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December 11, 2018

Eagles are still very much in the wildcard hunt

A few weeks ago, it looked a lot like it would be NFC East champs or bust in order for the Philadelphia Eagles to make it into the postseason. However, with the Minnesota Vikings losing three of their last four games, and the Carolina Panthers on a five-game losing streak, there's likely going to be a team in the NFC with a crappy record that snags the 6 seed. It could very well end up being the Birds.

To begin, the division titles are basically wrapped up. The Saints and Rams have already clinched the NFC South and NFC West, respectively. Both the Saints and Rams will also almost certainly earn first round byes. Meanwhile, the Bears and Cowboys are easily going to wrap up the NFC North and NFC East, respectively.

With their win Monday night over the Vikings, the Seahawks are all but in as a wildcard team, most likely as the 5 seed. That leaves one open wildcard berth. Let's take a look at the slop competing for that final spot:

Race for the 6 seedRecord Conference record 
 Vikings6-6-1 5-4-1 
 Panthers6-7 4-5 
 Eagles6-7 4-6 
 Redskins6-7 6-5 
 Packers5-7-1 3-6-1 
 Buccaneers5-8 4-6 
 Giants5-8 4-7 
 Lions5-8 3-7 

The Eagles lost to the Vikings and Panthers, so each team would hold a tie-breaker over them, though a tie-breaker would only be relevant with the Vikings if the Eagles were to have one of their final three games result in a tie. But certainly, the Vikings and Panthers are the two biggest obstacles, by far, for the Eagles making the postseason, as the Redskins are on their fourth quarterback.

The Packers, Buccaneers, Giants, and Lions are also just kind of lingering as longshots.

A look at the Vikings', Panthers', and Eagles' remaining schedules:

Race for the 6 seed Vikings Panthers Eagles 
 Week 15Dolphins (7-6) Saints (11-2) At Rams (11-2)
 Week 16 At Lions (5-8) Falcons (4-9) Texans (9-4)
 Week 17 Bears (9-4) At Saints (11-2) At Redskins (6-7)

The Vikings clearly have the easiest remaining schedule of the three above teams, as their final opponent, the Bears, are essentially already locked into either the 3 or 4 seed and won't have much of a need to win that game.

For as bad as they have looked all season long, there's actually an argument to be made that the Eagles look better than the Vikings and Panthers at the moment. But can they win enough games of their own to somehow steal a playoff spot in what has been a wretched season?

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