Tougher road ahead: Eagles or Giants?
Who has the tougher road ahead - the Eagles or the Giants? Here's a breakdown of how the final four weeks of the season shape up.
Tougher road ahead: Eagles or Giants?
The Giants' win over the Redskins Sunday afternoon put them back in a first-place tie (in terms of record) atop the NFC East with the Eagles.
Less than two weeks from now, the Birds travel to the Meadowlands in a huge game, but it's possible that the Eagles could lose that game and still win the NFC East.
Let's clear up some tiebreaking rules here. In the division, the first tiebreak is head to head. The Eagles beat the Giants already this season so at worst, they are looking at a push in that category. With a win in two weeks, the Birds would own this tiebreak, and the following paragraphs are irrelevant.
But if the Giants beat the Eagles at the Meadowlands, and the two teams finish with the same record, the next tiebreak is division record. The Giants are 2-2 with games against the Eagles (Week 15) and Redskins (Week 17) still remaining.
The Eagles are 2-1 with three division games - two against the Cowboys (Weeks 13 and 17) and one against the Giants (Week 15) - still remaining.
And finally, there's a chance the Eagles and Giants could finish with the same division record, particularly if New York hands the Birds a loss in Week 15.
If that happens, we move to records against common opponents.
As of right now, the two teams have faced seven common opponents: the Lions, Jaguars, Redskins, Titans, Colts, Bears and Texans. And guess what? Both teams are 5-2 against that group.
But there's still quite a bit more to be determined here. When all is said and done, the two teams will have faced 12 common opponents. The Giants could pick up some ground in this category by beating the Packers and the Redskins - two teams that the Eagles have lost to.
And the Birds could pick up some ground by beating the Cowboys (twice), a team the Giants have lost to.
Both the Eagles and Giants still have to face the Vikings.
In case you're curious, the next tiebreak after common opponents is conference record. The Eagles are 5-3 right now; the Giants 6-2.
Got all that? Don't worry. No quiz Tuesday. In fact, I'll run through these scenarios each week for the rest of the season.
Here's a look at the remaining slate for each team.
Giants: at Minnesota (5-7), vs. Philly (8-4); at Green Bay (8-4); at Washington (5-7).
The combined record of the Giants' remaining opponents is 26-22 (.542), and New York has to play three of its last four on the road. That's somewhat significant because while the Vikings have underachieved, they are still 4-2 at home. The Packers, meanwhile, are 5-1 at home.
Oh, and wouldn't it be something if the Eagles had their playoff hopes or division title hopes pinned to Donovan McNabb beating the Giants in the regular-season finale?
Eagles: at Dallas (4-8); at New York (8-4); vs. Minnesota (5-7); vs. Dallas (4-8).
The combined record of the Eagles' remaining opponents is 21-27 (.438), and the Birds play twice at the Linc and twice on the road.
The Cowboys have won three of four since starting the season 1-7. They are 1-5 in Dallas, with their only win coming against the Lions.
And while the Vikings have been solid at home, they are just 1-5 on the road.
With a month left, there is still plenty to be determined in the NFC playoff picture. Six teams have eight wins or more. At least one of them will be sitting at home come playoff time because none are in the NFC West. I'll take a look at the entire conference picture later this week.
Earlier Monday, I posted Mike Check: Evaluating Vick.
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