Can the Eagles land a top-5 pick? A week 17 NFL rooting guide

Brandon Graham
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 22: New York Giants Offensive Tackle Cameron Fleming (75) blocks Philadelphia Eagles Defensive End Brandon Graham (55) in the second half during the game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles on October 22, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles are out of the playoff picture. That sentence is probably 3 weeks overdue, but it finally happened. Now, all eyes turn to the offseason and a new transformative chapter. There’s one last hurdle before we get there though, and it will dictate where the team will pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Time to tank?

It’s hard to get a handle on this season. Sure, the Eagles had a shot at the NFC East title up until this past Sunday but they were under .500 for most of it. However, during a four-week span when Travis Fulgham erupted and stole hearts across the City, the number of betting sites grew in the state. For example, the Pennsylvania handle was over $500 million alone in October, so there was definitely a sense of excitement back when the team was winning…it just wasn’t sustained.

That hope now turns to the NFL Draft. As things stand, the Eagles will be picking 6th overall, but they could move as high as third, or as low as 10th. Here’s all you need to know.

If the Eagles lose…

#5 Cincinnati

It’s a little ironic that the team currently standing in the way of a top-5 pick are the same team the Eagles tied with all the way back in week 3 after a string of penalties and poor decisions sent the game to overtime.

You’d think that the Bengals, who are now down to Brandon Allen at QB, would be embracing the opportunity to reward Joe Burrow with a shiny new tackle or maybe even a former teammate at wide receiver. Instead, they want to end the season by bringing the locker room together and punch opponents in the mouth.

Gio Benard has been flying high, helping guide Cincy to a two-win streak, while Brandon Allen threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Texans.

Cincy will end the season against Baltimore and this could go one of two ways. All of a sudden, Lamar Jackson is playing like the MVP he was in 2019 and they know that if the Browns win this week and the Ravens lose, they miss the playoffs.

The likelihood of Cincy upsetting a Ravens team that will be playing for a win is going to be unlikely, they can jump as high as pick 3 with a loss.

#4 Atlanta

After a gut-punch of a loss to the Chiefs, Atlanta end the season playing against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have already secured a playoff berth and can’t overtake the Saints for a division title, so they may well decide to lift off the gas against a Falcons team who have been fighting so hard in the back end of this season.

They’re on a four losing streak right now, but the team, like Cincy, are giving it all they have right now and may be the best positioned to actually win a game if the Bucs back their starters out of the contest early.

#3 Miami

You have to feel for the Texans, who have given what is now the third overall pick (and a first-rounder next year) to the 10-5 Miami Dolphins in exchange for Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills, and some mid-round picks. I’m trying really hard not to laugh while writing this. I get that Tunsill is a fantastic lineman and the desire to replace D-hop but…this could not have gone any worse.

After losing their fourth game in a row, they now face the barreling Tennessee Titans, who need to win this game in order to secure their third divisional title in four years, and the first-round bye that comes with it. I can’t see the Texans having too many signs of life in this one.

If the Eagles win…

#7 Detroit

The Lions have conceded 30+ points in each of their last five games and in the one game to break that streak, they were shutout by the Carolina Panthers.

What doesn’t help here is that the Vikings, the Lions’ Week 17 opponents, are now eliminated from the playoffs and could well be looking at a tank-bowl matchup here. Minnesota would probably benefit from the win more, with Detroit having fallen apart at the seams a long time ago and having its carcass dragged around by Matt Stafford and Matt Stafford alone.

#8 New York

The G-men had a real shot to upset the odds this past weekend, but upset their fanbase instead. They’re not totally out of the woods yet though. With a week 17 finale against Dallas, the Giants could well end up in a three-way tie at the top of the division…or the entire division excluding the Eagles.

Washington is in total disarray right now and face the Eagles in week 17. If they lose and the Giants win, New York win the division based on a 4-2 divisional record.

They’ll be fighting for that and could help the Eagles as a result.

#9 Carolina

It’s arguable that Carolina deserved a playoff spot. Teddy Bridgewater continued to come up big on the road with a win over New York, but after being eliminated, they now face a rival in New Orleans who have nothing to play for. A Jameis Winston pick parade? Potentially. If the Saints are resting their starters, this could also be a huge boost to the Eagles.

#10 Denver

Coming off of a two-game slide, the Broncos are out of playoff contention and face an Oakland team who will also heartbreakingly miss the postseason despite looking like contenders for a chunk of the season. With a Chargers loss playing a big role, this could be the second ‘tank bowl’ on the slate and one that Denver has more incentive to win.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire