December 11, 2022
With their dominating win in New York Sunday, the Eagles have clinched a playoff spot thanks to their 12-1 record.
But that comes as no surprise. It was a matter of time.
However, the space between them and the teams chasing them for the top seed in the NFC has widened a bit — which is good news with the postseason just over a month away.
With the Commanders on a bye and the Cowboys playing this afternoon as well, the divisional standings are already up to date:
There still exists a realistic chance that all four NFC East teams make it to the postseason, but the Commanders and Giants will be in a tough fight against the Seahawks for that seventh and final spot (and maybe a surging Lions team?).
The Cowboys' win over the Texans was way too close for comfort for Dallas fans and was nearly a source of even more joy for Birds fans. It took them all 60 minutes to slip by their in-state rivals (who entered Week 14 with just one win all season) and they trailed all game long. By the skin of their teeth, the Cowboys stay two back of Philly.
Perhaps we'll see an end to the chatter about the Cowboys being the best team in the NFL. The Eagles eclipsed them for the best point differential in football — which seemed to be a point of pride for Dallas last week.
The NFC East is a big matter of pride for the Eagles and their fans but the biggest prize is a first-round bye. And those Lions, well, they did Philly a huge favor Sunday as they bested the Vikings 34-23 — all but ending their hopes to catch the Eagles this season.
Here's a look at the fight for the top spot in the NFC through the early afternoon games Sunday:
We'll update the above table after the Niners and Bucs play later in the afternoon but they really are not a factor in the race for the 1-seed.
The Eagles-Cowboys showdown in two weeks on Christmas Eve has the potential to be the biggest regular season game of the year, and the Birds can probably lock up the bye with a win there to get even more separation from their rivals from Dallas. A loss there would open up a ton of different scenarios, though they would likely still control their own fates.
Minnesota, on the other hand, is really three games behind, as they would lose a head-to-head tiebreaker due to their Week 2 setback to Philly. The Cowboys crushed the Vikings in their November 20 meeting which would give Dallas that tiebreaker if it becomes relevant. It likely won't, because if the Eagles win the NFC East, the Cowboys will have to settle for the 5-seed and road games throughout the playoffs (barring some crazy early postseason upsets).
With four games remaining, the Eagles have what looks like three easy wins with the Bears, Saints, and Giants on the schedule surrounding their Week 16 date in Dallas. If they can take care of business in those three, the Cowboys game may not even matter.
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