In the final game of the season, the Eagles go in with more on the line than anyone would’ve hoped. After losing back-to-back games where they could have clinched the division and a first-round bye, they have to now win against the Giants to finalize everything.
New York claimed the 6th seed in the NFC playoffs last week and is expected to rest most of their starters. Philadelphia has a lot more on the line Sunday and should be able to get the job done after falling the last two weeks. Before they play, here are five players to watch out for during the game.
Nick Sirianni and the Eagles have kept the status of Hurts somewhat mysterious. He is apparently trending in the right direction but is still listed on the injury report and hasn’t been officially named the starter. With the team in desperate need of a win, I tend to think that Hurts will play, even with the Giants going to play mostly backups.
The team cannot take any chances in losing out on the number one seed, and with Minshew struggling mightily last week, it is a good time to switch back to the MVP. Sunday would mark 2 weeks to the day since he got injured, which sits at the original estimate of this being a 1-2 week injury. As long as Hurts plays, the Eagles win this game.
Eagles fans all know of the impact Brown has had on the team. This Sunday, he has a chance to etch his name into the team record books after just 17 weeks. Brown is 9 yards away from breaking the record for most receiving yards by an Eagles, set in 1983 by Mike Quick. Even if he somehow doesn’t break the record, his 1,401 yards and 11 touchdowns are an amazing statistical season.
Brown has completely changed the Eagles’ offense, and along with Hurts, has formed one of the deadliest connections in all of football. A.J. Brown will bounce back and be a big part of the offensive success this week.
Coming into the season, Dean was one of the players that fans were most excited to see. The Eagles have shown that they do not value the linebacker position, and it was a great move in theory when they selected the most talented college linebacker in the 3rd round.
Dean has yet to make an impact at the NFL level but has shown a few flashes. In the 4th quarter of the Tennessee game, Dean came and replaced an injured Kyzir White and quickly racked up 6 tackles and a tackle for loss. He has had some big hits on special teams this year. If the Eagles get out to a large lead, Dean might see some playing time and a glimpse into next year when he eventually plays more snaps.
Due to the injury of Avonte Maddox and the unknown of C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s health, Scott has become a factor on the team down the stretch. He has filled in the slot position with some mixed results but for the most part, has held his own. He got targeted a few times when Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton were completing every pass against zone defense but looked much better in man coverage, even getting an interception.
Josiah Scott isn’t a pro bowl player like Avonte Maddox or Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, but he’s proven this year to at least be able to compete at the NFL level, and that’s something the Eagles need, especially with injuries piling up at the end of the season.
The Eagles’ special teams unit has been pretty subpar for most of the season. One of the main problems is they have not been able to build an effective return game. Covey has been used as the punt returner for parts of the season and has been pretty up and down.
So far, his only role on the team is as a punt returner, so that’s the only place he can make plays and show off his skill set. He’s fast and shifty in the open space but has had a hard time adjusting to NFL physicality. All season long the Eagles have waited for a spark on special teams and Covey could be capable of that.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke