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November 06, 2021

Week 9 non-Eagles rooting guide

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 (for now, I guess), 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 9 odds and read all my picks, here

Before we get started, let's take our weekly look at


Ideal winners bolded below.

Thursday game

• Jets at Colts: This game already happened, obviously, and in case you missed it, the Colts won, with Carson Wentz completing 22 of 30 passes for 272 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs, while logging 62 of 62 snaps in a game that they led at one point by the score of 42-10. I believe that was the ideal outcome across the board.

  1. The Colts won, improving their record to 4-5. They're still in the wildcard hunt, and they just need to be alive through their 13th game to get Wentz to his necessary number of snaps, assuming he stays upright.
  2. Wentz played well, after a game in which he threw two horrendous interceptions that cost the Colts the game against division rival Tennessee.
  3. They were up 42-10, and Frank Reich didn't pull Wentz, lol. So that tells you where his head is at, in terms of caring at all about Wentz reaching his snap count benchmarks.

The Colts would be the 12th seed in the AFC if the season ended today, which is a good place for them to be, for the Eagles' purposes. They're still within striking distance, but also still pretty far down in the standings in the wildcard race:

 Seed AFC wildcardRecord GB 
 5Bengals 5-3 +0.5 
 6Steelers 4-3 
 7Chargers 4-3 
 8Patri*ts 4-4 0.5 
 9Chiefs 4-4 0.5 
 10Browns 4-4 0.5 
 11Broncos 4-4 0.5 
 12Colts 4-5 1 
 13Jets 2-6 2.5 
 14Jaguars 1-6 
 15Texans 1-7 3.5 
 16Dolphins 1-7 3.5 

The Colts play the Jaguars next Sunday, a game they should win, followed by a rough two-game stretch against the Bills and Buccaneers.

Early Sunday games

Texans at Dolphins: As you're aware, the Eagles own the Dolphins' first-round pick, which as you can see above in the Tankathon screenshot would be second overall if the season ended today. 

The Dolphins have lost recent games to a pair of other NFL bottom feeders in the Jaguars and Falcons, which were huge in getting that pick to where it is right now. If they lost to the Texans, who may be the worst team in the NFL, there would be reasonable hope for that pick landing at No. 1 overall. 

Unfortunately for the Eagles, this is probably where the Dolphins' seven-game losing streak ends.

• Bills at Jaguars: The Jags still only have one win, same as the Dolphins.

• Browns at Bengals: This game has wildcard implications in the AFC, and could affect the Colts' ability to make it in, or not. I can't decide whether it's better if the Browns maintain a one-game lead over Indy, or if the Bengals further solidify their postseason positioning by getting to 6-3. I'm not going to think too hard on this one. Let's just see what happens.

Patri*ts at Panthers: If the season ended today, this crappy Panthers team would be in the playoffs as the 7 seed in the NFC. I guess if you're still hoping the Eagles can compete for a wildcard spot, it's best if they lose.

Broncos at Cowboys: The Broncos are right in the area of the draft order where the Eagles' own pick and their pick from the Colts could land, so the more games they win, the better. Plus, you know, F*** Dallas.

Falcons at Saints: Like the Broncos, the Falcons' pick could be in the same neighborhood as any of the Eagles' potential three first-round picks, so the more games they win, the better.

Vikings at Ravens: The Ravens will very likely be in the playoffs. The Vikings are much less likely to get in, so they are a team that could be in the same neighborhood, draft positioning wise, as the Eagles.

There's maybe an argument to be made that the Vikings could be wildcard contenders, and a loss might be better for the Eagles' chances of getting in. Personally, I don't see much value in getting in as a 7 seed with a losing record, only to get stomped out by the 2 seed in the wildcard round. Look at how making the playoffs worked out for Washington last year. 

• Raiders at Giants: If the season ended today, the Giants would have two top 10 picks that a competent GM might make good use of.

Later Sunday games

• Packers at Chiefs: It's best if the Chiefs stay up a full game on the Colts in the AFC wildcard hunt.

• Cardinals at Niners: Like the Vikings, Falcons, and Broncos above, the Niners' pick — owned by the Dolphins — is currently in the top half of the first round. It's best if they win.

Sunday Night Football

Titans at Rams: It's best if the Titans just run away with the AFC South, especially now with Derrick Henry out. 

Monday Night Football

Bears at Steelers: The Giants own the Bears' first-round pick.

Byes: Lions, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Washington

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