Just like last year, this game means absolutely nothing. Yet unlike last season, the Eagles are the 13-2 team gearing up for the playoffs, while the Cowboys (8-7) were eliminated from playoff contention with their 21-12 loss last Sunday to Seattle.
Though playoff spots or seeding aren't at stake, a win over the Cowboys would be the Eagles' 14th of the season, which would set a franchise record. A victory would also seal a perfect 8-0 home record.
It appears Nick Foles will at least start at quarterback for the Eagles, though it seems unlikely he'll play the entire game. He's eager to show what he learned from a rough outing Monday night in the Eagles' 19-10 win over the Raiders (see story).
Eagles fans should, however, get a good look at quarterback Nate Sudfeld and a number of other backups heading into the postseason.
Reuben Frank (14-1)
So I apparently have to put my 14-1 prediction record on the line in a meaningless game where we don’t even know who’s going to play for either team. What’s that all about? The difference between 15-1 and 14-2 is huge. If I go 15-1, that’s a .938 winning percentage. If I finish 14-2, that’s only .875. So how am I supposed to decide whether to pick an Eagles team that could have Sudfeld playing a good portion of the game vs. a Cowboys team that’s finishing a lost season? There’s literally nothing to base a prediction on, so I’m just going to pick the Eagles on general principles. I just don’t see them losing at home. And 15-1 will be so sweet!
Eagles 20, Cowboys 17
Dave Zangaro (12-3)
The final score in this game doesn't matter.
This prediction doesn't matter.
The Eagles will play Foles and hope to see some offensive life. They'll get Sudfeld out there and hope he looks like an NFL quarterback. They'll rest guys who need rest. There are plenty of things to watch in this game — the final score isn't one of them.
The most important thing for the Eagles is, they don't get hurt. Would it be nice if they got to 14 wins for the first time in franchise history? Sure.
Cowboys 26, Eagles 17
Derrick Gunn (12-3)
We've just about reached the finish line of the 2017 NFL season, and while this game is meaningless to the Eagles in terms of playoff positioning, it does have significance for a few reasons. The players say they'd like to finish off this run with a franchise-best 14 regular season wins, and they'd like to head to the postseason on a winning note. But at what cost are the Eagles willing to achieve those goals?
It's no secret the offense needs some work after their Christmas night performance against Oakland, but how long do you keep the starters in? Foles says he's preparing this week to start and work on a few things. Over the last two games, the defense has started at a sluggish pace but finished strong. As for Dallas, the Cowboys are going home after Sunday to begin a long offseason. Head coach Jason Garrett says all healthy bodies will play.
I say minimize the risk and get the starters out no later than halftime. You can't afford to have another key player injured before the start of the second season. Ezekiel Elliott will play the Birds for the first time this year, and you know Dallas will try to establish their run game. It will be interesting to see how Doug Pederson handles this one. I say Dallas wins this one by default because Pederson pulls everybody he can and we get to see what Sudfeld, who has never played in a regular game, looks like under center.
Cowboys 24, Eagles 20
Ray Didinger (13-2)
Whatever incentive there is in this game belongs to the Cowboys. They are 8-7 so they need this game to finish with a winning record. Also, they are coming off a galling home loss to Seattle so they don't want to finish the season on a two-game skid.
Even with his suspension, Elliott still has a chance to rush for 1,000 yards (he has 880) so he will get plenty of carries, and while the Eagles have the No. 1 defense against the run, most of those guys will be watching this one from the bench in the second half.
This will be like a preseason game, only colder.
Cowboys 21, Eagles 17
Andrew Kulp (13-2)
It hardly seems fair to predict the result of what essentially amounts to a preseason game for the Eagles, but I suppose we may need a 50/50 game like this to create some separation in the standings. And the chances of the Cowboys' starters beating the Eagles' backups probably is around 50/50. After all, Dallas is only a 2.5-point favorite.
My guess is Foles will lead the first-team offense down the field for a quick score on the Eagles' first or second possession, then Sudfeld gets to flail around for the rest of the afternoon. Sudfeld will do OK, because the Cowboys' defense isn't anything to write home about, and may just quit on an offense that hasn't been capable of holding up its end of the bargain all season. A Derek Barnett strip-sack in the fourth quarter either shuts down Dallas' last gasp or puts the Eagles in position for the go-ahead score.
Eagles 20, Cowboys 17
Corey Seidman (10-4)
The Cowboys were slight favorites early in the week because their key players are expected to play more than the Eagles' key players. Elliott talked this week about itching to play because he missed so much time with the six-game suspension.
As much as I'd like to see the Eagles finish 14-2 for the first time in franchise history, I can't see them holding onto a second-half lead if Sudfeld is under center.
Who could have possibly predicted that a Week 17 game between the Eagles and Cowboys would have absolutely no meaning? The NFL tries to set up big divisional showdowns in the final week but will get no drama from the NFC East pairings.
Cowboys 20, Eagles 16