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November 05, 2023

Week 9 non-Eagles rooting guide

Ahead of Week 9, Eagles fans should be rooting for these teams across the NFL slate.

Eagles NFL
110423DanielJones Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

Eagles fans should hope that the Giants somehow win some games down the stretch and talk themselves into another year of Daniel Jones.

Each week during the NFL season we 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. Ideal winners bolded.

NFC East

The standings:

NFC East Record Division GB 
Eagles 7-1 2-0 
Cowboys 5-2 1-0 1.5 
Commanders 3-5 0-3 
Giants 2-6 1-1 

And here are the NFC East's common opponents outside of the division, and results so far:

Common Opponent PHI DAL WAS NYG 
49ers  Loss  Loss 
Cardinals  Loss Win Win 
 RamsWin Win   
 Seahawks   Loss 
 Bills  Loss Loss 
 DolphinsWin   Loss 
 JetsLoss Win  Loss 
 PatriotsWin Win   

The NFC East is a two-team race between the Eagles and Cowboys, as usual. They play each other on Sunday, in case you've been living in a cave all week.

Giants at Raiders: If the season ended today (it doesn't), the Giants would own the fourth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. They've had five top-seven picks since 2018:

• 2018, No. 2 overall: RB Saquon Barkley
• 2019, No. 6 overall: QB Daniel Jones
• 2020, No. 4 overall: OT Andrew Thomas
• 2022, No. 5 overall: DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
• 2022, No. 7 overall: OT Evan Neal

Aaaaand they're still one of the worst teams in the NFL. Still, they'll hit big on one of these high picks eventually, even if by sheer luck, and maybe at quarterback. The more games they win the rest of this season, (a) the more they'll hurt their draft positioning, and (b) the more likely they'll be to talk themselves into running it back with Daniel Jones if he can have some decent performances in November and December.

Commanders at Patriots: Speaking of running it back with mid quarterbacks, there's this from Dianna Russini of The Athletic

There is a strong belief in the building that the Commanders have found their franchise quarterback in Sam Howell, and now it’s about building for 2024.

Lol, what? The Commanders' situation with Howell feels pretty straightforward to me. If an opportunity to solve the quarterback spot presents itself either in the draft or elsewhere, then by all means jump all over that. At the same time, Howell has shown enough potential that the franchise shouldn't feel like they have to make some drastic move for a quarterback, and that giving Howell a second "tryout" year in 2024 — much like the Eagles did with Jalen Hurts in 2022 — is also an acceptable solution. 

But holy crap, for anyone in that building to have a strong belief at this point that they have found their "franchise quarterback" is just... 🤯. I guess when you're a franchise that hasn't seen good quarterback play in 30 years your perception of what "franchise quarterback" play looks like can be skewed.

Anyway, the Commanders are in the same boat as the Giants. The more games they win the rest of the way, thus ruining their draft position, is best for the Eagles.

Draft pick watch

Bears at Saints: The Eagles own the Saints' second-round pick. Let's fire up the PFF mock draft simulator

• Round 1: Cooper DeJean, CB/S, Iowa
• Round 2 (from Saints): Kalen King, CB, Penn State
• Round 2: Calen Bullock, S, USC
• Round 3: Kingsley Suamataia, OT, BYU
• Round 4: Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State
• Round 5: Jordan Burch, DE, Oregon
• Round 5: Oronde Gadsden, WR, Syracuse
• Round 5: Trevin Wallace, LB, Kentucky

Others in the NFC

Seahawks at Ravens: The 49ers have their bye this week, which gives the Seahawks the opportunity to extend their half-game lead in the NFC West to a full game. Even with their current three-game losing streak, the Niners are still the Eagles' biggest threat in the NFC, in my opinion, so it's best if the Seahawks win the NFC West, which would make any Niners trek through the playoffs a very difficult one. Of course, if Seattle is able to beat the Ravens on the road, maybe they're a bigger threat than the Niners? We'll cross that bridge if we get there.

• Vikings at Falcons: It's best if someone other than the Saints win the NFC South.

Buccaneers at Texans: Cut/paste: It's best if someone other than the Saints win the NFC South.

• Rams at Packers: If we're looking ahead to the NFC playoffs, the seeds will look like so:

• 1-2-3 seeds: The division winners in the NFC East (Eagles or Cowboys), the NFC North (Lions), and the NFC West (49ers or Seahawks).
• 4 seed: Whichever crap team wins the NFC South.
• 5-6 seeds: Whichever of the top two teams in each of the NFC East and the NFC West that don't win their divisions.
• 7 seed: Some other easily beatable team in the playoffs, like the Vikings, Rams, or maybe one of the other crap NFC South teams.

If the regular season plays out in a way that the Eagles end up with the 2 seed, they'll play the 7 seed in the wildcard round. I'd probably prefer to play teams like the Falcons, Saints, Vikings, or Buccaneers, who all have below average quarterbacks, instead of a team like the Rams, whose quarterback is fewer than two years removed from winning a Super Bowl. (But really there should be no scary opponents waiting for whatever team gets the 2 seed.)

For future reference

It doesn't really matter who wins these games, but we'll bold the Eagles' future opponents:

  1. Dolphins at Chiefs
  2. Bills at Bengals
  3. Cardinals at Browns
The Eagles will have their bye after the Dallas game, and then they'll face the Chiefs Week 11, followed by the Bills Week 12.

Irrelevant to the Eagles

  1. Colts at Panthers
  2. Chargers at Jets
Byes: 49ers, Lions, Broncos, Jaguars.

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