The Eagles find themselves a win away from locking up the top seed in the NFC Playoffs heading into Christmas weekend. They also find themselves in Dallas on Christmas Eve, and without starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. Can Gardner Minshew lead the Birds to victory in Texas? Or will the Cowboys keep their flicker of hope for a division title alive?
The guys make their picks below.
John (8-3-3): Double or nothing…if you listened to our last episode, you heard me right. From here on out Joe’s wins count twice. I feel that positive about the Eagles, who I am picking to win outright for the rest of the year.
Not only am I doubling down on my confidence, but I am doubling down on Gardner Minshew. He’ll be just fine. The Eagles will be just fine. Look, I’m not saying he’ll be better than the MVP or reprise Nick Foles…but think about it. The guy throws a great deep ball. He is an accurate passer. He’s about as good a backup as you can reasonably have in the NFL.
Look for the Eagles to exploit these skills and give Dallas some coal in their stockings this week. The Eagles will become more pass-happy than they’ve been this year. Look for all of their top receivers to light up the secondary. On Brown, on Smith, on Watkins, onto the playoffs. Eagles 34, Cowboys 30.
Offensive Standout: Gardner Minshew
Defensive Standout: Javon Hargarve
Joe (3-8-3): John’s arrogance is cute, really. And next week, when he finds his lead whittled down to near-dissolution, the regret will be even cuter.
As I said on the pod this week, the injury to Jalen Hurts has a silver lining, and it’s that Gardner Minshew will see some meaningful playing time. If Hurts were to get injured during the playoffs, the Eagles would be, to take a detailed look at it…screwed. But now that Minshew will have some action under his belt, the impact of such an injury will be mitigated. They wouldn’t be favorites, mind you, but there would certainly be a path forward in the postseason.
John invoked the name of Nick Foles, and believe it or not, I think Minshew’s cameo will look a lot like Foles’ did during the 2017 regular season. And that’s not a good thing if you’re looking for a win in the Big D.
Minshew played a little bit last season, but it’s going to take some time to find the right playcalling setup to capitalize on his abilities. This game means infinitely more to the Cowboys than it does to the Eagles; in fact, it means nothing, as a win at home against New Orleans on New Year’s Day will serve the same purpose as a win in Dallas. We just want to win as fans because Dallas sucks, but that and the Wawa app will get you a free cup of coffee on Tuesday.
The Cowboys don’t really need the win, either, but playing at home against a divisional rival led by its backup quarterback, they have the upper hand. I expect a steady diet of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, plus Micah Parsons having a big game while the Eagles struggle, which will then make his “sYsTeM qUaRtErBaCk” comments look even more foolish. Congratulations, Micah; you’re going to play yourself. Cowboys 26, Eagles 17.
Offensive Standout: Tony Pollard
Defensive Standout: Micah Parsons