The Philadelphia Eagles are alive and well in the 2016 NFC Playoff Picture after another big win on Sunday. After looking like they were dead in the water at 4-7, the Birds are now 6-7 with three games to go.
The good news for the Eagles is that they control whether they make the playoffs or not. Winning the NFC East is this simple: just beat the Washington Redskins in Week 16 and the New York Giants in Week 17. If the Eagles do that, they're in. If the Birds can finish the season with two straight victories, it doesn't matter if the Eagles win or lose against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15.
Let's assume the Eagles lose to the Cardinals since Arizona is favored to win. Let's also assume Washington and New York win all of their non-Eagles games. If that's what happens, the Eagles, Washington, and Giants would all be 8-8. The Eagles would have the tiebreaker over Washington due to a better division record (4-2 over 3-3) along with a direct head-to-head tiebreaker (2-0) over the Giants.
Even better news is that the Eagles can actually clinch the NFC East as soon as Week 16. It won't be easy because they need a lot of things to go right to make it happen, but it's at least worth noting. Here's what the Eagles would need in that case: a Giants loss to both the Dolphins on Monday night and the Panthers next Sunday, a Washington loss to the Bills next Sunday, and an Eagles win both over the Cardinals next Sunday and Washington in Week 16. Again, not super likely, but still possible. If the Eagles do that, they would have the option to rest their starters in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Giants.
If the Eagles make the playoffs, they'll likely be the No. 4 seed. As of now, that means they would host the Seattle Seahawks in Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. The Eagles lost to the Seahawks at home last season by a final score of 24 to 14. Seattle has been heating up in recent weeks.
Here's a look at each NFC East team's remaining schedule:
Eagles - home vs. Cardinals, home vs. Washington, away at Giants
Washington - home vs. Bills, away at Eagles, away at Cowboys
Giants - away at Dolphins (MNF), home vs. Panthers, home vs. Vikings, home vs. Eagles
Cowboys - home vs. Jets, away at Bills, home vs. Washington
Here's a look at the complete NFC playoff picture:
1) Carolina Panthers (13-0) - Clinched division and first round bye
2) Arizona Cardinals (11-2) - Clinched playoff berth
3) Green Bay Packers (9-4)
4) Washington Redskins (6-7)
5) Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
6) Minnesota Vikings (8-5)