Philadelphia Eagles' Week 17 Playoff Scenarios
In the NFC, all six playoff teams and three division champions have been decided.
We know that the road to the Super Bowl ostensibly goes through New Orleans, as Minnesota’s loss to Chicago on Monday night gift-wrapped the No. 1 seed for the 13-2 Saints.
As far as the Eagles go, they could end up as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed if they win the NFC East, but could also take either Wild Card spot if they don’t.
The one thing they do know is that they can’t be No. 4, because if they win the NFC East, they will have a better record than Arizona, no matter how they do it.
So how can they end up in any given spot? Here’s how.
No. 2 Seed
The Birds will need to win the NFC East to have a chance at the No. 2 seed, which means a win or tie against Dallas.
If they win and reach 12-4, they are the No. 2 seed no matter what Minnesota does. If the Vikings lose to the Giants and fall to 11-5, the Eagles get the spot outright.
If Minnesota wins and both are 12-4, the tiebreaker would be conference record; Philly’s stellar 10-2 mark trumps the Vikings’ 9-3 record in that case.
If the Birds tie Dallas and finish 11-4-1, they would need the Vikings to lose (11-5) or tie (11-4-1); same scenarios as above apply, only with a 9-2-1 vs. 8-3-1 conference mark if both teams tie.
Either way, the No. 2 seeded Eagles’ first playoff game would come the weekend of Jan. 17-18, and they would host the higher-seeded Wild Card Weekend winner.
No. 3 Seed
Again, the Eagles have to win the NFC East to be No. 3, and since they will have a better record than Arizona in any scenario, they win that tiebreaker.
So to get here, the Birds need to win the NFC East but have a worse record than Minnesota.
That means they need to tie Dallas and have Minnesota beat the Giants.
If that happens, the Vikings (12-4) will trump both the Birds (11-4-1) and the Cardinals (either 10-6, 10-5-1 or 11-5) to secure the No. 2 seed and the bye.
As for who they’d play, that’s also simple.
Should Philly and Dallas tie, the Cowboys will take a wild card and finish at 10-5-1.
If Green Bay defeats Arizona, they finish 11-5 and get the No. 5 seed—meaning Eagles/Cowboys III at the Linc.
If the Packers lose, they fall to sixth (10-6) and will head to the City of Brotherly Love.
No. 5 Seed
For the Eagles to be a No. 5 seed, they need to be a Wild Card—meaning they lose to Dallas on Sunday.
That puts them at 11-5, and their seed/opponent combo depends on the outcome of the Packers/Cardinals game.
If the Packers lose and fall to 10-6, the Eagles will be No. 5 and a tiebreaker of strength of victory (or lower) will determine whether they play Dallas or Arizona.
If the Packers and Cards tie (putting both teams at 10-5-1), the Eagles will be the No. 5 and travel to Arizona, who would lose the No. 3 seed to 11-5 Denver.
If the Packers win, the Eagles would have to win a tiebreaker based on strength of victory (or lower). If they do, the same scenario between Dallas and Arizona would determine who they play.
No. 6 Seed
Basically the same as the last No.5 seed scenario.
The Packers need to beat Arizona and then win that low tiebreaker with the Birds, whose opponent would then be the loser of that same tiebreaker between Dallas and the Cardinals.
So Where Will They End Up?
I believe they will end up with the No. 2 seed. They control their own destiny, and with the division title at stake, they will come out firing on Sunday.
Remember, last year the Birds snuck into the sixth spot with a 44-6 thrashing of Dallas.
Will it happen again?
If it does, the Birds will have a week off.