NFL owners approved a contingency plan for the 2020 playoffs but first took out one part of that plan that might have ended up hurting the Eagles.
The initial contingency plan if the NFL can’t have a full 17-week season included two extra playoff teams in each conference and then re-seeding those teams based on record. For the Eagles, who are in the lead in the lowly NFC East, that would have been extremely bad news.
But fear not.
This seems like the fairest way to handle this. You don’t want to cheat teams out of a playoff spot who might have otherwise earned it. But it also didn’t seem fair to change the importance of winning a division during the season. Perhaps that’s something the league can look at before next season.
Because, don’t get me wrong, it seems silly that the Eagles might win the division with a 6-9-1 record and then host a 10- or 11-win team in the playoffs, but it doesn’t make sense to move the proverbial goalposts while the season is already underway.
So it looks like the winner of the NFC East will end up being the No. 4 seed in the NFC and host a first-round playoff game no matter what. Had the contingency plan called for re-seeding, the Eagles (or the winner of the NFC East) would have likely ended up as the eighth seed. Going from No. 4 to No. 8 and losing a home playoff game is a big deal for a lot of reasons.
The NFC East is the only division the entire NFL without at least two teams with winning records. Through nine weeks, the Eagles are leading the division with a .438 winning percentage.
As a reminder, here are the standings in the NFC East:
The most recent projections from FiveThirtyEight give the Eagles a 70% chance to win the NFC East, followed by Washington (17%), Giants (7%) and Cowboys (6%).