Consider the headline as blasphemous as you want, but it’s the truth.
Sometimes in battle, you need a little help from your enemies to eventually win in the end. See also Chris Webber’s phantom timeout or Grady Little’s non-pull of Pedro.
But the ‘Boys would still be in first place via the tiebreaker of having beaten Philly weeks ago. And besides, who cares who is in first place on December 7?
That status can come and go, but a playoff berth can’t.
See, if the Cowboys win today, they’ll be 9-3, a game ahead of the Birds. But if that happens, then the Giants and Falcons will both be 6-6, as might the 49ers. And with games against the Giants and Niners in the next two weeks, the Eagles can seize control of their playoff destiny.
Defeating a 6-6 Giants team next week would put the Birds at 9-4 with three games left. They’d have a three-game lead over the Giants and at least a two-game lead over the Falcons and Niners, with a 3-0 record against those teams.
It would basically eliminate the Giants (and possibly the Falcons, if they lose to New Orleans in Week 14). Depending on how the Niners fare against Seattle later today and Arizona next week, it could lock up the berth for sure.
Besides, the Eagles realistically only need to match Dallas between now and January 3 to have a chance at the division title.
If the Birds beat the Giants next week and head into Dallas one game behind, a victory would give them the division title on the “division record” tiebreaker; Dallas would be 4-2, Philly 5-1 in the NFC East.
Even if they don’t, they have a good shot. The next tiebreakers they’d have to use would be record in common games and then conference record.
For the first one, if you take away the division (in which they’d be tied), that means games against the AFC West and NFC South.
Philly is 4-3 in those games, and right now Dallas is 5-1. The Birds still play Denver, while the ‘Boys play New Orleans and San Diego. Given the way the season is going, it’s VERY feasible Dallas loses both of those—so if the Eagles can beat the Broncos, that tiebreaker goes bye-bye.
That brings it down to conference record, and Philly only has two to Dallas’ three. Even if they lose to the Giants or Niners, the Birds can be saved if Dallas loses to New Orleans or Washington.
Either way, you have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk, so a playoff berth should be their top priority.
And for that to be made easier, they need the home team to be on the short end of the stick in a few hours.
So for today, the Cowboys are the Eagles’ biggest allies. And hey, if they lose, it still works out in the short-term at least.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?