Eagles playoff seeding questions

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Donovan McNabb and the Eagles can finish as high as No. 2 or as low as No. 6, depending on what happens in the final two weeks of the regular season. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer )

During our live chat on Tuesday, several of you threw different scenarios my way and asked what they would mean in terms of playoff seeding for the Birds.

So here is a Q&A on how things could shake out in the final two weeks. If you have a question or scenario that I didn't answer, feel free to e-mail me and I'll try to get to it before the early kickoffs on Sunday.

What do the Eagles have to gain or lose in the final two weeks?

The Birds have clinched a playoff spot, but they could finish as high as the No. 2 seed (first-round bye, hosting a divisional round game), or as low as No. 6 (if they lose out on the division to the Cowboys). So, actually, they have quite a bit to gain or lose down the stretch.

How can the Eagles leap the Vikings for the No. 2 seed?

This one's fairly simple. If the Eagles win out AND the Vikings lose one of their final two games, both teams would finish at 12-4, and the Eagles would win the tiebreak, earning the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.

But there's actually a scenario where the Eagles can lose one of their final two games and still earn the No. 2 seed. If the Eagles lose to the Broncos, but beat the Cowboys AND the Vikings lose both of their remaining games, both teams would finish at 11-5, and the Eagles would win the tiebreak.

Can the Eagles clinch the NFC East on Sunday?

Yes. If the Eagles beat the Broncos and the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, the Birds would have the NFC East locked up going into Week 17.

In that scenario, would the finale in Dallas have any meaning?

This one's a little tricky. It would still have meaning, but a different meaning. As mentioned above, the Eagles would still have a shot at jumping the Vikings for the No. 2 seed. However, if the Vikings finish 2-0, and their game ends before Eagles-Cowboys in Week 17, the Eagles are locked in to the No. 3 seed. In other words, in this scenario, if the Eagles and Cardinals both finish at 11-5, the Birds would win the tiebreak.

What are the different ways the Eagles can win the division?

I think I've got these covered:

  • Finish 2-0.
  • Finish 1-1, but beat the Cowboys in Week 17.
  • Finish 1-1, beating the Broncos and losing to the Cowboys, BUT have Dallas lose to the Redskins in Weeek 16.
  • Finish 0-2. Cowboys finish 1-1, beating the Eagles in Week 17. Giants win out. This would create a three-team tie at 10-6 for first place. The Eagles win the division in this scenario.

How can the Cowboys win the division?

Not as many possibilities:

  • Win out, beating the Redskins in Week 16 and the Eagles in Week 17.
  • Finish 1-1, but beat the Eagles. And the Eagles lose to the Broncos in Week 16.

Can the game-time for Eagles-Cowboys in Week 17 be changed?

Yes. NFL rules state a game can be flexed on six days notice in Week 17. Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning-News explains the process in greater detail, but don't be surprised if the league announces Sunday night that Eagles-Cowboys has been moved to prime-time.

Who might the Eagles play in the first round?

If the Eagles don't jump the Vikings, they will be playing on wild-card weekend. But who will be their opponent? It really could be a number of different teams, but many of you in the chat wanted to know if the Eagles could face the Cowboys. And the answer is absolutely. There's a scenario where they could host the Giants in the first round also. And there's actually a slim scenario where the Giants AND the Cowboys could get in, but it would require a collapse from the Packers.


Earlier, we posted about the Eagles-Broncos line.

And don't forget, you can join me Sunday afternoon for a live hat from the Linc.

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