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What to watch with no Eagles this weekend | Early Birds

A bye week edition of the Early Birds newsletter

Eagles new wide receiver Golden Tate holds a press conference at the NovaCare complex in Philadelphia, PA on October 31, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Eagles new wide receiver Golden Tate holds a press conference at the NovaCare complex in Philadelphia, PA on October 31, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff PhotographerRead moreDAVID MAIALETT

Good morning. The Eagles' bye week stretches through the weekend, when your football fix will have to come from other games. The Eagles return next week to begin preparing for their Week 10 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

This is the Early Birds newsletter, which will arrive in your inbox Monday through Friday for the rest of the season. I want to know what you think and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm.

— Zach Berman

The Eagles are off. What should you watch around the NFL?

There is no Eagles game to watch this weekend, but there are other games that have implications on the Eagles. Here's an Eagles-related viewer's guide for five Week 9 games:

Atlanta (3-4) at Washington (5-2), 1 p.m.

Washington is atop the NFC East right now with a 5-2 record, and though the Eagles play them twice, the Eagles need Washington to slow down if they hope to win the division. Washington has won three in a row and they added former Pro Bowl safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in a trade with Green Bay this week. Atlanta is coming off of a bye and needs a win if they hope to stay in the wild card race.

Detroit (3-4) at Minnesota (4-3-1),  1 p.m.

The Lions traded Golden Tate to the Eagles, so you can see how they're replacing the Eagles' newest wide receiver. The NFC North is wide open at this point – every team has a shot – so this game could have playoff implications late in the season. Remember, the Vikings won the head-to-head matchup with the Eagles.

Los Angeles Rams (8-0) at New Orleans (6-1), 4:25 p.m.

The marquee game of the NFL's weekend slate includes the two teams atop the NFC. They are both on the Eagles' schedule during the second half of the season, too. The Eagles play the Rams on Nov. 18 (Week 11) and the Rams on Dec. 16 (Week 15). The Eagles likely won't be able to catch up to either team to claim a top two seed, so if the Eagles make the playoffs and expect to advance, they'll need to compete with these heavyweights on the road.

Green Bay (3-3-1) at New England (6-2), 8:20 p.m.

Forget the Eagles for a moment – if you enjoy good football, who wouldn't watch Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady? The Packers are a similar team to the Eagles; they were expected to be a contender and have been inconsistent early in the season. Like the Eagles, they have a quarterback nobody will want to play in January.

Tennessee (3-4) at Dallas (3-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday

You can do some advance scouting on the Eagles' Week 10 opponent. Dallas visits the Eagles next week and is looking to come off their bye generating momentum against the Titans. It's the first game with new wide receiver Amari Cooper; the Cowboys dealt a first-round pick for Cooper before their bye. If he can get back to his old self in Dallas, the Cowboys are a more dangerous team.

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. Jordan Mailata is one of the NFL's best stories this season. Mike Jensen told that story well, going to Australia to learn about Mailata's decision to start playing football.

  2. Eagles great Chuck Bednarik's name is now on the championship trophy of the Slovakian Association of American Football, Ed Barkowitz writes.

From the mailbag

Jordan Mailata's improvement was impressive throughout the summer, but if he's playing meaningful snaps, it means the Eagles are missing three of Lane JohnsonJason PetersHalapoulivaati Vaitai, and Isaac Seumalo. If Johnson and/or Peters don't play, Vaitai steps in. (As he should — he started the Super Bowl last year.) If the Eagles are missing two tackles, Seumalo moves over from left guard. If they're missing three tackles, them Mailata would step in. But this year is about development for Mailata. Perhaps he becomes Peters' eventual replacement at left tackle. I just don't see it happening this year.

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