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December 23, 2018

Eagles playoff scenarios: Philadelphia is very much alive, but still needs some help

The Eagles didn't exactly get the help they needed Sunday to get in control of their playoff fate — but a win against the Texans kept them very much alive as their 32-30 triumph moves them to 8-7 on the year.

If you missed it — the Eagles blew a 13 point lead with under five minutes left but somehow, drove the field to give Jake Elliott the chance to be a hero again (along with the still growing legend of Nick Foles) and save Philadelphia's title defense.

Now to practical matters, like making this victory mean something.

First, we must present a sentence that most Birds fans can be forgiven for skipping over: the Cowboys won the NFC East with their Week 16 victory over the Buccaneers. 

That means the Wild Card is the only option. Here's how things stand right now, after the Seahawks handled the Chiefs to clinch the first Wild Card spot:

 Record Remaining games 
Seahawks9-6*vs. KC, vs. ARZ 
Vikings 8-6-1vs. CHI
Eagles8-7at WAS 

It's a two-way race right now between the Eagles and Vikings.

In control

The Eagles have to win in Washington next Sunday. There is no other way to make the postseason now. They have gotten a bit of a break as the Redskins are on their fourth quarterback of the season in Josh Johnson, a name that inspires fear in almost no one. They put up a fight against Tennessee Saturday, but the Week 17 matchup really should be the Eagles' for the taking — even on the road.

The Vikings

The simplest way for Philly to get in is a Bears victory in Minnesota to close out the year. Chicago had no problems with the 49ers to improve to 11-4 with one game remaining. That's a good thing for the Eagles, as the Bears will actually have an outside shot at getting a first round bye (they will need some help from the Rams, who do not own a tie-breaker with Chicago — the Saints win against the Steelers clinched one of the two available byes). Seeding is very important come postseason time, and that should give Chicago a lot to play for. The more important the Week 17 game is for the Bears the better for Eagles fans.

Some bad news came down late Monday night, as the league decided to flex both the Eagles-Redskins game and the Vikings-Bears game to 4:25. Chicago could know if the Rams had clinched a bye during their game against Minnesota — if the Rams are blowing out the Niners — and therefore could be able to rest its starters in a move that may screw the Eagles over to end their season.

Minnesota, on the other hand, held on against the Lions in Week 16 and can clinch a playoffs berth with a win in the last week thanks to their tie earlier this year giving them a half game edge on the Birds. For yet another winter, the Eagles' Super Bowl chances depend on the Vikings being the Vikings.

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