After Week 17’s slate of games, the Philadelphia Eagles officially clinched their spot in the NFC playoffs. They currently slot in at the seventh spot and it’s unlikely that they’ll have anything to play for as far as seeding is concerned heading into the final week of the season.
Nick Sirianni was asked about the possibility of resting his starters during his Monday press conference. As of right now, it doesn’t seem like Sirianni and the Eagles coaching staff has decided what they’ll do in that regard come Saturday night.
“We’re talking through all that still. We haven’t decided anything there yet. We don’t have to decide right now,” Sirianni said.
In reality, the decision shouldn’t be that difficult for Sirianni and Co.. The Eagles don’t have anything to play for in Week 18. They’ve clinched a playoff spot and the highest seed they can reach is sixth. If San Francisco loses to the Rams on Sunday, the Eagles could jump up to that sixth spot with a win over Dallas. But the difference between the seventh spot and sixth spot is minute.
It’s still very unlikely they’d have the opportunity to host a playoff game as a sixth seed, and there isn’t a clear cut favorable matchup for the Eagles in the first round.
Not to mention sacrificing a potential injury to a key player if the team does play their starters in Week 18. For as fun as this season has been, if they were to enter postseason play down a key starter due to an injury suffered in a meaningless game, it would leave a blemish on an otherwise solid campaign.
It’s important to factor in the Eagles Week 18 opponent as well, the Dallas Cowboys, a team they could potentially face in the first round of the playoffs. Why give away your game plan in a meaningless game, only for your opponent to use that tape against you the following week in the playoffs?
There’s no logical reason to play any starters in this Week 18 finale. Give the starters some much needed rest, give some of the young guys in-game experience, and hunker down for the wildcard round.