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Eagles Rebound: Crunching The Numbers Week 12

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The Eagles avoided the trap game with a win they sorely needed before their huge showdown with Dallas. Did the rest of the league shake up enough for a solid redemption?

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First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving! It happens to be my favorite holiday for six solid reasons: food, food, food, football, football, and football. As an added bonus, it is the lone holiday left on the American calendar that hasn't been completely ruined by shallow advertising campaigns and marketing strategies. But I digress.

The NFL is getting to that portion of the season where some teams are hitting their stride at the right time while others are slumping and need to have a good December if they want their playoff hopes to stay alive. This leads to a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability, so the numbers could potentially give us some help when we're trying to figure it all out. Starting this week, I will also throw in each team's "predicted playoff seed" based upon how they are ranked against their division and conference rivals, which can be compared to the actual playoff picture as it stands now.

Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 12

1. New England (21.424, 1st Seed): The Patriots have been on fire recently, dismantling each opponent that has had the misfortune to play them. That loss to Kansas City doesn't even feel like it happened in the same season. And unlike years prior, the defense is actually decent, which makes them that much more intimidating. Last Week: 2, 19.950

2. Green Bay (19.550, 1st Seed): They squeaked by over a bad division rival last week, but they still won. The Packers have gone from being out of the playoff picture to gunning for homefield advantage in the playoffs, which is probably giving every other NFC team nightmares. Last Week: 1, 19.849

3. Denver (17.285, 2nd Seed): How much longer will Peyton Manning play? Sure, the Broncos look like a lock for the second seed in the playoffs, but after that performance on Sunday you have to doubt whether they could beat Tom Brady in the playoffs again. Should the playoffs go sour this year Elway better hope he plays in 2015 and then draft a quarterback.  Last Week: 3, 17.314

4. Baltimore (16.380, 3rd Seed): The Ravens sit a half-game behind the Bengals, just like everyone else in that division. It's easy to wonder whether a good coach like Harbaugh would allow a tie to the Panthers be the reason his team didn't win their division. Last Week: 4, 16.270

5. Indianapolis (13.880, 4th Seed): Can we just say the Colts had a bye this week? Not sure if there's too much to gather with their drubbing of the laughable Jaguars. It did let them move up three spots, so they have that going for them, I guess. Last Week: 8, 12.610

6. Miami (12.799, 5th Seed): Boy, did the Dolphins give it their all against the Broncos. Their offense certainly delivered a winning performance, but that secondary finally found its kryptonite, and its name is Demaryius Thomas. Last Week: 5, 14.517

7. Seattle (12.750, 2nd Seed): After Drew Stanton took over the reigns in Arizona the Seahawks probably smelled blood in the water and took care of business on Sunday. With their eyes now set on retaking the division it is painful to imagine having two of the league's best homefield advantages as the top two seeds in the NFC. Last Week: 9, 12.293

8. Philadelphia (12.515, 3rd Seed): The Eagles moved back into the top ten after steamrolling the Titans. I'm hesitant to call Philly's newfound prowess at home legit since they have only played bad teams at the Linc (combined win percentage: .327). But that can be a discussion for another day as they play Dallas on the road this week in what should be a great game. Last Week: 12, 10.875

9. Kansas City (11.978, 6th Seed): Andy Reid may have turned the Chiefs around, but he is still Andy Reid. It seems like he always falls to the trap game at least once a year, and there was no game more likely on the schedule than a short week against the Raiders on the road. Any dreams they entertained of winning the division before this game are probably gone now. Last Week: 7, 12.897

10. Dallas (11.921, 5th Seed): The Cowboys have been playing good football this season, but they are clearly suspect in a number of areas. Dallas fans have to be crossing their fingers and hoping that Jeremy Maclin doesn't do to them what Odell Beckham Jr. has done all season.  Last Week: 10, 12.110

11. Cincinnati (10.830): The Bengals have managed to hang around even though they fell off the shelf quickly after that hot start. The back-to-back road wins are impressive and should serve as a reminder that as long as they are well-coached they should remain competitive. Last Week: 14, 9.254

12. Cleveland (10.727): Somehow, in spite of Brian Hoyer's awful day, the Browns won. I'm not sure if that is a testament to their resiliency, the Falcons' awfulness, or both. Last Week: 11, 10.937

13. Arizona (10.659, 6th seed): Cardinals fans are probably shaking in their boots after that wake-up call last week. In one game the mission objective for this team has gone from securing the first seed in the playoffs to holding onto a spot in January in a division where everyone likes to beat each other up. Last Week: 6, 13.493

14. Buffalo (9.212): The Bills crushed both the Jets on Monday and my fantasy playoff hopes with the huge performance by their defense. They are a much improved team that should only get better, but 2014 seems like a long shot. Just finishing at .500 or above should be considered a success at this point. Last Week: 20, 5.470

15. San Diego (8.801): The Chargers may technically have the sixth seed right now, but the numbers say it won't last unless they can start beating up on teams again. Whatever they had at the beginning of the season just doesn't seem to be there anymore. Last Week: 15, 8.555

16. Houston (8.206): A tough break for the Texans who just lost their chance to evaluate Ryan Mallett before the 2015 draft. Something tells me O'Brien gives him the benefit of the doubt and starts him next season. Last Week: 13, 9.796

17. Pittsburgh (7.954): A late bye week for the Steelers, so no change in score. They did move up one spot though. I'll be looking to see if they can pull it together for December - otherwise, Tomlin should probably be shown the door. Last Week: 18, 7.954

18. San Francisco (7.424): Remember earlier in the season, when there were reports that the players would want Jim Harbaugh out even if they won the Super Bowl? If that is true, I'm curious about what they're playing for, considering that they are very much alive in the playoff picture. Last Week: 19, 7.351

19. New Orleans (6.461, 4th seed): Another week, another home loss for the Saints. I hope more than anything that either they or the Falcons win out so the division winner has a record above .500, but I'm not sure if that is possible at this point. Last Week: 17, 8.048

20. Detroit (5.273): The Lions have finally shown their true colors that the numbers have been predicting for a while now. It's a shame to waste that good defense - time to see if they address that offensive line in the offseason.  Last Week: 16, 8.258

21. Atlanta (3.725): The Falcons lose, and yet by virtue of the Ravens find themselves atop their division. I wonder if the eventual NFC South winner will even feel good about being in the playoffs considering how much better the rest of the conference is. Last Week: 21, 3.487

22. New York Giants (-1.086): I unfortunately was unable to watch that catch live, but when I saw the highlight I initially scoffed when Collinsworth said, "That may be the greatest catch I've ever seen in my life." Then I saw the slow-motion replay and thought, "That might actually be the greatest catch I've ever seen in my life." Last Week: 23, -1.148

23. Minnesota (-1.147): If anything, the Vikings showed the rest of the league how to hold the Packers to a beatable score. It'll take a better offense to actually defeat Aaron Rodgers, though. Last Week: 22, -1.109

24. Chicago (-1.477): The Bears won at home! During Lovie Smith's return to Soldier Field, no less. Too bad that'll most likely be the highlight of their season. Last Week: 25, -3.632

25. Washington (-2.121): What a bombshell that was about RGIII being benched. It's a good thing the Eagles have a shining example in their own division of why they shouldn't move up to draft Mariota in April. Last Week: 24, -2.375

26. St. Louis (-4.309): I'll give it to the Rams for playing good teams tough. It'll be enough to save Fisher his job, but he'll likely need to produce results next year. Last Week: 28, -4.530

27. Carolina (-4.503): No change in score for the last bye week team. The fact that this team is still in the playoff hunt is absolutely pathetic. Last Week: 27, -4.503

28. Tennessee (-5.191): Mettenberger had a good day, as most quarterbacks do against the Eagles, but there are so many other things wrong with this team that it didn't matter, not by a long shot. Last Week: 26, -4.106

29. Tampa Bay (-6.441): Talk about a team with split personalities. The Bears and Redskins are on similar planes, and yet the Buccaneers couldn't produce a similar performance. Hard to imagine what'll happen in the offseason. Last Week: 29, -6.002

30. Oakland (-7.687): I predicted last week that the Raiders would get a win eventually, and it happened the very next day against the Chiefs. It may take another season or two, but Oakland looks like their finally forming a good foundation after years of irrelevancy. Last Week: 31, -9.691

31. New York Jets (-10.454): The Jets were on a neutral field and still played like they were in the snow in Buffalo. I'm not sure if any team needs to hit the reset button more than this team, including the Jaguars. Last Week: 30, -7.529

32. Jacksonville (-11.622): Another loss for the Jaguars. I'm surprised there haven't been more rumors about Bradley being on the chopping block. Remember when he was almost the Eagles' head coach? Last Week: 32, -11.050

So what do you guys think? Who was too high? Too low? How about the Eagles? Sound off in the comments below, have a Happy Thanksgiving, don't forget to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and GO EAGLES!