The Philadelphia Eagles have become intertwined with the phrase ‘controlling your destiny’ over the past five years or so and while the names and faces may have changed, that relationship has not. The Eagles currently occupy the second wildcard spot in the NFC with a record of 8-7 and can technically punch their ticket to the playoffs this weekend so long as the following dominos fall.
This sounds simple enough. The Eagles need to clamber to a 9-7 record this weekend against a team that’s falling apart at the seams. A failure to do so would mean that they have to beat Dallas in the final game of the season. It’s not that the Birds aren’t capable of doing this, but more so that defeating Washington is going to be a lot easier than stopping a playoff-bound team with an explosive offense and a defense that is forcing turnovers at an alarming rate.
The Saints do a thing
The second domino required to fall involves the New Orleans Saints. They were unable to defeat the Dolphins this past week which hurts in terms of the status of the draft pick, but both them and the Carolina Panthers are in the wildcard race, with Carolina barely clinging on for dear life. While it would be nice for the Panthers to upset the Saints, a win for NOLA would knock Carolina out of the wildcard race which carries implications just as huge.
If the Eagles and Saints end up in a tiebreaker, the Eagles have the advantage having defeated them earlier in the season. This game is an important one to note because if the Saints win out and the Birds do drop both of their final games, then New Orleans will leap ahead. So long as the Eagles win on Sunday, they should hold all the cards when it comes to the Saints.
Living Rent free
Next up, the Vikings. Minnesota will need to get past Green Bay this weekend to keep their playoff hopes tangible. They’ll now have to do so without Adam Thielen.
There’s a natural bitterness between Eagles and Vikings fans and understandably so. The Eagles humiliated them when it mattered most in 2017 and then went on to win it all in their stadium. A failure to beat the Packers this weekend could potentially push the Eagles one step closer to a guaranteed playoff berth.
The Vikings need to win both of their remaining games and pick up some extra luck along the way if they are to make the postseason.
Niners secure the bag
As bad as it sounds, the Eagles need the Niners to beat the…Tennessee Titans
Yes, San Francisco occupies the top wildcard spot. But if the Niners drop either of their next two games and the Eagles win, the Niners have the tiebreaker advantage due to beating Philly earlier in the year.
The Eagles have a very good shot of pushing up for that #6 spot provided that they can win both of their remaining games. Dallas could be resting players by that point anyway and so long as the Niners stumble against the Rams in their final game, the tiebreak wouldn’t matter.
A win against the Texans would likely secure them that top wildcard spot, leaving Philadelphia in sole possession of the second one with only teams in the rear view mirror to worry about.
There is an outside shot that they can even advance to the #5 seed. The Cardinals have been wobbly as of late and if they lose against the Cowboys and Seahawks then there’s a three-way tie between the Cards, Eagles and 49ers. Unlikely, but spicy.
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire