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January 01, 2022

Week 17 non-Eagles rooting guide: Clinching a playoff berth edition

The Birds can punch their ticket to the postseason on Sunday, but they'll need more than just a win over Washington.

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, 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 17 odds and read all my picks, here.

Let's start this week with the Eagles' playoff hopes.

The Eagles can clinch Week 17

It's kind of wild to think that the Eagles can clinch a playoff berth Week 17, and potentially rest starters Week 18, but that's where this season has gone, amazingly. The following three things would have to happen:

  1. The Eagles would have to beat Washington.
  2. The Packers would have to beat the Vikings.
  3. The 49ers would have to beat the Texans, OR the Panthers would have to beat the Saints.

The way the schedule is set up, the Eagles play Washington at 1:00 p.m. EST, 49ers-Texans and Panthers-Saints will both occur during the late afternoon games, and Vikings-Packers is on Sunday Night Football. That means that Eagles fans can potentially watch each of the dominos fall one at a time.

Obviously, Eagles fans should be rooting for the 49ers, Panthers, and Packers.

Other playoff considerations

• Cardinals at Cowboys: In the event the Eagles don't clinch Week 17, they may need a win Week 18 over the Cowboys to get into the playoffs. If the Cowboys lose to the Cardinals on Sunday, they cannot get the 1 seed in the NFC. There would still be playoff seeding on the line for them Week 18, but if Dallas determine that resting starters is more beneficial than the difference between the 2, 3, or 4 seeds, the Eagles could catch a break by getting to play the Cowboys' backups.

Draft positioning

As you're aware, the Eagles own first round picks from the Dolphins and (now almost certainly) the Colts in the 2022 NFL Draft.

After a slow start, the Colts have put themselves in a great position to land a playoff berth, while the Dolphins rebounded from a 1-7 start to this season by rattling off seven straight wins. The Colts are now the 5 seed placeholder in the AFC, while the Dolphins are the 7 seed placeholder. A look at the AFC playoff race:

AFC wildcard Record Conf record GB 
Chiefs (AFC West leader, 1 seed)11-4 6-4 
Titans (AFC South leader, 2 seed) 10-5 6-4 
Bengals (AFC North leader, 3 seed) 9-6 7-3 
Bills (AFC East leader, 4 seed) 9-6 6-5 
Colts (5 seed) 9-6 7-3 - 
 Patriots (6 seed)9-6 7-3 
Dolphins (7 seed) 8-7 5-5 - 
Ravens 8-7 5-6 
Chargers 8-7 5-5 
Raiders 8-7 6-4 
Steelers 7-7-1 5-5 0.5 
Browns 7-8 4-6 
Broncos 7-8 3-7 
Jets 4-11 4-7 
Texans 4-11 4-7 
Jaguars 2-13 2-8 

A huge game for the Eagles' draft positioning this week is Dolphins at Titans, for two reasons:

  1. If the Dolphins lose, it would be a huge blow to their playoff hopes. currently has Miami as just 32 percent likely to make the playoffs, even though they're the 7 seed placeholder. If they win, that will rise to 62 percent. If they lose, it will fall to 7 percent.
  2. The Titans' "magic number" in the AFC South is 1, meaning that they will clinch the division with either a win of their own, or a Colts loss. The Colts are already extremely likely to make the playoffs, but with a wildcard they'd have to win throughout the playoffs on the road. If they won the division, they could be as high as the 2 seed, would would guarantee at least two home games should they advance in the playoffs.

A Titans win would help the Eagles quite a bit, and then of course a Colts' loss to the Raiders would also be ideal.

If the Dolphins lose, another AFC team would have to capitalize in order to knock Miami out of the 7 seed. As such, it's ideal if the following teams win:

  1. Rams at Ravens
  2. Broncos at Chargers
  3. Browns at Steelers

2022 schedule considerations

Falcons at Bills: If the Eagles beat Washington on Sunday, they will definitively finish second in the NFC East, which means that they will have a second-place schedule in 2022. The Falcons can still finish ahead of the Saints in the NFC South for second place behind the Buccaneers. Since Atlanta will very likely be an easier opponent than the Saints next year, you should root for the Falcons.


Giants at Bears: The 4-11 Giants are going to own two picks in the top 10 in the 2022 NFL Draft — their own, and the 5-10 Bears' pick. If the season ended right now, the Giants' own pick would be fifth overall, while the Bears' would be eighth overall. It's probably best if the Giants do more damage to their own pick, which still has a decent chance of landing in the top 3 or 4.

By the way, do you guys smell that? It smells a little tanky in here:

Joe Judge would never do anything to disadvantage his team from winning in any way whatsoever, though, so I'm sure that's all on the up and up.

Buccaneers at Jets: It's best if the Jets lose, and stay ahead of the Giants in the draft order.

Lions at Seahawks: Though maybe there's some risk of the Lions winning their final two games (unlikely with the Detroit playing the Packers Week 18), it's probably best if Seattle loses this game, which would keep them in front of the Bears pick owned by the Giants.

Hard to care much about these games

  1. Jaguars at Patri*ts
  2. Chiefs at Bengals

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