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NFL Playoff Picture: How the Eagles can still win the No. 1 seed

Philadelphia is still in contention for a first-round bye.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3 in their last four games.

Their sole win came against a New York Giants team that, despite ranking 32nd in point differential and DVOA, was able to cover the spread and came 26 yards away from potentially forcing overtime.

So, yeah, it’s not difficult to not feel great about the Birds right now.

Even some players are admittedly frustrated with how things have been going lately.

And yet ... with the San Francisco 49ers getting dominated by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night ... the Eagles are still alive for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture.

Had the Eagles not blown the Seattle Seahawks game (or New York Jets game, for that matter), they would be two wins away from clinching a first-round bye without needing any outside help. Beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 and the Giants in Week 18 ... and the top spot would be theirs. Annoying that that isn’t the case.

Instead, the Eagles WILL need some help.

Here’s a look at the desired results (excluding ties):

  • EAGLES: Win vs. Cardinals in Week 17 AND win at Giants in Week 18
  • 49ERS: Lose at Commanders in Week 17 OR lose vs. Rams in Week 18
  • LIONS: Lose at Cowboys in Week 17 OR lose vs. Vikings in Week 18

It’s hard to count on the 49ers losing again with how good they’ve looked at their best. Then again, they got banged up ahead of playing at a rest disadvantage on the road against a Commanders team that’s looked more competitive with Jacoby Brissett under center. It’s also possible that the Rams need to win in Week 18 to clinch a playoff spot.

The Lions losing this week is seen as a likely outcome considering how good the Cowboys have been at home. Dallas is actually favored by six points despite losing two games in a row, both on the road. If the Cowboys can’t help the Eagles out, the Vikings might be playing for a chance at a playoff spot in Week 18.

Can we merely assume the Eagles will take care of business the next two weeks? Hard to say yes when they’ve never really made winning look easy. But they will be big betting favorites in each matchup against opponents who’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Is it likely that the ‘Eagles get the No. 1 seed’ scenario unfolds?


The New York Times playoff simulator currently gives Philly a 14% chance of clinching the No. 1 seed.

But that’s obviously a lot better than 0%.




1) San Francisco 49ers: 11-4 (clinched NFC West)
2) Philadelphia Eagles: 11-4
3) Detroit Lions: 11-4 (clinched NFC North)
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 8-7


5) Dallas Cowboys: 10-5
6) Los Angeles Rams: 8-7
7) Seattle Seahawks: 8-7


8) Minnesota Vikings: 7-8
9) Atlanta Falcons: 7-8
10) Green Bay Packers: 7-8
11) New Orleans Saints: 7-8


12) Chicago Bears: 6-9


13) New York Giants: 5-10
14) Washington Commanders: 4-11
15) Arizona Cardinals: 3-12
16) Carolina Panthers: 2-13

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