Week 17 Quick Picks: Eagles at Football Team

Pictured: not where the Football Team actually plays. Credit: Stephen Downes, used via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Eagles are headed to the finish line in control of their own destiny; win their final two games and a playoff spot is theirs. But as they say, you can’t win ’em both if you don’t win the first, and the first is a rematch with Washington just 12 days after the NFL forced the non-COVID-riddled Eagles to play against the COVID-riddled Football Team on a Tuesday night. Presumably, the Football Team is much closer to full strength than two weeks ago; will it matter?

John has claimed victory for himself once again last week, and while Joe is still protesting Week 15, it’s going to be a two-week sprint to the finish to see who is the least terrible prognosticator. John goes first.

John (4-4-7): This game worries me. The Eagles are on a roll and Football Team has nowhere to go but up after its embarrassment in Dallas. What might temper the Eagles from feeling themselves a little too much is their recent road debacle at the Meadowlands. The recent reality check of “Any Given Sunday” should direct them towards a win that is much closer than the final score indicates.

Dallas Goedert shredded Football Team on Tuesday Night Football. I expect him to bounce back from the dropsies and have another game as a midfield safety valve. If anything, Jalen Hurts owes him one from the wide open end zone read last week.

On the defensive side of the ball, I have to nominate T.J. Edwards for this week’s Defensive Standout again. For the first time in years, it seems like the Eagles have a playmaking duo at linebacker. Last week was Singleton’s time to shine and I full expect he and Edwards to rack up stats on Sunday afternoon. Eagles 27, Football Team 16.

Offensive Standout: Dallas Goedert

Defensive Standout: T.J. Edwards

Joe (4-4*-7): You bet I’m still protesting! John’s full of it. In my eyes, I have a one-game lead with two to play.

So do the Eagles, as Minnesota, Atlanta, and New Orleans all sit at 7-8. That’s right, two teams the Eagles have beaten this season, and one team that features Kirk Cousins at quarterback. It well and truly is the Eagles’ playoff spot to lose, and really, with the way Arizona is playing, the fifth seed isn’t out of the question.

In 2003, FOX aired a show called “Man vs. Beast” wherein, among other things, sprinter Shawn Crawford raced against a giraffe – which he dusted – and a zebra, which beat him twice. Why? Because Crawford (correctly) pointed out that the zebra false-started the first time. Apparently he pissed the zebra off, because at the end of the second race, the zebra did a little leap at the finish line to give Crawford one more look at the rear end he’d been chasing for the last 10 seconds.

Anyway, I bring this up because one of the commentators was Olympic legend Carl Lewis, who delivered one of the most memorable lines in sports broadcasting history when he said that, in order to win, the zebra “has to realize that this is a race.” I know what he meant – that the animal more accustomed to running from predators would need to focus on running in a straight line for 100 meters in order to win – but hearing those words obviously left a mark on my brain that I hope is never erased.

I mention this because one, that line is incredible and you’re welcome for sharing it, and two, it applies here because the Eagles need to realize that this game in (the greater) Washington (area) is a playoff game. You cannot afford to take your foot off the gas now and have an effort like you did against the Giants if you want to make the actual playoffs. And even though it’s probably better for the franchise to lose these last two games and get a better draft pick, players don’t take that into account when they take the field. This team can and must make the playoffs, and I think the players will play like it.

I expect the recent spate of zebra-like false starts – and you thought I couldn’t bring it back – to be a distant memory come Sunday, with fans remembering the false start of the Chip Kelly era as the Eagles get out to an early lead on the Football Team down in whatever they’re calling the area around FedEx Field these days and cruise to a victory, as well as possibly a playoff berth, depending on results elsewhere. Eagles 34, Football Team 13.

Offensive Standout: Boston Scott gets a touchdown, calling it now

Defensive Standout: Slay, as he prefers to be called

Text Message Standout: John, admitting defeat early in the second quarter before trying to pull it back in the fourth

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