The Eagles play a mostly meaningless game Sunday, at 1 p.m. on FOX when they host the Cowboys for the 2017 regular season finale.
The Cowboys have been eliminated from playoff contention, and the 13-2 Eagles have already done everything they can do during the year, clinching homefield advantage, a first round bye and the No. 1 overall playoff seed.
The game has no consequence on the big picture. But there are still reasons to watch. Here are three of them:
At least with an eyeball test, there has been a big dropoff at the quarterback position as Nick Foles has taken over for Carson Wentz as QB1 for the Birds. After leading the Eagles to an emotional victory in Los Angeles in the wake of Wentz’ torn ACL, Foles threw four touchdown passes in New York. He led the Eagles to another victory against the Raiders last week, but threw a potentially costly interception and was bailed out constantly by the defense while posting a meager 59.1 quarterback rating.
Foles routinely seemed to overthrow open receivers, miss other ones downfield and show he is lacking the quickess and mobility of the dynamic Wentz. Still, Foles has shown he can win in the NFL and the Eagles have a strong run game and defense. After playing — really — in just two full games, Foles will get some playing time Sunday and it will be imporant to see how he does with more reps on the field, particularly before having an entire bye week.
Sid the kid
There is a good chance Sidney Jones, the Eagles’ second-round pick (and one of the best cornerbacks in the 2017 draft class) makes his debut in Week 17. After recovering from surgery nearly all season long, the Washington product has been practicing for a few weeks now and there is no reasons why the Birds shouldn’t explore expanding their depth at the cornerback position as the playoffs approach.
Playing in a low-risk environment against the Cowboys could be the perfect preseason-like atmosphere to get him indictrinated with playing in the NFL.
“He’s worked really hard for the opportunity if that comes,” a non-committal Jim Schwartz, Eagles defensive coordinator, said. “I’m very confident that he’ll be ready.”
It’s the Cowboys
Regardless of the stakes, regardless of the time of year, regardless of the situation the Eagles and Cowboys always bring juice to their games. The bitter rivals have had different seasons, as Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and a step back for Dak Prescott has hurt the Cowboys offense. Injuries to Sean Lee and other key defenders also set the team back as their 8-7 record is below expectations. A chance to end the year on a high note isn’t one Dallas will take lightly. It’s an NFL regular season game, and there aren’t many of those.
“I’ve got to focus on this week,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said, commenting on whether he was looking at preparing for the playoffs yet. “I can’t look at it, and the players can’t look at it, as a pre-season game because we don’t have the luxury of 90 guys. We can’t rest half the team. It’s still full steam ahead. We got to get ready for the Cowboys.”