Well, the Week 12 results went about as good as one could have hoped for the Eagles, and now the Birds find themselves back in legitimate playoff contention. Philadelphia’s 3-5 record against the NFC complicates hopes of a Wild Card berth, although it’s still a possibility.
The clearer path to the postseason is through a division title, and the Eagles could be at the lead of the pack in that race by the conclusion of Week 13. Let’s dig in and look at the games to watch this week.
Saints at Cowboys, Thursday 8:20 PM
This one is obvious. The Saints are all but assured the NFC South title, while the Cowboys have jumped to the top of the NFC East. But Dallas sits just one game ahead of the Eagles, and a Cowboys loss paired with a win for the Eagles over the Redskins on Monday night would leave Dallas and Philly tied atop the division with a head-to-head matchup still to come.
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1 PM
The Panthers sit a game ahead of the Eagles at 6-5, so we’ll be rooting for the Bucs here. The Eagles are hurt by their head-to-head loss to Carolina, but the Panthers still have two games with the Saints and one with the Falcons. An upset from Tampa Bay would go a long way to keeping the playoff picture wide-open, and for a team in the Eagles position, that’s huge.
Minnesota at New England, 4:25 PM
This is another big one. The Vikings currently hold the first Wild Card spot in the NFC at 6-5-1. A Vikings loss and an Eagles win would leave just Minnesota’s tie separating them in the standings, and the Vikings still have to travel to Seattle and play the Bears again this season.
We start to notice a trend of frustrating losses haunting the Eagles, as the Vikings’ head-to-head win over the Birds looms large here, but there remain ways around that. Again, any result that keeps the number of wins leading the Wild Card battle as low as possible is huge for the Eagles, so we’ll be rooting for the Pats this week.
San Francisco at Seattle, 4:25 PM
There’s a little less hope for a favorable result here than in our other matchups, but we’ll have to continue to keep an eye on the Seahawks, who are a game ahead of the Birds at 6-5. Seattle has a pretty favorable schedule the rest of the way with two against the 49ers and one against the Cardinals. They do play the Vikings and Chiefs, however. If the ‘Hawks were to somehow slip up in one of their remaining division games, it would be huge for the Birds.
Again, the clearest path for the Eagles to make the playoffs is through a division title. They have three division games remaining and would likely need to win all of them to get to 9-7 with a trip to play the Rams looming. Should the Birds win those three division games and beat the Texans, the division is likely theirs.
However, if a division foe manages to get to 10-6 and complicate matters, a Wild Card spot remains a small possibility, so we’ll continue to track the contenders and look for possible lifelines for the Eagles.
Of course, all of this is dependent on the Birds handling their own business. The good news is the Eagles have at least given themselves a shot, and we have a huge week of football ahead. We’ll have a much clearer picture of things come late Monday night.