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Eagles rooting guide for Week 17 games

Looking at NFL playoff picture and draft order implications.

Dallas Cowboys v Miami Dolphins Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Week 17 of the 2023 NFL regular season is here. To accompany your viewing experience, let’s run through a Philadelphia Eagles-focused rooting guide for all of the games.

EAGLES GAME

ARIZONA CARDINALS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: If the Eagles can’t beat Jonathan Gannon’s Cardinals as 12-point home favorites, well, that’s pretty bad.

NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE: SEED OPTIMIZATION

DETROIT LIONS at DALLAS COWBOYS (Saturday night): The most ideal situation here is a tie. That result would allow 1) the Eagles to officially clinch the NFC East with a win over the Cardinals ... AND ... 2) the Eagles to be no lower than the No. 2 seed with a Week 18 win over the Giants. Of course, a tie is pretty unlikely. Just how unlikely? You can bet $100 on DraftKings Sportsbook to profit $7,500 if it’s a tie. And so if you’re not counting on that to happen and you’re realistically picking one team to root for, it should be the Cowboys. Blasphemous, I know, but it’s what’s best for the Eagles. The Lions losing allows the Birds to be no lower than the No. 2 seed if Philly beats the Giants in Week 18. You can look at the Cowboys losing as a silver lining since it allows the Eagles to clinch the NFC East with a win over the Cards. If a tie isn’t looking likely, root for the Cowboys.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS at WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: In order for the Eagles to get a first-round bye, they need three things: 1) win out, 2) 49ers lose at least one game, 3) Lions lose at least one game. And so the 49ers losing to the Commanders would help the Birds. As an added bonus, it helps to damage Washington’s draft positioning. Root for the Commanders.

LOS ANGELES RAMS at NEW YORK GIANTS: The Rams can clinch a playoff berth with a win AND a Seattle loss OR a tie in the Green Bay-Minnesota game. The Eagles don’t want the Rams to be resting starters in Week 18 because they stand to benefit from the Rams trying to beat the 49ers. Might need that help to get the No. 1 seed. As an added bonus, the Giants winning helps to damage New York’s draft positioning. Root for the Giants.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: The Eagles don’t want the Rams to clinch a playoff spot this week. Seattle winning likely gives the Rams motivation to play their starters against the 49ers in Week 18. Root for the Seahawks.

GREEN BAY PACKERS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS: As previously mentioned, a Rams win plus a Packers-Vikings tie helps LA clinch a playoff spot, which the Eagles don’t want to see. So, for starters, root for no tie. A Vikings win helps keep Minny’s playoff hopes going so that they have more motivation to push hard for a win over the Lions in Week 18, which the Eagles would like to see. Root for the Vikings.

SAINTS DRAFT PICK OWED TO THE EAGLES

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: With a win over the Saints, the Bucs can clinch the NFC South. That would be preferable for two reasons: 1) the Eagles own the Saints’ 2024 second-round pick and keeping New Orleans away from the playoffs ensures the pick remains as favorable as possible ... and ... 2) the Bucs winning allows Tampa to rest their starters in Week 18 ahead of a home game against the Cowboys (as long as the Eagles don’t screw up and lose the NFC East) in the wild card round. Root for the Buccaneers.

ATLANTA FALCONS at CHICAGO BEARS: In case the Bucs lose, the Falcons winning would give the Saints more competition for clinching the NFC South. Root for the Falcons.

DAMAGING DRAFT POSITION FOR THE GIANTS AND COMMANDERS

The current 2024 NFL Draft order for non-playoff teams via Tankathon:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at BUFFALO BILLS: The Eagles want to see the Pats stay ahead of the Giants and move ahead of the Commanders in the draft order. Root for the Bills.

TENNESSEE TITANS at HOUSTON TEXANS: The Eagles want to see the Titans move ahead of the Giants and Commanders in the draft order. Root for the Texans.

CAROLINA PANTHERS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: The Panthers can clinch their pick owed to Chicago being higher than the Commanders with a loss. Also, go Doug Pederson. Root for the Jaguars.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS at DENVER BRONCOS: The Bolts have a chance to get ahead of the Giants and Commanders in the draft order with more losing. Root for the Broncos.

WHAT’S LEFT

MIAMI DOLPHINS at BALTIMORE RAVENS: The Ravens will clinch the AFC’s No. 1 seed with a win. Seems preferable for them to have to play their starters in Week 18. Root for the Dolphins.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Doesn’t matter.

CINCINNATI BENGALS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Doesn’t matter. But probably best to keep Patrick Mahomes away from the most favorable seeding possible. Or our of the playoffs altogether! They have a 97% chance of clinching a spot, so it’s unlikely, but it is possible.

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