The Eagles are back where they started almost exactly a year ago, when quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 14, and Nick Foles stepped in to lead the team to its first-ever Super Bowl title. Last week, it was reported that Wentz has a fracture in his back. Then, he did not play in Sunday's game versus the Los Angeles Rams, and Foles led the Eagles to a season-saving win. Following the victory, head coach Doug Pederson said Monday that the veteran will start in Week 16, and that Wentz will *NOT* go on IR despite his fractured back.
Of course, when the Eagles lost Wentz last year, they were 11-2 and leading the NFC East. As it stands right now, Philadelphia (7-7) is one spot out of the NFC wild-card race -- though, more importantly, there is still a chance to win the division. With the postseason looking like a real option -- and knowing that anything can happen once the tournament begins -- how should the Eagles handle their quarterback situation? The answer is simple.
Wentz is still Philly's franchise quarterback, and you thus would be forgiven for thinking the Eagles should lean on him in this crucial situation. But rather than hold out hope for a Week 17 return, they should go ahead and place him on IR now. Shutting him down is what's best for the franchise, both short- and long-term. Wentz's greatest strength as a quarterback is his ability to create offense when the play goes off-schedule, and this injury prevents him from doing so. I know, because I had that injury when I was with the Carolina Panthers in 2007, and you don't magically feel better a week or two later. I was hurt against the Saints in Week 5 that season. The day after the hit that caused the injury, I couldn't even move well enough to turn on the bathroom sink. Two weeks later, I was surviving through practice. Three weeks later, I was playing through the pain and limitations against the Colts in Week 8. But honestly, I didn't feel great until about 8-10 weeks after my injury.
Plus, the Eagles have what most teams don't -- the luxury of a Super Bowl MVP as their backup. Foles has proven he can lead and win, going 5-1 as the starter since the 2017 postseason. Personally, I think Pederson calls a better game when Foles is under center, because he can't rely on Wentz to make plays when they aren't there. Pederson must do more from an X's and O's standpoint to create offense when Foles is in, and he's done a great job -- last year and Sunday against L.A. -- creating a game plan that allows his offense to thrive.
Whether they are playoff-bound or not, the Eagles will be just fine without Wentz this season. They did just win a Super Bowl, after all, which should ease the sting somewhat if their current postseason bid falls short under Foles. Because whatever happens over the next two weeks, they need their franchise quarterback -- who they gave up a lot for -- to be 100 percent healthy for future playoff runs.
Each week in the 2018 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. Now, let's get to it -- the Week 16 pecking order is below.
Despite the loss to the Chargers, Mahomes is still playing well. In losses this season, he leads the league in several categories, including passing yards per game (357.7), yards per attempt (9.3), passing touchdowns per game (four) and passer rating (114.6).
Although Brees leads the league in passer rating (116.8) and completion percentage (74.9), he has struggled over the last three games. In Monday night's win over Carolina, Brees threw for just 203 yards, zero touchdowns, one pick and a season-low 69.1 passer rating.
Gurley has been banged up for several weeks, but he still had 124 scrimmage yards (48 rushing, 76 receiving) and two rushing touchdowns Sunday night. Gurley now has a total of 17 rushing TDs and 21 scrimmage TDs this season.
Rivers was middle-of-the-road in his first eight drives against the Chiefs but stepped up when it mattered most. In his final drive, he completed four of seven pass attempts for a TD and a 125.6 passer rating, capped off by a successful two-point conversion to secure the win. It was the second time in three weeks that Rivers orchestrated a late comeback.
Wilson was more productive in Week 15's loss to San Francisco than he was in Week 14's win over Minnesota. On Sunday, he completed 74.2 percent of his pass attempts for two passing touchdowns and a 117.3 passer rating.
Although the Falcons were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday, Jones became the fifth player in NFL history with three seasons of at least 1,500 receiving yards, joining Jerry Rice (four), Marvin Harrison, Antonio Brown and Andre Johnson (each with three).
Without Hopkins, the Texans don't beat the Jets. The guy had 10 catches for 170 receiving yards and two receiving TDs. Hopkins recorded his 500th career reception Sunday. His 24 receiving touchdowns since 2017 are the most in the NFL.
After going through something of a slump in Weeks 12-14, Kamara had his first game with over 100 scrimmage yards since Week 11, finishing with 103 scrimmage yards and a rushing TD on Monday night. Kamara had 21 touches against the Panthers, and I expect him to continue getting as many going forward.
After logging 49 receiving yards in Monday's win, Thomas has now been held to fewer than 50 receiving yards in three of the last four games. He also has not had a receiving TD since Week 12.
Elliott had a solid outing against the Colts with 128 scrimmage yards on 25 touches, but the 'Boys just couldn't get into the end zone. The third-year running back has had seven straight games with at least 20 touches, the longest active streak in the league.
Brown made his four receptions count against the Patriots, including when he beat several defenders for a 17-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Brown is now the second player in Steelers history to surpass 11,000 career receiving yards, joining Hines Ward (12,083).
The Chargers did a good job limiting Patrick Mahomes' top targets, as they held Kelce to 61 receiving yards and Tyreek Hill to 46. In fact, in 10 games versus the Chargers, Kelce has averaged 37.7 receiving yards per game and has zero -- yes, ZERO -- receiving touchdowns.
Hill had 46 receiving yards in Week 15, his second-fewest in a game this season. Despite his low numbers Thursday, Hill has had career-best marks this season in targets (121), receptions (78), receiving yards (1,304) and receiving TDs (11).
Luck didn't do anything spectacular against the Cowboys, but he also didn't make any mistakes. The Colts have done a good job building up their defense and ground game to take pressure off Luck. Even though he hasn't had to do it all in 2018, as he had in past years, his production is comparable to his 2014 breakout campaign.
The highlight of McCaffrey's performance against the Saints was his touchdown PASS to Chris Manhertz in the first quarter. McCaffrey is the second player in the Super Bowl era with 50-plus passing yards, rushing yards, and receiving yards in a single game, joining Hall of Famer Walter Payton.
JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 15
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: On top of being eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the Bears, Rodgers' NFL record for most consecutive passes without an interception (402) came to an end in the fourth quarter when he was picked off by Eddie Jackson. Rodgers was unable to get much going all day as he completed 60 percent of his 42 pass attempts for 274 yards, zero TDs, one INT and a 68.9 passer rating.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Goff hasn't played well out of the Rams' bye week, and that slump continued Sunday night (35-of-54 for 339 yards, two INTs, 66.8 passer rating). Since Week 12, Goff has completed just 55 percent of his passes for 242 passing yards per game, a 1:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 51.3 passer rating.
Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers: Second to only Julio Jones, Evans has 1,328 receiving yards in 2018. He has now surpassed the 1,300-yard mark for the second time in his career and the 1,000-yard mark in all six of his seasons in the NFL.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles: Ertz had one of his least productive games of the season against the Rams with Carson Wentz sidelined. Wentz's favorite target had just three catches (seven targets) for 22 receiving yards with Nick Foles under center.
Eric Ebron, TE, Colts: Ebron had several drops Sunday, leaving him nearly invisible on the stat sheet. Nonetheless, the tight end has 12 receiving touchdowns this season.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants: With 31 rushing yards and 25 receiving yards Sunday, the rookie was held under 100 scrimmage yards for just the second time this season.