5 reasons to stay up late to watch Eagles finish out the 2020 season

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Dave Zangaro
·5 min read
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5 reasons to stay up late to watch Eagles finish out the 2020 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

No one in Philadelphia was happy when the NFL decided to move the Eagles-Washington game back to primetime in Week 17. We all thought the same thing: “I gotta stay up late to watch this?!”

I get it.

I maybe even muttered some choice words to myself when I heard the news. But There are still plenty of reasons to watch this game on Sunday night and none of them have to do with Jim Schwartz’s “no-hat rule.”

Here are five of them:

1. Can they lose?

Yes, this is one of those weird games where Eagles fans really need their team to lose. It can be hard to root for that during the game, but it’s pretty clear that’s the best thing that can happen. Now, I understand if the Cowboys beat the Giants and you don’t want to send the most-hated rival to the playoffs … but you gotta think about your own team for a second.

The Eagles will likely be in a scenario where losing this game gives them a better draft pick. The one nice thing about the Sunday night game is that by kickoff we’ll know exactly where the Eagles will end up drafting with a win or a loss.

Here’s a look at the draft situation as it stands now:

3. Houston (Miami): 4-11

4. Atlanta: 4-11

5. Cincinnati: 4-10-1

6. Philadelphia: 4-10-1

7. Detroit: 5-10

8. New York Giants: 5-10

9. Panthers: 5-10

10. Denver: 5-10

So depending on what happens earlier on Sunday, the Eagles could end up drafting as high as No. 3 or as low as No. 10.

2. Jalen Hurts gets another shot

Hurts will get his fourth starts of the 2020 season which means that the Eagles will have a quarter of the season to try to figure out if he’s their future franchise quarterback.

A few weeks ago, I asked Doug Pederson if that was enough time to form a proper evaluation:

“I think you have a good idea,” Pederson said in December. “Obviously, we haven't had a full body of 16-plus games, a preseason. We really don't know necessarily. I do think you can go back and just watch him from his college days. Again, Alabama, Oklahoma, how he's led those teams and the success he's had there, I think that gives you a good indication as to maybe who he is and what he can be, I think, down the road.

“We still have to improve, though. There's room to grow. Nothing is perfect, and there are some mistakes that are still being made that we have to correct, even in his game. It is a little bit of a small sample size to really probably make that determination, overall.”

In his three starts, Hurts is 1-2, he has been far from perfect, but he’s done some really nice things. Overall, he has completed 55% of his passes for 847 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and has also rushed for 238 yards and another score.

Will this game change any opinions on him? Probably not. But it will be a chance for him to bounce back after a game in Dallas where he didn’t perform very well and turned the ball over a couple times.

3. Seeing into the future

Hurts isn’t the only young player we’ll be watching on Sunday. There are several young guys who will get one more chance to play a lot of snaps on offense or defense. And while the Eagles coaches want to win the game, they need to let some of those young players get out there.

Here are a few names I want to see a lot of on Sunday: (I’ll just go alphabetically) Grayland Arnold, Genard Avery, Shaun Bradley, Travis Fulgham, John Hightower, Jason Huntley, Jalen Reagor, Davion Taylor, Brett Toth, K’Von Wallace, Quez Watkins.

4. Doug Pederson still getting the most out of his guys

The one thing we always hear about Pederson is that his players never give up on him, that they’re always going to give effort. But all those other examples came when the Eagles had a chance to still get to the playoffs. That chance is gone.

So will the Eagles play with great effort on Sunday? Pederson better hope so.

It’s very unlikely that the outcome of Sunday’s game will really determine the future of the head coach but if Jeff Lurie sees that the roster is still fighting with nothing left to fight for other than pride, that reflects pretty positively on the head coach. Sure, you’re probably saying you don’t care about effort; you want wins. But one of the main reasons Lurie brought Pederson to Philly was because of his ability to connect with players and get the most out of them. This is a major part of Pederson’s role as a coach.

5. Saying good-bye to some greats

If you don’t want to get overly sentimental about this game, I understand. But this might be your final chance to see some all-time greats in Eagles uniforms.

This might be the last Eagles game for Zach Ertz, Vinny Curry, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and more. And there’s even a chance Jason Kelce retires. So as bad as this season has been, take a second on Sunday to remember that.

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