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NFC Playoff Picture: Saints loss to Falcons is good for Eagles

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Updated standings.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here’s a look at the updated NFC playoff picture after the Atlanta Falcons’ 20-17 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. In short: this Saints loss is good for the Eagles.

Top six seeds

1 - Minnesota Vikings: 10-2 overall, 8-1 conference (strength of victory tie-breaker over PHI)

2 - Philadelphia Eagles: 10-2 overall, 8-1 conference

3 - Los Angeles Rams: 9-3 overall, 6-3 conference (direct tie-breaker over NO)

4 - New Orleans Saints: 9-4 overall, 7-3 conference

5 - Seattle Seahawks: 8-4 overall, 6-3 conference

6 - Carolina Panthers: 8-4 overall, 4-4 conference

In the hunt

7 - Atlanta Falcons: 8-5 overall, 7-2 conference

8 - Detroit Lions: 6-6 overall, 5-4 conference (direct tie-breaker over GB, common games tie-breaker over DAL)

9 - Green Bay Packers: 6-6 overall, 5-4 conference (direct tie-breaker over DAL)

10 - Dallas Cowboys: 6-6 overall, 5-4 conference

ANALYSIS

The Saints losing helps the Eagles in several ways.

First, it gives the Eagles less competition in their hunt for a first-round bye. More breathing room for the Birds. If the Eagles beat the Rams on Sunday (no small task), Philly should be in in great shape to land ones of the top two seeds in the 2018 NFL playoffs. The Eagles would be up two games on both the Saints and Rams with only three weeks remaining. Plus the Eagles would have a head-to-head tie-breaker over L.A.

Meanwhile, the Falcons’ win is bad news for several other teams in the playoff hunt. If I’m the Eagles, I’m glad there’s now more pressure on Seattle to keeping winning. Atlanta has a direct tie-breaker over them. I’d also be glad there’s less of a chance the Packers get Aaron Rodgers back and somehow get in as a wild card. I’d also also be glad the Cowboys’ playoff hopes got even slimmer.

Getting help is always nice. Speaking of, the Eagles can actually officially clinch the NFC East on Sunday before they even play if the Giants beat the Cowboys. A Vikings loss to the Panthers could also allow Philly to get back to the No. 1 seed.

But ultimately the Eagles need to help themselves and get back on track after losing in Seattle last Sunday.

Beat the Rams and the Eagles are in good shape.