For the second year in a row, the Eagles and Giants will play a meaningless Week 17 game at MetLife Stadium. One would think both teams have nothing to play for since they've already been eliminated from the 2016 NFL playoff picture, but that's not the case. There are multiple benefits to tanking this game.
1) Better draft pick
This is the most obvious consequence of winning/losing. Last year, the Eagles beat the Giants in Week 17. As a result, they earned the worst possible pick of any non-playoff team: No. 20. The Eagles can't pick there again this year, but their selection could fall into the late teens if they win again. The Eagles are currently scheduled to pick No. 12 in the 2016 NFL Draft order so a loss could help them get into the top 10 picks.
Having a high pick doesn't necessarily guarantee the Eagles will draft a good player. But at least it gives them a bigger talent pool to select from. The Eagles really need to nail their first round pick this year. Thanks to the Sam Bradford trade, the team will be without their second round pick. Philadelphia's last two first round picks, Marcus Smith and Nelson Agholor, have been busts to this point. The Eagles can't afford another miss, and drafting at a higher spot might be able to mitigate their chances of blowing the pick.
It's also worth noting a Giants win hurts New York's draft position.
2) Easier schedule
If the Eagles lose to the Giants, the Birds will finish third in the NFC East. That third place finish could potentially make their 2016 schedule easier than a second place finish. For example, the Eagles would play the Rams in London instead of the Seahawks in Seattle.
3) Prevent injuries
It's always a shame to see players get hurt, but it would be especially disappointing if an injury occurred in a meaningless game like this one. The Eagles might as well rest key players.
4) Evaluating young players
The Eagles are reportedly going to place Byron Maxwell and Bennie Logan on injured reserve this week, which means they'll be signing two new players. Ideally the Eagles should be looking to sign players from the practice squads of other teams. Or the Eagles could look to promote players from their own practice squad. This meaningless game would be a great chance to see what Malcolm Bunche can do at guard. Or what Freddie Martino can do at wide receiver. Give 2015 sixth round pick Randall Evans a shot to see if he can contribute in this secondary.
The problem with "tanking" this game is that it's probably not realistic. Chip Kelly didn't rest his starters last year, so it's hard to imagine things will change this time around. He's not going to want to willingly add another loss to his resume. One also has to consider veteran players are going to want to hit playtime/statistic incentive bonuses in their contracts. Fans won't care about that, but they're not the ones who have to deal with fallback from agents and/or the NFLPA.
But maybe the Eagles don't need to tank. They've been so bad lately that they might be able to lose this game even if they play their starters. And if that's the case, that's OK this week because losing actually helps the Eagles for once.