NFL: The Philadelphia Eagles Will Win The NFC If They Defeat The Chicago Bears

Michael WallCorrespondent INovember 24, 2010

NFL: The Philadelphia Eagles Will Win The NFC If They Defeat The Chicago Bears

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    The Philadelphia Eagles will put themselves in a great position to finish the season with the best record in the NFC with a win against the Chicago Bears this Sunday. 

    The matchup between the two 7-3 teams is one of the two most significant games left on Philadelphia's schedule; the other being the Week 15 road game against the New York Giants.  

    Currently, seven NFC teams are battling for five playoff spots, as the sixth spot goes to the winner of the weak NFC West. 

    The Atlanta Falcons are in first place in the AFC South and lead the NFC with a record of 8-2. 

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers are all 7-3, while the New York Giants have fallen to the back of pack with a record of 6-4. 

    In the remaining six games, the Eagles play two of the seven teams, Chicago and New York, that are playoff contenders in the NFC. 

    Other teams, such as the Falcons and Bears, play three of the seven teams fighting for the five playoff spots. 

    A win in Chicago this weekend will greatly increase Philadelphia' chances of locking up a wild card spot and potentially give the Eagles a more comfortable lead in the NFC East. 

    Here is how the Eagles' schedule compares to the other NFC contenders.  

New York Giants (6-4)

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    The New York Giants are definitely hurting after a loss last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. 

    The Giants have the difficult task of playing several games without some of their best players.  New York's offensive line has suffered injuries and Eli Manning will be without some of his weapons. 

    Wide receivers Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks will both miss the next two or three games due to injury. 

    However, it is way too early to count out New York. 

    Remaining Schedule: 

    vs. Jacksonville 

    vs. Washington 

    at Minnesota 

    vs. Philadelphia 

    at Green Bay 

    at Washington  

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .550 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3)

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the surprise of the NFL this season.  The Bucs are coming off an impressive road win against the San Francisco 49ers and still find themselves in the thick of things in the AFC South.  

    However, Tampa Bay has lost to both Atlanta and New Orleans this season, which makes their remaining divisional meetings must-win games.  

    Remaining Schedule: 

    at Baltimore 

    vs. Atlanta 

    at Washington  

    vs. Detroit 

    vs. Seattle 

    at New Orleans 

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .567

New Orleans Saints (7-3)

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    The New Orleans Saints struggled to win two games in a row at one point this season.  However, the Saints are currently riding a three-game winning streaking after blowing out the Seattle Seahawks. 

    However, the defending champions still trail the Atlanta Falcons in the AFC South and suffered a home overtime loss against the division rival earlier this season. 

    Remaining Schedule: 

    at Dallas (Thanksgiving) 

    at Cincinnati 

    vs. St. Louis 

    at Baltimore 

    at Atlanta 

    vs. Tampa Bay 

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .500

Green Bay Packers (7-3)

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    The Green Bay Packers have dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season, but they have continued to battle and win big games. 

    In fact, two of their three losses came in overtime against tough opponents.  Many considered the Packers to be Super Bowl favorites at the beginning of the season and Aaron Rodgers should be mentioned in the MVP discussion. 

    Remaining Schedule: 

    at Atlanta 

    vs. San Francisco 

    at Dallas 

    at New England 

    vs. New York Giants 

    vs. Chicago Bears 

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .567

Atlanta Falcons (8-2)

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    After defeating the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, the Atlanta Falcons temporarily took control of the NFC. 

    The Falcons are currently riding a four-game winning streak and their only two losses both came against playoff contenders (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia). 

    The Falcons have defeated both the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, which puts them in great position to win the AFC South.  

    Remaining Schedule: 

    vs. Green Bay 

    at Tampa Bay 

    at Carolina  

    at Seattle 

    vs. New Orleans 

    vs. Carolina  

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .467 (Carolina Panthers are 1-9)

Chicago Bears (7-3)

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    Similarly to the last several years, the Chicago Bears' defense has been responsible for the majority of the team's wins. 

    The Bears are coming off a shutout win against the Miami Dolphins last Thursday night and find themselves tied at the top of the NFC North with Green Bay. 

    However, Jay Cutler has been very sloppy and unpredictable this season, as his costly turnovers may ruin Chicago's playoff hopes.   

    Remaining Schedule: 

    vs. Philadelphia 

    at Detroit  

    at New England 

    at Minnesota  

    vs. New York Jets 

    at Green Bay 

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .583

Philadelphia Eagles (7-3)

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    The Philadelphia Eagles play a very significant game this Sunday in Chicago, but their playoff hopes may still rest on their performance against the divisional rivals. 

    The Eagles are currently 2-1 in the division games, after splitting the series with the Washington Redskins and defeating the New York Giants.  Philadelphia still have two games left against the Dallas Cowboys, who have looked better with Jason Garrett, and a road game in New York remaining. 

    That is why a win against the Bears will almost guarantee a playoff spot, but a loss would seriously jeopardize their chances.  Not only could they be tied with the Giants for first place in the NFC East, but also the Eagles could easily lose two of the remaining three divisional games.  

    It is also crucial that the Eagles have momentum going into a Thursday night game against the Houston Texans, as they must deal with a very short week.  On the other hand, the Bears have had longer than a week to prepare for Michael Vick.  

    Remaining Schedule: 

    at Chicago 

    vs. Houston 

    at Dallas 

    at New York 

    vs. Minnesota 

    vs. Dallas 

    Combined Winning Percentage of Remaining Opponents: .433

Do The Philadelphia Eagles Have The Easiest Remaining Schedule?

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    The Philadelphia Eagles, based on opponents' records, do have the easiest remaining schedule compared to the other six NFC teams competing for the five playoff spots. 

    Here is how the teams' remaining schedules rank from toughest to easiest: 

    - Chicago Bears: .583  

    - Tampa Bay Buccaneers: .567 

    - Green Bay Packers: .567 

    - New York Giants: .550 

    - New Orleans Saints: .500 

    - Atlanta Falcons: .467 

    - Philadelphia Eagles: .433 

    Based on these rankings, the Falcons and Eagles should earn first-round byes in the playoffs.

    If the two teams finish with the same record, which looks very possible, Philadelphia holds the head-to-head tiebreaker after defeating Atlanta 31-17 in a Week 6 home game (By the way, Kevin Kolb was the starting quarterback that game).  

    Given that Philadelphia has the easiest remaining schedule, it proves how critical this Sunday's game in Chicago is to their hopes of attaining a high seed.  The Bears are the toughest opponent left on the schedule, so a win should certainly help the Eagles cruise to a NFC East title and a first-round bye. 

    After this weekend, a couple of these contenders will fall back from the pack.  The Eagles must make sure they are not one of those teams.  

    Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons, SUN 1:00 PM 

    Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears, SUN 4:15 PM