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Eagles Face Big NFC Showdown: Crunching The Numbers Week 13

For the second time in three games, the Eagles will face against another team adjacent to them in the rankings. Will the outcome this time be better than their last against the Packers?

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It's playoff scenarios galore in the NFL as the league begins to split into four distinct categories: the teams competing for homefield advantage and first-round byes (Denver, New England, Arizona, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Seattle), the teams going into desperation mode to make the playoffs (San Francisco, Kansas City, the NFC South), the teams playing spoiler (mainly the Rams here), and everyone else. With such a convoluted dynamic, what can the numbers do to help make sense of things?

Once again, I will be adding in each team's predicted playoff seed based upon how they are ranked against their division and their conference. This can be compared to the actual playoff picture for reference.

Crunching The Numbers Rank Index, Week 13

1. New England (19.779, 1st Seed): While they lost, the Patriots played the Packers close enough to edge them out and retain the top spot. Of course, they gave me a new reason to hate them as they failed to derail Green Bay's mission to secure homefield advantage, but it was satisfying to watch Brady scream the F-bomb in slow motion after the Packers got that last first down. Last Week: 1, 21.424

2. Green Bay (18.748, 1st Seed): There is a noticeable drop in score here for the Pack in spite of their win, which means the rest of the league should take notice on what New England's game plan was. Sure, most teams don't have the corners the Pats do, but that doesn't mean you can't try. After all, Green Bay probably would have lost that game had it been played in Foxborough. Last Week: 2, 19.550

3. Denver (18.050, 2nd Seed): The Broncos took care of business in primetime after that scare against the Dolphins last week. San Diego may now be nipping at the Broncos' heels but it is tough to imagine a scenario where Peyton Manning doesn't have at least a first round bye and a home game in the playoffs.  Last Week: 3, 17.285

4. Baltimore (16.413, 3rd Seed): Because of the close loss, point differential did not really impact the Ravens' score here - but their other stats did. They managed to squeak out a higher score in spite of blowing a 21-point lead, which leads me to believe they can still win this division in spite of being a game and a half behind the BengalsLast Week: 4, 16.380

5. Indianapolis (14.899, 4th Seed): The Colts continue to score points at an alarming rate as their 31.8 points per game is tops in the league. Their defense probably needs a little bit of work before they are Super Bowl-ready, however. Last Week: 5, 13.880

6. Philadelphia (14.641, 2nd Seed): The Eagles cooked the Cowboys like a Thanksgiving turkey last week on national television and now face Seattle, who is ranked one spot below them. The stage is set for an awesome game, but the outcome will likely hinge on which Mark Sanchez decides to show up.  Last Week: 8, 12.515

7. Seattle (14.084, 3rd Seed): Another convincing win for the Seahawks, this time on the road against a reeling San Francisco team. Their defense has not allowed a touchdown (or even multiple field goals) in two games and the team could find themselves on a roll heading into the playoffs if someone doesn't slow them down. Last Week: 7, 12.750

8. Miami (12.778, 5th Seed): The Dolphins slipped two places after edging out the Jets on the road last week. They are still favored to make the playoffs, but they'll have to overcome a Ravens team entering desperation mode to retain that seed. Last Week: 6, 12.799

9. Houston (10.912, 6th Seed): Like the Eagles, the Texans have found that facing Tennessee makes for a good bounce-back game. Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose son is a genius just like him, almost tied a record with six touchdown passes (the same amount Aaron Rodgers tossed against the Bears a few weeks back). Last Week: 16, 8.206

10. Cincinnati (10.548): The Bengals currently have the third seed in the actual playoff picture. However, the AFC North leaves little room for error and they'll have to do better than one-point wins over the Buccaneers if they want to host another playoff game again. Last Week: 11, 10.830

11. Buffalo (10.432): The Bills by and large rolled over a decent Browns team in a game that was much more attractive than anyone would have predicted in August. While they should still contend for a playoff spot in December, should they be left out of the postseason their biggest task will simply be building upon this success next season, which seems more than achievable. Last Week: 14, 9.212

12. Kansas City (9.943): In two short weeks, the Chiefs have gone from potentially challenging Denver for the division title to scrambling just to make the postseason. My, how quickly things can change in the NFL. Last Week: 9, 11.978

13. Arizona (8.867, 5th Seed): Cardinals fans have to be sweating now. Unfortunately for them, Drew Stanton just is not Carson PalmerLast Week: 13, 10.659

14. Cleveland (8.851): And so the Johnny Football era (potentially) begins in Cleveland. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of the underdog, but I believe that Hoyer should probably get another shot to retain his job after leading the Browns to their best season so far in years. Especially since they are still very much alive in the tight AFC North race. Last Week: 12, 10.727

15. Dallas (8.621, 6th Seed): Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just a month ago the Cowboys had the best record in the league. Since then they have gone 2-3 and have yet to break past the eight-win barrier. They may be facing a subpar Bears team, but it's hard to have confidence in them after the Eagles exposed last week that Romo is not completely himself out there on the field. Last Week: 10, 11.921

16. San Diego (8.325): In a mirror image of the Ravens, the Chargers won but saw their score drop. They may make the playoffs on virtue of their hot start padding their record, but I can't really see them going anywhere based upon their overall play. Last Week: 15, 8.801

17. New Orleans (7.296, 4th Seed): The Saints are still behind the Falcons in the playoff picture but greatly helped their chances by beating the Steelers. Now they get a bad Panthers team at home while Atlanta has to try and beat the Packers in Lambeau. ...Then again, who really cares about the NFC South? Last Week: 19, 6.461

18. Detroit (7.197): The Lions picked up a much-needed win in convincing fashion on Thanksgiving, but they are still being forced to keep pace with the Packers. That Week 17 game is starting to loom pretty tall over them. Last Week: 20, 5.273

19. Pittsburgh (6.837): It's safe to say that the two-week hype over the Steelers was pretty unfounded, which the numbers said all along. The team is just good enough to keep their head above water but it's hard to see them competing against the Bengals and Ravens now. Last Week: 17, 7.954

20. Atlanta (5.130): A good quality win for a Falcons team who feels like they are playing spoiler even though they are actually leading their division. Right now their most reasonable expectation is to keep the Monday Night game against Green Bay interesting, which might be asking for much. Last Week: 21, 3.725

21. San Francisco (5.071): The 49ers have been middling around these spots perpetually this season so it's probably okay to assume their season is over. People are saying that if Harbaugh is fired he'll go back to college and I'm just sitting here hoping he stays away from the Big Ten. Last Week: 18, 7.424

22. St. Louis (1.987): I was holding my breath with the Rams that they would not be propelled into playoff contention in the rankings after their shellacking of Oakland. Luckily, they only moved up to twenty-two and that is probably fair for a team that unfortunately turned it on a few weeks too late in the season. Last Week: 26, -4.309

23. Minnesota (1.136): The Vikings got a nice feel-good win at home over a warm-weather team. If there's a silver lining, it's probably that they have something to build on in the future. Last Week: 23, -1.147

24. New York Giants (-0.738): Rock Bottom (noun) - blowing a 21-0 lead against the second-worst team in the league and suffering a seventh consecutive loss. Last Week: 22, -1.086

25. Chicago (-3.034): The Bears started pretty convincingly against the Lions on Thanksgiving but quickly folded faster than a lawn chair. Do you think Mrs. McCaskey is feeling any buyers' remorse about Marc Trestman?   Last Week: 24, -1.477

26. Washington (-3.765): Benching RGIII for Colt McCoy quickly went from "probably making the right move" to "Did they finally find their franchise quarterback on the third string?" My guess is that the Redskins will draft another quarterback anyway (because Dan Snyder), but if McCoy continues to play well he'll be the starter heading into camp next season. Last Week: 25, -2.121

27. Carolina (-5.364): The Panthers are a prime example of what happens when all of your talent leaves at once. The Cowboys have shown that loading your roster with star players can't make you a champion, but Carolina has shown that losing them can certainly turn you into basement dweller. Last Week: 27, -4.503

28. Tampa Bay (-5.530): The Bucs played Cincinnati close, but not close enough. Lovie Smith will have to help orchestrate the draft of his career if he wants to keep his job next season. Assuming he gets to keep it after this one, of course. Last Week: 29, -6.441

29. Tennessee (-7.286): The Titans are quickly collapsing into a punching bag for any team better than "not awful." That defense is going to need a lot of work in the offseason. Last Week: 28, -5.191

30. New York Jets (-9.395): The Jets gave it their all against the Dolphins, but just came up short. Pretty much sums up Rex Ryan's tenure with the team. Last Week: 31, -10.454

31. Jacksonville (-10.187): Thank you, Jaguars, for giving us Eagles fans another reason to make fun of the Giants. The last chapter of Coughlin's coaching legacy might be that he was ushered out the door by the team that he originally made his name with as a head coach. Last Week: 32, -11.622

32. Oakland (-12.608): One week after I applaud the Raiders after earning their first win, they get shut out 52-0 in the most lopsided win in recent NFL memory. Typical. Last Week: 30, -7.687

What do you think? Which teams were too high? Too low? What about the Eagles? Sound off in the comments below!

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