How Eagles could be impacted by contingency proposal for NFL playoffs


There are a lot of NFL fans who believe that the NFC East is the worst division ever.

They have a valid argument. The Eagles are the first team in history to lead any division with four wins or fewer through nine weeks of a season.

Yet in the traditional NFL playoff format, whichever team wins the awful NFC East will automatically “earn” a No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs and host a playoff game.

But that could change this season.

A playoff contingency proposal will be voted on by NFL owners Tuesday, according to the NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The proposal says that if the full 256-game NFL season can’t be played because of cancellations caused by COVID-19, several changes will be made to the 2020 NFL postseason.

First, and maybe most interesting, the playoff field will expand to eight teams per conference, 16 in all. The league has already agreed to add an extra wild-card team in each conference to the traditional 12-team format.

The other significant change — and here’s where it involves the Eagles — changes the way the teams are seeded in each conference.

The four division winners in each conference will make the postseason, along with the four best records among the non-division-winning teams. The league will then seed those eight teams by best record, regardless of whether they won their division or not.

Currently, this is the playoff picture in the NFC, assuming seven teams make the postseason:

1. Saints (6-2)


2. Seahawks (6-2)

3. Packers (6-2)

4. Eagles (3-4-1)

5. Buccaneers (6-3)

6. Cardinals (5-3)

7. Rams (5-3)

If the playoffs began today, the Eagles would host Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. But if the league is unable to play a full season, and it passes the contingency proposal mentioned above, then the playoff picture would look like this: 

1. Saints (6-2)

2. Seahawks (6-2)

3. Packers (6-2)

4. Buccaneers (6-3)

5. Cardinals (5-3)

6. Rams (5-3)

7. Bears (5-4)

8. Eagles (3-4-1)

The Eagles would be the eighth and final playoff seed and have to take on the top-seeded Saints in New Orleans. Yikes.

Again, this contingency would be used only if games can’t be played within the 18-week schedule, and those games that are canceled would affect the playoff picture in either conference.

Yet another reason to hope that the NFL season isn’t derailed by the pandemic.

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