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Eagles rooting guide for Week 18 games

Sunday afternoon reference material.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Now that the seventeenth 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 17 games.

First, let’s establish some context.

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE

Via ESPN:

2022 NFL DRAFT ORDER

Via Tankathon:

EAGLES PLAYOFF OPPONENT

The Eagles will play one of four possible teams in the first round but there are five different scenarios:

Who you root for on Sunday obviously depends on which team you think is the most ideal first round opponent.

The thinking here is that the Los Angeles Rams could be a desirable matchup. Yes, the Rams have some very talented players. But Matthew Stafford has been struggling to end the regular season and it’s not like he has a great track record of playoff success. Sean McVay can be counted on to be too conservative in a big moment.

If you’re of the mind that you want to see the Eagles play the Rams, then you’ll want the Rams to beat the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons to beat the New Orleans Saints.

If you want the Eagles to have a shot at avoiding the Green Bay Packers in the second round, then you’ll want the Rams to win and the Saints to win. The Bucs might be more beatable than they were when the Eagles previously faced them considering Antonio Brown is out of the picture, Chris Godwin is on injured reserve, and Mike Evans has been banged up. Then again, beating Tom Brady is never easy.

Many would argue the Arizona Cardinals are an ideal team to play given their recent inconsistency. But it’s not easy to count on the 49ers and Carolina Panthers (especially the latter) pulling off upsets. Could be even more difficult to also count on those things AND a Seattle Seahawks win to have the Eagles play the Cowboys.

Like many things in life, it’s all in what you want.

DRAFT PICK WATCH

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: The Colts will clinch a playoff spot — and thus a first-round pick owed to the Eagles outside of the top 18 in the 2021 NFL Draft — with a win over the Jags. It would be awesome to see Jacksonville pull off the upset and leave Carson Wentz and company on the outside looking in. Root for the Jaguars.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at MIAMI DOLPHINS: If the Dolphins lose, the 2022 first-round pick they owe to the Eagles will be no worse than No. 14. It can be as high as No. 11. Root for the Patriots.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM at NEW YORK GIANTS: A Giants win means their own first-round pick will be no higher than No. 5 overall and could fall to No. 6. Unfortunately, the Giants are totally listless. Root for the Giants.

CHICAGO BEARS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS: The Giants own the Bears’ 2022 first-round pick, which is currently slated at No. 8 overall. A Bears win could drop the selection to as low as No. 13. Then again, a Vikings win has the potential to move Miami ahead of Minny in the draft order. The latter is of more interest to the Eagles. Root for the Vikings.

TENNESSEE TITANS at HOUSTON TEXANS: The Giants can move ahead of Houston in the draft order if they win and the Texans lose. Don’t want that happening. Root for the Titans.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at BALTIMORE RAVENS: In the scenario where the Colts lose to the Jags, Indy can get help to still make the posteason with the Steelers either losing or tying. Need to avoid that. Root for the Steelers.

CINCINNATI BENGALS at CLEVELAND BROWNS: A Browns win combined with a Dolphins loss moves Miami ahead of Cleveland in the draft order, which is preferable for the Eagles. Root for the Browns.

NEW YORK JETS at BUFFALO BILLS: The Jets losing ensures they’ll stay ahead of the Giants in the draft order. The Bills will clinch the AFC East with a victory, so it’ll be pretty pathetic if Buffalo can’t come through. Root for the Bills.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: In the scenario where the Colts lose to the Jags, Indy can get help to still make the posteason with the Chargers losing. Root for the Chargers. (Or a tie that would allow both LAC and LVR to get in instead of Indy.)

NOT MUCH MEANING

GREEN BAY PACKERS at DETROIT LIONS: The Packers are already locked in to the No. 1 seed and the Lions have already clinched a top two selection.