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NFL Playoff Picture: Here's how the Eagles can earn a first round bye

The No. 2 seed in the NFC is very much in play for the Eagles.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There is some good news and some bad news for the Philadelphia Eagles following the results of Sunday's NFL Week 13 games.

Before we get into that, here's an updated look at the current NFC playoff standings via ESPN.

The bad news is that the Green Bay Packers won. The Packers advanced to 9-3 with a win over the Patriots. Green Bay now owns the No. 2 seed in the NFC. It looks like only a matter of time until they surpass the Arizona Cardinals for the No. 1 spot.  The Packers remaining games are as follows:

Week 14: versus Atlanta Falcons (5-7)
Week 15: at Buffalo Bills (7-5)
Week 16: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-10)
Week 17: versus Detroit Lions (8-4)

It's hard to see the Packers dropping a game there. It's not impossible, but it's certainly not favorable. The Eagles would only have a shot at No. 1 overall if they win out AND the Packers somehow drop one of those games. Note that Green Bay holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over Philadelphia due to their 53-20 win in Week 11.

The Packers finishing at No. 1 in the NFC is bad news for the Eagles and all of the other NFC teams outside of Green Bay. It means that the road to the Super Bowl goes through Lambeau, where Aaron Rodgers is seemingly unbeatable.

But enough of the bad news. The good news for the Eagles is that it's very possible for them to finish with the No. 2 spot in the NFC. That would mean they would have a first round bye. The Eagles' chances at a bye increased on Sunday with an Arizona Cardinals loss to the Atlanta Falcons. With Philadelphia and Arizona both at 9-3, the Cardinals currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker. More importantly, however, the Cardinals just don't look very good with Drew Stanton replacing the injured Carson Palmer. Not to mention that the Cardinals have some tough games coming up:

Week 14: versus Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
Week 15: at St. Louis Rams (5-7)
Week 16: versus Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
Week 17: at San Francisco 49ers (7-5)

It seems likely that the Cardinals will lose at least one of those games if not more. If that's the case, the Eagles will be in good position to solidify their ranking as the No. 2 seed. Meanwhile, the Packers will likely move into the No. 1 spot.

Here's a reminder of what the Eagles final stretch look like:

Week 14: versus Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
Week 15: versus Dallas Cowboys (8-4)
Week 16: at Washington Redskins (3-9)
Week 17: at New York Giants (3-9)

Beating Seattle will be imperative for Philadelphia. The Eagles need to make sure they stay a game ahead of the Seahawks and earn the head-to-head tiebreaker that comes along with the win. Then it's up to the Birds to effectively end the Cowboys' hopes of winning the NFC East with a win in Week 15. A win over the lowly Washington team and then against the struggling Giants in the season finale would allow the Eagles to run the table.

A first round bye is very much within reach. What's most important here for the Eagles is that they've been playing good football recently and things will take care of themselves if they keep winning. For now all they can worry about is beating Seattle.

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