December 18, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles got to 12-2 on Sunday with a sloppy win over the 2-12 New York Giants, clinching at least the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Here's what went right and wrong for the Eagles around the rest of the NFC.
• The Rams blew out the Seahawks: The Seahawks are having a down season, and are in severe danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011. FiveThirtyEight.com now puts their playoff chances at 13 percent. Still, down season or not, that is a team that just seems to own the Eagles, so the Birds are probably just better off if Seattle is eliminated.
• The Redskins beat the Cardinals: The Redskins could be in the market for a new quarterback this offseason. This meaningless win only messes up their draft position.
• The Panthers beat the Packers: This one is debatable. Are the Packers with Aaron Rodgers more dangerous than the Panthers? Personally, I think the Panthers are a very underrated team, and the Packers maybe a little overrated, though I suppose if Rodgers gets hot over the next few weeks, that's the last quarterback you'd want to see in your first playoff game. With their loss on Sunday, the Packers are all but eliminated.
• The Lions beat the Bears: Next week the Lions play a Bengals team that can't wait for the offseason to begin, and then they'll finish up their season at home against the Packers. If the Lions win both games, they could still sneak into the playoffs, but would still need help. Detroit would be the best possible matchup for the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs of the teams that are still alive.
• The Cowboys beat the Raiders: Even with Zeke Elliott poised to return next week, the Eagles are clearly a superior team. Maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing if the Cowboys got in the playoffs and advanced to the second round?
• The Vikings beat the Bengals: Had the Vikings lost on Sunday, the Eagles would have wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Still, the Eagles' 'magic number' is down to one for home field. With one more Eagles win or one more Vikings loss, the Eagles will clinch.
The Vikings play on Saturday, and if they lose, Doug Pederson would have to decide whether or not to begin resting the Eagles' starters. One option could be to rest them against the Raiders Week 16, then play them Week 17 against the Cowboys as a tune-up for the playoffs.
• The Saints beat the Jets: The Saints will clinch a playoff berth with one more win. Does anyone really want to see another Drew Brees-Nick Foles playoff matchup? OMG, they went to the same high school! From a writer's perspective, please God, no.
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