NFL playoff picture: Cowboys' win over Saints threw a buzzsaw into Eagles' postseason hopes

NFL playoff picture: Cowboys' win over Saints threw a buzzsaw into Eagles' postseason hopes

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: 

Cowboys: 7-5
Redskins: 6-5
Eagles: 5-6
Giants: 3-8 

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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Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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