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November 30, 2018

Eagles' playoff hopes take a hit with Cowboys' win over Saints, but they're not done

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112918DrewBreesDakPrescott Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees has now killed the Eagles twice this season.

Heading into the Dallas Cowboys' matchup with the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles had a 21 percent of winning the NFC East, according to FiveThirtyEight.com.

Had the Cowboys lost, the Eagles' chances of winning the division would have risen to 26 percent. But they didn't. Instead, the Cowboys' defense put on a show, pressuring Drew Brees up front with their defensive line, and playing outstanding coverage on the back end, leading to a shocking 13-10 result. 

With the Cowboys' win over the Saints, a team that has looked like a juggernaut over the last couple of months, the Eagles' now have a 15 percent chance of winning the division, if you buy what FiveThirtyEight is selling.

That said, the Eagles' season isn't over. With a win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, the Eagles and Cowboys would face off in a matchup for control of the division the following Sunday. If the Eagles were to then win as underdogs in Dallas, they would share a 7-6 overall record with Dallas, but would hold a tiebreaker advantage on the strength of a 4-1 record in the division (the Cowboys would be 3-2).

Of course, at that point, they would also have to hold serve against a much more difficult slate of opponents. The Eagles and Cowboys would still have the following remaining games: 

 EaglesCowboys 
 At Rams (10-1)At Colts (6-5)
 Texans (8-3) Buccaneers (4-7)
 At Redskins (6-5) At Giants (3-8)


In other words, the Eagles' work would be far from done even if they are somehow able to win their next two games.

Daunting? Unquestionably, especially for a team in the Eagles that has played poorly for the better part of this season. Impossible? I mean, many thought they were toast after Carson Wentz got hurt last year.

I hate the following phrase, but the Eagles still "control their own destiny," but obviously they'll have to overcome pretty long odds just to win the division, much less survive the gauntlet of opponents they'd have to face if they made it into the postseason.


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