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NFL Playoff Picture: Cowboys loss to Patriots keeps Eagles alive in the NFC East

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Believe it or not, there’s still hope.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles dropped to 5-6 by losing to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. It doesn’t feel like there’s much hope for the Birds given their recent struggles, especially on offense.

And yet, the Eagles are still very much alive in the NFL playoff picture.

The Dallas Cowboys losing to the New England Patriots was a significant development for Philly’s postseason aspirations. Had the Cowboys won, Dallas would’ve moved two games ahead of the Eagles. The Cowboys also would’ve neutralized the “common games” tiebreaker that the Eagles currently possess.

But now there’s only one game separating the Eagles and Cowboys with five weeks remaining. Let’s look at each team’s remaining schedule.

EAGLES’ LAST FIVE GAMES

Week 13 - at Miami Dolphins (2-9)
Week 14 - vs. New York Giants (2-9)
Week 15 - at Washington (2-9)
Week 16 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Week 17 - at New York Giants (2-9)

COWBOYS’ LAST FIVE GAMES

Week 13 - vs. Buffalo Bills (8-3)
Week 14 - at Chicago Bears (5-6)
Week 15 - vs. Los Angeles Rams (6-4)
Week 16 - at Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
Week 17 - vs. Washington (2-9)

The Eagles clearly have the easier schedule on paper. If the Birds can take care of business against their inferior opponents (not a given!), they can win the NFC East by also beating the Cowboys in the penultimate week of the regular season.

It’s sure not easy to envision the Eagles as a playoff team given how bad the offense has looked. It’s hard to be super optimistic about them turning things around.

But, hey, never say never. The Eagles have previously looked dead in the water during the Doug Pederson era. It felt like the 2017 season was over when Carson Wentz suffered his ACL injury. Then the Eagles won the Super Bowl. It felt like the 2018 season was over when the Eagles dropped to 6-7 ahead of a road game in Los Angeles. Then the Eagles made it to the Divisional Round. Of course, Nick Foles factored in to those scenarios and he’s no longer around.

We’ll see what happens. It’s entirely possible the Eagles’ struggles will continue and they’ll miss the playoffs. I’ve fully been expecting that to happen since the bye week.

Let’s see if they can find a way to defy the doubters once again.

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

1 - San Francisco 49ers (9-1)
2 - New Orleans Saints (9-2)
3 - Green Bay Packers (8-2)
4 - Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
5 - Seattle Seahawks (9-2)
6 - Minnesota Vikings (8-3)
...
7 - Los Angeles Rams (6-4)
8 - Chicago Bears (5-6)
9 - Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
10 - Carolina Panthers (5-6)