NFL Playoff Scenarios: Philadelphia Eagles Scenarios With 2 Games Left

WesAnalyst IDecember 28, 2010

Not talking about playoff scenarios.
Not talking about playoff scenarios.Al Bello/Getty Images

Most Philadelphia Eagles fans considered this season a rebuilding year, and rightfully so.

Everyone assumed Kevin Kolb was going to be under center throughout the year and he would go through plenty of growing pains. Teams like the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants were going to give him fits and his clash with Peyton Manning would be too large to handle.

And if Kolb ever got the hook, it was a sign the team was struggling. Plus, would you really want Michael Vick leading this offense?

Let's just say all hell broke loose.

Kolb went down with an injury and Vick stepped in and played well. Kolb went back in when Vick was injured, and then it was back to Vick after Andy Reid changed his mind.

The Cowboys ended up being terrible and Vick proved why he is an MVP candidate after beating Peyton and the Colts and sweeping the Giants in dramatic fashion.

With all of the drama endured by Eagles fans, it is only fitting the regular season ends with more uncertainty.

Following the New Orleans Saints 17-14 Monday night win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles are still alive for the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

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It is a longshot, but in a season filled with longshots, we would be remiss not to think about it.

Let's make a couple things clear before the following scenarios are explained: The Eagles are guaranteed to finish no worse than the No. 3 seed and we are assuming the Eagles beat Minnesota and Dallas to close out the season.

We'll also take a look at who the Eagles are likely to play in the opening round of the playoffs after each scenario.

The Eagles earn the No. 1 seed if:

Scenario 1

Atlanta loses in the Georgia Dome to Carolina, New Orleans loses in the Superdome to Tampa Bay and Chicago loses at Lambeau Field to Green Bay.

Eagles fans need the Falcons to win the division because Philadelphia holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Atlanta.

If the Saints were to win the division, the Eagles can't jump to the No. 1 seed because New Orleans will finish with a better overall and conference record than Philadelphia.

Philadelphia also needs Chicago to stumble because the Bears hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Odds of this happening are about as good as an NFL game being canceled due to a snowy forecast—hold on, I take it back.

I'll give the above scenario a one percent chance because everything has to have some sort of chance. It's just a shame Jimmy Clausen is a joke and New Orleans will not allow Tampa Bay to win at their house with so much on the line.

If the Eagles land here, they could play any team in the opening round except for the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, which would be Atlanta and Chicago.

All of it means the Birds could host the NFC West champion, New Orleans or Green Bay.

Green Bay would have to travel to Soldier Field and play Chicago while New Orleans would play the NFC West winner.

The most likely scenario to unfold from those potential matchups would be the Eagles hosting the Saints.

The Eagles earn the No. 2 seed if:

Scenario 1

Chicago goes on the road and loses to Green Bay.

This is pretty straightforward. Chicago holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles, which means the Eagles must finish the regular season with more wins than the Bears.

I'll crunch a few numbers and say this has about a 75 percent chance of happening.

I'm confident the Eagles will get the No. 2 seed because I just don't see the Bears going through their division with a 6-0 record.

It's also hard to imagine the Packers dropping the game at home with the right to advance to the playoffs.

This scenario would give the Eagles a bye with the chance to play Chicago, the NFC West champion or the New Orleans Saints.

With a No. 2 seed the Eagles could not play Green Bay or Atlanta in their first game.

The matchups would once again have Chicago hosting Green Bay and New Orleans traveling to the NFC West champion's stadium.

The most likely matchup for the Eagles as a No. 2 seed would be the Chicago Bears.

Scenario 2

Chicago beating Green Bay along with Atlanta losing to Carolina and New Orleans losing to Tampa Bay has less than a one percent chance of occurring.

But if it went down, the Eagles would avoid the No. 6 seed in the first round, who would more than likely be the New York Giants and the No.1 seed, who would be Chicago.

The Eagles earn a No. 3 seed if:

Scenario 1

Chicago beats Green Bay.

I'll give the Bears a 25 percent chance of beating the Packers.

If that unfolds, anything and everything can happen when determining the Eagles opening-round opponent.

The Eagles would face New York if the Giants can beat Washington.

But if the Giants lose and Tampa Bay beats New Orleans, the Eagles get the Bucs at the Linc.

And if all three lose, the Eagles get Green Bay.

The most likely opponent for the Eagles as a No. 3 seed is New York in this scenario.

Scenario 2

The other scenario calls for Chicago to beat Green Bay, Atlanta to lose against Carolina and New Orleans to beat Tampa Bay.

The odds of that scenario falls around 10 percent.

Assuming New York beats Washington, the Giants are coming to the Linc for the second time this season.

If the Giants lose, then you're right back to having Green Bay on Wild Card Weekend.

So, there you have it.

It all makes sense when you play these things out in your head and don't allow the real thing to unfold before your eyes.

The season also made sense in our heads and then things got really confusing as we watched it.