We had all concocted this plan about how the Eagles were going to win on Monday night and create a three-way tie atop the NFC East and then the Cowboys went ahead and ruined it.
Last night, the Cowboys shocked everyone and beat the Saints 13-10 at AT&T Stadium and are now firmly in the driver’s seat of the NFC East. It was a game we all penciled in as a loss for the Cowboys and now that it’s a win, it changes things.
According to the statistics website FiveThirtyEight, the Cowboys’ chances to win the NFC East went from 54 percent before the win to 70 percent after. The Eagles’ chances to win the division yesterday were 21 percent, down to 15 percent today.
Here’s an updated look at the NFC East standings:
The good news for the Eagles is that a lot of their fate still rests in their hands with the next two games. If they beat Washington, they would be 6-6 and if they beat the Cowboys next week, both teams would be 7-6. Obviously, winning those two games, especially in Dallas after the Saints couldn’t even win there, won’t be easy. But it’s there for the taking.
For the sake of assuming the Eagles still have a chance in this thing, we’ll go forward with the idea that they win the next two games. That means they are tied with the Cowboys at a 7-6 record going into Week 15. And things get incredibly hard from there.
Here are the Cowboys’ three final games:
at Indianapolis (6-5)
vs. Tampa Bay (4-7)
at New York Giants (3-8)
And the Eagles’ final three games:
at L.A. Rams (10-1)
vs. Houston (8-3)
at Washington (6-5)
It seems pretty clear that the Cowboys have an easier remaining schedule. Their opponent win percentage is 39.3 percent, compared to the Eagles’ opponent win percentage of 72.7 percent. Yikes.
It seems really possible that even if the Cowboys were to lose to the Eagles at home next weekend, they could still win out, giving them a 10-6 record that would be really hard for the Eagles to reach. They would need to win out and they haven’t won back-to-back games all year.
Obviously, that Eagles-Cowboys game will be huge. If the Eagles beat Washington on Monday and then beat the Cowboys next weekend, they would give Dallas two losses in the division. After head-to-head record, the next tiebreaker to settle a division winner is division record. The Eagles still have a chance to have just one division loss, but the chances obviously aren’t good.
The Eagles still have some hope of making it to the playoffs, but the Cowboys’ win over the Saints really threw a buzzsaw into this whole plan. It’s one heck of an uphill battle now.
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