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Division Links: BGN ready for regular season to end; BtB preview WAS-PHI game, and BBV discusses lessons to be learned from Dwayne Haskins

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Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Bleeding Green Nation

11 things I think about the Eagles following their loss to the Cowboys

1 - I think the Eagles fans can be relieved the playoff charade is over

There was a part of me that really believed the Eagles were going to make an unlikely run to the playoffs for the third year in a row. The New York Giants lost, the Carolina Panthers got out to an early lead over the Washington Football Team, and the Philadelphia Eagles were up 11 points on Dallas.

It was really happening again.

Until it wasn’t.

The Eagles’ December magic ran out with the Cowboys going on a 34 to 3 run to officially eliminate the Birds from the playoff picture they clearly didn’t deserve to be in anyway.

A playoff run could’ve been fun. There’s always some level of excitement to be had with the Eagles winning.

In the grand scheme of things, though, such an outcome would’ve done nothing to change the reality that big, meaningful changes are needed in Philly. And now the team doesn’t have a fraudulent playoff berth to distract them from as much.

Quite frankly, it’s a relief that we only have to watch the 2020 Eagles play one more game. It’s been such a joyless season. Stinks that the NFL had to make it even worse by flexing the Week 17 game to prime-time. No one should have to stay up late for that garbage!

But at least it’ll be over when it’s over.

2 - I think it’s pathetic how the Eagles were the first team eliminated from one of the worst divisions in NFL history

Back in the offseason, several members of the Eagles — including Doug Pederson and Brandon Graham — talked about how they had a continuity advantage. Whereas their three division rivals hired new head coaches ahead of a pandemic-shortened offseason, the Eagles had the same head coach, starting quarterback, and defensive coordinator in place for the past five seasons.

Turns out that didn’t really matter. The Eagles became the first NFC East team to be eliminated from playoff contention in one of the worst divisions in NFL history. A division that might be clinched with as low as six wins and seven at most.

The Eagles’ futility looks even worse when you consider all the quarterback issues and injuries their rivals had to deal with:

7 - I think DeSean Jackson’s return went exactly as expected

Made a big play with his 81-yard touchdown. Looked like vintage DJax out there. And then didn’t see a target the rest of the game due to injury.

9 - I think Week 17 is a must-lose game

We can’t reasonably expect the coaches and the players to intentionally lose. They have their careers to worry about, not what’s best in the long-term interest of the franchise. But fans are obviously most invested in the latter. And you should be rooting for the Eagles to lose.

10 - I think the Eagles are a mess and it’s hard to have hope for the future

Not trying to be a Debbie-downer here but it’s just the reality of the Eagles’ situation. They’re a mess! They’re a bad team with major questions at quarterback, head coach, and general manager. It’s hard to have faith in the current regime fixing things when they’re the ones who created this chaos. There isn’t an easy fix on the horizon with the Eagles largely locked in to this same roster for 2021.

Blogging the Boys

Washington at Philadelphia update: The other game Cowboys fans care about this week

A look at what’s going with the two teams that could help decide the Cowboys’ playoff fate.

If the Dallas Cowboys can take care of business in the 1 PM ET hour on Sunday versus the New York Giants, then the scoreboard watching will begin. The NFL has moved the Washington and Philadelphia game to the Sunday Night Football time slot, meaning all Cowboys fans’ eyes will be on that game if the Dallas wins earlier in the day.

Of course, the Cowboys need the Eagles to beat the Football Team, and that will be an interesting task for the team from the City of Brotherly Love. One, they will have nothing left to play for as their loss to the Cowboys eliminated them from playoff contention. Two, they will be helping their hated rival by winning. But, NFL players have pride, and coaches do too, so you never know what will happen.

For Washington, the big question is who will play quarterback. They hope it will be Alex Smith. They are optimistic after he was almost ready to play this past Sunday.

If Smith can play, that’s a huge advantage for Washington who generally win when he is under center, and generally lose when he is not. If he can’t go, it won’t be Dwayne Haskins under center, but Taylor Heinicke. The Football Team has released Dwayne Haskins.

Heinicke played the end of the game when Washington benched Haskins and was pretty effective moving the ball.

Heinicke replaced Dwayne Haskins Jr. in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers and completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Before Sunday, Heinicke had not played in an NFL game since 2018, and he spent last winter in the XFL. He is familiar with Washington’s offense, having played for coordinator Scott Turner with Carolina and Minnesota.

For Philadelphia, there are a few items in the mix in this finale. One, they would like for Jalen Hurts to have a good game and hit the offseason with some momentum. Hurts was the belle of the ball until the Dallas game. He still was able to produce some decent stats, but his turnovers were a big issue along with some errant passes. The team, and Hurts himself, would like to get back on track.

Big Blue View

Lessons the Giants can learn from Dwayne Haskins

What the Giants can learn from the debacle in Washington
Life can change pretty fast in the National Football League. Just two weeks ago second-year passer Dwayne Haskins was the captain and the starting quarterback of the Washington Football Team.

Today he is without a job.

To give you a sense of how the team feels about Haskins, the organization released him during a week where a win on Sunday night secures them the division and a playoff spot. Instead Washington will choose from a hobbled Alex Smith, journeyman Taylor Heinicke or Steven Montez, who has yet to throw an NFL pass in a regular season game.

But there are...important lessons for the Giants to take from the Haskins debacle.

First, schematic offensive consistency is critical.

Haskins was a one-year starter at Ohio State, and played under Ryan Day in his only years as the triggerman for the Buckeyes. Then as a rookie he played under Jay Gruden until he was fired, but the team did keep offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell in place when Bill Callahan was installed as the interim head coach. This season, Ron Rivera brought Scott Turner to Washington to take over as the offensive coordinator.

Lesson two: Organizational cohesiveness matters.

Haskins is just the most recent example of a new regime deciding to move on from the decisions of their predecessors. A few years ago Kliff Kingsbury joined the Arizona Cardinals and the team almost immediately moved on from Josh Rosen - drafted before he arrived - in favor of the quarterback Kingsbury wanted. Haskins was not a choice made by Rivera, and while the head coach said all the right things about the young QB, it has become clear over time that Rivera was not enamored with the Ohio State product.

Furthermore, in the wake of the Haskins news it has become clear that he was not even the choice of Rivera’s predecessor.