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NFL News and Notes for Friday, December 23rd, 2022

As we enter Week 16, teams around the league have just three weeks as they jockey for playoff positioning. With both divisional and Wild Card races extremely tight, this should make for an exciting three weeks of football. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from around the NFL this week.

Hurts Out, Minshew In For Philadelphia

After beating the Dallas Cowboys 26-17 back on October 16th, Philadelphia Eagles fans would love nothing more than to sweep the season series. If they are going to do that, though, it will be without their star quarterback Jalen Hurts.

In a 25-20 win over the Chicago Bears last week, Hurts endured a shoulder sprain during the third quarter. While he finished the game, the Eagles are playing it cautious and sitting him out this week.

There is a good reason not to put Hurts in jeopardy. The Eagles currently hold a three-game lead in the NFC East over Dallas. In terms of the playoffs, they hold the top seed, and given the fact that they beat Minnesota earlier in the year, they basically have a three-game lead over the Vikings for a first-round bye and home-field advantage.

Hurts has been phenomenal this season. He has thrown for 3,472 yards, 22 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He has also rushed for 747 yards and another 13 touchdowns. Those numbers are good enough to give him the second-best odds of winning the MVP award this season at +450.

With Hurts out, the Eagles will turn to Gardner Minshew to take over an Eagles’ offense that ranks second in scoring, averaging 29.4 points per game.

Minshew has thrown just four passes this season, completing two of them for 34 yards. Minshew burst onto the scene in 2019 with Jacksonville when he threw for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Unfortunately, his career has largely stalled out since. As a free agent to be, this could be an opportunity to showcase what he still has.

As for Philadelphia, they currently hold the second-best odds of winning Super Bowl LVII at +450, trailing only Buffalo (+350).

Another Rough Night For Wilson

In a game that the Jets desperately needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Zach Wilson once again did not get the job done.

In a 19-3 loss, Wilson completed just nine out of 18 passes for 92 yards and an interception.

As boos reigned from the Jets’ faithful, head coach Robert Saleh once again made a switch under center, turning to Chris Streveler. While Streveler wasn’t able to lead the team to a win, he did throw for 90 yards on 10 for 15 passing and rushed for 54 yards on nine carries.

Regardless, after being drafted second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, many are wondering whether Wilson can already be deemed a bust. In nine games this season, he has thrown for 1,688 yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions.

While it might still be too early to make that determination, with just a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs, he certainly didn’t get the job done this season.

Commanders Get Reinforcement

At 7-6-1, the Washington Commanders would occupy the last Wild Card spot if the season ended today. With Seattle and Detroit just a half-game back, they are desperately trying to hold onto that lead over these last few weeks.

Luckily for Washington fans, it appears they are getting a major reinforcement on the defensive side. After missing this entire season due to a knee injury, former Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young will finally make his triumphant return.

Last season, Young was able to play in nine games before suffering the injury on November 14th in a game against the Buccaneers. In those nine games, he had 26 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

In 2020, he won the Rookie of the Year award after amassing 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries (including one for a touchdown). While it is unlikely that he will immediately return to that caliber of play, it is still a huge boost for a Commanders’ defense that ranks ninth in scoring defense, allowing 19.7 points per game.

Their last three games certainly aren’t easy as they have the 49ers, Browns, and Cowboys, but at least their defense should be a bit more solid as they prepare for their playoff push.

Tannehill Done For Season

In a brutal blow for the Tennessee Titans, it appears that quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s season is done. Having suffered an ankle injury last week in the game against the Chargers, it appears that the injury will require surgery, putting his season to an end.

The Titans are currently 7-7, good for first place in the AFC South. The loss of Tannehill could open the door for the surging Jacksonville Jaguars, who sit at 7-8 after their win over the Jets Thursday night.

For Tannehill, the 34-year-old quarterback played in 12 games, throwing for 2,536 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

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