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November 25, 2018

Week 12 non-Eagles Sunday rooting guide

Six NFC teams -- the Cowboys, Redskins, Lions, Bears, Saints and Falcons -- will all rest on Sunday after playing on Thanksgiving. As such, our rooting guide this week will look at both the games that were already played, and the ones still left to play on Sunday.

As you've seen, the Eagles have looked like hot burning trash the last two weeks, and really just need to win a game. Still, from an "around the league" rooting perspective, you can root both for scenarios in which the Eagles are going to turn it around, as well as a path to the highest draft position possible in case they continue to suck.

First the games that were already played: 

Bears at Lions: The Bears won this game, and that was probably the better result. If the Eagles are to somehow make the playoffs. a matchup against the Bears is one they can win, at least in comparison to some of the other teams they might have to face.

Redskins at Cowboys: With the Cowboys winning, both the Cowboys and Redskins now presently have a 1.5-game lead on the Eagles. Had the Redskins won, they'd have had a 2.5-game lead, and the Cowboys would have had a half-game lead. #Math.

A look at the standings would say that it's better that the Cowboys won that game, but I'm not so sure about that. With the Redskins absolutely devastated by injuries, most notably to their quarterback and offensive line, how many wins do they have left in them this season? There's a reasonable argument that catching the Redskins with a 2.5-game lead would have been easier than catching the Cowboys with a 1.5-game lead.

Falcons at Saints: It doesn't really matter how many games the Saints win or lose from here on out. If the Eagles make it to the playoffs, they are almost certainly going to have to go through New Orleans to get back to the Super Bowl. Still, a Falcons win was probably more ideal, seeing as draft positioning matters in the event the Eagles continue to completely crap the bed.

And the games still to be played on Sunday and Monday, with the ideal winner in bold:

• Seahawks at Panthers: The Panthers are frauds. Should the Eagles somehow win the division, they would be an ideal first playoff opponent, even though the Panthers beat the Eagles at the Linc already this season.

Raiders at Ravens: The Eagles own the Ravens' second-round pick.

• Browns at Bengals: The 3-6-1 Browns are a half-game ahead of the Eagles for draft positioning, and if the Eagles' ultimate fate is to lose most (or all) of their games down the stretch, they may as well pass a bunch of teams in the draft order while they're at it.

Jaguars at Bills: The Jags and Bills are both 3-7, but the Jags have a tougher strength of schedule. Strength of schedule is the first tiebreaker for draft positioning, in that the team with the worse strength of schedule picks first. Therefore, if the Eagles continue to lose, they're better off ending up with the same record as the Jags than the Bills since the Eagles would have a better chance of beating the Jags on the tiebreaker for a higher pick. Does that make sense? No? Well, I tried, but trust me, my logic is solid here.

• Patriots at Jets: Again, it's crazy that we're even talking about the Eagles passing a team like the 3-7 Jets in the draft order, but here we are.

• 49ers at Buccaneers: Of the two teams in this matchup, the Bucs are the more realistic team for the Eagles to pass in the draft order, again, should they continue to lose.

Cardinals at Chargers: The Eagles are highly unlikely to catch the Cardinals in the draft order even if Philly loses the rest of their games, but what the hell, may as well hope for more Cards wins anyway against an AFC team that's going to the playoffs anyway.

• Steelers at Broncos: The Broncos and Eagles are currently tied in the draft order, with the Broncos picking first on an extremely narrow tiebreaker advantage.

Dolphins at Colts: See the Texans matchup below.

Packers at Vikings: The 4-5-1 Packers are a half-game behind the Eagles in the draft order. It's better if they just clear out of the way with some more wins.

• Titans at Texans: If the Texans win enough games to be up by three with two games left, and yet lose enough games to be mathematically out of the hunt for a first-round bye, maybe they just rest players against the Eagles Week 16? That would obviously be helpful to the Birds if they're still in the hunt for the NFC East title.

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