What Eagles fans should watch out for in week 18 clash with Dallas

Eagles devonta smith
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 03: Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver Devonta Smith (6) sets up for a play in the first half during the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on October 03, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles are playing with house money. The NFL added an extra week, but it still only took Philadelphia seventeen to secure a ticket to the postseason.

So for the fourth time in the last five years, the Birds are playoff-bound, and Jalen Hurts is your undisputed QB1 (or is he?) Just kidding, Hurts Hive.

But our heroes still have one more regular-season match-up to go: the newly minted and much-maligned Week 18.

The stakes are low, but it’s still Dallas so let’s see if the Eagles can ride the wave and finish the regular season on a high note.

Plant Your Seed-ing

The Eagles can still theoretically improve their playoff seeding, but it won’t be by much.

Philly’s locked into either the 6th or 7th seed, but ultimately, their final seeding won’t be up to them.

If both the 49ers lose to the Rams & the Falcons lose to the Saints Sunday, Philadelphia will be your 6th seed. That’s the scenario, whether the Eagles best Dallas or not. So who’s next?

I’ve thought about different ways to break down their Wildcard opponent, but it’s just not all that interesting. All you need to know is that the Eagles should rest their starters and likely prepare for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Round 1.

South Florida – get ready for the hoard of Philadelphia pasties.

Who’s In, Who’s Out?

The Bug has made quick work of the Eagles.

With COVID tearing through the roster, Nick Sirianni would be wise to rest his starters and have some fun.

Kenny Gainwell and Gardner Minshew fans rejoice. This is the game for you.

As discussed, this is still Dallas and an opportunity to get even on the 2021 season, but there’s just nothing to gain from a victory Saturday.

Let Jeff Stoutland call plays. Hell, I’ll do it. My last Madden franchise run almost netted me a Super Bowl with the Miami Dolphins. If I can do that, I’m ready for a big-boy headset.

Not to mention, if the Eagles are lucky, this may not be the last time they see Dallas this season, so let’s break out the pre-season playbook and get ready for some JJ Arcega-Whiteside buttonhooks.

Hurts to Admit

Maybe I haven’t been very nice to Hurts.

I generally want him to succeed, but I’ve had my doubts, especially after some of these early-season floaters.

But, other than a divisive comparison to Sam Bradford, I’ve maintained a ‘wait and see’ attitude, and Hurts’ seems to have won over this fanbase.

All told, for any of Hurts’ inadequacies, he’s been careful with the football, and it’s led to the first playoff berth of his career.

In fifteen games, Hurts is averaging 0.53 interceptions per game. That’s 33% better than the league average of 0.8.

If you omit Hurts’ three-pick performance in the Eagle’s loss to the Giants, he’s almost 60% better than league average. He’s just not turning the ball over.

That’s a fantastic place to build while you develop into a more dangerous passer, but I’ve always been a legs guy, so let’s talk about that.

Hurts will finish with the fifth-best single-season YPC (5.6 yards) in franchise history among all players, not just quarterbacks. His ten touchdowns will mark a franchise-best for quarterbacks, eighth amongst all players.

He will enter 2022 with the second-most single-season rushing yards by a quarterback in Eagles history, behind only Randall Cunningham’s 942 yards in 1990. Hurts needs 158 to tie.

All told, even likely missing two games, Hurts did his thing. Very promising for a 23-year-old as he continues to win over the city of Brotherly Love.

Bonus Rookie Round

Devonta Smith needs just 38 yards to eclipse the Eagles rookie receiving record set by Desean Jackson in 2008. Maybe he does that Sunday.

These records are bound to be broken, especially given the extra week to play, but impressive nonetheless.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire