Week 18 Quick Picks: Eagles vs. Cowboys

Surely this man will be making an appearance.

We’ve reached the end of the regular season, and the Eagles once again have a primetime matchup to close out the campaign that ultimately means very little to the team. But this one’s against the Cowboys, so does that change the calculus for first-year head coach Nick Sirianni?

More importantly, how does it affect the calculus for the Philly Frenetics, whose Quick Picks competition comes down to the final week. Two men enter; one will leave the champion. Probably. We’ll see.

John (4-4-8): The Battle of the Backups is going to be underway in South Philadelphia on Saturday. The unofficial bye week gives the Eagles and Cowboys a chance to rest and prepare for the first round of the NFL playoffs.

It also gives us a chance to wrap a season of uncontroversial Quick Picks with a game where we don’t even know who might be around to finish the first quarter. Who will take home the crown that really matters? 

The Dallas Cowboys will flex their roster depth en route to a victory in a meaningless game. The Dallas Cowboys QB (whoever that is) will likely lean on Dalton Schultz. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott will likely spend more time licking their wounds instead of running the ball. Former Eagle Corey Clement will get the bulk of the carries, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll get the lion’s share of the plays that matter. Look for Schultz to land at least one TD. 

On the flip side, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Micah Parsons being a terror in this game… that is, if he plays. I’m expecting a Cowboys linebacker to make an impact tomorrow and it might as well be the domineering Parsons.  Cowboys 27, Eagles 20.

Offensive Standout: Dalton Schultz

Defensive Standout: Micah Parsons

Joe (4-4*-8): First of all, the idea of Nick Sirianni doing “calculus” is hilarious to me. I’m picturing one of those memes where he’s on the sideline with a bunch of pens in his visor, looking up at the scoreboard with a bunch of math symbols flying by.

Anyway, this is a tough game to pick because it means a little bit to each team, but really, not much. The Eagles can grab either the sixth or seventh seed with a win or a loss, depending on who makes it in between San Francisco and New Orleans. The Cowboys can move all the way up to number two with a win, or they could end up right back at number four regardless.

Both teams will have to play on Wild Card Weekend, so the opportunity to rest players is one that neither should pass up. The Eagles are also dealing with some COVID-19 absences, although any number of those players could find themselves available by kickoff.

Ultimately, the chance to move up to number two and potentially host two playoff games should be enough for Dallas to want to win just a little bit more. There is no “preferred” Wild Card matchup for the Eagles to try to game themselves into here, unless a potential rematch in Dallas is particularly appealing or unappealing. The Cowboys should probably feel like they need to get themselves together a little bit; they looked pretty bad in losing their grip on the second seed last week against Arizona, and their previous game against a good team (ignoring a win over the floundering Saints and a soft three-week Eagles-esque run against Washington, New York, and Washington) was a home loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving. That should be all the reason they need to try and put in at least a little bit of work.

Jalen Hurts shouldn’t play in this one, and neither should a few other key players. In fact, I’d give Gardner Minshew the first half and then sit him, too; in what has turned into another season racked with COVID-19 uncertainty, we won’t know who will be available for who at any given time in the postseason, so it’s going to be important to keep your key backups healthy as well.

I’m going to make my pick based on that and say that we see a close game at halftime, but the Cowboys take control in the second half. I’m thinking we see Reid Sinnett turn in a “Nate Sudfeld in Week 17 of 2020”-level performance, and the Eagles manage just a field goal in the final 30 minutes. No matter; they’re heading to the playoffs either way. Cowboys 24, Eagles 13.

Offensive Standout: Cedrick Wilson

Defensive Standout: Randy Gregory

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