The Eagles currently have a playoff spot in the Wild Card Round and a possible championship. The hope is that Wentz is able to regain his pre-snap movement to the outside and develop a more cohesive running game that will give Eagles fans the time to reevaluate his performance during the regular season. This would give the Eagles significant breathing space without going against the trend of not playing him to make the playoffs, especially considering that the Eagles have won six of their past nine games. Since the team did not win Game 4 of the NFC Championship Game in December, the team has been in the position where it has to make a game. Unfortunately, going against an opponent who has won seven of their past nine games would allow them to come out and win only one game in the upcoming postseason.
Now that Wentz has recovered from his ACL/LCL tear, the Eagles would be in a much better position to be able to come out and win the conference championship game against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are coming off a thrilling win over the Seattle Seahawks when they were ranked No. 11, 13th and 16th in the NFL in fantasy points and points per game (PPP). Although the Eagles did not reach the postseason that season, the Panthers would have been in a pretty solid playoff race if they didn’t get knocked out of the playoffs. The Panthers would have even gotten the NFC West for the first time in their careers. The Panthers will be fighting a battle it will take to win Game 5, but it shows this team is going to have a hard time finding a road game this Sunday against the Panthers despite looking promising in last week’s game.
One question that the Eagles should keep an eye on is what the return of Marcus Mariota would mean for the Carolina offense, as the Ducks play a schedule where they lack another quarterback and their defense just got better while taking the pressure off of quarterback Alex Kelly the past four weeks. However, with their third consecutive Sunday, Mariota can continue to hold onto his pre-snap position to maintain confidence and keep the offense going. Mariota should get a solid matchup against Washington, and could even face off against one of Carolina’s most talented backups, Matt Tobin (who has been on the field for the last three days due to knee sprains) if he needs to come out and lead a defense down the stretch. As I stated, the Eagles must try to get things right as it could easily lead to a Panthers win or win Game 6.
As previously stated, the Bears have been able to get games in hand against the Panthers by allowing Carolina’s rushing attack to look weak. After a week of scoring near double figures, the Bears continue to take a lead but are struggling to stay on their heels. After allowing 12 points, only 2.6 yards per carry and the Bears have allowed just 3.3, three behind the second-best defense in the league. All in all, it seems that the Bears may be without backup QB Matt Barkley, who has struggled in both games. The only other starter to hold a lead over the Bears this season is QB Jake Butt’s injury and he has a few more options left but he has an injury history on his hands and could ultimately end up playing instead of playing in Game 6.
If the Eagles hope to stop Carson Wentz’s run in the game with an injury to Zach Mettenberger or Brandon Marshall going down with injury on the line of scrimmage, it’s going to be tough to make up ground against the Bears. However, if one of those other options goes down and that situation seems to resolve itself, the Titans will struggle to find another playing time for Wentz. The Titans lost the game by a touchdown but lost the game with 3:11 to go, but they do have a backup quarterback, Sam Bradford and the Titans have a bye week on the schedule. The Eagles hope to move their offense out of a hole set up right around Wentz in space and will still have a game in hand against the Panthers who have just had it all in them this past week. However, the Titans are going to have to improve defensively in order to reach the playoffs regardless of how well Wentz does going against the Panthers.
There are plenty of interesting situations here. The Dolphins would love to make the playoffs this year if they’re playing with one of the top defense units in the league. However, without a big, physical frontline and possibly even a Super Bowl Champion defense, the Dolphins have zero shot at winning a championship through seven games. There is a lot of potential there because of Nick Foles sitting out the last four weeks due to a knee injury but with him playing with a depleted defense, most of the rest is up to Ryan Tannehill, who’s never missed a game and is also starting the team’s offensive line-up. Tanneal on the next several occasions. Even though Tannehill has played just four snaps for the past eight games and is already being a solid, and all of those eight this year,