Jalen Hurts sat out with a shoulder injury in the Eagles’ loss to the Cowboys in Week 16 and is doubtful for Week 16. But that’s easily the right decision.
The Philadelphia Eagles have already locked up a playoff spot and have the inside track to get the top seed in the NFC, thus giving the team a bye in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs. But the big question as they try to lock up those spots is the health of quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Hurts was diagnosed with a shoulder injury on his throwing arm in the aftermath of the team’s Week 15 win over the Bears. Though he pushed to play without missing any time, the Eagles sat him and started veteran Gardner Minshew in the team’s eventual loss to the Cowboys in Week 16. The question then became when Hurts would be able to return.
As of right now, that doesn’t like it will be in the team’s Week 17 contest against the New Orleans Saints.
Jalen Hurts injury update: Eagles list QB as doubtful vs Saints
On Friday, Philadelphia listed their quarterback as doubtful for the Saints matchup.
The belief is that the Eagles want to give Hurts at least one more week to rest and have the injury heal before they get him back on the field. And that’s really an easy decision.
Philadelphia is firmly in the driver’s seat to take the NFC East and the No. 1 seed. At 13-2 on the season, a win in either of their final two games of the season would clinch both spots for the Eagles. That means that the Saints game, though they’d love to lock everything up as soon as possible, could be meaningless as long as the team wins in Week 18 against the rival Giants.
Having Hurts healthy for the playoffs is, by far, the most important factor in this. For as good as Minshew played against Dallas and has been in his career, he doesn’t raise the ceiling in the manner that Hurts does. And that’s a ceiling they need to reach to go on a postseason run.
And let’s also not discount the possibility of the Eagles starting Minshew in Week 17 and him playing well enough to beat the Andy Dalton-led Saints. That would then allow Philadelphia to rest Hurts for three weeks to get healthy before they debut in the playoffs for the Divisional Round.
Frankly, not sitting Hurts out in Week 17 would be completely unwise and has far more downside than the course they seem to be taking. There are virtually only positive outcomes from letting the quarterback heal whereas the risk of worsening the injury and limiting the team’s ceiling is very much in play if he were to get rushed back into action.
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