Opinion: Which QB would you choose in a make-or-break game: Nick Foles or Kirk Cousins?
A quick glance at items of interest as the final weekend of the NFL’s regular season tees off …
Who’s hot: Nick Foles. Every team needs a player like Foles, who is much more than a capable backup poised to fill in for an emergency. He’s become something like a movement, an inspiration, which the Eagles can surely vouch for (again). The reigning Super Bowl MVP reignited the seemingly extinguished playoff hopes the past two weeks while QB Carson Wentz nursed a back injury.
Philadelphia (8-7) heads into Sunday’s game at Washington needing help from Chicago, which, like nearly everything associated with the magic of Foles this time of year, falls into the realm of nothing being impossible. Ask yourself: With the season on the line, would you rather roll with Foles or Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who will face the Bears?
Foles broke his own franchise record by passing for 471 yards, with four touchdowns, in the comeback victory against Houston last weekend. A backup breaking the mark he set as a backup. What a script. Call it the Miracle on Broad Street. Before that, he helped score the upset win over the Rams. Two weeks, two opponents who are a combined 22-8.
Just ask Eagles defensive end Chris Long, once a Foles teammate in St. Louis. Long recently created a “shrine” in the locker room that may have embarrassed Foles (and maybe Wentz, too), but it undoubtedly expressed the vibe: The Eagles believe. And right now, that counts for something … maybe even something special.
Pressure’s on: Kirk Cousins. The logic for the Vikings in signing Cousins to a three-year free-agent deal that was unprecedented — in that it fully guaranteed its $84 million value — was simple: They were paying for the missing link that would put them over the top as a Super Bowl contender. Now the Vikings (8-6-1), who advanced to the conference title game last season, head into the matchup against the Bears scrapping to claim the NFC’s final playoff berth.
Of course, quarterbacks get too much credit and too much blame. And the former Washington signal-caller has respectable numbers; he ranks in the top 10 in all of the NFL’s major passing categories. Yet the playoffs hinge on beating the Bears – which would likely set up a first-round matchup to beat Chicago the following weekend at Soldier Field. Chicago’s incentive will be iffy; it needs a victory plus a Rams loss against the 49ers to earn a first-round bye.
Yet with both games being staged in the same time window, the Bears will still need to do their part – unless the Rams game gets out of hand quickly in an L.A. kind of way. Regardless, there’s one trend – losing against better competition — that Cousins needs to buck in living up to his contract. Since the start of last season in Washington, his teams are 1-7-1 against opponents with a winning record.
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