The Eagles and Cowboys have had a tradition as of late. The past two years, the teams have met in Week 17 with a lot on the line. Again, the Eagles and Cowboys will meet in Week 17 this season, but there isn’t nearly as much at stake as there has been in the past.
The Eagles are already locked into the third seed in the NFC and no matter what they or any other team does on Sunday, they will not move out of that position. They will host a Wild Card game next weekend; however, that opponent is yet to be determined.
In anticipation of that Wild Card game, we won’t see a full lineup out of the Eagles. Quarterback Michael Vick will sit this weekend to rest a quad injury and Kevin Kolb will get the start. There will be other players who are rested as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t play at all, but there are a number of players who will probably see a limited number of reps.
So is this going to look like a preseason game? Maybe a little. However, there’s still lot that the coaches will be looking for come game time.
Kolb will be one interesting thing to watch. With the Eagles more than likely considering giving Vick a new contract, this may be somewhat of a show case game for Kolb. The Eagles wouldn’t hesitate to hold onto him next season, but it would be hard to pass up a solid trade offer if one comes in. Although he’s played in a limited capacity this season, we’ve still seen Kolb play pretty well. He took down the number one seed Falcons while Vick was recovering form an injury.
Kolb may be playing with limited weapons around him, so it will be more of a challenge for him. However, if he plays well, that will only show his value.
Another thing to watch for offensively is the play of the line. I don’t think the starters will play the entire game, but I expect them to get some reps early in the game. They’ve shown a lot of inconsistencies throughout the season, and they could definitely use some extra reps before heading into the playoffs. Having a versatile quarterback behind you doesn’t mean you don’t have to block well. We saw Vick struggle against the Vikings when he was under constant pressure.
The biggest thing to pay attention to for me is the defense. They couldn’t stop a rookie quarterback last week when they really needed to and will face another rookie this Sunday.
The Eagles have some young players on defense who they will rely on in the playoffs. Rookies Jamar Chaney and Kurt Coleman will play big roles moving forward. They’ve had limited time on the field this year so they will benefit from some extra reps this week.
Another situation to watch for is what the Eagles decide to do at the right corner position. We saw Dimitri Patterson play poorly against the Giants two weeks ago and then get pulled from the Vikings game due to poor play. He was replaced by Joselio Hanson who has also underperformed in prior weeks.
Win or lose, the Eagles aren’t going to move anywhere in the standings. However, you want to see players step up this week and finish the regular season with a win.