Philadelphia looked like a defending Super Bowl champion, or at least a playoff team, when they beat the Houston Texans, 32-30, last Sunday.
Behind backup quarterback “Saint” Nick Foles, the Eagles stayed alive in a bid to make it to the postseason and defend their title. But they will need a little help to get there this season.
Minnesota will have to lose Sunday for the Eagles to have a chance to steal a wild-card berth. An Eagles victory would give them a half-game lead on the Vikings and put them in the second wild-card spot.
With the Vikings hosting the 11-4 Bears who need a victory to have a chance at a first-round bye, the Vikings have their work cut out for them.
Seattle could give the Eagles the top wild-card slot if they lose to the Cardinals. That would let the Eagles play Dallas in the wild card round instead of Chicago or the Rams.
But after the way their season has gone, the Eagles don’t care who they play. They believe if they get in, they can beat anybody right now. Foles is working his late-season magic again and the attitude of the team is more excited and positive than at any time this year.
Washington, of course, would like to knock their division rival out of the post-season with the upset. Jay Gruden’s troops have defied logic with some improbable wins and unexplainable losses. The Redskins are on their fourth quarterback of the season, although number two, Colt McCoy, might make it back for this season finale.
Injuries and notes
Wide receiver Mike Wallace was back on the Eagles’ practice field this week after being activated from the injured reserve.
The left side of the Eagles offensive line is banged up, but it is expected that all hands will be available Sunday.
Jeremy Sprinkle will start at tight end for Washington as Jordan Reed (foot) and Vernon Davis (concussion) will probably sit this game out.
Jay Gruden cut Pro Bowl safety DJ Swearinger this week after he made disparaging comments about the effort of the defense and his coordinator. Swearinger was immediately signed by the Cardinals and three other teams tried to claim him.
Whether that action hurts or helps Gruden’s bid to remain employed in Washington is yet to be seen. Knocking the Eagles out of the playoffs would definitely help, but it might be too late to avoid a coaching opening in Washington.
Doug Pederson knows if the Eagles get in, anything is possible. His legend will just grow if the Eagles steal a playoff win or two out of what was thought to be a lost season.
How to watch the Redskins-Eagles game
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Who will win the Redskins-Eagles game?
Gruden has done a good job keeping the Redskins this close to the playoffs. After being eliminated last week, the team would love to play spoiler to the Eagles, especially after the Swearinger incident.
But the Eagles seem destined for a return to the playoffs. Pederson and Foles have them believing anything is possible.