With four games to go, there are six NFC teams with at least eight wins.
And none of those teams are in the NFC West, meaning one of them will be sitting at home come playoff time.
I've heard several people discuss the following scenario for the Eagles:
* The Eagles finish the season 3-1.
* The Giants finish the season 3-1.
* The Giants beat the Eagles in Week 15.
* Both teams finish the season with an 11-5 record.
If those things happen, it all comes down to which team the Giants lose to in the final four weeks. If the Giants lose to the Redskins, the NFC East would go to the Eagles on account of the division-record tiebreak. The Birds would be 4-2 in the NFC East, and the Giants would be 3-3.
But if the Giants finish 3-1 down the stretch, and their loss is to the Packers or Vikings, they get the division. If this scenario plays out, we'd have to go way down the list of tiebreaks. Head-to-head would be a push. Both teams would be 4-2 in the division. And by my calculations, both teams would be 8-4 against common opponents, which is the third tiebreak.
It would come down to conference record, and the Giants would be 9-3; the Eagles 8-4.
Of course, if the Eagles just go ahead and beat the Giants in Week 15, they own the tiebreak because of head-to-head wins.
The Birds don't match up favorably in tiebreaks for the wild card either. If they find themselves in a tie with the Packers or the Bears, the Eagles lose out since they lost to both teams earlier this season.
A tiebreak scenario between the Eagles and Saints is a little trickier since the two teams have not played. It would come down to winning percentage in conference games. New Orleans has the edge there right now. The Saints are 7-2 against the NFC; the Eagles are 5-3.
Is there a scenario where the Eagles could go 11-5 and still not get in? Yes. But that's getting even more ahead of ourselves than we already are.
Below is a chart of the six NFC teams that have eight or more wins. The Bucs (7-5), Rams (6-6) and Seahawks (6-6) are not included, although they're all obviously still in the mix.
|Team||Record||Record of remaining opponents||Home games||Road games|
As you can see, the Bears have the toughest schedule. Three of their final four are against teams that currently have eight wins or more: the Patriots, Jets and Packers.
The Eagles actually measure up pretty favorably in terms of strength of opponents. The only team they face that's currently above .500 is the Giants.
In addition to Eagles-Giants in Week 15, there are a few other head-to-head matchups among this group. The Falcons host the Saints on Monday night in Week 16. The Packers host the Bears in Week 17. And the Giants travel to Green Bay in Week 16.
There's still a quarter of the season to be played, but the Eagles have two ways to guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs. One is to win out and finish 12-4. And the other is to finish 3-1, but beat the Giants in Week 15.
In all other scenarios, they'd need to count on one of these six teams to falter down the stretch.