It was a cold and windy night in South Philadelphia, as the Eagles secured the Number one seed in the NFC playoffs by virtue of a 19-10 over the Oakland Raiders. It was a very ugly game for both sides as the teams combined for seven turnovers.
As ugly as it was, the Eagles found a way to gut it out and now turn their attention to the Cowboys. Dallas lost at home to the Seahawks 21-12 eliminating them from playoff contention.
Both teams have nothing but pride to play for on Sunday. The question now is should the Eagles starters sit or play?
Back to Earth
It was a rough night for Nick Foles. After torching the Giants for four touchdowns on Monday, he had just one on Monday. He threw one interception and should have thrown more but Reggie Nelson dropped two. Foles also struggled to catch shotgun snaps. Nick looked uncomfortable in the pocket and was just out of synch with the receivers.
Zach Ertz did have nine catches for 81 yards but that was the lone bright spot. Alshon went without a catch, as the Raiders secondary was up to the challenge.
Foles went 19 of 38 for 163 yards. He did engineer a nice touchdown dive in the first quarter finishing with a 17-yard screen to Jay Ajayi for a touchdown. Another performance like this from Foles will make it very difficult to win come January.
Playing For Pride
The Cowboys got Ezekiel Elliott back from a six-game suspension but his impact wasn’t as expected. Dallas scored just 12 points and Dak Prescott struggled to make plays. The question now is what do you do Sunday. Of course, nobody wants to lose to the Cowboys, but this team has their eyes on a bigger prize. The defense outside of an Amari Cooper 63 yard touchdown was lockdown.
The offense, on the other hand, took a step back. Foles looked like a guy who needed more reps and to develop chemistry with his receivers. The Eagles ground game also struggled for the majority of the night. Doug Pederson said he would decide if the Eagles starters would play.
Does Resting Players Make A Difference
A lot of people will say that absolutely the Eagles starters should rest. On the other hand, people will say they need to play. That decision is ultimately up to the coaches but how have past super bowl teams handled this situation?
In 2015, with the number one seed locked up, the Panthers kept their foot on the pedal. Cam Newton played start to finish along with the rest of the starters, as the Panthers rolled 38-10 over the Buccaneers.
Last year, at 12-3, the Patriots entered Miami with nothing to play for. Brady and company played and won 35-14. In hindsight , last year, the Cowboys at 13-2 came to Philadelphia in Week 17 and rested their key starters. They lost that game and would lose in the Divisional Round to Green Bay.
There is no exact formula for getting to the Super Bowl. Some coaches choose to rest players; others play and try to maintain momentum. The Eagles offense needs to be out there for at least a half.
Nick Foles could definitely use some more game reps before the playoffs. The defense seems to have found their stride, although the double move has still been an issue.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Pederson stated when asked about the starters.
“You’re only limited to 46 players, and you can only put seven guys down. If you do the math, some of your starters are going to have to play.”
The Eagles also have to decide on whether or not to activate Sidney Jones. If they do, they’d have to cut someone to make room. Regardless of who’s playing Sunday: Beat Dallas.
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Article originally posted on Tha Sports Junkies 101.