Too many are discounting the Birds simply because they’re playing with a backup quarterback.
There’s absolutely a drop-off with Jalen Hurts not playing. It would be disrespectful and disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
But Gardner Minshew is no slouch.
We’re talking about a guy who has a career TD-INT ratio of 41 to 12. And the bulk of that production came while playing with a much less stellar supporting cast than the one he gets to work with now.
Tell me how the Cowboys plan to stop both A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith when Dallas has a gaping hole at the cornerback spot across from Trevon Diggs. Not to mention Dallas Goedert returning as a threat to hurt them in the middle of the field, especially with Leighton Vander Esch out.
This is a huge spot for the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback. This game might be the difference between Minshew being a career backup and having a chance to outright start or at least compete for playing time next season since he’ll be a free agent this offseason. He has the potential to raise his profile and salary by leading the Eagles to victory in order to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.
Minshew also has a big opportunity to honor someone who believed in him when many others did not. There’s no doubt that he’ll be emotionally charged in the wake of Mike Leach’s untimely death.
That angle is certainly not lost on his teammates, either. Eagles players clearly like Minshew and believe in him being able to get the job done. They know they need to turn it up to help him out.
They also know that they’re looking at a chance to not have to go all out for the final two weeks of the regular season if they win this game. Players would undoubtedly love the chance to get some extra rest.
In addition to the vibes being in the Eagles’ favor, they’re just the better team. They proved that when they beat Dallas earlier this week. Things got a little close for comfort at one point during that matchup, yeah, but it was due in part to them taking their foot off the gas. There is no reason no to go full throttle in this spot with much to be gained by winning.
And, no, I don’t put much into the idea that they need to worry about not showing too much in case these two teams meet again in the playoffs. For starters, a threematch is not necessarily guaranteed. And trickeration, if you will, is not how this Eagles team relies on beating their opponents. Execution is a much bigger reason for their success. And they’re able to do it so well because they have no shortage of talented players.
If you’re scared, get a dog. The Eagles are going down to Dallas to get a win.
WEEK 16 “PICK 3” from The @SBNationNFL Show, presented by @DKSportsbook!@BrandonGowton locks in the Eagles over the Cowboys, agree or disagree?!— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 23, 2022
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Which team will win?
This poll is closed
Score prediction: 33 to 32, Eagles win.
Bold prediction: Gardner Minshew throws for at least 400 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Leave your own score predictions in the comments.