The Eagles (4-9-1) are in jeopardy of failing to extend their NFC playoff streak to four seasons under coach Doug Pederson. After a run of two NFC East titles with a wild-card berth in between, Philadelphia, fourth place in the division in 2020, is on the brink of elimination.
This season, the Eagles won’t be getting to 9-7 for a third consecutive year, but given the sorry state of their weak division, they still have a chance to make the playoffs at 6-9-1.
The good news for Philadelphia is that it controls much of situation, only needing two bits of outside help beyond winning its final two games. Here’s a breakdown of what needs to happen for them to make the NFC championship tournament again as a No. 4 seed, this time with Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback:
1. The Eagles win out to get to 6-9-1
The Eagles need to pass three teams in two weeks and that requires perfection. With their early-season tie against the Bengals, they cannot tie with another team or teams for the division lead.
First up for Philadelphia is a trip to Dallas in Week 16, a team it beat in Week 8. Should the Eagles win that second game to get to 5-9-1, they would eliminate the Cowboys, who would drop behind them at 5-10.
Second is a rematch with Washington in home in Week 17. The Eagles lost the first meeting by blowing a big lead in Week 1. Through all their issues, the Eagles still could finish 4-2 in division play to greatly increase their playoff chances.
2. Washington loses in Week 16
While the Eagles are battling the Cowboys, they also will be rooting for the Panthers to win at Washington as mild underdogs in the same late afternoon window on Sunday. Another win by Washington to get to 7-8 before Week 17 would eliminate both the Eagles and Cowboys, regardless of that game’s result.
3. The Giants lose once
The Giants, like the Cowboys, are 5-9. They could easily fall to 5-10 as big underdogs to the Ravens in Week 16. If that doesn’t happen, then the Eagles would count on the Cowboys to rebound and beat the Giants in New York in Week 7.
Should the Giants go 2-0, they would control of the division should Washington lose once. But if the Giants lose as expected along with Washington, then everything would be right in front of the Eagles.
There’s no doubt a QB change to Hurts has provided a much-needed last-season spark to the offense. The Eagles hope it won’t too big, too late.
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