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Eagles won’t rest their starters this week… but the Bears might

Dec 20, 2013, 2:50 PM EDT

bears-trestman

Chip Kelly was adamant that the Philadelphia Eagles would play their starters this Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, regardless of the game’s influence in the standings. His opponent, on the other hand, is not so sure.

Turns out the Birds aren’t the only team that might not have that much to play for this week. If the Detroit Lions lose and the Green Bay Packers win earlier that afternoon, the Bears will be facing the same scenario no matter the outcome in Philadelphia. The final game of the year would determine whether or not they make the playoffs.

This mirrors the Eagles’ situation. If the Dallas Cowboys beat Washington, the NFC East champion will be crowned in Week 17 regardless of what happens Sunday night.

While Kelly insists his team still has something to play for—“We’ve got to be ready to play winning football”—Marc Trestman believes resting players is at least worth considering. For now, Chicago’s head coach plans to play his starters, but unlike Kelly’s plan, it’s not etched in stone. Via Adam Hoge of CBS Chicago (per ProFootballTalk):

“Could that change? Certainly. But right now, we’re focused on winning a game and there’s nothing else to discuss at this time. And at 7 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday night, if the situation needs to be re-evaluated again, it’s open for discussion.”

Obviously, making the playoffs comes before seeding, and that’s going to be much more difficult to do accomplish if a star player is injured the week before a play-in game.

At the same time, this week’s tilt between the Eagles and Bears is not “meaningless.” Whichever team wins on Sunday night will be guaranteed the third seed should they both go on to make the playoffs. That may seem minor, but it would delay a trip to Seattle, where the fourth seed will meet the Seahawks should it advance.

The Seahawks are 6-0 at home this season. Of course, any NFC team that has Super Bowl aspirations better count on playing there eventually.

It’s an interesting debate, and we could see two different philosophies at work this week. On one hand, having a healthy and well-rested roster is important. On the other, both squads could use the extra work to hone their skills, plus it can send the wrong message to the players.

Personally, I’d love to see both teams go into the game with a chance to clinch the division, and really create a high-stakes, playoff-like atmosphere at the Linc. Then we’d really get a sense as to whether the Birds are playoff-ready.

>> Trestman Leaves Door Open To Resting Starters [CBS Chicago]

  1. Dan - Dec 20, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Dallas loses and the Eagles win. The Eagles win the East, and then lose to the Cowboys in week 17. Eagles finish 9-7.

    Green Bay wins out, they are 9-6-1, and the winners of the North.

    In that scenario, the winner of the Eagles-Bears game would not be the 3 seed.

    But the best case scenario would be that the Cowboys lose, the Lions lose, and the Packers win, because that would make the game meaningless for the Bears, but meaningful for the Eagles. Regardless of whether they rest their starters, the mentalities would be different.

    Reply
    • Andrew Kulp - Dec 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      Sorry, the corresponding passage was supposed to read, “should they (meaning the Eagles and Bears) BOTH go on to make the playoffs.” The omission has been fixed.

      Reply
  2. thekrisheim - Dec 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    this game has loss written all over it

    Reply
  3. lahoe819 - Dec 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    I kinda feel a bit of a clunker coming from the…. Bears, surprisingly. I know their defense has been uncharacteristically bad this season. And I don’t have the exact facts to back this up but I feel like they are a mediocre road team. They play in cold weather like us and all their key players (Marshall, cutler, forte) have for a few years so no advantage their. But I’m hoping our pass rush is much improved over what it was against the Vikings and can force cutler into some mistakes. I don’t wanna jinx us but I think the offense will look better against them and the Vikings game was a wake up call. Win the turnover battle and pray the secondary doesn’t get lit up like a Christmas tree and I’d give the eagles a pretty good chance.

    Reply

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