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December 25, 2017

What went right and wrong around the NFL on Sunday for the Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles will host the Oakland Raiders Christmas night with a chance to wrap up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Here's what went right and wrong for them around the rest of the NFL on Christmas Eve.

What went right

The Raiders got eliminated from playoff contention: After the Chiefs beat the Dolphins and the Ravens beat the Colts, the Raiders became mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The betting line quickly jumped from 8.5 points to 10, on the thinking that the Eagles will get a disinterested opponent Christmas night.

The Panthers beat the Buccaneers: The Panthers eked out a win over the Buccaneers, is more like it. By doing so, they got to 11-4 and clinched a playoff berth. With a Panthers win and a Saints loss Week 17, the Panthers can still win the NFC South, giving them a home game and a better chance of advancing to the second round of the playoffs, where they would be a more favorable matchup for the Eagles, than, say, the Saints or Rams.

The Redskins beat the Broncos: With their meaningless win over the Broncos, the Redskins helped mess up their draft position. If the season ended today, they would be picking 14th. That's not good for a team that may need a quarterback, depending on what happens with Kirk Cousins.

The Seahawks beat the Cowboys: From a football standpoint, this result was bad for the Eagles, since the Seahawks own them, and were able to stay alive for the playoffs with a win. From an 'enjoying time with family' perspective, the Cowboys had a pair of embarrassing losses on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve this year. God bless us all.

What went wrong

The Vikings beat the Packers: By beating the Packers, the Vikings kept pressure on the Eagles to continue to win games to lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. In theory, that may not be the worst thing, really, as the Eagles have played some awful defense over the last three games. Perhaps the continued need for a win will wake that side of the ball up before the playoffs.

• The Saints and Rams both won: In my view, the two biggest threats for a one-and-done exit by the Eagles from the playoffs would be if they had to face the Saints or the Rams. The Rams already clinched the NFC West, while the Saints will be able to do so Week 17 against a crap Buccaneers team. By earning the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, the Rams and Saints will have home games in the wild-card round of the playoffs, and if they both win, the Eagles are going to have to face one of them.

The Lions lost to the Bengals: With their playoff hopes on the line, the Lions lost to the garbage Bengals, thus ending any hope of at least one mediocre team making the postseason in the NFC.

The Giants lost to the Cardinals: Heading into Week 16, the Giants were 2-12, and yet they continued to start Eli Manning while leaving rookie third-round pick Davis Webb on the inactive list. In other words, they were still trying to win. Those efforts resulted in a 23-0 shutout at the heads of a losing team. Still, losses are good for the Giants, as they will almost certainly be drafting a quarterback in 2018. The Cleveland Browns locked up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft with their loss Week 16, and the Giants can lock up the second pick with a loss Week 17.

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