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NFC Playoff Picture: Eagles gain a little breathing room but could’ve had more

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Thanks for nothing, Kirk Cousins and Washington football team.

NFL: Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles received a little help in the NFC playoff picture on Sunday. Philadelphia now has some more room for error after the Los Angeles Rams lost their Week 11 game against the Minnesota Vikings. But they could’ve had more breathing room if the Washington Redskins didn’t lose to the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints were in serious jeopardy of losing to Washington at home. The Saints’ defense struggled with Washington’s offense. Jay Gruden’s side was also able to generate pressure on Drew Brees. The Saints showed good fight to tie the game after being down 15 with 5:58 left in the fourth, however, and forced the game to overtime. They were assisted by an incredibly dumb intentional grounding by Kirk Cousins that wiped out a potential game-winning field goal attempt. The Saints went on to kick a game-winning field goal in OT. Total choke job by Cousins. Good luck to the team that’s going to make that empty-stat-stuffing poor man’s Tony Romo the highest paid player in the NFL. What a choke job.

Anyway, back to New Orleans. They’re a good team, for sure, but that defense still has some issues. The Saints plays the Rams in Los Angeles next Sunday. A Rams win would be ideal there.

The Vikings and Rams both entered this week’s game at 7-2. Now the Rams are 7-3 and the Vikings are 8-2. One could argue a Vikings win was the best outcome for the Eagles because Minnesota, with Case Keenum at quarterback, is less threatening than the Los Angeles. The Vikings will play the Lions, who defeated Minny earlier this year, in Detroit on Thanksgiving.

In other good news for the Eagles, the Giants beat the Kansas City Chiefs! At 2-8, New York is already out of playoff contention. All they’re doing is hurting their chances at landing a top quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. Thank you, Andy Reid.

Here’s an updated look at the NFC standings prior to the Eagles’ game against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Philly can advance to 9-1 overall and 7-0 in NFC games with a win.

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

If the season ended today (it doesn’t), these six teams would make the playoffs.

1 - Philadelphia Eagles: 8-1 overall, 6-0 conference

2 - Minnesota Vikings: 8-2 overall, 6-1 conference (direct tie-breaker over Saints)

3 - New Orleans Saints: 8-2 overall, 6-1 conference

4 - Los Angeles Rams: 7-3 overall, 4-3 conference

5 - Carolina Panthers: 7-3 overall, 4-3 conference

6 - Seattle Seahawks: 6-3 overall, 4-2 conference

IN THE HUNT

7 - Detroit Lions: 6-4 overall, 5-3 conference

8 - Atlanta Falcons: 5-4 overall, 4-1 conference

9 - Dallas Cowboys: 5-4 overall, 4-3 conference

10 - Green Bay Packers: 5-5 overall, 4-4 conference