By Connor Thomas
There will be plenty of drama on the field at the Linc Sunday as the Washington Football Team comes into South Philadelphia for a huge NFC East matchup. Playoff implications are gigantic for both sides as the two teams try to sneak into the back end of the NFC playoff picture, but a non-football related narrative has reared its head yet again as we get closer to Sunday. The NFL at large is dealing with yet another COVID issue, as now a huge number of teams and players have been affected. 7 teams are currently in enhanced COVID protocols, including the Washington Football Team. The latest numbers have the NFL nearing triple digits of players in protocol, and it is changing the feeling surrounding this weekend’s matchups.
So what does this mean for the Eagles-Washington matchup specifically? Well, it means that the Eagles have a distinct advantage, and it has grown as the week has gone on. 17 players are now listed on Washington’s COVID Reserve List, including big contributors like Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat. The Eagles have been hit by COVID as well, but to a much lesser extent. The biggest name that will likely be unavailable for the birds on Sunday is Quez Watkins, who will most likely force the Eagles to call up a practice squad WR for this week. Still, though, the Eagles are holding a distinct advantage heading into a huge matchup. The interesting thing to note is that the NFL has claimed that they will not be postponing games this year due to COVID issues, and that an inability to play the game will result in forfeiture by the team that is having the outbreak. There will be no pushing of the game until Monday or Tuesday to allow Washington to recover. For better or for worse, the NFL games will go on as scheduled this weekend, despite the growing number of positive tests and contact tracing ineligibilities.
It’s a tough way to go into a divisional matchup if you’re the Football Team, but that does not mean the Eagles will have any less expectations. To the contrary, this game has now become a must win for the birds. If you lose to a team missing over 30% of their roster to COVID protocols, that can be seen as a complete failure to take advantage of a golden opportunity. Hopefully each and every one of Washington’s players recover back to full health, but unfortunately the nature of the situation has left them at a significant disadvantage. Now, it’s time for the Eagles to do their job and dominate the shorthanded squad.