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December 13, 2020

Week 14 non-Eagles rooting guide: Top 5 pick edition

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121320DougTank6-2 Jimmy/for PhillyVoice

After four consecutive losses to the Giants, Browns, Seahawks, and Packers, the Eagles now sit at 3-8-1. They remain in third place in the pathetic NFC East, a game and a half out of first place, and a half game away from last place.

 NFC EastGB 
 Football Team

Today, they'll host the 10-2 New Orleans Saints, with oddsmakers placing them anywhere from a 6.5- to 8.5-point underdogs, according to

All season long, we have mapped out the ideal winners for each of the games around the NFL, as they applied to the Eagles' chances of making the playoffs, and the success they might have once they got in.

For the stragglers holding out hope that the light would go on for the Eagles, and that they would somehow find a way to still win the division, those hopes were dealt a crushing blow last week, when the Giants and Football Team pulled off improbable upset wins over the Seahawks and Steelers, respectively. Anyway, for those of you still left on the "never say die" front, you guys want the Giants to lose to the Cardinals and the Football Team to lose to the 49ers. (Duh.)

For those of you embracing the tank, if the Eagles lose today, they will very likely move into the top 5 of the 2021 NFL Draft order. First, a look at the updated draft order, via Tankathon


As you can see, the Eagles would pick sixth in the draft if the season ended today. If they lose today, they can move into the top 5 (temporarily) if any of following things occur:

  1. The Chargers beat the Falcons
  2. The Cowboys beat the Bengals
  3. The Bengals beat the Cowboys, and the Bengals' strength of schedule stays higher than the Eagles'. Currently, the Eagles would hold a draft order tiebreaker over the Bengals, as the Bengals have faced opponents with a combined 0.534 winning percentage. But it's close, as the Eagles' opponents have a combined winning percentage of 0.529.

The only really bad outcome of the games above would be if the Cowboys and Bengals tied. As far as who is the ideal winner between the Bengals and Cowboys, there are probably arguments for both, but I would say it's better if the Cowboys win for two reasons:

  1. If the Eagles lose, they're guaranteed (for now) to jump the Cowboys in the draft order, while it's not a guarantee to move up with a Bengals win.
  2. The Cowboys would mess up their draft positioning.
  3. The Eagles would have a better shot at a last place schedule in 2021.

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The argument for a Bengals win is that this is their best chance to win a game the rest of the season, as their final three games are as follows:

  1. Steelers
  2. At Texans
  3. Ravens

And then, of course, as we've been noting all along, it's best if the four-win teams can find a way to win some games, to create a buffer for the Eagles, should the Eagles unadvisedly win a game themselves. The four-win teams are the Panthers, Falcons, Texans, and Broncos. The Panthers and Broncos play each other this week, so that will help. (It's probably best if the Panthers win this matchup, because the Broncos have the easier schedule the rest of the way.

Who is the most ideal team to win the NFC East?

In my view, it's the Football Team, since they could have a potentially elite defensive line for the foreseeable future. That's a solid foundation to build on, and if they were to find a good quarterback in the draft and have him on a rookie contract for four years, they could become a legitimately dangerous team. The further back in the draft order they are in a QB-rich draft, the better.

I think the argument for the Giants winning the division was that maybe they would keep Dave Gettleman in place. They might anyway, even without a divisional title.

As such, it's maybe best if the Football Team wins games down the stretch, and the Giants lose.

Ideal Week 14 winners bolded

Cowboys at Bengals

• Falcons at Chargers

Cardinals at Giants

Football Team at 49ers

Texans at Bears

• Broncos at Panthers

The rest of the games? Doesn't matter.

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