The mess that has been most of the Philadelphia Eagles’ season will come to a close this Sunday night in primetime when they host the playoff-hopeful Washington Football Team. This game means a tremendous amount for the visitors as Ron Rivera’s team will earn a playoff berth in his very first season with a victory. Meanwhile, the Eagles have a chance to play spoiler. Should the Birds take home the win, the NFC East crown will go to the victor of the Giants/Cowboys matchup, happening earlier in the day. Check out the game’s top storylines below.
The Quarterback Watch
This will be the last opportunity for the Birds to see more of what they have in Jalen Hurts as a possible quarterback for the franchise’s future. The game should also be a gauge of Hurts’s mental toughness as we will see how the rookie responds after his first subpar game. The Washington defense will also be among the toughest Hurts has played against this season. They are anchored by their star defensive end Chase Young, a rookie in his own right.
Should Hurts put on a spectacular show, there will only be increasing calls for Wentz to be traded, cementing Hurts as the guy in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, if Hurts struggles mightily quite a different narrative may emerge. Memories are distinctly prejudiced towards the very last impression and poor game from Jalen could leave a sour taste in the mouths of both fans and the Eagles’ front office.
After stripping Dwayne Haskins of his captainship (Yes, he was a captain!), The Washington Football team chose to outright cut the former first round pick this week. As a result, Haskins will certainly not be going against the Birds this Sunday. Instead, Washington’s options at quarterback are the veteran Alex Smith, who is currently listed as questionable and the largely unknown Taylor Heinicke. If Alex Smith is able to go, he easily gives Washington their best chance to win and score a playoff berth.
Pederson Dismisses the Hot Seat
Head coach Doug Pederson is very confident about his prospects of remaining at the helm of the Eagles stating he “fully expects” to return to his post next season. His decisions across this season have continued to baffle those watching but his resume does include three playoff berths since 2016 and the obvious super bowl victory.
The Birds clearly need a major turnaround moving forward and Pederson has expressed an interest in being more heavily involved in that process, particularly in a player talent acquisition capacity. When asked about that possibility he stated “I want to be part of the evaluation process. I want to be a voice that’s heard, and I want to have that collaborative communication with Howie and his staff and be part of that process.”.
While he could be a help in the player talent acquisition, his coaching prowess is still what the Eagles need from him most. It would be very refreshing to see an impressive start-to-finish gameplan from Pederson against Washington during this final game as he duels with another highly respected coach, Ron Rivera.
I genuinely think this game will be contingent on the health of Alex Smith. The Washington Football Team will do everything they can to have him ready as their starter for gametime, but I don’t see it happening. My prediction is that the Eagles deny the Washington Football Team a playoff opportunity and it falls in the hands of a different hapless NFC East squad. Philadelphia 20, Washington 17.