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December 24, 2023

Week 16 non-Eagles rooting guide

Here's a look at the teams that need to win to help the Eagles in Week 16.

Eagles NFL
122323JaredGoff Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports

If Jared Goff and the Lions win out, the Eagles will be a lower seed than them.

Each week during the NFL season we lay out a rooting guide for non-Eagles games on the schedule. And yes, I'm aware that most of the below is obvious. Ideal winners bolded.

NFC East

The standings:

NFC East Record Division GB 
Cowboys 10-4 4-1 
Eagles 10-4 3-1 
Giants 5-9 2-2 
Commanders 4-10 0-5 

The NFC East is a two-team race between the Eagles and Cowboys, as usual. As a reminder, the tiebreakers for the division are as follows:

  1. Head-to-head games
  2. Division record
  3. Record against common opponents
  4. Conference record
  5. Strength of victories

The Eagles are tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East after both teams lost Week 15. The Cowboys (kinda) lead the NFC East on tiebreakers at the moment because they have played (and won) one more divisional game than the Eagles. 

A look at their common opponents so far, should the tiebreaking process get that far: 

Common Opponent PHI DAL 
49ers Loss Loss 
Cardinals  Loss 
 RamsWin Win 
 SeahawksLoss Win 
 BillsWin Loss 
 JetsLoss Win 
 PatriotsWin Win 

The next tiebreaker after common opponents is conference record. The Cowboys are 7-3 in the NFC; the Eagles are 6-3. The Cowboys play the Dolphins this week, an AFC team, so the Eagles and Cowboys will be tied on divisional record and conference record after Week 16 if the Eagles beat the Giants.

If the Eagles and Cowboys both win the rest of their games, the division will be decided by the fifth (!) tiebreaker, strength of victory. Deniz Selman has you covered there:

It's now 35-29 Eagles after the Bills beat the Chargers on Saturday. The Eagles will almost certainly have a better "strength of victory" than the Cowboys, but it's still ideal if the following outcomes go as follows to lock up that tiebreaker:

  1. Lions at Vikings
  2. Jaguars at Buccaneers
  3. Raiders at Chiefs
  4. Bills at Chargers
  5. Cardinals at Bears
  6. Commanders at Jets
  7. Packers at Panthers
  8. Seahawks at Titans

Lions-Vikings will be of particular interest to the Eagles, as the Lions will clinch at least the 2 seed if they win out. (The Eagles need them to lose at least one game.)

• Cowboys at Dolphins: And, of course, it's ideal if the Cowboys lose to the Dolphins, and the Eagles simply won the division because they have a better record, but ultimately, even with a Dallas loss in Miami the Eagles still need to win out to win the division in most scenarios.

The chase for the 1 seed

The NFC standings:

Seed NFC standings Record Conf record 
49ers 11-3 9-1 
Cowboys 10-4 7-3 
Lions 10-4 6-3 
Buccaneers 7-7 6-4 
Eagles 10-4 6-3 
Rams 8-7 6-4 
Vikings 7-7 6-3 
Seahawks 7-7 6-5 
Saints 7-8 4-6 
10 Falcons 6-8 4-6 
11 Packers 6-8 4-5 
12 Giants 5-9 4-5 
13 Bears5-9 4-5 
14 Commanders4-10 2-8 
15 Cardinals3-11 2-7 
16 Panthers2-12 1-9 

The Niners have a commanding lead in the NFC with a 11-3 record and only 1 loss within the conference. They can actually clinch the 1 seed with a win + losses by all three of the Eagles, Cowboys, and Lions.

Ravens at 49ers: A Ravens win would eat into the Niners' cushion atop the NFC, and at a minimum would force them to play their starters a little while longer.

Draft pick watch

The Eagles own the Saints' second-round pick, so the more games they lose they better. The Saints lost to the Rams on Thursday night. But what the hell, as always, let's fire up the PFF mock draft simulator

• Round 1: Amarius Mims, OT, Georgia
• Round 2 (from Saints): Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia
• Round 2: Jackson Powers-Johnson, iOL, Oregon
• Round 3: Trey Benson, RB, Florida State
• Round 4: Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina
• Round 5: James Williams, S/LB, Miami
• Round 5: Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State
• Round 5: Justin Eboigbe, DL, Alabama

Of course, it's best if a team other than the Saints wins the NFC South:

  1. Jaguars at Buccaneers (as mentioned already above)
  2. Colts at Falcons

Irrelevant to the Eagles

  1. Browns at Texans
  2. Patriots at Broncos

There are no more byes.

MORE: Week 16 NFL picks

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