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Nick Foles hopes to erase memory of last Eagles-Texans game | NFL Week 16 preview

All of the games that matter most to the Eagles are at 1 o’clock on Sunday. Someone please ask Fletcher Cox to light some more candles to keep the Christmas spirit merry and bright. Here’s a look at Week 16.

J.J. Watt (99) is one of the Houston Texans' defensive stars.
J.J. Watt (99) is one of the Houston Texans' defensive stars.Read moreEric Christian Smith / AP

All of the games that matter most to the Eagles are at 1 p.m. Sunday. Someone please ask Fletcher Cox to light some more candles to keep the Christmas spirit merry and bright. Here’s a look at Week 16.


Houston (10-4) at Eagles (7-7), 1 p.m. (CBS3)

Nick Foles’ only other appearance against the Texans was a forgettable one. He suffered a broken collarbone after being sacked twice by Whitney Mercilus and missed the remainder of the 2014 season. J.J. Watt (14.5 sacks) and Jadeveon Clowney (eight) anchor the pass rush, but Houston’s defense also is giving up just 3.6 yards per rush attempt, tops in the league. Line: Eagles minus-2.

Postgame headline: Eagles win means at least one more week of “St. Nick” headlines and a shrine in Foles' locker

Eagles playoff scenarios


Washington (7-7) at Tennessee (8-6), 4:30 p.m. (NFLN)

The Titans' three-game winning streak is admirable, but let’s not overlook that the three opposing quarterbacks they’ve beaten are Josh McCown (Jets), Cody Kessler (Jags), and the artist formerly known as Eli Manning (Giants). This week, they get Josh Johnson. Derrick Henry’s 408 rushing yards over the last two weeks is a Titans franchise record. Since the merger, the only players with at least 170 rushing yards in three consecutive games are Earl Campbell (1980) and O.J. Simpson (1976) – and Simpson did so in four straight games. Line: Titans minus-10.

Postgame headline: Titans string of bad opposing QBs runs out of Luck next week when Indy visits for season finale

Baltimore (8-6) at L.A. Chargers (11-3), 8:20 p.m. (NFLN)

This is typically the spot where the Chargers lose on a last-second field goal or something and settle for a wild-card. But there’s a different vibe around this team following last week’s remarkable comeback at Kansas City. “Playoff football has begun,” Philip Rivers said. “We can’t wait around until January.” The Ravens are 4-1 with Lamar Jackson as the starting QB. Last week, we incorrectly noted they were undefeated. Baltimore’s defense is tops in points and yards allowed and third in passing yards allowed. Line: Chargers minus-4.5.

Postgame headline: Chargers win, continue to stake claim as this year’s Eagles


Atlanta (5-9) at Carolina (6-8), 1 p.m.

The Panthers six-game losing streak would make the 1964 Phillies blush. With Cam Newton hurt, Carolina’s Taylor Heinicke will become the first quarterback from Old Dominion to start an NFL game. Previously, the most prominent ODU football alumnus was Eagles long-snapper Rick Lovato. Panthers safety Eric Reid, who took a knee during the national anthem with Colin Kaepernick while they were teammates in San Francisco, has been randomly drug-tested six times in the last 11 weeks. Players say they are generally tested two-three times per year. Seems a little excessive. Line: Falcons minus-3.5.

Postgame headline: Urine in trouble if you’re a Panthers fan as losing streak reaches seven

N.Y. Giants (5-9) at Indianapolis (8-6), 1 p.m.

The Colts defense, which just shut out Dallas, is a little angry after rookie Darius Leonard was left off the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. Leonard leads the league with 146 tackles and also has seven sacks. Giants rookie Saquon Barkley, who did make the NFC’s Pro Bowl team, is coming off his worst game of the season. Line: Colts minus-9.

Postgame headline: Frank Reich beats Pat Shurmur in the Eagles' Offensive Coordinator Bowl sponsored by Bad Boy Mowers

Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9), 1 p.m.

Easiest path to the playoffs for the Eagles is to win out and get at least one Vikings loss. Minnesota set a team record with 10 sacks in their first meeting with Detroit, a 24-9 win, and dropped Miami’s Ryan Tannehill nine times in a blowout win last Sunday. The Vikings host the Bears in Week 17. Line: Vikings minus-5.5.

Postgame headline: Eagles quietly lend Golden Tate back to the Lions for the week

Buffalo (5-9) at New England (9-5), 1 p.m.

A win or a Dolphins loss gets the Patriots into the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year, an NFL record. New England also is trying to climb into a top-two seed, which would give them a bye. Bill Belichick has taken New England to eight Super Bowls, but none when he hasn’t had a first-round bye. Buffalo is 3-29 all-time against Tom Brady. Line: Patriots minus-13.

Postgame headline: Make it 3-30, though the Bills kept it close

Green Bay (5-8-1) at N.Y. Jets (4-10), 1 p.m.

It was cute this past week when Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold dressed as Santa Claus and went to the Livingston Mall near the Jets' training facility. It was even cuter when one kid asked for a Saquon Barkley jersey. Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (Temple) had season highs of seven catches and 11 targets last week. Line: Packers minus-3.

Postgame headline: Jets get a win in Todd Bowles' final home game

Cincinnati (6-8) at Cleveland (6-7-1), 1 p.m.

Beloved assistant coach Bob Wylie, an unlikely star of HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer, broke his ankle during practice this week. Next coach up, right? Hue Jackson, who was a ridiculous 3-37 before he was fired, returns to Cleveland for the first time since he was fired by the Browns this season. He should expect a hostile reception from Browns fans annoyed that he joined a division rival. What was the guy supposed to do, turn down the job? Line: Browns minus-8.5.

Postgame headline: Browns one win away from first winning record since 2007

Jacksonville (4-10) at Miami (7-7), 1 p.m.

Addressing their precarious playoff hopes following a rout by Minnesota last week, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said, “It is out of our hands. We do not have any control in this situation. We are going to need a lot of help.” Sounds just like somebody who works in the West Wing. Two teams have not had a 100-yard rusher this season, the Eagles and the Jaguars. Jacksonville also has one offensive touchdown in three games. Line: Dolphins minus-4.5.

Postgame headline: Miami says tanks to Jacksonville for the win

Tampa Bay (5-9) at Dallas (8-6), 1 p.m.

A Cowboys win or losses by the Eagles and Washington gives Dallas the division title. A Cowboys loss and an Eagles win would suddenly make Kamu Grugier-Hill one of the most popular Eagles among the media heading into Week 17. Dallas is 6-1 at home. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans needs 95 receiving yards to set the team record. He’s at 1,328 with two games left. “Even though we’re out of contention, it still feels good to win,” Evans said. “Christmas is coming up. It’ll be good to have Christmas sitting on a W.” Line: Cowboys minus-7.

Postgame headline: Cowboys win ... now wouldn’t a first-round playoff game against the Eagles be a hoot?

L.A. Rams (11-3) at Arizona (3-11), 4:05 p.m.

A two-game losing streak and now a hobbled Todd Gurley has the Rams perilously close to losing a first-round bye. L.A. is 4-0 against NFC West opponents and has scored at least 30 points in each game. Nice division. They’ll host San Fran in Week 17. This could be the last home game for Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald. He has spent 15 years with the Cardinals and is a free agent after the season. He also could retire. Fitzgerald, 36 in August, leads the team in catches, yards, and TD receptions. Line: Rams minus-14.

Postgame headline: Rams move to 5-0 in NFC Jest

Chicago (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10), 4:05 p.m. (Fox29)

ESPN analyst Steve Young this week predicted a breakout game for 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens. Steve Young is nuts. Chicago’s defense is third in points allowed, third in yards allowed, hasn’t given up more than one touchdown pass in a game in a month, and leads the league in interceptions. The Bears are 3-3 on the road. Two of the losses were in overtime (Dolphins, Giants), the other needed a miracle comeback by Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Line: Bears minus-4.

Postgame headline: Bears keep pace with Rams, Khalil Mack wants Steve Young sent to concussion protocol

Pittsburgh (8-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2), 4:25 p.m. (CBS3)

Can’t imagine Drew Brees was thrilled with the video of teammate Cameron Jordan dismissing the Hall of Fame credentials of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Then again, this is the same group that sent gag gifts to Cam Newton after beating the Panthers three times last year. In their six home games this year, New Orleans has put up 40, 21, 43, 45, 48, and 31 points, and a win would clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Roethlisberger has won his last six games played in domes, but is 0-1 in New Orleans. Line: Saints minus-5.5.

Postgame headline: Pittsburgh steels a win in battle of Hall of Fame QBs

Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6), 8:20 p.m. (NBC10)

Patrick Mahomes’ first visit to Seattle will either solidify his MVP bid or dent it. (Watch out for Philip Rivers.) Seattle has the No. 1 rushing offense, which could come in handy in keeping Mahomes and Co. on the sidelines. K.C. is 26th in rushing yards allowed per game and last in yards per attempt. Line: Chiefs minus-2.5.

Postgame headline: Chiefs lower boom on Seahawks, help out the Eagles


Denver (6-8) at Oakland (3-11), 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

The Broncos are trying to avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1972. Line: Broncos minus-2.5.

Postgame headline: Finally, a game worthy of ESPN’s Monday night crew