Eagles in driver’s seat, taking cautious approach ahead of Week 17 vs. Washington

Jalen Hurts Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The formula for the Philadelphia Eagles is a pretty simple one: Win and they’re in.

Nick Sirianni’s men are 8-7 heading into Week 17, holding the No. 7 and final playoff berth in the NFC with two games to go. If they take care of business, they won’t have to rely on hypotheticals or scoreboard watching.

Sunday provides a second matchup with the Washington Football Team in 12 days — the Eagles beating down a COVID-stricken divisional opponent 27-17 last Tuesday.

Washington is returning to full strength, and they are in the midst of a three-game slide that included an embarrassing 56-14 result against the Dallas Cowboys that featured more fight on the sidelines between teammates than what was shown on the field.

But both quarterbacks in Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen will be available this time around. Only two players remain on their COVID list, which means Week 17 won’t be as much of a walkabout for the Eagles as it was in Week 15. Hence why Philadelphia is only a three-point favorite on the road.

With COVID still surging across the United States, there is no such thing as being too safe for the Eagles. This week, they’ve kept their three quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, and Reid Sinnett in separate rooms while conducting all meetings virtually.

Hurts has bounced back well since returning from a terrible three-interception Week 12 showing against the Giants and an ankle injury. Over his last two games, he’s completed 67.7% of his passes for 495 yards, 5 total touchdowns, and 1 interception.

The Eagles will be without a sizable piece of its offense on Sunday as running back Miles Sanders suffered a broken hand in the 34-10 drubbing of the New York Giants in Week 16. Kerryon Johnson was signed to supplement the loss in hopes that Philadelphia’s run game will remain as effective as it’s been over the last eight games, averaging 203.8 yards per contest during that stretch.

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