Eagles Lose to Vikings, Clinch No. 3 Seed in Playoffs

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This was likely the best play Jackson made Tuesday.

Usually I would do a "quick reactions" article, but it's not worth it. To play as poorly as they did this late in the season with a shot at a first-round bye in the playoffs is almost inexplicable, and it's not worth my time to write "(insert name here) was awful tonight" over and over.

Michael Vick was pressing, LeSean McCoy was underutilized, Ernie Sims is still awful, Sean McDermott needs fired, Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid combine as the worst play-calling duo in the league, and even David Akers chipped in on the team's horrendous night.

Alright, so there was a quick "quick reactions." We'll discuss those things in greater detail later in the week if I can stomach the thought.

So where do the Eagles stand now after their loss to the Minnesota Vikings?

They already clinched the NFC East once the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants, and the only thing left to play for was a shot at getting a first-round bye. They still would have needed the Chicago Bears to fall to the Packers next week along with winning out, but the opportunity was still right in front of them.

I say "was," because they've officially blown that. There is now no way -- even with a Bears loss -- that the Eagles can move up from the third seed. And since the NFC West champion will be, at best, 8-8, the Eagles cannot move down from the third seed.

So, in short, they are the No. 3 seed.

With their spot cemented, they have nothing to play for against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17, and it presents a dilemma for Reid: does he sit starters like Vick and allow them to be 100 percent when they face the Packers or Giants in the Wild Card round, or does he start them to gain a little bit of a momentum?

When asked at his post-game press conference about sitting starters, Reid said "we're not good enough to do that." That, however, doesn't mean that it's worth risking guys' health (mainly Vick) for a game that means nothing to either team.

In Reid's shoes, I think I would treat the game like the second preseason game. The starters would play for about the first half and the backups would be rotated in slowly from there. Once the fourth quarter started, there wouldn't be a starter on the field.

A decision like this comes down to personal preference. Reid has shown in the past he'll put his starters on the bench when there's nothing to play for, but this is a bit different than in 2004, for example, when they had the No. 1 seed wrapped up after 14 games.

It's certainly something to watch, and I think a short week of practice will be the deciding factor for Reid. If everyone seems healthy, they'll likely play. If someone is banged up, don't be surprised if they're in their streets.

And more to the point, don't be surprised if Kevin Kolb starts.

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