The Giants' 21-3 win over the Vikings Monday night sets up an enormous matchup against the Eagles Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Both teams will enter the game at 9-4 with three to go.
So, just how much is riding on this game from the Eagles' perspective?
Let's take a look.
If the Eagles win...
They put themselves in the driver's seat in the NFC East. The first tiebreak for division winners is head-to-head, and the Eagles would be 2-0 against the Giants. That means if both teams finish the season at 10-6 or 11-5, the Eagles would be division champs.
The only way the Eagles would not win the division in this scenario would be if they went 0-2 in the final two weeks, and the Giants went 2-0. In other words, their magic number heading into Week 16 would be 1. Either an Eagles win or a Giants loss in the final two weeks would give the Birds the division title.
If the Eagles lose...
They'll find themselves at 9-5 and would likely have to fight for a wild-card berth, although winning the division would not be out of the question.
The first tiebreak is head-to-head, which would be a push.
The second tiebreak is division record. If the Eagles win their final two games and finish 11-5, and the Giants go 1-1 in their final two and finish 11-5, it all depends on who the Giants lose to. If they fall to the Redskins in Week 17, the Eagles get the division. But if the Giants lose to the Packers in Week 16, and then beat the Redskins, both teams would have division records of 4-2.
If that happens, the next tiebreak is record against common opponents. In this case, both teams would be 8-4 there.
And finally, conference record would decide it. The Giants would be 9-3 (assuming a loss to the Packers), and the Eagles would be 8-4. Edge: New York.
So to clarify, if the Eagles lose Sunday, the three ways they can still win the division are:
* Finishing 2-0 and having the Giants go 1-1 with the loss being to the Redskins.
* Finishing 2-0 and having the Giants finish 0-2.
* Finishing 1-1 (but beating Dallas) and having the Giants finish 0-2.
Note: Updated above part, thanks to commenter shamburg82.
There's no other way it can happen.
Which brings us to the wild card.
Both the Eagles and the Giants got some help here with the Bears and Packers losing on Sunday. There are currently seven teams with eight wins or more. Since none of the seven are in the NFC West, that means they're battling for five spots. Here are the seven that are fighting to get in:
|Falcons||11-2||@SEA, NO, CAR||.436|
|Saints||10-3||@BAL, @ATL, TB||.711|
|Bears||9-4||@MIN, NYJ, @GB||.564|
|Eagles||9-4||@NYG, MIN, DAL||.462|
|Giants||9-4||PHI, @GB, @WAS||.564|
|Packers||8-5||@NE, NYG, CHI||.744|
|Bucs||8-5||DET, SEA, @NO||.487|
The Falcons appear headed for the No. 1 seed, and the Saints are a good bet to take the No. 5 seed as the top wild card, barring a collapse.
Of the teams above, either the Giants or Eagles will win the NFC East, and either the Bears or Packers will take the NFC North.
If the Eagles find themselves in a wild-card tie with the Bears or Packers, they lose out on account of head-to-head losses earlier this season. But this scenario looks a little sunnier than it did before Green Bay lost to Detroit and Aaron Rodgers suffered his second concussion of the season. Green Bay has an extremely tough remaining schedule - the toughest of any of the seven teams.
If the Eagles finish in a wild-card tie with the Bucs or Saints, it would come down to conference record. I'm not ready to go deep into that research just yet, but as of right now, the Eagles and Bucs are 6-3 against NFC teams. The Saints are 8-2.
So that's where the Eagles' playoff hopes stand. The stakes will be high Sunday at 1 p.m., and there's still plenty to be decided in the final three weeks of the season.