There's a possibility the frontrunner for league MVP won't take the field against the Cowboys on Christmas Eve — Jalen Hurts nursing a shoulder injury that might require rest
FRISCO, TX — Just when you thought the Dallas Cowboys were out of the hunt for the NFC East crown and possibly the No. 1 spot in the conference, an NFL plot twist arrives, this time due to concern surrounding the health of Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback and NFL MVP frontrunner Jalen Hurts.
Hurts suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder (left) in the third quarter of the Eagles victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, per multiple reports, putting his availability for the Christmas Eve battle (and the remainder of the regular season) very much in question.
Seeing as Hurts hasn't yet been officially ruled out against the Cowboys, head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff are continuing to prepare as they would if news hadn't broke of Hurts' injury on Monday; but they also have film on backup quarterback Gardner Minshew to pull from this week.
"We already looked at the game — our last game of the year against Gardner," said McCarthy when told of Hurts' injury status. "We'll be ready for both quarterbacks."
The contest McCarthy is referring to is Week 18 of the 2021 season, when the Eagles rested most of their starters and, as such, were victims of a 51-26 shellacking at the hands of the Cowboys, who also claimed the NFC East crown last year.
Minshew (8-14 as an NFL starter) was bottled up fairly well in that matchup, finishing with the following stat line that afternoon:
- 19/33 passing attempts
- 186 passing yards
- 2 passing TDs
- 1 INT
- Sacked 3x
- 81.1 passer rating
- 5 carries
- 10 rushing yards
- 0 rushing TDs
It's a different situation the Cowboys find themselves in comparison to this time last season, after losing a 17-point lead at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday en route to a 40-34 overtime loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sitting at 10-4 on the season, the gap between them and the 13-1 team from Eastern Pennsylvania has grown to three games with three games remaining and the two set to square off on Saturday. Should the Cowboys win in Week 16, they'll split the head-to-head against the Eagles and cut Philly's lead over them to just two games with two left to play before the postseason.
From there, the race would truly be on — pedal to the floor for both teams.