NFL playoff race

2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

2019 NFL playoff picture: The entire NFC East really, really, really sucks

The Eagles have won one game since the first week of November, and they’ve lost exactly half a game to the first-place Cowboys in the NFC East standings.

The Cowboys lost their third straight game Thursday night, falling to the Bears, 31-24, in Chicago.

This definitely helps the Eagles although not quite as much as you might think.

Here's why:

The Cowboys fell to 6-7 after a 3-0 start. The Eagles are 5-7 with a game Monday night against the 2-10 Giants at the Linc.

But even with Dallas losing Thursday night, the Eagles still have to beat the Cowboys head-to-head and win their three other games to guarantee that they win the NFC East.

That’s because the Cowboys can still lose to the Eagles and finish 8-8 overall and 5-1 in the NFC East if they beat the Rams next Sunday and the Redskins on the final day of the season.

But even with a win over the Cowboys, a loss in any of their other games — to the Giants home and away or the Redskins — would leave the Eagles 8-8 overall and 4-2 in the division.

The Eagles easily win the common opponents tiebreaker with the Cowboys, but that doesn't come into play unless the teams are tied overall, head-to-head and in division record.

But the Cowboys' latest loss does help the Eagles in that if the Cowboys lose to either the Rams a week from Sunday or the Redskins on Dec. 29, the Eagles could afford to lose one of their remaining games and still win the division at 8-8 if they beat the Cowboys head-to-head, since in that scenario the Cowboys would finish 7-9.

The website fivethirtyeight.com, which provides percentages for teams to reach the playoffs based on changeable variables, had the Eagles with a 34 percent chance of winning the NFC East before the Cowboys-Bears game. That would have gone down to 26 percent if the Cowboys won. Instead it increased to 41 percent. 

If the Eagles beat the Giants Monday night, their chances increase to 47 percent. 

It's been so long since either of these teams won a game it seems silly to even talk about the playoff picture. 

But somebody has to win the NFC East. 

We think?

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Updated Eagles' playoff odds after Redskins' loss on Saturday

Updated Eagles' playoff odds after Redskins' loss on Saturday

Updated odds after the Eagles' win over the Texans can be found here.

The Eagles still need to take care of their business in the final two weeks of the season, but the Birds got some good news Saturday night. 

Washington lost, 25-16, to Tennessee to fall to 7-8 on the season. With that loss, the Eagles’ playoff odds improved from 39 percent to 41 percent, according to FiveThirty Eight. 

Not a huge improvement, but every little bit counts. 

Here’s the updated NFC playoff picture: 

Division leaders

xSaints: 12-2
xRams: 11-3
xBears: 10-4
Cowboys: 8-6

x-Clinched division

Wild card 

Seahawks: 8-6
Vikings: 7-6-1 

In the hunt

Eagles: 7-7
Redskins: 7-8
Panthers: 6-8 

• With a win over the Texans, the Eagles’ playoff chances improve to 56 percent. With wins over the Texans and Washington in the regular-season finale, their playoff chances are up to 75 percent. 

If the Eagles lose to Houston, they’re not dead, but their chances would be down to 12 percent. 

• The NFC East is still a possibility, but it’s not likely. The Cowboys just need to win one more game to clinch. They play Tampa Bay at home on Sunday and finish in East Rutherford, New Jersey, against the Giants. The Eagles would need to win out and have the Cowboys lose out for them to win the division.

• The more likely path to the playoffs would be to get a wild-card spot. And the most likely case there would be for the Eagles to win out and have the Vikings lose one of their next two games. The Vikings play at Detroit and vs. Chicago to finish their season. The good news about that season finale is they play Chicago before the Rams play at night, so the Bears will have to play not knowing whether or not they’d be able to get a first-round bye. 

• There’s a chance Seattle could lose out and miss the playoffs too, but it’s unlikely. It plays the Chiefs this weekend, but finishes with the lowly Arizona Cardinals at 4:25 p.m. on Dec. 30. The Cardinals stink, but division games can be weird sometimes. You never know what might happen. 

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Updated Eagles playoff chances after Panthers' loss on Monday Night Football

Updated Eagles playoff chances after Panthers' loss on Monday Night Football

The Eagles took care of their business Sunday night and then they got a little help Monday night. 

After the Eagles beat the Rams, 30-23, at the LA Coliseum, the Panthers lost to the Saints, 12-9, on MNF. And it has slightly improved the Eagles’ chances to make the playoffs. 

The Eagles’ chances to make the playoffs moved up from 37 percent to 39 percent after the Panthers’ loss, according to FiveThirtyEight. 

Let’s take a look at the NFC playoff picture: 

Division leaders 

xSaints: 12-2
xRams: 11-3
xBears: 10-4
Cowboys: 8-6

x-Clinched division

Wild card

Seahawks: 8-6
Vikings: 7-6-1 

In the hunt

Eagles: 7-7
Redskins: 7-7
Panthers: 6-8

• Basically, the Panthers’ loss last night put them a game behind the Eagles and Redskins, who are still trailing the Vikings because of that tie between the Vikings and Packers earlier this season. The Panthers’ loss is big because they had the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Eagles. 

• According to FiveThirtyEight, if the Eagles beat Houston, their playoff chances improve to 53 percent. If they win the next two weeks, their playoff chances are up to 74 percent, but that’s independent of everything else. There’s no guarantee they’d make the playoffs if that happens. 

• The Eagles’ best chance to make it to the playoffs is to take care of their business and beat the Texans and Redskins in these last two games and hope Minnesota loses a game. If that happens, the Eagles would be in the playoffs, because they will have beaten the Redskins too. 

• The Vikings’ last two games are at Detroit and then vs. Chicago in the season finale. If the Eagles win the next two and the Vikings lose one, then the Eagles are in the playoffs. Heck, if the Eagles win this weekend and the Vikings lose to the Lions, the Eagles' playoff odds would already be at 75 percent and it would likely come down to that season finale in Washington. 

• There’s still a very outside chance (five percent) the Eagles can win the NFC East. For that to happen, the Cowboys would need to lose their last two (vs. TAM, @NYG) and the Eagles would need to win their last two. 

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