The final weekend of the 2022 NFL regular season is here! It’s time to run through a Philadelphia Eagles-focused rooting guide for all of the Week 18 games.
This exercise is especially interesting this year since the Birds have more things to care about than usual due to owning a first-round pick from the New Orleans Saints in the 2023 NFL Draft.
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
2023 NFL DRAFT ORDER
NEW YORK GIANTS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: For the third week in a row, the Birds have a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. The Eagles must beat or tie the Giants to get the job done. Failure to do so will be pretty pathetic.
THE BACKUP PLAN
If the Eagles can’t beat the Giants’ backups, well, that would be an awful look. But they can still get the No. 1 seed with help from both San Francisco AND Dallas losing.
ARIZONA CARDINALS at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Keeping the 49ers away from the highest possible seed for them seems ideal in theory. Then again, it could be preferable to have them be the No. 2 seed and go up against Aaron Rodgers in the wild card round. The Eagles should be happy to see either San Fran or Green Bay eliminated before the divisional round. But since we titled this section the backup plan, we’re focusing on the Eagles getting the No. 1 seed. Root for the Cardinals (unless the Eagles are clearly beating the Giants).
DALLAS COWBOYS at WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: A Commanders win works towards damaging their draft positioning and helping the Eagles clinch the No. 1 seed if they can’t beat New York. A Commanders win also helps to keep them below the Saints pick owed to Philly in the draft order. Root for the Commanders.
NFC PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS
MINNESOTA VIKINGS at CHICAGO BEARS: If the Vikings win and the 49ers lose, Minnesota can reclaim the No. 2 seed. If that happens, there’s a decent chance that Rodgers beats Minny again to earn a trip to The Linc in the divisional round. Do you really want the Eagles to host a hot Green Bay team in their first playoff matchup? Root for the Bears.
LOS ANGELES RAMS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: There’s a case to be made the Seahawks are the least threatening team in the race for the No. 7 seed. Seattle ranks 11th in weighted DVOA while Detroit is 7th and Green Bay is 9th. The Seahawks are only 2-4 in their last six games, with wins over NYJ and LAR. Root for the Seahawks.
DETROIT LIONS at GREEN BAY PACKERS: Would you rather the Eagles potentially face one of Jared Goff/Geno Smith ... or Aaron Rodgers? Feels like an easy call. No need to see the Packers make the playoffs. A Lions win combined with a Seahawks win allows Seattle to make the No. 7 seed. Root for the Lions.
DRAFT PICK WATCH
CAROLINA PANTHERS at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: The Saints losing gives the Eagles a chance at getting the No. 10 overall pick via New Orleans in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Saints winning could mean getting the No. 14 overall pick. Root hard for the Saints to lose. Root for the Panthers.
NEW YORK JETS at MIAMI DOLPHINS: The Saints pick owed to Philly has a better chance of moving below the Jets’ selection. Root for the Jets.
CLEVELAND BROWNS at PITTSBURGH STEELERS: The Browns’ pick owed to Houston is currently only two spots below the Saints pick owed to Philly. Root for the Browns.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at BUFFALO BILLS: A Pats loss combined with a Saints win could potentially see New Orleans below New England in the draft order. Not good. Root for the Patriots.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at ATLANTA FALCONS: The Saints pick owed to Philly probably can’t catch up to the Falcons’ selection since there’s a big gap as it relates to Atlanta’s strength of schedule tiebreaker. But doesn’t hurt to root for a Falcons win against the Bucs’ backups anyway. Root for the Falcons.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: When it comes to the Eagles’ interests, the Raiders are in a similar situation to the Falcons. Root for the Raiders.
LET’S GO DOUG!
TENNESSEE TITANS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Doug Pederson has a chance to take the Jags from being the worst team in the league for two straight seasons to being AFC South champions. Here’s rooting for the only Super Bowl champion head coach in Eagles franchise history. Root for the Jaguars.
(NOTE: A Titans win is potentially more helpful to the Eagles since Tennessee is currently only one spot behind the Saints in the draft order due to a .002 difference in strength of schedule. But eff it. Here’s hoping for a Saints loss so that the Titans can also lose and still stay below New Orleans in the draft order.)
BALTIMORE RAVENS at CINCINNATI BENGALS: The Ravens aren’t getting to the Super Bowl but it would be preferable to see them there over Cincy. Root for the Ravens.
HOUSTON TEXANS at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Better for the Eagles to see the No. 1 pick go to an AFC team (the Texans) instead of an NFC team (the Bears). Root for the Colts.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at DENVER BRONCOS: Doesn’t matter.