Now that the sixteenth 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 16 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
NEW YORK GIANTS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: With a win over the Giants, the Eagles’ playoff chances increase from 41% to 49% (per FiveThirtyEight). If the Eagles somehow get swept by the Giants, which would be incredibly pathetic, their chances drop from 41% to 12%. Gotta win! Root for the Eagles.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM at DALLAS COWBOYS: There’s a way for the Eagles to still win the division but it’s incredibly unlikely. Dallas might clinch the NFC East before even playing on Sunday night. Even if that’s the case, the Eagles would still prefer to see them lose and stay away from the No. 1 seed. The Eagles shouldn’t have to worry about WFT picking up a win with them already beating Washington on Tuesday and getting another opportunity to do the same thing again next weekend. Root for the Football Team.
WILD CARD FEVER
LOS ANGELES RAMS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Huge game for the Eagles’ playoff chances. The Birds need Minnesota to lose at least once down the stretch. As good friend Deniz Selman points out, there’s an opportunity for the Eagles to clinch a playoff spot as soon as Week 17 if the Vikes lose to Sean McVay’s squad. I have faith Kirk Cousins will come up small in a big spot for his team. A Los Angeles win also gives them a chance to move ahead of Dallas in the playoff picture. Root for the Rams.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at CAROLINA PANTHERS: An Eagles win combined with a Rams win and a Bucs win officially gives Philly control over their own fate. A Bucs win is also bad for the Cowboys when it comes to playoff seeding. Root for the Buccaneers.
MIAMI DOLPHINS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: One can debate what Eagles fans should be rooting for in this game. A Dolphins loss is helpful to the Eagles when it comes to improving the pick that Miami owes to Philly in the 2022 NFL Draft. But a Saints loss is more helpful to the Eagles when it comes to Philly making the playoffs this year. Though the draft positioning is likely more valuable in the long-term, it’s hard to fault anyone rooting for the more instant gratification of making the postseason. Root for the Dolphins.
DRAFT PICK WATCH
BUFFALO BILLS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: The Colts are probably making the playoffs; FiveThirtyEight puts them at a 98% chance following Indy’s win over the Cardinals. Still, might as well root for them to choke and miss it somehow. The Bills winning is worse for the Colts as it creates more wild card competition. Root for the Bills.
CHICAGO BEARS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: The Giants own Chicago’s 2022 first-round pick. That selection is currently projected to be at No. 5 overall. Would be nice to see it drop in the draft order in the final weeks. Root for da Bears.
DENVER BRONCOS at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Both teams are 7-7 but the Raiders are closer to a playoff spot with an edge in conference record: 5-4 vs. 3-6. The Raiders also play the Colts next week and can earn a valuable tiebreaker over Indy. Root for the Raiders.