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November 13, 2021

Week 10 non-Eagles rooting guide

Eagles NFL

In past seasons, Philadelphia Eagles fans generally rooted for their own team, and kept an eye on the rest of the NFC, with a focus on the NFC East. They'll still do that in 2021 (for now, I guess), but there are even more peripheral rooting interests for Birds fans this season because they own 2022 draft picks from other teams.

And so, each week we'll lay out a rooting guide for non-Eagles games on the NFL schedule, and yes, I'm aware that most of the below is obvious. You can also check out the latest Week 10 odds and read all my picks, here

Before we get started, let's take our weekly look at


Ideal winners bolded below.

Thursday game

Ravens at Dolphins: This game already happened (duh), and the Dolphins' win over the heavily favored Ravens hurt the Eagles quite a bit. If the season ended today, the Dolphins' pick, owned by the Eagles, would be sixth overall, when it had been in the top 3 for weeks.

MORE: Five over/unders for Eagles' Week 10 matchup against Broncos | Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Broncos

Early Sunday games

Jaguars at Colts: After beating the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, and Rams in four consecutive weeks, the Titans have a three-game lead in the AFC South over the Colts, with a head-to-head sweep over Indy to boot. The Titans don't just have a nearly insurmountable lead in the division — they also have the best record overall in the AFC. 

If the Colts are going to make the playoffs, they're going to have to do so as a wildcard. Let's first update the AFC wildcard standings: 

AFC wildcard Record GB 
 Raiders (5 seed)5-3 -0.5 
 Steelers (6 seed)5-3 -0.5 
 Patri*ts (7 seed)5-4 
 Colts4-5 1 
 Dolphins3-7 2.5 
 Jets2-6 2.5 
 Jaguars2-6 2.5 

As you can see, there are seven teams in the wildcard hunt with five wins, and there are actually two additional divisional leaders — the Bills and Chargers — that also have five wins. It's a five-win logjam! 

The Colts are only one game back, and then beyond them, there are four teams that are pretty much out of contention in the Dolphins, Jets, Jags, and Texans.

If Carson Wentz gets through roughly 3.5 more games unscathed, he will reach the playing time benchmarks needed for the Colts to send their 2022 first-round pick to the Eagles instead of their second-round pick. He would pass that projected benchmark during the Colts' Week 13 game against the Texans.

It's hard to envision a scenario in which the Colts are completely out of it by the time they play that game, and would go as far as to bench Wentz. And so, if the Colts were to lose this game to the Jaguars, it would set their playoff chances back a bit, but they won't be done-zo, by any stretch. 

• Saints at Titans: As noted above, the Titans have pretty much run away with the division, but it wouldn't hurt if they pulled even further away, guaranteeing that the Colts' first playoff game, should they make they make it there, is on the road.

• Falcons at Cowboys: The Cowboys got smoked last Sunday at home against the Broncos. If the Eagles could have pulled out a win over the Chargers, people would be unrealistically talking themselves into the Birds being able to catch the Cowboys in the NFC East. But alas, the Cowboys kept their cushion in the division.

If the season ended today, the Falcons would actually be in the playoffs as the 7 seed. The Eagles would benefit on wildcard positioning if the Falcons lost, but I think it's fine if they win some more games. The Cowboys would be the first clearly good team the Falcons will have beaten if they can pull it off, and if you're an Eagles fan, wouldn't you want them to actually earn their way in, as opposed to somehow getting in on a tiebreaker with something like a 7-10 record? 

And of course, if you're an Eagles fan, F*** Dallas.

• Buccaneers at Football Team: The more games the Football Team wins the rest of the way the better, as wins will only mess up their draft positioning.

Also, there are some who believe that an Eagles playoff appearance, even with a bad record, could be good for the team long-term. This is where I'll note that the Football Team got into the playoffs last year, and proceeded to suck this season. Their playoff appearance didn't do jack for them, other than give their fans one more afternoon of football, and false hopes for the following season.

• Bills at Jets: A Jets win would move the Dolphins' pick up a spot in the draft order.

• Lions at Steelers: With the Dolphins and Eagles having three wins each, it's highly unlikely that the 0-8 Lions will have a worse record than either team. It's better if the Steelers win this game and keep their wildcard cushion over the Colts.

• Browns at Patri*ts: Both of these teams are 5-4, and one game up on the Colts. I'm not sure which team is the more ideal winner here. One of these teams will at least stay a game up on the Colts should Indy take care of business against the Jags. I think is just a "see what happens" sitch.

MORE: Updated Eagles-Broncos injury report, with analysis | Eagles vs. Broncos: Predictions, betting odds and more

Later Sunday games

Panthers at Cardinals: For each of the the late Sunday games, it's better if teams less likely to make the playoffs — the Panthers, Vikings, and Seahawks — win these games so they're lower in the draft order. The Cardinals, and Chargers, and Packers all all likely to make the playoffs, and are less likely to be in competition with any of the Eagles' three potential first-round picks for draft positioning.

Vikings at Chargers: See above.

Seahawks at Packers: See above.

Sunday Night Football

•  Chiefs at Raiders: Like the Browns-Patri*ts game above, both of these teams each have five wins. The Raiders are 5-3 and the Chiefs are 5-4. I think it's better if the Chiefs win, as they have more staying power as playoff contenders, and are more likely to box the Colts out of the playoffs.

Monday Night Football

• Rams at 49ers: See the Panthers-Vikings-Seahawks explanation above.

Byes: Bears, Bengals, Giants, Texans.

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