.

As bad as things look for the Eagles, who are on a three-game losing streak, if they win their final four games of the season, they will win the NFC East and have a home game in the wild card round of the playoffs. 

While everybody may have lost confidence in this team, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has a lot of faith in his players.

“By no means are we — we’re not throwing in the towel,” Pederson said on Monday. “We have a lot of football left. We have a great opportunity. There is still a chance for us. We control our own destiny. So that’s going to be the message moving forward to this football team, and the leaders have to embrace that, and they have to also take it to the team as well.”

This was a bad loss for the Eagles; there is no way to get around it. However, the Cowboys(6-6) are not playing well either. The NFC East will probably come down to when Dallas comes to Philly to battle the Eagles in Week 16. Philly has not played well, but if they can find a way to turn things around, they could end up being NFC East champions.

Packers-49ers flexed to Sunday Night Football

The NFL announced today scheduling changes for Week 12 on Sunday, November 24, and Week 16 on Saturday and Sunday, December 21-22.

WEEK 12 (November 24):

  • Green Bay at San Francisco moves from 4:25 PM ET on FOX to 8:20 PM ET on NBC.

  • Seattle at Philadelphia moves from 8:20 PM ET on NBC to 1:00 PM ET on FOX.

  • Carolina at New Orleans moves from 1:00 PM ET on FOX to 1:00 PM ET on CBS.

  • Miami at Cleveland moves from 1:00 PM ET on CBS to 1:00 PM ET on FOX.

WEEK 16 (December 21-22):

  • Houston at Tampa Bay has been scheduled for Saturday, December 21, at 1:00 PM ET on NFL Network.

  • Buffalo at New England has been scheduled for Saturday, December 21, at 4:30 PM ET on NFL Network.

  • Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco has been scheduled for Saturday, December 21, at 8:15 PM ET on NFL Network.

  • Detroit at Denver has been scheduled for Sunday, December 22, at 4:05 PM ET on CBS.

  • Oakland at the Los Angeles Chargers has been scheduled for Sunday, December 22, at 4:05 PM ET on CBS.

The following is the updated Week 12 schedule (all times ET):

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

8:20 PM

FOX/NFLN/Amazon

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

1:00 PM

CBS

New York Giants at Chicago Bears

1:00 PM

FOX

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals

1:00 PM

CBS

Miami Dolphins at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM

FOX

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

1:00 PM

CBS

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles

1:00 PM

FOX

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets

1:00 PM

CBS

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins

1:00 PM

FOX

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

4:05 PM

CBS

Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots

4:25 PM

FOX

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

8:20 PM

NBC

Monday, November 25, 2019

Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams (Mon)

8:15 PM

ESPN

The following is the updated Week 16 schedule (all times ET):

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1:00 PM

NFLN

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

4:30 PM

NFLN

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

8:15 PM

NFLN

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons

1:00 PM

FOX

Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns

1:00 PM

CBS

Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts

1:00 PM

FOX

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins

1:00 PM

CBS

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets

1:00 PM

CBS

New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

1:00 PM

FOX

New York Giants at Washington Redskins

1:00 PM

FOX

Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos

4:05 PM

CBS

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers

4:05 PM

CBS

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

4:25 PM

FOX

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

4:25 PM

FOX

Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears

8:20 PM

NBC

Monday, December 23, 2019

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (Mon)

8:15 PM

ESPN

Groh on Jordan Matthews: ‘The guy has made a lot of plays for the Eagles over the years’

On Monday, the Eagles made it official when they announced that they had brought back WR Jordan Matthews. The 27-year-old Matthews was originally drafted by the Eagles in 2014. Matthews spent the first three years of his career in Philadelphia before he was traded to Buffalo back in 2017.  After being released by the Patriots, he returned to the Eagles last September and played in 14 games for the team.  This season, Matthews played one game for the 49ers before getting released by San Francisco back in October.

With WR DeSean Jackson out for the year, the Eagles are hoping that Matthews can help fill the void left at the wide receiver position.

“Oh shoot, we can just pull up his highlights,” Eagles OC Mike Groh said about Matthews. “The guy has made a lot of plays for the Eagles over the years. He has excellent football intelligence. He knows our system. He has familiarity there. I think there’s great comfort with him in the huddle. There’s rapport and chemistry with he and [QB] Carson [Wentz], which is important, so certainly nice to get him back.”

For most of his career, Matthews has been a slot receiver, but according to Groh, expect Matthews to be moved around.

 “I think we’ll move him around,” Groh said. “I think he showed the capability to do both.”

Obviously, Matthews won’t be the savior for this offense. Matthews is solid at best, and there was a reason he was available, but as Groh said, you get a guy who is familiar with Wentz and the offense, which should help. 

Pederson on Agholor, Jeffery: ‘They have been good, but I would say they haven’t been great’

On Sunday, the Eagles were able to defeat the Bears 22-14 to move to 5-4. However, some bad news came from the game. WR DeSean Jackson re-aggravated his abdominal injury and had surgery on Tuesday to repair it. Philadelphia announced today that they have put the 32-year-old Jackson on injured reserve.

With Jackson out, the Eagles will be without their deep threat and their most dangerous wide receiver. For now, and barring any moves, the Eagles will have to go with the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor. Mack Hollins, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Against the Bears on Sunday, both Jeffery and Agholor were fairly quiet, and Jeffery struggled with drops against Chicago.

When asked to assess Jeffery and Agholor in 2019, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has this to say.

“I think overall, they have been good, but I would say they haven’t been great,” Pederson said on Monday. “I think they would echo that. I think Alshon yesterday had some opportunity and had chances, and I believe he would own up to that to make some of the catches that he missed yesterday.

“So he’s a professional about it, and Nelly is the same way. I think, too, we just have to continue to work with these guys. Every week is a new week. Every week is a new set of challenges. As we put game plans together, we do think about these guys and putting them into positions and look, sometimes you get in the game, and I’m the one calling the plays and sometimes the game kind of steers a different direction than what you think during the week.

“But I think overall, these guys have been in a position to help and help us win, and have a lot of confidence in both those guys moving forward.”

Unfortunately, the Eagles are going to have to rely on Jeffery and Agholor, and if they are fortunate, maybe they can find a solid wide receiver off the street.

If we are talking just talent, Antonio Brown would be great, but who knows how soon his situation would be sorted out. Also, guys like former Eagles WR Jordan Matthews and Torrey Smith are available, which might work the best considering they are familiar with the system.

Philadelphia will need another receiver, and it should be fascinating to see who they find to replace Jackson for the rest of the season.

Eagles’ Pederson: ‘I think any time DeSean is on the field, defenses have to account for that’

When the Philadelphia Eagles brought back WR DeSean Jackson in the offseason, the thought was they would have a deep threat that teams would have to account for at all times. After his performance in Week 1 against the Redskins, where he caught eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, many thought the Eagles’ offense would be tough to stop in 2019.

However, in Week 2 against the Falcons, the 32-year-old Jackson would injure his abdominal muscle and has been out of action ever since. At times, Philadelphia has had a difficult time stretching the field without Jackson. Fortunately for the Eagles(4-4), Jackson is close to returning and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at the Linc against the Bears(3-4).

“I’m optimistic that he’ll play,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Friday. “We are going to get through today, again. He’s had a great week of practice. He’s been limited on the injury report all week. We’ll get through today and tomorrow, and we’re optimistic that he can play.”

Obviously, the Eagles want Jackson at his best, but if Philadelphia can just get him on the field, that would be huge for the team.

“I think any time DeSean is on the field, defenses have to account for that, for that speed and his receiving ability,” Pederson said.”Whether or not he’s the primary on the route, could be a different story, but I think the respect of what he gets defensively, whether it takes two guys to defend him or if they are going to just put one guy on him.

“Yeah, it definitely helps us, I think as an offense when he’s on the field because he’s such a dynamic guy, speed guy, and really good leader for our young guys that are also playing at this time.”

The good thing for the Eagles is that even if Jackson can’t play this week, the team will have a bye the following week, which means he would have more time to get healthier. It’s clear that with Jackson in the lineup, Philly’s offense looks more dynamic, and the sooner they can get him back, the better off this team will be.

Eagles’ Groh on Wentz against Bills: ‘I thought he had great command of the offense’

Last Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles got a much-needed victory on the road against the Buffalo Bills. Behind the running of Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, a workmanlike effort by Carson Wentz, and the play of the defense. Philadelphia was able to defeat the Bills 31-13. With the victory, the Eagles are now 4-4 at the halfway mark of the season.

Against the Bills, Wentz had to deal with a very good Bills’ defense and the weather. It was a rainy and very windy day in Buffalo, but through it all, the fourth-year quarterback was able to get it done. Wentz finished the game completing 17 of 24 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown. Also, he made some plays with his legs. Wentz rushed for 35 yards, which included two huge runs for first downs on the Eagles’ final scoring drive.

Wentz did his job, and Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was happy with his performance.

“I think he did a great job handling the elements, number one, certainly bringing his team home a winner,” Groh said on Tuesday. “Seventeen-of-24 [passing], if I’m not mistaken, in very difficult circumstances. You saw a couple of the balls that he threw just the wind just knock it completely off target. So, the wind and not so much the rain, it wasn’t too bad from a precipitation standpoint, but he did a great job managing the game, getting us into the right plays, doing that on the road, and also handling our stuff at the line of scrimmage and getting everything communicated there.

“So, I thought he had great command of the offense both in the huddle and his decision making when to tuck it and run, get himself down, keep himself out of harm’s way, extend drives. Really productive game for him.”

The Eagles kept their season alive with this victory, and last season after eight games, the Eagles were 4-4. Philadelphia managed to go 5-3 the rest of the way to get into the playoffs.  How they finish this season might be determined by how well Wentz plays the rest of the way. If Sunday was any indication, it might end well for Philadelphia.

 

Eagles’ Schwartz on Allen: ‘He is running like a big man and running like a fullback’

After six games, the Buffalo Bills have proven that they are a pretty good football team. At 5-1, the Bills are behind the undefeated Patriots(7-0) for the top spot in the AFC East, and to Buffalo’s credit, they gave New England their toughest game of the season.

While the Bills’ defense has been leading the way for this team in 2019, they seemed to have found their franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, and although the second-year quarterback has not put up big numbers this season(1324 yards, 7 TDs, 7 INTs), he is doing enough to help Buffalo win games.

What he may lack in the passing game, Allen makes it up with his running ability, and last season as a rookie, Allen rushed for 631 yards and eight touchdowns.

Next Sunday, the Bills host the Philadelphia Eagles, and according to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Allen is one of the better running quarterbacks in football.

“It’s not just his athleticism, it’s their willingness to run him on the football,” Schwartz said on Tuesday. “A lot gets made of the way [Panthers QB] Cam Newton played and the way that [Ravens QB] Lamar Jackson plays in Baltimore. Buffalo has sort of flown under the radar with that with a lot of designed quarterback runs. Stuff that looks like Wildcat, but he’s just running quarterback sweep, quarterback power, quarterback counter, quarterback draw, and he’s not sliding.

“He is running like a big man and running like a fullback, a lot of stuff that Cam Newton would do. They have all the RPOs. They have probably a more — complex really isn’t the best word I am looking for, but varied run game than any team we’ve faced. Some teams sort of take the approach of keep it simple, and we only do a couple things. These guys do an awful lot. They have powers, they have counters, they have stutters, they have zone runs, they have RPOs, they have jet sweeps, they have quarterback runs, and he’s a big part of those.

“And then you add into the equation his ability to extend plays and to run for first downs. I think that we have to be at our very best. It’s not just going to be covering guys. We have to play well in the run game, and then we also have to be good in our pass rush game to keep him from escaping or having step-up lanes and have guys in position to keep him from moving the chains.”

Allen is definitely a load. At 6’6, 237 pounds, he is not easy to tackle. However, if Allen really wants to make his mark in the league, he has to improve as a passer, which I think will come. For now, the Bills are 5-1, and judging by the way the Eagles have been playing of late, Buffalo has an excellent chance of moving to 6-1.

Eagles’ Schwartz: ‘Derek(Barnett) is always a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder’

Philadelphia Eagles DE Derek Barnett might be getting a reputation as a dirty player. In Week 4 against Green Bay,  the third-year player laid a vicious, helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers RB Jamaal Williams, which concussed Williams and sent him to the hospital, and last week against the Jets, during Nathan Gerry’s interception return for a touchdown, Barnett was called for a personal foul penalty for his block on Jets offensive lineman Alex Lewis.

While some may believe Barnett is a dirty player, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz does not think that is the case.

“Yeah, both my daughters wear Derek Barnett jerseys to the games, so that tells you how much I think of him,” Schwartz said on Tuesday. “Derek is always a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder. It’s one of the things that makes him successful.

But you have to be careful about crossing that line, and interception returns traditionally have been — I mean, you go back and I don’t want to bore you — but like 20 years ago the interception return would be like nine guys on defense trying to go mess up the quarterback.

“You get offensive linemen that are knocking you around the pile or holding you the whole time, and now it’s like, I’m going to go get that guy back. You can’t make it a personal war. It has to be about the team, whether it’s who gets the sack or who gets the block, whatever it is.

“The one dynamic that’s a little bit different this year — doesn’t really affect — hasn’t had anything to do with Derek, but the whole peel-back block going in. We’ve tried to really emphasize that, because you can’t go in with any kind of force. You have to wall guys off with your hands.

“It’s so hard to make plays and get interceptions or scoop fumbles. The last thing you want to do is take that away with a penalty. Derek knows that. He just has to balance playing with that chip on his shoulder and playing tough and physical and hustling, all the things we love about him, and just make sure we don’t cross the line into doing something that hurts the team.

Those hits by Barnett were unnecessary, and in today’s NFL, those types of hits will get you fined and maybe even suspended. While it’s too soon to call Barnett a dirty player, it’s in Barnett’s best interest to clean things up moving forward.

Eagles-Packers second-most watched game for FOX’s Thursday Night Football

Last night’s Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light Platinum game featuring the Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-27 win over the Green Bay Packers was seen by an average audience of 18.6 million across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Yahoo Sports.

The 18.6 million viewers for Eagles-Packers across all platforms is up +25% versus the 2018 11-game FOX Thursday Night Football average and up +23% versus last year’s Week 4 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams.

Eagles-Packers is the second most-watched game since FOX began broadcasting Thursday Night Football in 2018, behind the New Orleans Saints-Dallas Cowboys matchup in Week 13 last season (22.2 million).

The Nielsen-measured audience was 17.7 million – up +23% versus the 2018 11-game FOX Thursday Night Football average (14.3 million) and up +22% versus the 2018 Week 4 Thursday Night Football game (14.5 million). Additionally, Eagles-Packers averaged a 10.5 HH rating – up +21% versus the 2018 11-game FOX Thursday Night Football average (8.7 HH rating) and up +18% versus last year’s Vikings-Rams matchup (8.9 HH rating).

Digital streaming across Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital and Yahoo Sports platforms produced an average minute audience of 1.4 million – the highest digital average minute audience for any regular season NFL game on record. Additionally, digital audience increased +91% versus the 2018 11-game FOX Thursday Night Football average (728K) and +70% versus last year’s Week 4 Thursday Night Football matchup (817K).

Amazon Prime Video and Twitch reached a total of 3.2 million combined viewers worldwide for the FOX NFL Thursday pregame show and the Eagles-Packers game. For the Eagles-Packers game alone, 2.9 million worldwide viewers initiated a stream on Prime Video or Twitch. The average worldwide audience watching the Thursday Night Football game for at least 30 seconds on Prime Video or Twitch was 877K.