Updating Eagles’ paths to win the division or land top 5 draft pick


The Eagles with their 24-21 win over the Saints find themselves in a really weird position. They’re about as close to winning the NFC East as they are to landing a top five draft pick.

So let’s take a look at both possibilities and what the Eagles would need to do to either win the division or take a top five pick.

1. Can they win the NFC East?

With three weeks left in the 2020 season, the Eagles are in third place in the NFC East (just 1 1/2 games out) but they still have a chance to win the division. They’ll just need some help.

Here are the updated standings:

Washington: 6-7

Giants: 5-8

Eagles: 4-8-1

Cowboys: 4-9

And updated chances to win the division, according to FiveThirtyEight:

Washington: 73%

Giants: 15%

Eagles: 11%

Cowboys: 1%

And here are the remaining schedules:

Washington: vs. SEA (9-4), vs. CAR (4-9), @ PHI (4-8-1)

Giants: vs. CLE (9-3), @BAL (7-5), vs. DAL (4-9)

Eagles: @ARZ (7-6), @DAL (4-9) vs. WAS (6-7)

Cowboys: vs. SFO (5-8), vs. PHI (4-8-1) at NYG (5-8)

So even if the Eagles were to win out and finish with a 7-8-1 record it might not be enough. They don’t control their own destiny — at least not yet. They’re going to need some help. The clearest path to win the division would be to win out and hope Washington loses to Seattle or Carolina (and loses to the Eagles in Week 17, getting to a 7-9 record) and to also hope the Giants lose one of their last three games to get to a 7-9 record. The Eagles would then win the division — thanks to that tie to the Bengals — with a 7-8-1 record.


Could the Eagles win the NFC East without winning out? Sure, but that would be pretty hard to do. If they win two of their three remaining games, they’d get to six wins (6-9-1) and they’d have to then hope that Washington loses out (6-10) and the Giants finish with a 1-2 record or worse (6-10 or 5-11).

So at least realistically, the Eagles need to go 3-0 and get a bit of help.

This upcoming weekend is really interesting. Washington, the Eagles and the Giants all have the toughest game left on their schedule. If Washington loses to Seattle and the Giants lose to the Browns, then the Eagles would win the division if they win out.

Of course, the timing doesn’t line up great on Sunday. Washington plays at 1 p.m., the Eagles play at 4:05 p.m. and the Giants are on Sunday Night Football.

2. But what about the pick?

Do the Eagles even want to win the division. Well, the players and coaches do, but it’s also totally fair to realize it isn’t in the best interest of the organization. Because if the Eagles were to win the division, the best possible draft pick they could end up with is 19th and that assumes a first-round loss.

Before this weekend, the Eagles were in line to end up with the No. 6 pick but after the win, they are down to No. 9.

Here’s the latest draft order for non-playoff teams, via Tankathon:

So as much as a tie helps a team that is trying to get into the playoffs, it hurts just as much for a team trying to get a top draft pick.

While the Eagles were definitely happy to pick up a win yesterday it really hurt them in the draft order because the Cowboys and Chargers pulled off wins in Week 14. Those were the two teams directly in front of the Eagles coming into the weekend.

So if the Eagles lost to the Saints, they’d have a 3-9-1 record and would have the No. 4 pick in the draft right now. Instead, there are five teams ahead of them with 4-9 records.

Here’s a look at the remaining opponents for those five teams:

Cowboys: vs. SFO (5-8), vs. PHI (4-8-1) at NYG (5-8)

Chargers: @LVR (7-6), vs. DEN (5-8), @KC (12-1)

Panthers: @GB (10-3), @WAS (6-7), vs. NO (10-3)

Falcons: vs. TB (8-5), @KC (12-1), @TB (8-5)

Texans: @IND (9-4), vs. CIN (2-10-1), vs. TEN (9-4)

The worst-case scenario in this whole thing is one that might be somewhat likely, especially after watching the Eagles beat the Saints on Sunday. Because there’s a chance the Eagles win two or three games down the stretch and still don’t win the division. That would create a scenario where they end up with a pick in the teens instead of a top 10 or even top five pick.


Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube