The Philadelphia Eagles may not be in action today, but the NFL will be chugging along as normal and the situation in the City of Brotherly Love is a fluid one. Here’s what fans should be aware of ahead of week 15.
Draft pick tracker
The Indianapolis Colts handily took care of business against the New England Patriots last night, bumping their record to 8-6. In doing so, they all but cemented the fact that Carson Wentz will play in the required amount of snaps needed to net the Eagles a first-round pick. The bad news is that now Jonathan Taylor and his backfield buddies are running wild, there’s a big chance that that selection will be dropping into the 20’s.
As things stand, Tankathon has the Eagles holding picks 10 (MIA), 11, and 23 (IND). There was a scenario not too long ago where all three picks were inside the top-10. The Miami Dolphins are a win against the Jets away from joining the high teens, and Nick Sirianni is trying to rally his troops for a playoff push. If you were hoping for top-10’s all round, you might be left a little underwhelmed by the end of the year.
Alas, beggars can’t be choosers, and the fact that there are now three guaranteed first-rounders to find future cornerstones of this team is still a huge win for Howie Roseman. The Eagles GM did well to recoup first-round capital in the way that he did and regardless of how the season ends, the Dolphins trade remains a masterclass.
The good news is that it would likely also push patience back into the mindset. If the team can secure a wildcard spot and the QB class isn’t exactly glistening with players who bring more immediate value to an offense than Jalen Hurts, then those three picks are better spent surrounding him with talent and solidifying the next era of Eagles football. It would be nice to have an offseason without utter chaos ripping through the City on a weekly basis and this might be as close as we get to that scenario.
The NFL did a boo boo
So it turns out that after tall the Omicron (I still think that sounds like a Transformer) panic, that the Washington Football Team could’ve actually fielded a team today. They had players springing back from the COVID-reserve list all through yesterday and what was once a team ruptured by the virus, suddenly became just a normal looking team with an injury report and a dumb unvaxxed defensive end who caused the entire NFL to move the game for the safety of its wider players.
To say the Eagles were given the short end of the stick here would be an understatement. They now have to play three games in 12 days (Tuesday, Sunday, Sunday) and face a greater risk of injury, all because the NFL bent on their own protocols which Philadelphia followed perfectly and Washington violated. WFT went unpunished, the Eagles had a competitive advantage taken away, and now the teams will face off on Tuesday evening for reasons unknown and with much greater risk.
It sucks, but instead of viewing this negatively, I just wanted to applaud Nick Sirianni and his staff for guiding the Eagles through 2021 so smoothly when it comes to managing COVID. No violations, no controversy (as we’d otherwise typically expect), and no drama. The players followed the guidelines, remained safe and avoided a large outbreak like we have seen in several cities across the league. They may not be rewarded for it on the field, but the safety of Eagles players and their families has remained paramount and the proof is in the pudding.
The main game that the Eagles need to worry about is the one right in front of them. Washington are in control of that newly established final wildcard spot and a win push the Eagles ahead of WFT. With only divisional games remaining, the Eagles really do control their own destiny here. However, that doesn’t mean other games don’t carry wider implications.
The Niners may have beaten the Bengals last week but are only one win clear of the Eagles and are lining up against a strangely resurgent Falcons outfit who sit at 6-7. A win there for Atlanta would automatically give the Eagles a chance of securing not just the final wildcard spot, but potentially the top-seeded one if they can displace Washington.
The Saints (6-7) face the reigning Super Bowl Champs this weekend and a loss would be perfect for Philadelphia. Minnesota are the only other 6-7 team in the wildcard race and will be hoping to get past Chicago without too much of a problem. The Vikings may be the best placed team to take a step forward this week.
As things stand, the race looks like this:
San Francisco 7-6
New Orleans 6-7
I hope you all find a way to enjoy an Eagle-less Sunday and that you have the Happiest of Holidays. Here’s to hoping the Birds don’t provide us all with a mild breakdown right on the cusp of Christmas!
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire