December 24, 2022
The Eagles gave it all they had without Jalen Hurts Saturday in what was very easily the most entertaining game they have played this season.
While Gardner Minshew and the offense were a turnover factory (they had four of them), the defense was shredded by Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb, dropping the Eagles to 13-2 and keeping them in search of a clinch. A win in Week 16 would have given Philly a first round bye and the NFC East title. Instead, the 40-34 loss will keep them playing meaningful football for at least one more week.
The setback complicates things, as the Birds will have some tough personnel decisions — particularly at QB — with the Saints coming to town on New Year's Day.
Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, who will miss Saturday's game against the Dallas Cowboys because of a sprained shoulder, also is uncertain to play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 17, per sources.https://t.co/uuXdBDTVHx— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 24, 2022
The Eagles still need to win to earn home field advantage, a Wild Card Round bye and an NFC East title. They have the Giants a week after the Saints, and there are plenty of teams chasing.
First, the NFC East:
We did the math, and it makes sense. The Cowboys will have the tiebreaker so if they finish with the same record, Dallas will be atop the NFC East for a second straight year. They would also drop Philly all the way to the 5-seed, requiring them to go on the road and win three times to make the Super Bowl.
Any Cowboys loss down the stretch (they play the Titans on Thursday and then the Commanders in Week 18) would also clinch for the Birds. And seeing that Dallas almost lost to the Texans and did lose to the Jaguars over the last few weeks, you never know. The Eagles could clinch Thursday night just before midnight.
However, that is only the division. Philly losing two more times would theoretically open the door for the Vikings — who beat the Giants on a miracle 61-yard field goal earlier Saturday — to seize the first round bye.
If Philly loses three in a row to end the year and one of the teams below them wins out, the Birds would fall out of the bye and wind up with home field for the first round but nothing promised beyond that.
Suffice it to say, the Eagles loss, paired with Niners, Cowboys and Vikings wins Saturday has certainly boosted the anxiety of every Philadelphia fan.
They'll beat the Saints, no problem next week, right?
Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports