PHILADELPHIA – With no guarantees of improving their playoff seeds, the Philadelphia Eagles had to rest the bulk of their starters in a 51-25 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
DeVonta, one of the few regulars, did not suit up but had three catches, for 41 yards, in limited play. He also set a franchise record. DeVonta Smith finished the season with 916 receiving yards. He passed DeSean Johnson (912) as the rookie with the most.
The postseason is Philadelphia’s next focus. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Eagles are 80% likely to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the wild-card round. Depending on the outcome of Sunday’s games, these Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals are also in play.
It’s very simple when it comes to seeding: The Eagles will be NFC’s No. 7 seed, unless the San Francisco 49ers loses to the Rams or the New Orleans Saints defeat the Atlanta Falcons. In which case they would move up to No. 6.
The Eagles (9-8) faced two potential first-round playoff rivals in the regular season, the Bucs (and Cowboys), and did not record a win. In Week 6, the Eagles lost to Tom Brady, the Bucs and were defeated by the Cowboys.
They are in the dance and it’s an amazing feat after a 2-5 start for Nick Sirianni, their first-year head coach.
Rushing prowessThe Eagles rushed 100+ yards for their 12th straight game, their longest streak of 100+ yards since 2010-11 (19). The Eagles set a new season record for most rushing yardage in a single season (2,715). This mark had been held since 1949 (2,607). Due to the addition of a 17th regular-season match, there are many records in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
Statistics on QB:Gardner Minshew had his second start of this season. He was 19-of33 for 186 yard with two touchdown passes, and an interception. The Eagles scored 17 points or more in the first half five times this year, two of them in Minshew starts. Jalen Hurts, the starting QB, was one of many regulars who got the night off. He is still recovering from a painful high-ankle strain he sustained in November. The Eagles hope to have him back to full strength before the start of the playoffs.
Can they beat an elite team?The Eagles fell to 0-7 in games against teams with winning records. They won against inferior to bad teams (9-1), and have yet to win over high-quality opponents. Next weekend, they’ll have another chance.