By Kevin McGuire
With one final game to play in the 2016 season, the Philadelphia Eagles will hope to have wide receiver Jordan Matthews available to play. The Eagles’ leading receiver has been listed as questionable for the season finale on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, as he continues to work through a lingering ankle injury. Offensive guard Allen Barbre is the only Eagles player listed as doubtful for the final game of the year.
Matthews injured his ankle back on Nov. 28 in a game against the Green Bay Packers. He missed one game, but has since returned to the field despite not being able to do so at full strength. Last week against the New York Giants, Matthews caught two passes for a gain of 12 yards in a limited role in the offense.
Matthews did not practice with the team on Wednesday or Thursday, and was limited in practice activity on Friday, putting his status for Sunday in jeopardy. For the long term, there is no need to use Matthews this weekend, as the Eagles have nothing at stake and only put him at risk to aggravate his ankle. The drawback to that is he is clearly the best target for quarterback Carson Wentz, and the loss of Matthews puts a big dent in the receiver depth. Other than tight end Zach Ertz, no other Eagles receiver has more than 380 receiving yards this season.
Shuffling the Offensive Line
The offensive line will once again potentially do some shuffling this weekend. Barbre is bothered by a hamstring injury that left him out of practice on Wednesday and reduced him to limited availability the rest of the week. At this point, Barbre may be expected to be out of action on Sunday, which means the Eagles will slide Stefen Wisniewski into his spot on the line at left guard.
Rookie guard Isaac Seumalo is listed as questionable with an ankle injury that has lingered for a while now. Fortunately, Seumalo was a full practice participant all week and appears good to go for the final game of the season.
The Eagles should get a boost by having offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai back on the line this week. Vaitai is being activated for the first time since Week 11 after being a full practice participant all week.
On defense, the Eagles will have two linebackers officially listed as questionable for Sunday. Mychal Kendricks was limited in practice on Friday with a bothered quadricep. Jordan Hicks was limited in practice earlier in the week, but was a full participant in Friday’s practice despite an ankle concern. He may be expected to play.
Cowboys Injury Report
The Cowboys will have the luxury of being able to use the final game to provide some rest for a number of players before heading to the postseason. The following have already been ruled out for the game: Cornerback Morris Claiborne (groin), defensive end Tyrone Crawford (shoulder/hamstring) and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton (ankle). The Cowboys are also expected to pull a number of key starters from the game fairly early, including starting quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, despite no health concerns for either. Tony Romo should see some playing time in Philly for the Cowboys, but it is expected former Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez could see the bulk of the snaps.
- LB Jordan Hicks (ankle)
- LB Mychal Kendricks (quadricep)
- WR Jordan Matthews (ankle)
- OG Isaac Seunalo (ankle)
- OG Allen Barbre (hamstring)