During Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was tackled on his throwing shoulder. However, Hurts remained in the game and threw accurate passes, including a bomb to A.J. Brown for a touchdown.
Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice has covered the Eagles for nearly a decade. Kempski reported Hurts got X-rays after the Eagles win:
In other words, if the X-rays revealed a noteworthy injury, he would have some time to recover. Again, information here is sparse, but at a minimum, the team felt that whatever injury Hurts sustained against the Bears was worthy of X-rays.
Kempski’s source wouldn’t go into details about the severity of Hurts’ injury. Philadelphia opened up as a +1.5 point underdog against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday for their showdown in a week. As of writing this, the Eagles are up to 6.5 point underdogs.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Hurts’ shoulder sprain will sideline him for two weeks. Hurts was the overwhelming favorite to win the MVP heading into Week 16. But those odds fell off a cliff this morning:
This morning's MVP odds:— David Fucillo (@davidfucillo) December 19, 2022
Would seem to suggest more than one game absence.
For reference, your implied win probability at -150 is 60 percent. At +250, you have a 28.6 percent chance of winning. As Fooch stated, that comes off as Hurts missing the rest of the season.
This won’t change much for the regular season, thanks to Dallas blowing a double-digit lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. Philadelphia must beat the Cowboys, Saints, or Giants to clinch the #1 seed. Hurts will have until the Divisional playoff round on January 21 if the Eagles clinch the top seed to heal.
For those wondering, the 49ers have a 0.9 percent chance to clinch the #1 seed but a 71 percent chance to clinch the #2 seed, per Football Outsiders. There’s a 27.5 percent chance the Niners end up as the #3 seed.
Yes, I used the ESPN Playoff Simulator to find the path to a 49ers bye week. It isn’t that far-fetched if Gardner Minshew doesn’t take advantage of his supporting cast the way Hurts has this season.
Cowboys beat the Eagles at home
49ers beat Commanders at home
Vikings beat Giants at home
Eagles lose at home to the Saints
Vikings lose at Lambeau to the Packers
49ers beat Raiders on the road
Eagles lose at home to the Giants
Vikings beat the Bears on the road
49ers beat the Cardinals at home
The 49ers will own the tiebreaker over the Eagles and the Vikings if each team ends up with four losses due to having the better conference record since the Niners didn’t play either team head-to-head.
Philadelphia would have to lose out, and Minnesota would have to lose at least once. It’s easy to talk yourself into a Vikings team that needed a 30-point second-half comeback to beat the Colts' losing. And the same could be said for Gardner Minshew starting three games against playoff-caliber opponents.
The assumption that Hurts returns in a month is a dangerous one. Some suggest they’ll “shoot Hurts up,” and he’ll be good to go. But, let’s say he returns in the Divisional round. Who is to say Hurts will pick up where he left off and continue throwing these perfect passes 50 yards down the field?
That’s where this conference takes a turn. Based on how these past few weeks have turned out, the NFC was coming down to which of the 49ers or Eagles would be the healthiest. The Niners are playing at a level unlike any other team, and that’s with a backup quarterback. Leveling the playing field with backup quarterbacks is advantage, Niners.