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Eagles Slip, Don't Fall: Crunching The Numbers Week 14

After their disappointing loss to the Seahawks, the Eagles find themselves at a crossroads heading into the second half of their division games. Do the numbers support their bid for a playoff push?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As you are all well aware of now, the Eagles have essentially all but forfeited any hopes they had of achieving a first-round bye in the playoffs. It is not the end of the world, however; they are still in great position to make the playoffs and once you're in it's a crap shoot. Do the statistics support a strong December for the Eagles?

In addition to the rankings, I will also be including each team's predicted playoff seed based upon how they stand up against their division and conference competition. This can be compared to the actual playoff picture for reference.

Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 14

1. New England (19.633, 1st Seed): Once again the Patriots find themselves on the top of the list after their impressive road win over the Chargers on Sunday night. They appear to be in good shape for homefield advantage in the playoffs, and recent memory has shown that unless a great defense goes into New England they won't be leaving victorious. Last Week: 1, 19.779

2. Denver (18.883, 2nd Seed): One wouldn't think that the Broncos would move up a spot a game after Peyton Manning doesn't toss a touchdown pass, but here they are. Denver, with the emergence of a strong running game, is getting dangerous at the right time. The rest of the AFC should take notice. Last Week: 3, 18.050

3. Green Bay (18.384, 1st Seed): The Packers had to defend a furious second-half comeback by the Falcons in which they allowed thirty points. They still escaped with the win, but a shaky performance like that against a middling Falcons team won't get them far in January.  Last Week: 2, 18.748

4. Baltimore (17.421, 3rd Seed): Every week I get blasted in the comments for having the Ravens so high, mainly because of their schedule. As we have seen in the past, a team can be successful in the playoffs as long as they get there, and the Ravens have a manageable schedule  with the Jaguars next week and then a struggling Browns team in Week 17. The Houston game in between could be tricky, but it's hard to argue with the third-best point differential in the league at this point (second only to New England and Green Bay). Last Week: 4, 16.413

5. Seattle (14.536, 2nd Seed): With a dominating road win over a competitive East-coast team, the Seahawks showed that they absolutely belong in the top five. It's starting to look more like the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through Seattle and Green Bay, which might be a death sentence for the other teams in the hunt. Last Week: 7, 14.084

6. Indianapolis (14.298, 4th Seed): The Colts continue to do what they do, and that's win. Normally it's quietly, but last week's came in dramatic fashion over an upstart Cleveland team. If there's anyone that can be counted on to produce a game-winning drive, it's Andrew LuckLast Week: 5, 14.899

7. Philadelphia (12.745, 3rd Seed): The Eagles only dropped one spot after their loss, but it did cost them a projected second seed. It looks like the two defining games of their season this year will be the losses to Seattle and Green Bay, who exposed that the Eagles aren't quite ready for the big time yet. It seems like they are at least a quarterback and one good corner away from getting there. Last Week: 6, 14.641

8. Houston (12.240, 5th Seed): The Texans are getting hot as they head into December and are playing every game as if it is a playoff game. This will bode well for them regardless of how the season turns out because it shows that Bill O'Brien is proving his worth as a head coach. Last Week: 9, 10.912

9. Miami (10.610, 6th Seed): The Dolphins dropped an important game to the Ravens and might find themselves on the outside looking in once the regular season ends. Still, their resilience in 2014 probably saved Tannehill and Philbin their jobs and could be an encouraging sign for future years. Last Week: 8, 12.778

10. Dallas (9.872, 5th Seed): The Cowboys have earned their stripes (er, stars?) as road warriors as they have yet to lose a game away from Jerryworld. The next game could be their biggest road challenge yet as they face the team who just a little under two weeks ago embarrassed them in front of a large national audience. Last Week: 15, 8.621

11. Arizona (9.225, 6th Seed): The Cardinals stopped the bleeding last week as they beat Kansas City in what was a must-win game for both teams. The team seems to be a sure lock for the playoffs but it's hard to see how far they will get against the NFC's best with Stanton under center. Last Week: 13, 8.867

12. Buffalo (9.186): A week ago us Eagles fans were looking at the Bills as our possible savior as they seem to have the defensive firepower to slow down Aaron Rodgers. Now it doesn't seem to matter nearly as much, although I would rather not see Green Bay enter the playoffs riding a massive winning streak. Last Week: 11, 10.432

13. Detroit (9.086): The Lions have tumbled out of the playoff picture here as all they can hope to do is keep pace with Green Bay and then unseat them in Week 17. It's a tall task, but if the above Bills can achieve the impossible we will all be huge Lions fans while we watch the Eagles play the Giants at the end of the season. Last Week: 18, 7.197

14. Kansas City (9.943): The Chiefs are in free fall after they lost three consecutive games. Can Andy Reid work the same December magic that he conjured up with the Eagles all those years?  Last Week: 14, 9.051

15. Cleveland (8.585): The Johnny Manziel era has officially begun in Cleveland. Two big questions will soon be answered - can he make NFL throws and can he stay healthy? He might want to consult RGIII on those topics. Last Week: 14, 8.851

16. Pittsburgh (8.500): The Steelers are alive in the actual playoff picture after their (most likely) season-saving comeback win over the Bengals last week. The numbers still balk at the idea, but the next three weeks (at Atlanta, vs. Chiefs, vs. Bengals) will tell us if they are more reliable than the eye test. Last Week: 19, 6.837

17. Cincinnati (7.783): There was a point in time when the Bengals enjoyed being the number one team on this list. That time has come and gone as they find themselves huffing it just to maintain a thin half-game lead over the Steelers and Ravens. Last Week: 10, 10.548

18. San Diego (7.169): The bad Philip Rivers showed up again and reminded us all why the Chargers slumped after their hot start. Can they pull it back together again to close out the season? The numbers aren't optimistic. Last Week: 16, 8.325

19. Atlanta (4.800, 4th Seed): Waaaaay down at nineteenth are our current NFC South leaders! The Falcons certainly gave the Packers their all and, to their credit, appear to be peaking at the right time. Unfortunately, they still just don't seem good enough to compete with any team they might face in the postseason. Last Week: 20, 5.130

20. St. Louis (4.598): The Rams have scored an insane 83 unanswered points over the last three weeks as they have vaulted up the rankings. They haven't exactly been playing offensive powerhouses, but Jeff Fisher seems to have finally started to extract the talent out of this team we knew was there. They could be dangerous in 2015. Last Week: 22, 1.987

21. New Orleans (4.441): It was a golden opportunity for the Saints to take control of their division, and it's fair to say they blew it by losing at home in hilarious fashion to the lowly Panthers, 41-10. Then again, we shouldn't expect anything different from the NFC South this season. Last Week: 17, 7.296

22. San Francisco (3.581): The 49ers have officially bottomed out by losing a quasi-home game to the Raiders, who just the week before were decimated by their division rival 52-0. In an example of just how quickly things change in the NFL, Harbaugh is almost certainly on his way out as his main goal shifts from the playoffs to simply avoiding last place in NFC West. Last Week: 21, 5.071

23. New York Giants (2.389): The Giants finally stopped the bleeding against a team that can't seem to beat anyone. Reports say that Coughlin inexplicably still wants to coach and I'm not sure the Maras have the balls to fire him should he refuse to retire. Last Week: 24, -0.738

24. Minnesota (1.950): It took overtime for the Vikings to beat the Jets, but they managed to grab their second straight win. Mike Zimmer's squad is able to beat teams on a similar plane as them, which should bode well for the future. Last Week: 23, 1.136

25. Carolina (-1.379): The Panthers can still repeat as division champions. With a current record of 4-8-1. Gross. Last Week: 27, -5.364

26. Chicago (-3.785): The Bears lost at home! Are you surprised? I certainly am not. This has to be one of the most underperforming teams in the league since the 2012 Eagles. Last Week: 25, -3.034

27. Washington (-5.723): Is there any team that is more of a mess than the Redskins? Jay Gruden spits in the eye of Dan Snyder and benches RGIII, just to watch his quarterback of choice fail to score at home and then get injured in the fourth quarter. All of this amid reports that Gruden would be fired before the impeccable Griffin would be cut, in spite of his dual residence at the rehab clinic. This is a team that has truly earned the nickname "Lolskins." Last Week: 26, -3.765

28. Tampa Bay (-6.846): The Buccaneers are a team that desperately needs to hit the reset button. They lack true firepower on offense and any playmakers in the secondary on defense. They are also the only team that has failed to win a home game this season. Last Week: 28, -5.530

29. New York Jets (-8.813): Say what you want about Rex Ryan, but when his teams are playing in a game they believe they can win, they give it their all. He's still a terrible head coach for sure, but he'll find a nice job as a defensive coordinator after he gets canned. Last Week: 30, -9.395

30. Tennessee (-9.182): The Titans' two wins have come against a Chiefs team they caught napping in Week 1 and then barely scraped by Jacksonville in Week 6. That's pitiful. Last Week: 29, -7.286

31. Oakland (-9.741): I have to say that I respect the Raiders' heart. Many 1-11 teams would give up on the season after losing the way they did to the Rams. But the Raiders - like the Raiders teams of old - kept on fighting and took down a team that had been to the Super Bowl just two years ago. Now they just need to build for the future. Last Week: 32, -12.608

32. Jacksonville (-10.561): Aaaaand the Jaguars are back in the basement. Hopefully they got some sun in their brief appearance on the surface. Last Week: 31, -10.187

So what are your thoughts? Which teams are too high? Too low? What about the Eagles? Sound off in the comments below!

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