Now that the fourteenth Sunday of the 2021 NFL regular season is here, it’s time to run through a Philadelphia Eagles-focused rooting guide for all of the Week 14 games. This exercise will be especially interesting this year since the Birds have more things to care about than usual due to owning picks from the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts in the 2022 NFL Draft.
First, let’s establish some context.
2022 NFL DRAFT ORDER
The Eagles don’t play this week because they’re on their bye. Coincidentally, the Colts and Dolphins are also off.
DALLAS COWBOYS at WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM: We wrote about this game at length earlier this week. While it’s never too heartbreaking to see the Cowboys lose, the reality is that a Dallas win benefits the Eagles when it comes to Philly’s playoff chances. Root for the Cowboys.
NEW YORK GIANTS at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: On one hand, a Giants win only serves to damage their draft positioning. On the other hand, a Giants loss only helps Indy’s playoff chances. The Eagles would prefer for the Colts to miss the postseason due to owning their 2022 first-round pick. Root for the Chargers.
DRAFT PICK WATCH
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS at TENNESSEE TITANS: The Eagles don’t want to see the Colts win a way to overtake the Titans in the AFC South. The Jags losing also ensures they stay ahead of NYG in the draft order. Root for the Titans.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at HOUSTON TEXANS: The Seahawks losing keeps the pick they owe to NYJ ahead of the NYG’s two first-round picks. Seattle losing also kills off a very unlikely push for a wild card spot. Root for the Texans.
ATLANTA FALCONS at CAROLINA PANTHERS: From a playoff perspective, this game doesn’t really matter with these teams having identical records and the Eagles owning a tiebreaker over each of them. The interest, then, shifts to how this game impacts the draft order. Carolina is closer to falling behind Miami in the draft order, which would be preferable for the Eagles. Root for the Panthers.
BUFFALO BILLS at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: The Bills are currently ahead of Indy in the playoff picture but a Buffalo loss would change that since the Colts own the tiebreaker. A Bills win here would be big. Root for the Bills.
CHICAGO BEARS at GREEN BAY PACKERS: The Giants own the Bears’ first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Thus, it’s best for Chicago to win games to avoid making that pick even more favorable. Root for da Bears.
WILD CARD FEVER
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS at CINCINNATI BENGALS: Big game as far as the Eagles are concerned for two reasons. 1) The 49ers losing helps towards Philly earning a wild card spot. 2) The Bengals winning helps towards keeping Indy out of the playoffs. Root for the Bengals.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at NEW YORK JETS: The Eagles’ playoff odds increase with a Saints loss. Truth be told, I don’t think the Saints should be causing the Birds to sweat. New Orleans’ outlook is fairly suspect with Taysom Hill playing quarterback for them and the Eagles already own a tiebreaker. Rooting for the Jets to make sure NYJ’s own pick stays ahead of NYG in the draft order seems reasonable to me. Then again, the Saints theoretically have some winnable games to finish the season: NYJ (today), MIA, ATL, and CAR ... plus a Tampa team that they already beat. If we’re going for “better be safe than sorry,” a Saints loss is better. Root for the Jets.
LOS ANGELES RAMS at ARIZONA CARDINALS: The Eagles probably aren’t catching the Rams but it’s not impossible that LA could slip with some tough remaining games on their schedule. The Cards winning is also preferable from the standpoint of keeping Dallas away from the No. 1 seed. Root for the Cardinals.