3 things to know as Eagles host Washington in Week 17

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Dave Zangaro
·3 min read
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3 things to know as Eagles host Washington in Week 17 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles (4-10-1) were eliminated from playoff contention but they have a chance to prevent Washington (6-9) from winning the NFC East at the Linc on Sunday night.

Here are some important links:

And here are three things to know:

1. The Eagles would be better off losing this game.

Sure, the players who are on the field Sunday are going to be trying to win. That’s what you expect from them. But any good players with even a minor injury have already been ruled out. So you won’t see Fletcher Cox or Derek Barnett or Jordan Mailata or Dallas Goedert or Miles Sanders on Sunday. That gives Washington a natural advantage and the Eagles have to hope it’s enough to lose this game.

Right now, the Eagles have the No. 6 spot in the draft. They can get as high as No. 3 or as low as No. 10. Without a playoff berth on the line, it would be tough to slide in the draft with a win on Sunday. And, you’d probably rather Washington in the playoffs and getting a worse draft pick than the Cowboys or Giants.

2. This will be at least one more chance for the Eagles to see Jalen Hurts before they have to make one of the biggest decisions in franchise history. Hurts has played three games and Sunday will be his fourth. Is that enough time to really evaluate him at the NFL level? Not really.

A couple weeks ago, I asked Doug Pederson about evaluating Hurts off four games and he said they’ll have a good sense of the player but admitted it will be from a small sample size. Still, if the Eagles decide to move on from Carson Wentz, it might not mean Hurts is the long-term answer. But seeing him in another game might nudge them in one direction or the other.

Hurts was very good in his first two starts but struggled last week against the Cowboys. This is a chance for him to show that he can rebound.

3. The Eagles began the week as a slight favorite against Washington but as the week went on, that line began to move. As of Saturday, the Eagles were 3.5-point underdogs. It makes sense. Alex Smith isn’t a definite to start but he’s gotten first-team reps. And the Eagles ruled out a ton of good players on Friday. And then there’s the fact that Washington has a playoff berth on the line and the Eagles are just playing for pride.

Before Washington beat the Eagles earlier this season, the Eagles had won the previous six matchups between these two teams. Before then, Washington had won five straight. The last time these two teams split a season series was 2014.

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