Eagles' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 12

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2021

Eagles' Rooting Guide for NFL Playoff Implications of Week 12

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    What a difference two weeks has made for the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Heading into their Week 10 matchup with the Denver Broncos, the Eagles were just 3-6 and looking like they were going to be in the hunt for a top-five draft pick.

    But back-to-back wins over the Broncos and New Orleans Saints have changed that outlook. The Eagles are now very much in the race for the third wild-card spot—especially when you consider what the upcoming schedule looks like for the Eagles.

    The next five games for Philadelphia include two games with the New York Giants, two with the Washington Football Team and one against the New York Jets. They won't see a team with a winning record until the final week of the regular season, when they are set to face the Dallas Cowboys.

    So if the Eagles keep up their success, they are in a great position to be a playoff team. Of course, it never hurts to get some help along the way. Here are the games fans need to watch that could see the Eagles improve their playoff odds.

Dolphins over Panthers (1 p.m. ET)

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    At 5-6, the Philadelphia Eagles are tied with the Carolina Panthers just outside the final wild-card spot. The Eagles could get some help in this regard from the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

    FiveThirtyEight's playoff projections give the Panthers a slim chance of making the playoff field. They are at 16 percent after their 27-21 loss to the Washington Football Team. A loss to the Dolphins would sink those odds.

    The good news for Eagles fans is that the Panthers are getting the Dolphins at the worst time. After starting the season 1-7, they have ripped off three consecutive wins to get to 4-7. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been clutch in helping to close out games this season. In the fourth quarter, he is 37-of-49 for 458 yards and four touchdowns since Week 6, per the team's website.

    That sets up an interesting quarterback battle, as Cam Newton looked good in the first start of his return to Carolina. He went 21-of-27 for 189 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions while adding 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Packers over Rams (4:25 p.m. ET)

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    Despite the loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11, the Green Bay Packers are a mortal lock to win their division. FiveThirtyEight puts their chances at 90 percent.

    The Los Angeles Rams were looking like a Super Bowl favorite early in the season, but they have tapered off in recent weeks. First, they lost to a Derrick Henry-less Tennessee Titans team and followed that up with a disappointing 31-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

    That's not a great sign for a team that has the seventh-most difficult schedule remaining, per Tankathon.

    While both teams in this matchup are likely to make the playoffs, the Rams are the more likely team to collapse down the stretch and open the door for the Eagles to sneak in.

    The Packers have had some struggles of their own recently, losing two of their past three, but the offense looked much better in the 34-31 loss to the Vikings.

49ers over Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET)

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    This is a tough one for the Eagles, as both the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings are in the wild-card race.

    The Vikings are a half-game ahead of the Eagles by record and sit at No. 6 in the NFC. The 49ers are just one spot ahead, as they have the same record but own the tiebreaker.

    Both teams are playing well and coming off big wins. The Niners beat the Rams 31-10 to show they are still a dangerous force in the NFC West, while the Vikings stunned the Packers in a 34-31 shootout.

    The difference between the two lies in their remaining schedule. According to Tankathon's rankings, the Vikings are 25th in remaining strength of schedule, with two games against the Chicago Bears and a matchup with the Detroit Lions left on the docket.

    The Niners have a few easy ones as well, with the Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons coming up, but they are 16th in remaining strength of schedule.

    Either of these teams could bump Philadelphia out of the playoff race, but the Vikings have the easier road to doing it. Therefore, Eagles fans should be hoping that Jimmy Garoppolo is able to carve up the Vikings secondary Sunday.