December 30, 2022
The Eagles are coming back home with injuries to Jalen Hurts, Avonte Maddox, Lane Johnson, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson's status still up in the air.
They're banged up, more than they've been all season, and with their magic number still at one for the NFC East title, home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs, the best time to wrap things up is this Sunday against the Saints.
Can they close it out?
Here's what our writers thinking...
TV: FOX (Joe Davis, Daryl Johnston, Pam Oliver)
RADIO: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick)
|Book||Spread||Money Line||Total (O/U)|
|DraftKings||PHI -7|| NO +275|
|FanDuel||PHI -7||NO +270|
|BetMGM||PHI -7||NO +240|
|UniBet||PHI -6.5||NO +240|
|PointsBet||PHI -7|| NO +250|
There are two matchups in this game that are extremely tilted toward the Eagles:
The Eagles will be without their two most important players in Jalen Hurts and Lane Johnson, but they also have enough quality depth to overcome those kinds of losses against a 6-9 team.
The Eagles haven't played a home game since they smoked the Tennessee Titans 35-10 on December 4. I expect them to win comfortably and clinch the 1 seed, giving Philly fans a chance to breathe a sigh of relief.
The Eagles, even without Jalen Hurts and Lane Johnson, are double digits better than the Saints. The Eagles pass rush should feast, and hopefully Gardner Minshew is able to eliminate costly turnovers. If those two things happen, the Eagles will clinch Sunday.
It'll be a bounce-back game and the Saints have the unfortunate distinction of being the next game on the Eagles' schedule following that crushing loss against Dallas. I'll say that A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith each top 100 receiving yards again with Smith picking up two TDs in the easy win.
The Saints suck. The Eagles do not, even with a lot of key injuries.
For home-field advantage, for draft positioning, for that increasingly crucial first-round bye, the Eagles have to get that last win and get it out of the way now.
The Saints are coming off back-to-back wins, but those were against Cleveland and Atlanta. I don't foresee them being anywhere near the same force as Dallas was last week.
Gardner Minshew proved he's more than capable of getting the Eagles to the finish line if Jalen Hurts doesn't play, which I think he'll do here, lending the Birds a solid two weeks to get everything sorted out for the playoffs.
Jalen Hurts practicing aside, the Eagles are in for a battle this Sunday. The Saints arent a great team but they have been playing better as of late. They have a tough defense that's given the Eagles problems even as recently as last year. The Birds come off a horrific showing where they gave Dallas the ball and the game. That should regress back to fewer turnovers. Andy Dalton has a decent record against the Eagles and the Birds might be a little tight with a must win type scenario.
Eagles offensive line depth is now put to the test and so will their coaching.
The good news is the saints are led by a bozo coach in Dennis Allen.
Most fans are captive to the moment.
If you promised the Eagles' current situation back in the preseason: 13-2 with a magic number of one to clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the conference entering Week 17 with two home games remaining, the average fan would have signed off without reading the fine print of a disappointing loss in Dallas coming in with injuries to significant starters beginning to pile up.
Context is everything, however, in that the oasis of a first-round postseason bye lies ahead if Philadelphia beats a bad dome team on the road in January, even with as nice a New Year's Day as Sunday shapes to be with the Saints visiting.
The theme in the Eagles' two losses this season has been four turnovers in each. Despite all the issues against the Cowboys, if Philadelphia cut that number in half it wins the game after amassing well over 400 yards of total offense with a backup quarterback in Gardner Minshew, and most observers still seeing the same juggernaut.
The panic is a waste of energy. With or without Jalen Hurts and understanding Lane Johnson and Avonte Maddox won't play Sunday, the Eagles will ensure that the road to Super Bowl LVII runs through Lincoln Financial Field.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports