Everyone knows the situation. That includes the Eagles players who will face off against Washington in Week 17 on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles need to win and they need the Bears to beat the Vikings to get into the playoffs.
That’s the only way to get in.
So while the Eagles are going to say all the right things and while they need to simply focus on what they can control — beating the Redskins — you’ll also probably forgive them if they take a moment to peek at a score that means something to them.
“We can't control what Washington puts on their scoreboard,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said.
Pederson also said he won’t be peeking at the board if the Bears-Vikings score gets up there.
The problem is there will be some scoreboard peeking going on during the Bears-Vikings game too. Because the only reason the Bears have to play is the chance to take the No. 2 seed away from the Rams, who will be playing the 49ers at the exact same time. In order for the Bears to take the two-seed, they’d need to win and have the Rams lose to the lowly 49ers.
Here’s what Bears coach Matt Nagy said about all this Monday:
Matt Nagy on Week 17 still mattering: "We go out, we try to win and do everything we can do that."— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) December 24, 2018
Matt Nagy says the Bears will have to be "smart" against the Vikings - as in, if the Rams are blowing out the 49ers at halftime, if that means potentially pulling starters for the second half of the Vikings game.— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) December 24, 2018
There are plenty of factors that will go into that decision. If the Bears feel like they don’t have anything to play for because the Rams are going to win, they might start taking out starters. The other side of that is that if the Vikings win, they will travel to Chicago to face the Bears in the wild card weekend. Do the Bears want to show too much of their playbook in a game that might not mean anything?
But, then again, do the Bears want to face the reigning Super Bowl champions in the wild-card round just as the Eagles are starting to take that form again?
Pederson and Nagy have known each other for years, by the way. They both come from the Andy Reid coaching tree and were on the same coaching staffs in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
On Monday, I asked Pederson if he’d call his old buddy and ask for a little help this weekend:
“I might,” Pederson said. “Maybe I've done that, we'll have to see. Maybe I've already done that this morning.”
When asked his philosophy on situations like ones the Bears are in, Pederson said, “You play to win those games.”
The opportunity to get a first-round bye is huge, so on that part, he’s right. Really, Eagles fans just have to hope the 49ers keep their game against the Rams close enough to make the Bears feel like they still have a shot and continue to play their starters.
So the Eagles will be scoreboard watching a game where there will be more scoreboard watching. It’s an Inception scenario heading into Week 17.
And Pederson said he won’t even peek. It’s the right answer, but it’s gonna be hard to avoid.
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