Very rarely will you hear me or any other Eagles fan say that any game is must-lose. But that’s exactly what this Week 17 contest against Washington is for the Birds, a must-lose game.
There are two reasons the Eagles should absolutely try to lose this game against Washington, the most obvious reason being draft positioning.
Philly could end up with the third overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft if everything falls their way in this final week of the season. Currently, the top two draft selections are clinched, Jacksonville at one and New York at two. After that, we have Houston’s pick (which goes to Miami this year), Atlanta at four, Cincinnati at five, and then the Eagles at six. If each of those three teams win on Sunday and the Eagles lose, Philly will have the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
The likelihood of Houston, Atlanta, and Cincinnati all winning isn’t great. Houston is playing the Titans who are fighting for a playoff spot, Atlanta is playing Tampa Bay who’s fighting for the highest seed possible, and the Bengals are playing the Ravens, who are also fighting for a playoff spot. Maybe one of these teams can play the spoiler role this week, but it’s hard envisioning all three pulling off upsets.
Even if all of these teams lose, along with the Eagles losing, Philly will remain with the sixth overall pick, which is obviously still a great spot to select from. If the Eagles win, they could potentially drop all the way to the tenth selection. That may not seem like much, and in theory it should still result in a Pro Bowl level player, but the more the Eagles drop in the draft order, the more likely it is that Howie Roseman screws up the pick. There’s a much larger margin for error when you’re selecting in the top-5 as opposed to being at the tenth spot.
The other reason this is a must-lose game: keeping Dallas out of the playoffs. This one serves the fans more so than the actual team, but is it too much to ask for? Just give us one thing to be happy about heading into the offseason, that’s all we want. All the Eagles need to do is lose — something they’ve been pretty consistent with this season — and the Cowboys will be sitting at home just like us for the postseason.
Washington is a feel good story, from Ron Rivera battling cancer all season to Alex Smith returning to the field after two-plus years of surgeries. No one wants to see the Andy Dalton lead Cowboys in the playoffs, nobody wants to see chubby Zeke doing his ‘feed me’ dance after every run. Give the people what they want and just lose this game, Doug.
There’s nothing good that can come out of the Eagles winning this game, except for the team feeling a little better about themselves. Play for the draft pick and play to ensure Dallas doesn’t make the playoffs.