Let’s be clear: the concept of this post isn’t a usual one. There should typically be a focus on a team’s NFL Draft positioning OR their standing in the playoff picture. Not both!
But this is where the 4-8-1 Philadelphia Eagles find themselves after pulling off an upset over the New Orleans Saints in Week 14. So, let’s take a look at each side.
NFL DRAFT ORDER
Here’s how the non-playoff teams currently stack up via Tankathon:
As you can see, the Eagles are currently set to pick at No. 9 overall.
Had the Eagles lost to the Saints, Philly would’ve moved up to No. 4. The Birds actually got some help with the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers winning on Sunday! But that doesn’t matter now.
There are always a lot of cynical “draft position doesn’t matter because the Eagles will screw the pick up anyway!” takes. I obviously get where that sentiment comes from. But 1) hopefully there’s a new general manager making the pick and 2) being higher up at least decreases the margin for error to some extent.
It’s not like we can expect the Eagles to intentionally throw games. Players and coaches are playing for their livelihoods. But we can still recognize that short-term winning can negatively impact the team’s long-term outlook. And that just might be what’s happening here with the Eagles, unfortunately.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
The Eagles’ chances of making the playoffs increased to 7.9% with a win over the Saints, according to Football Outsiders. There’s still hope to win the NFC East! Updated division standings:
1) Washington Football Team: 6-7
2) New York Giants: 5-8
3) Philadelphia Eagles: 4-8-1
4) Dallas Cowboys: 4-9
The great Deniz Selman outlined what the Eagles need to do to make the postseason:
Updated #Eagles playoff scenarios after Week 14. @Bo_Wulf @ZBerm @JimmyKempski pic.twitter.com/Zy4SQPACDW— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) December 14, 2020
Remaining NFC East schedules
|Week 15||at Cardinals (7-6)||vs. 49ers (5-8)||vs. Browns (9-3)||at Seahawks (9-4)|
|Week 16||at Cowboys (4-9)||vs. Eagles (4-8-1)||at Ravens (7-5)||vs. Panthers (4-9)|
|Week 17||vs. Football Team (6-7)||at Giants (5-8)||vs. Cowboys (4-9)||at Eagles (4-8-1)|
It’s not insane to think the Eagles could actually pull this off. We’ve obviously seen them make late season runs during the past two years. The Eagles are 13-7 all-time in December under Doug Pederson and 12-4 since 2017.
This year’s team suddenly looks more formidable with Jalen Hurts replacing Carson Wentz. We’ll have to see if Hurts can sustain success with teams getting more film on him.
But even if the Eagles DO start to get hot, they still might miss out on clinching the NFC East. Washington’s defense is pretty legit and I think they win at least one of their next two games, if not both. Two more Washington wins clinches the division for the Football Team while one in the next two weeks means the Eagles need to win out.
It’s very possible the Eagles fall into a gap here where they neither make the playoffs nor get a super high pick. I suppose that’d be a fittingly disappointing ending to their 2020 season.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
1) Green Bay Packers: 10-3
2) New Orleans Saints: 10-3
3) Los Angeles Rams: 9-4
4) Washington Football Team: 6-7
5) Seattle Seahawks: 9-4
6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-5
7) Arizona Cardinals: 7-6