Why the Eagles have to beat Seattle

A win over the Seahawks would almost guarantee a playoff bye.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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Let’s have a conversation about the Eagles playoff scenarios, and how this weekend’s game against Seattle is, without question, the most important game of the season.

We’re here with you, Dan. Let’s talk Eagles playoffs!

But first we have to talk about Thursday Night Football.

Who cares about that! The E-A-G-L-E-S play on Sunday!

The Eagles can clinch the NFC East tonight.

Oh.

If Washington beats Dallas, the Cowboys will be 5-7 and Washington will be 6-6, but with two losses to the Eagles.

Well Dallas Sucks, so this will probably happen.

The Birds enter this weekend’s game at Seattle with 10 wins and five games to play, meaning at worst they would finish the regular season at 10-6, tied with Washington — should they win all their games.

They won’t. You like that!?!

If Washington wins out, the Eagles own the tiebreaker after winning both head-to-head contests. So if Washington beats Dallas, the Eagles win the NFC East.

E-A-G-L-E-S Eagl—

Should Dallas win, the Eagles can still clinch the division with a win at Seattle. But that’s not why this weekend’s game is a must-win.

Right, because Dallas Sucks, so they’ll lose tonight and the Eagles will already be division champs heading into Seattle on Sunday.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
USA TODAY Sports

In reality, the division has been the Eagles’ for a while, and while officially clinching the NFC East title and guaranteeing a postseason berth and at least one home game in the playoffs, Philly is hunting for bigger game.

Super Bowl babayyyyy!!!

This is about the Vikings and Rams and Saints now. And it all comes down to what happens in Seattle.

Wait, sorry. We were distracted painting each other kelly green and spelling the word Eagles over and over again. How is Sunday’s game against the Seahawks about those teams instead of Seattle?

With just one loss in 11 games the Eagles control their own destiny in the NFC. Win out and at 15-1 the Eagles will have home field in the playoffs, no matter what Minnesota (currently 9-2) does the rest of the season. Drop one game, however, and the Eagles run the risk of losing out on home field advantage to the Vikings. Lose two of the final five games, and the Eagles may not even get a first-round bye.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Back up. How could the Eagles lose to Seattle and fall behind the Vikings who would have the same record?

The Vikings have a tough schedule down the stretch. They play at Atlanta this weekend, and the Falcons are as hot as any team in the league right now. Then the Vikings travel to 8-3 Carolina in a game with huge playoff implications, before ending the season at home against the Bengals, at Green Bay and home to the Bears. On paper, that looks like a 12-4 season, cruising to the NFC North crown. But should the Vikings and Eagles end up with the same record at 14-2 or 13-3, home field could go to the Vikings, based on the tiebreakers play out.

Explain…

The first tiebreaker after head-to-head games is conference record. Right now the Eagles are 8-0 and the Vikings are 7-1. But a loss to Seattle and both teams would have the same record and the same conference record. If they each win out — or both lose another game to a conference foe — the top seed would go to the next tie breaking procedure.

Which is what, common opponents?

Yes, with a minimum of four needed to compare. And if the both teams run the table after Sunday, they’d each be undefeated against common opponents. Both teams face Washington, Chicago, Carolina and the Rams this season. The Vikings still play Carolina, who Philly beat, while the Eagles still play the Rams, who the Vikings beat. And so after that, the next tiebreaker is strength of victory.

Uh-oh.

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Yeah. That’s not great for the Eagles, considering other than Carolina they haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record. A win over the Rams next week would be huge, but right now the Vikings have better wins. But it’s also why beating Seattle is so important for Philly.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. The Eagles shouldn’t be worried about the Vikings yet. They need to worry about the Rams.

Dude, isn’t your whole point that they need to worry about Seattle this week. THEN the Rams.

Exactly.

This is getting confusing, man. Get it together.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
USA TODAY Sports

It’s really simple. The Rams are 8-3, tied in the NFC with Carolina and New Orleans, but having just beaten the Saints last week. Should the Rams run the table at 13-3, they would have a win over the Eagles as well.

But the Eagles would still be 14-2 if they only lost to the Rams. Unless…

Unless they also lose to the Seahawks.

If the Eagles beat Seattle, it doesn’t matter nearly as much what they do against the Rams the following week. The Eagles finish the season after this West Coast stretch at Seattle and Los Angeles with a road game against the Giants — a team in total disarray after Eli Manning was benched and has now asked for his outright release — before home games against the Raiders and Cowboys.

Dallas Sucks. But Oakland can still make the playoffs in the terrible AFC West. Good job, Andy.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Seattle Seahawks
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Oakland may be in the thick of a playoff race at that point thanks to Kansas City falling apart, and Dallas should have Ezekiel Elliott back for the finale, but both of those games should still be wins for the Eagles.

They better be.

Right. If a team wants to consider itself the best in the league it has to win the games at home and beat the teams with losing records. So far so good on that this year.

So far so GREAT. 

That’s not an expression. Anyway, with Seattle at 7-4, the Seahawks are just one game behind the Rams for the NFC West lead, with the two playing in Seattle in three weeks. The Rams end the season at Arizona, home to the Eagles, at Seattle, at 7-4 Tennessee and home to the woeful 49ers. There’s a chance the Rams, like the Vikings, could end up with 4 or even 5 losses this season. If things really fall apart for LA they could go from 8-3 to 10-6 and be fighting for a Wild Card spot.

But the Rams have looked really good this season. Jared Goff is on my fantasy team and he’s having an awesome sea—

Nobody cares about your fantasy team. But Goff is having a Wentz-like season so far, and the Rams look as good as anyone in the NFL on both sides of the ball.

NFL: International Series-Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

You keep talking about the Rams after saying this isn’t about the Rams. I thought this was about the Seahawks.

It is. Because it’s about the Rams. And the Saints. And the Vikings.

Jeez man…the Birds are 10-1. Stop worrying.

No. You should start worrying! Those teams are all really good, and if the Eagles get caught focusing more on their next electric slide than their next opponent they could get got, which means going on the road in the NFC title game to one of those places.

You want to play in New Orleans or in Minnesota for a shot at the Super Bowl?

No. A thousand times no. Continue worrying.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The only team the Eagles really don’t have to worry about at this point is the Panthers because they’re two games up in the loss column and already have a win over Carolina. But if the Eagles lose twice, there’s still a chance that one of those three other teams will end up with a 13-3 record, or in Minnesota’s case, even better.

And that’s why this weekend against Seattle is the most important game of the season.

I think I get it, but one more time for the sportsball people out there who aren’t following any of this tie-breaking stuff and are just reading this far down in hopes one of us starts screaming about throwing snowballs at Santa. 

Humbug.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
Jeffrey G. Pittenger-USA TODAY Sports

If the Eagles beat Seattle, they’ll be 11-1 with four games to play. It’s fair to think next week will be a loss given how the Rams are playing at home. If the Eagles run the table the rest of the way, they’d finish at 14-2, would have a first round bye and will probably earn home field, assuming the Vikings lose one of their tough road games the next few weeks.

If the Eagles lose to Seattle, though, a loss to the Rams could possibly push the Eagles to the second seed, meaning a trip to Minnesota for the NFC title game, or even to the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in the NFC, depending on how the rest of the contending teams finish down the stretch.

So the Eagles really have to beat Seattle, huh?

Yes, also because if the Seahawks win the NFC North over the Rams there’s a good chance they’d be the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, which means hosting a Wild Card game before coming to Philly in the Divisional round. Of all the possible opponents in the NFC playoffs, would you want to face Russell Wilson and Seattle?

Russell Wilson in the playoffs? No thank you.

No, thank you.

So, wow, the Eagles really do need to beat Seattle this weekend, huh?  

Yes. Good thing is they’re favored by 5.5 to 6 points now.

E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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