January 04, 2023
The Eagles fell completely flat against the Saints and they knew it.
The offense was stagnant, the defense couldn't stay off the field, and the frustration in the locker room postgame was clear.
They've had two shots to clinch the NFC East and the conference's No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They whiffed on both of them.
Now they're down to their last with the Week 18 finale against the Giants at home.
The Eagles' scenario remains the same: A single victory secures them the division, home-field advantage, and a first-round bye – which is only growing more important with injuries to the likes of Jalen Hurts, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Lane Johnson, and Josh Sweat. But the confidence that they can do it after back-to-back losses for the first time all season, including the worst performance by far, that's shaken.
They have work to do, and not a lot of time to get it done.
"We have everything we ever wanted still in front of us," said backup QB Gardner Minshew after Sunday's loss to New Orleans. "It's all right here. Going into a big game next week, we're all excited to get out there.
"This team doesn't flinch. We've gone through a lot. Adversity's hitting us now. That's okay. We're ready for it."
Eagles fans everywhere certainly hope so, and the sportsbooks seem to be banking on it.
After beating the Colts on Sunday in the Meadowlands, the Giants have the No. 6 seed in the NFC locked up which, ironically, means they have nothing to play for in Week 18.
Head coach Brian Daboll hasn't committed to anything yet but the likelihood is he'll rest his starters, which would mean an easier time for the Eagles – like by two touchdowns, according to several books:
|Book||Spread||Money Line||Total (O/U)|
|DraftKings||PHI -14|| NYG +675|
|FanDuel||PHI -13.5||NYG +560|
|BetMGM||PHI -14||NYG +650|
|UniBet||PHI -14||NYG +600|
|PointsBet||PHI -14|| NYG +500|
Reports began circulating Sunday and into Monday that Hurts, who was in the midst of an MVP campaign before going down with a shoulder sprain, would be available in Week 18 if necessary. The direction seems to be trending toward him getting the start if he's ready in time.
Again, if the Eagles beat the Giants this week (or tie), the division title and the No. 1 seed are all theirs. It's the most direct way to ensure the road to the Super Bowl runs through Philly. However, there are two alternate scenarios:
• A Dallas loss or tie at Washington AND a San Francisco loss or tie vs. Arizona.
Washington would be playing spoiler at this point. The Commanders turned to Carson Wentz in a last-ditch effort to save their own playoff hopes and imploded against Cleveland. When they faced the Cowboys the first time back on October 2, they lost 25-10 with Cooper Rush filling in for an injured Dak Prescott.
Asking Arizona to beat San Francisco is a mighty tall order also. The 49ers are the hottest team in the NFL right now with nine straight wins, while the Cardinals are in pieces from six straight losses at 4-12.
So yeah, it's in the Eagles' best interest to win this week. They can't count on help nor should they really be in a position to have to.
The NFC's current playoff picture through Week 17 (NFC East teams in bold):
|Division Leaders||Wild Card||Still Alive|
|1. Eagles (13-3, East)||5. Dallas (12-4, East)||8. Detroit (8-8, North)|
|2. San Francisco (12-4, West)||6. NY Giants (9-6-1, East)||9. Green Bay (8-8, North)|
|3. Minnesota (12-4, North)||7. Seattle (8-8, West)||–|
|4. Tampa Bay (8-8, South)||–||–|
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