By Kevin McGuire
The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Philly in Week 17 to face the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys have already secured the first seed in the NCF and the Eagles have been officially eliminated from the playoffs, which means there is not a lot on the line for either team in this matchup. As Philadelphia ramps up for its season finale on New Year’s Day, here are this week’s top headlines.
Ryan Mathews Out
The Eagles will be without the services of starting running back Ryan Mathews this week. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced Mathews has a herniated disc, which will force him to miss the final game of the season. Mathews will likely need to undergo surgery, but no timeline for that process has been announced at this time. Regardless, it has been that kind of year for Mathews, who has battled injury issues all year.
Mark Sanchez returns?
The Dallas Cowboys have their spot on top of the NFC playoff picture locked up, so there is very little to play for other than pride against a division rival in the regular season finale. With the Cowboys preparing for a playoff run, many key players and starters are expected to be out of action, including starting quarterback Dak Prescott. That means the Eagles could face Tony Romo or, perhaps, former Eagles’ quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez was a backup quarterback for the Eagles who stepped in to start a few games while in town, but he was never a part of the long-term plan for the Eagles.
Thinking About the Future
With Sunday’s game bringing a close to the 2016 season for the Philadelphia Eagles, the time to start making big decisions for the future of the franchise is now. This will be a pivotal offseason for the Eagles, as they prepare to mold a roster that is hopefully improved in many areas. The Eagles will have to make decisions on running backs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles and center Jason Kelce, among others. The focus will also shift to the NFL Draft, as the decision on what to do with their first-round pick will loom large. Regardless, there is no doubt the Eagles have several personnel issues to address in order to be competitive in the 2017 season.
Chip Kelly coming back to town in 2017?
If the San Francisco 49ers decide to move forward with head coach Chip Kelly for a second year then it appears Kelly will make a return to Lincoln Financial Field in 2017. The NFL has not released the full schedule for next season, but the opponents for the Eagles have been confirmed. Among them are the woeful 49ers, coached by the former Eagles head coach of nearly three full seasons. The 49ers will make a cross-country trip to play the Eagles in Philly, but the date will be announced at a later time. Other opponents making trips to Philly in 2017 include the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and Chicago Bears. The Eagles will be reunited with another former head coach when they visit Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Eagles also play road games against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers and Carolina Panthers.