The Philadelphia Eagles still control their own playoff destiny after beating the Detroit Lions in the “Snow Bowl” this past Sunday. Coupled with a Dallas loss on Monday Night Football, the Eagles are now a full game ahead of the Cowboys and in sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
However, by no means can they relax.
The loss by Dallas only did one thing for the Eagles: it allows them to take a loss over the next two games (@Minny or vs. Chicago) and still have a chance to win the division by beating Dallas in the season finale.
If Dallas loses one of their next two and the Eagles win their next two, they will clinch the division before the finale. But, if Dallas wins their next two then the finale will still determine who wins the division as long as the Eagles do not go on a two-game losing streak.
Winning the East is still their best path to the playoffs.
As far as a possible shot at a wild card should they not win the division, they will need a lot of help.
San Fran and Carolina are both 9-4 and are owners of the two wild card spots currently. If the Eagles end up needing a wild card spot, that means their record would be no better than 10-6.
This means that either Carolina or San Fran need to lose two of their last three games (it would have been much better had the 49ers lost to Seattle this past week).
Carolina’s remaining games are vs. New York (Jets), vs. New Orleans and @Atlanta. Their best shot at losing is to the Saints, but it seems unlikely that they’ll lose to the Jets or Falcons (though the Falcons are a division game and could play them tough).
San Fran’s remaining games are @Tampa Bay, vs. Atlanta and @Arizona. It would seem unlikely here as well that they would lose two of these three games.
Also, the Eagles would have to hope that Arizona doesn’t win out. Let’s say San Fran loses this week to Tampa and Arizona beats them as well (to give the 49ers their two necessary losses), we better hope that Arizona loses one of their next two games as well.
If the Eagles win the division with an 11-5 record, they will most likely end up as the NFC’s third seed. However, if the NFC South winner ends up with an 11-5 record as well, the Eagles would win the second seed due to a better conference record than either the Panthers or Saints.
The only way that happens is if the Saints lose two of their last three and Carolina loses at least one more.
Getting the second seed is a long shot. The odds of getting a wild card slot are slightly better than getting the second seed, but this still seems unlikely as well.
However, the third seed is completely within the Eagles’ control.