Eagles' Zach Ertz ruled out, Jordan Howard 'good to go' vs. Giants with NFC East to clinch

Cassandra Negley
·Writer

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard is “good to go” for the regular season finale this weekend as the team looks to clinch the NFC East and a playoff spot.

But tight end Zach Ertz is not, and has been ruled out with back and rib injuries. He leads the team in every reception category with 88 catches for 916 cards, 10.4 yards per catch and six touchdowns.

Ertz suffered fractured rib, per report

Ertz suffered a fractured rib when he took a direct hit from Dallas Cowboys safety Xavier Woods last week, according to an ESPN report. He left for the locker room when it happened, but returned to finish the game with four catches for 28 yards. He had not practiced all week.

Via ESPN:

"Obviously medically, I want to make sure he's 100 percent," said coach Doug Pederson. "Zach is a tough guy. I know he wants to be out there, but at the same time, I'm not going to risk anything further for him personally."

Ertz is quarterback Carson Wentz’ go-to guy and the Eagles need a victory to secure the playoffs.

Receiver Nelson Agholor is also ruled out with a knee injury. Tackle Lane Johnson (ankle) and cornerback Jalen Mills (ankle) are questionable.

Howard returns after 6 games out

Howard has missed six games with a shoulder injury. He was medically cleared to play and is “good to go,” head coach Doug Pederson said Friday.

Howard was the primary guy until his injury, but rookie Miles Sanders stepped in so seamlessly that Pederson said this week not much is going to change with Howard’s return. Via NBC Sports Philadelphia:

“I think Jordan is a piece to the puzzle. He can obviously add depth, but Miles has been sort of the hot hand here lately and we want to continue that going."

Howard averaged 4.4 yards per carry over nine games (119 carries, 525 yards) with six touchdowns. Sanders has a 4.5 yards per carry (170 carries, 766 yards) with three touchdowns. He’s been 40 percent of the team’s production over the past two games.

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Sanders said earlier this week, per NBC Sports Philadelphia:

"We want [Howard] back, I want him back because he's only going to make us better. We're a better team with him so I'm looking forward to him coming back if he does."

Pederson said Friday they’ve prepared for the Giants with Sanders and Boston Scott as the back-up. Howard, who still needs to ease back into play after more than a month away, will be a situational back.

The Eagles (8-7) need a win over the Giants (4-11) on Sunday to clinch the NFC East title and a fourth seed in the playoffs. They could also get in with a tie, or a loss/tie by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are playing the Washington Redskins, who are without some of their best players.

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard in action during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard will return after a six-game absence. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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