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November 24, 2019

Week 12 non-Eagles Sunday rooting guide

Each week this season we have laid out a rooting guide for non-Eagles games on the NFL schedule, based on the premise that the Birds are Super Bowl contenders. They have not looked much like contenders to win it all through the first half of the season, but we'll see if that changes down the stretch.

Right now, it's getting pretty close to "NFC East or bust," as the Eagles are well behind in the wildcard race, but only a game out in the division. Here's what the wildcard race looks like heading into Week 12:

 NFC wildcardRecord Conference record 
 Seahawks (5 seed)8-2 5-1 
 Vikings (6 seed)8-3 6-2 
 Rams6-4 4-3 
 Eagles5-5 3-4 
 Panthers5-5 2-5 
 Bears4-6 3-4 
 Lions3-6-1 2-4-1 
 Cardinals3-7-1 2-6-1 
 Falcons3-7 3-4 
 Buccaneers3-7 3-6 
 Giants2-8 2-5 
 Washington1-9 0-6 

As you can see, the Eagles are currently 2.5 games behind the Vikings, with a head-to-head disadvantage to boot. The Seahawks are the team they have a better chance of catching, if need be, as a win over them today would put them only 2 games back with a head-to-head-advantage.

Here are the best scenarios around the league for the Eagles this week:

• Cowboys at Patriots: Duh. Obviously, every Cowboys loss the rest of the way is extremely beneficial to the Eagles.

• Packers at 49ers: As we've stated repeatedly here, it's best if the Niners run away with the No. 1 seed, seeing as they will be vulnerable in the playoffs with an inexperienced quarterback, as far as the postseason goes. They have a very diffcicult schedule down the stretch, so it's best if they win this one, I think.

Ravens at Rams: It's clearly best if the Ravens beat the Rams.

Panthers at Saints: The Saints have the NFC South wrapped up, but it's still better for the Eagles if they don't have to go through New Orleans in the playoffs, should they make it there. It's best for the Eagles if the top two seeds go to the Niners and Packers.

Giants at Bears: If the Bears end up having a worse record than the Eagles when this season is over, then the Eagles' season went disastrously wrong down the stretch. So who care what the Bears do here. It's better if the Giants mess up their draft position. Currently, they are third in the draft order, behind only the Bengals and Washington.


If the Bengals and Washington both take quarterbacks, you don't want the Giants to end up with Chase Young.

• Lions at Washington: At some point, it's best if Washington wins a game or two to mess up their draft position as well, though I don't think it matters as much with a franchise that has no chance as long as Dan Snyder owns the team.

Steelers at Bengals: It's best if the Bengals just keep losing, thus securing the No. 1 overall pick.

• Dolphins at Browns: Similarly, it's best if the Dolphins continue to lose, thus pushing the Giants (and/or Washington) down the draft order if either team manages to win any more games.

Buccaneers at Falcons: OK, we're gonna go deep down the nerd hole here. If the Eagles don't make the playoffs, and they have the same record as another team (or teams) at the end of the season, the first tie-breaker for draft positioning is opposing strength of schedule. Whichever team has the worst strength of schedule picks first. Because the Eagles played the Falcons this season, but did not play the Bucs, it's better if the Falcons lose, thus making the Eagles' strength of schedule worse.

Broncos at Bills: See the Buccaneers-Falcons explanation above.

Raiders at Jets: And again, see Bucs-Falcons explanation above.

• Jaguars at Titans: Nick Foles, aside, this is the only game this week in which I can't think of a reason that Eagles fans should care in any way.

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