The Cowboys should treat Week 18’s matchup against the Eagles like a preseason game
Believe it or not, there is somewhat of a middle ground here. I would play the starters for maybe two or three series. Give them some reps to try and iron out some issues, get some action, and try to get the offense on the same page. I am not as worried about the defense, but keeping their groove could be beneficial.
There are a few reasons why I treat Week 18 this way. Realistically, we need to accept our fate as the No. 4 seed and if anything improves it, great, but don’t count on it. There are bigger things to focus on as opposed to hoping for a ton of upsets across the league.
I would pull the starters by the end of the first quarter, at the very latest. Get backup quarterback Cooper Rush in there and let him go after the Eagles. Who knows? Maybe Rush pulls a “Matt Flynn game” out of his back pocket and gives the Cowboys some serious upside value in him. Rush did win a game for us earlier this year, so who’s to say he can’t notch another?
The real value I see in sitting the starters is in the game planning for the Cardinals. I would start the prep this week. Roll with a vanilla game-plan for Week 18 and get eyes on the Cardinals. I would do this due to the clear struggles that their defense gave us.
Spend the extra week watching film of the coverages they disguised and get a beat on what they want to do in certain downs and distances. This could make life so much easier for Prescott.
There is no right or wrong decision, just a preference. There are definite benefits to both sides of the coin. The Cowboys coaches, players, and front office all have a decision to make. Whatever that decision is, the focus should be on the Wild Card game more so than Week 18.