Four losses in their first nine games means the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) technically have lost control of their playoff destiny. Even if they win out to finish at 12-4, they would need help to get in either as the NFC East winner or as a wildcard entry.
But not to worry. Being denied the division title if they win out would mean the Dallas Cowboys (5-3) would have to win all the rest of their games (other than their one remaining matchup with the Eagles on Dec. 22), which would give Dallas the division title based on the fourth tiebreaker: conference record.
However, it’s doubtful that either team wins out, and plenty of common opponents, including four in the division, remain for the Eagles. More on that in a minute.
For now, if the Cowboys fall at home to Minnesota this Sunday night, the script would flip, with the Eagles, who are idle this week, back in control of their destiny as division winners.
Getting in as one of the two NFC wildcard teams could prove to be more difficult. As it stands heading into Week 10, eight teams have better records, though the Los Angeles Rams (5-3) and Carolina Panthers (5-3) have played one less game.
Still, the only head-to-head tiebreaker the Eagles own is with the Green Bay Packers, who stand atop the NFC North at 7-2. Losses to other NFC North teams Minnesota (6-3) and Detroit (3-4-1) could prove to be critical in the end.
Betonline.ag has the Cowboys as -125 to win the division. The Eagles are the next best bet at +125.
However, the Eagles still are tied with Dallas with the fourth-best odds to win the conference championship at +800, behind New Orleans (+250), San Francisco (+325) and Green Bay (+700).
So if the Eagles, who are riding a two-game winning streak, keep trending in that direction, the chances are very good that they not only make the postseason, but host at least one playoff game.
However, they learned on Monday that top wide receiver DeSean Jackson would have to have core muscle surgery, finishing him for the year. And beating the Patriots after their off week will prove to be difficult because the Patriots are off this week too.
The Eagles essentially can’t afford losses in any of their five remaining NFC games, especially the four in their division.
Eagles’ remaining schedule
vs. New England
vs. New York Giants
at New York Giants
Cowboys remaining schedule
at New England
vs. Los Angeles Rams