The Eagles become the 15th team since the 1970 merger to start 13-1. Their win in September against the Vikings currently gives them a three-game lead in the NFC home-court race. This would allow for caution regarding injured players, and Jalen hurts‘ Status has now come on that front.
This season’s MVP leader suffered a sprained shoulder in the Eagles’ win over the Bears on Sunday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). This isn’t viewed as an injury jeopardizing Hurts’ playoff status, but the Eagles are bracing for the possibility Gardner Minshew starts against the Cowboys in week 16 (Twitter shortcut).
A Hurts return could take a little longer given the circumstances. The injury affects Hurts’ throwing shoulder, and with the team wanting him at full strength on his return, Philadelphia Inquirer Jeff McLane adds that the third-year quarterback faces the prospect of missing Philadelphia’s next two games or to be shut down until the playoffs. If the Eagles let the MVP sit until the postseason, it would probably give him more than a month of recovery time. The divisional round begins on January 21st.
Hurts sustained the injury on a hit in the third quarter by the Bears’ defensive end Trevis Gipson, who tackled the third-year passer in Week 15 with one of his 17 carries — which equaled a season high. While Hurts has made significant strides as a passer this season, his rushing ability is a key part of Philly’s offense. The former second-round pick has 747 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, including three against the Bears on Sunday. However, Hurts has been either hit or tackled 184 times this season, according to ESPN, with this overall ranking just behind Justin Fields and Daniel Jones.
Minshew started a game in relief for Hurts last season and filled in after Hurts suffered an ankle injury. McLane adds the Jaguars’ former recruit is likely to make another start on Saturday. Hurts, who hasn’t been quite as effective after returning from that injury last year, underwent ankle surgery this offseason. He has allayed previous doubts about his ability to be a high-end starting quarterback, and the Eagles have secured a No. 1 spot in recent history without their starting quarterback. Nick Foles replaced Carson Wentz to land the top seed of the NFC five years ago. Wentz was on the verge of MVP recognition when he was knocked down with a cruciate ligament tear, but Foles eventually propelled the team to a Super Bowl title. However, it doesn’t appear that the Eagles need to consider Minshew for the playoffs, which is obviously good news for the league’s only team with fewer than three losses.
The Eagles host the Saints in Week 17 and the Giants visit Philly to wrap up the regular season. Minshew went 20 of 25 for 242 yards and two touchdowns in his start against the Jets last season. He also started against the Cowboys in Week 18 when the Eagles rested the starters. After Dallas was forced to start Cooper Rush In his matchup earlier in the season in Philadelphia, it looks like this high-profile rivalry will not involve any hurts.Dak Prescott No duel this time either.