Earlier this week, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he’ll play his starters on Sunday night even if a Cowboys win transforms next Sunday’s Philadelphia-Dallas game into the Third Annual NFC East Championship game.
With the Panthers now seizing control of the NFC South, the Eagles have a clear reason to try to win tonight, despite the Dallas victory.
While Philly’s playoff hopes ride on beating the Cowboys next Sunday, the Eagles can capture the No. 3 seed by winning out. Lose tonight, and next week’s game could be for the No. 4 seed only.
It’s suddenly a huge difference. With the Saints squandering the No. 2 seed (barring a loss by Carolina next Sunday at Atlanta and a New Orleans win over the Bucs), a win by the third-seeded Eagles in the wild-card round would result in a trip to Carolina for the divisional round. If the Eagles win as the No. 4 seed, they’d have to go to Seattle instead.
And if the Seahawks would lose in the divisional round, the Eagles would then host the NFC title game, with a second-round win.
So the Eagles have plenty of motivation to play to win. Which should give you plenty of motivation to grab a cheesesteak and dial up NBC at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday night.