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January 01, 2023

Eagles still hunting for NFC East, first round bye

The Eagles control their own destiny — but things are getting a bit uneasy.

The Eagles still have work to do.

Due in large part to Jalen Hurts' shoulder injury — the one that looked minor on the surface but cost him starts against the Cowboys and Saints (a 20-10 loss on Sunday afternoon) — the Eagles have a ton left to play for next week when the Giants come to town.

Luckily, the odds are still very much still in their favor.

As a result of a dominating win over the Colts, the Giants have clinched the NFC's 6-seed, and will have little to nothing to play for in Week 18. The Eagles need to win to earn the top seed in the NFC, home field advantage throughout the playoffs and an NFC East title.

They can also earn those things if the Cowboys lose to the Commanders in Week 18 — a Commanders squad that has a chance of sliding in the backdoor of their own playoff berth (following their own loss to the Browns). Will Dallas go all out to win the NFC East and a possible first-round bye even if they know the Eagles will be playing the Giants second stringers?

If the Cowboys lose, the Eagles clinch the division. They also would clinch the one-seed with losses to the Niners and Vikings.

But winning themselves — which hasn't happened in a while — would make every other team's outcomes irrelevant. 

The race for the 1-seed


The Eagles own a tiebreaker against the Vikings — which is why their loss Sunday eliminates them from the top seed race (at 12-4). Philly loses a tie break against the Cowboys and the 49ers — so if all three teams have the same record, Dallas would win the NFC East and be the 1-seed, with the Eagles as the 5-seed in the Wild Card spot. If the Cowboys lose to Washington and the Eagles also lose, they'd be the 1-seed if San Francisco also loses next week against the Cardinals.

A surprising number of scenarios are still possible thanks to Philly's back-to-back setbacks — but they control their destiny still.

And, if you have tickets for next Sunday's game, you don't have to sit through what would otherwise have been a meaningless preseason kind of game.

Reports suggest that Hurts will be back on the field next week. Eagles fans can only hope the offense dominates enough to get him and the starters off the field early to get some extra rest prior to a potential first round bye.

There is a huge difference in Super Bowl odds between the 1 and 5 seed. Thank goodness for the god-awful Colts (losing to the Giants).

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