The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles need some help to return to the NFL playoffs. Lucky for them, their head coach has some connections he can reach out to who could assist in his cause.
Will Doug Pederson call Matt Nagy this week? Pederson: "I might. Maybe I've done that, we'll have to see. Maybe I've already done that this morning."
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) December 24, 2018
Doug Pederson’s Eagles need a win against Washington and a loss by the Minnesota Vikings to make a second consecutive postseason appearance. So because this isn’t a win-and-in scenario for Philadelphia, which is why Pederson might have placed a phone call to Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy in search of a favor.
Nagy and Pederson worked for Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City, with their most recent stop being with the Chiefs when Nagy was the Quarterbacks Coach while Pederson was the Offensive Coordinator. The two have followed similar paths in their rise to being NFL head coaches, so I get why Pederson would nudge an old friend to help out in any way he can.
Of course, as fate would have it, Nagy was probably going to go all out to beat the Vikings anyway:
Matt Nagy on Week 17: “We go out, we try to win and do everything we can to do that. We’re at least controlling what we can control."
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 24, 2018
During his Monday afternoon press conference at Halas Hall, Nagy re-iterated his intent on playing it straight up for the rest of the way … and with good reason! A Bears win coupled with a Rams loss on Sunday would move Chicago into the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and give the team a first-round bye.
So even though there are some fans who would be hesitant to see the Bears have a bye week after watching them fumble away opportunities to win against the Dolphins and Giants after extended breaks, some additional time off would surely be welcome by safety Eddie Jackson, right guard Kyle Long, and any other player wearing navy and orange who is nursing an injury. And isn’t that what matters most this time of year?
Sunday’s Bears-Vikings, Rams-49ers, Eagles-Redskins games will be played simultaneously, which keeps all the teams involved playing it straight. But most importantly, it forces the Rams to play it honest knowing they need to win in order to maintain their spot as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The last thing the Rams probably want to do is leave the warm and cozy confines of the Los Angeles Coliseum to play another cold-weather game in Chicago.
Because these two games are kicking off at the same time after the NFL threw down a super-flex on the Week 17 schedule, it could make scoreboard watching a bit difficult. And while Nagy hinted that plans could change depending on what’s happening in the Rams-49ers game, he also indicated it would be tough to find that magic number to know when to pull up because he will be focused on the game on the field in front of him. Even then, he might still have Pederson’s voice in the back of his head pushing him to keep his foot on the gas to help his former mentor.