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NFL Playoff Picture: Eagles get help from the Cowboys

Very kind of you, Dallas.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s normally not a good day for the Philadelphia Eagles when the Dallas Cowboys win.

But the Birds actually benefited from their top rival beating the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday evening.

We wrote about how this result was the preferable outcome in our Week 11 Eagles rooting guide:

DALLAS COWBOYS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Win-win scenario for the Eagles. Barring a tie, either 1) the Eagles gain more cushion atop the NFC with a Vikings loss or 2) the Eagles gain more cushion in the NFC East with a Cowboys loss. The argument here is that the former outcome is preferable. The Eagles’ sights should be set higher than merely securing the division; it’s all about getting the No. 1 seed. Root for the Cowboys. (Gasp!)

Not too often you see “Root for the Cowboys” here at Bleeding Green Nation. But the situation called for it and Dallas delivered.

And so with the Vikings losing and the Eagles (barely) beating the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Philly has regained their two-game lead for the top spot in the NFC playoff picture. The Eagles are 9-1 with a head-to-head tiebreaker over the 8-2 Vikings.

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ remaining schedule:

This stretch might not be as easy as once anticipated. Especially since the Eagles clearly have some issues to sort through after losing to Washington and then narrowly beating Indy. Still, the opportunity is there for them to finish strong and clinch home field advantage.

Now let’s take a look at the Vikings’ schedule:

Minnesota’s remaining strength of schedule (.494) is a bit easier than the Eagles’ situation (.528). All the more reason it was beneficial to see them lose to Dallas.

After Minny, the NFC teams with the most wins are the Cowboys and New York Giants with seven each. The Eagles have already defeated Dallas once and will play them again on Christmas Eve. The Eagles have yet to play the G-Men; their first matchup is set for Week 14.

The good news for the Birds is that the Cowboys and Giants will play each other in just a few days on Thanksgiving. And, no, you should not be rooting for a tie. That’s dumb. The Cowboys clearly pose a bigger threat despite the identical record. The optimal outcome is the Giants beating Dallas on Turkey Day.


1) Philadelphia Eagles: 9-1
2) Minnesota Vikings: 8-2
3) Seattle Seahawks: 6-4
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-5
5) Dallas Cowboys: 7-3
6) New York Giants: 7-3
7) San Francisco 49ers: 5-4

On the outside looking in: Washington Commanders 6-5, Atlanta Falcons 5-6, Detroit Lions 4-6, Arizona Cardinals 4-6

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