For the first time in his career, Carson Wentz is healthy for a “winner-take-all” game and Sunday’s Week 16 showdown for the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys will determine first place in the NFC East. A Cowboys victory gives Dallas the title while an Eagles victory will give them the lead in the division, needing to beat the New York Giants in Week 17 to clinch the title and a playoff berth.
No pressure for Wentz, who finally gets to play in a “must-win” game after having season-ending injuries in December the past two years. Wentz has never played in a postseason game for the Eagles, but Sunday’s battle for the NFC East is as close as it gets.
“You could probably say that,” Wentz said when asked if Sunday’s game was the biggest of his career, via the Eagles website. “I mean, it’s definitely a big game. We know the situation. We know what’s going on. At the same time, we’re treating it as another game and we’re aware of everything. We’re real excited and for one, I’m real excited that we’re at home. I know these fans are going to show up and be loud. I can’t wait until Sunday afternoon.”
Wentz has been dealt a bad hand this season with injuries plaguing the Eagles offense since Week 1. DeSean Jackson has played one full game while Alshon Jeffery is out for the year with a foot injury and Nelson Agholor has missed several games with a knee issue. Jeffery and Agholor haven’t been productive when they have been playing, making things even more difficult for Wentz as Mack Hollins didn’t have a catch since Week 4 (was later released) and rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside has just eight catches on the year. Wentz was also down No. 1 running back Jordan Howard for several weeks (and may play without him Sunday).
Through 14 games, Wentz has completed 63.4% of his passes for 3,431 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions for a 92.3 rating. This with throwing passes to the likes of wide receiver Greg Ward and running back Boston Scott the last two weeks. He has 591 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions in his last two games, leading the Eagles to back-to-back fourth-quarter comeback wins.
Wentz was watched Nick Foles led the Eagles in late December runs and postseason success the last two years while he watched from the sidelines. It’s time for Wentz to write his own chapter in Eagles lore.
“I’m excited about it,” Wentz said. “The last couple of years didn’t end the way I wanted them to, personally, obviously being hurt and everything, so I’m just excited to be playing here in December with what’s at stake and to be out there with my guys. I’m excited.”