A failing flex pipe can cause the muffler to rub on the rear bumper, melting it. Otherwise not fixing it isn’t going to do a whole lot. 1.75x8 is correct! I recommend buying the flex first then getting it welded on by a reputable local shop. Should run pretty cheap.
I noticed you have Chicago in your name (I’m using the mobile browser version of this site, which annoyingly doesn’t display location). If you’re in Chicago, you could have my stock exhaust for $100. It has maybe 30k miles on it and no flex damage. I’ve been building my own custom exhaust so I won’t need the silly thing anymore.
Likewise, if you ever need maintenance help or whatever I have ramps, a jack, and enough tools to get the jobs done. I always like helping out other local smart owners.