Patrick Causey, Follow on Twitter @pcausey3
Holiday season means I have more time for writing. Here’s a quick review of the Eagles playoff push as of this morning.
If the season ended today, the Eagles would finish just outside of the playoffs, with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants securing the two wildcard spots.
|5.||New York Giants||7-3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5-5|
|Green Bay Packers||4-6|
|New Orleans Saints||4-6|
|Los Angeles Rams||4-6|
If the Eagles win on Monday night (which is no guarantee), they would move ahead of the Minnesota Vikings by virtue of owning the tie breaker, since the Eagles beat the Vikings earlier this year. But the Eagles would still be behind the Redskins by one game, so they will need some help for the rest of the season. To make matters worse, the Lions, Giants and Redskins own the tie breakers over the Eagles so far, since they beat them earlier this season.
Below is the Eagles remaining games. You’ll notice that they play three teams with which they are competing for the wildcard spots: the Packers, Redskins and Giants.
|Green Bay Packers||4-6||.400|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||3-6-1||.350|
|@ Baltimore Ravens||5-5||.500|
|New York Giants||7-3||.700|
I haven’t checked this site for accuracy, but according to FantasyIndex.com, the Eagles have the 5th hardest remaining schedule in the NFL, behind only the Cowboys, Chiefs, Broncos and Panthers.
Odds are, the Eagles will need to finish out the season 5-1 to make the playoffs. That’s a tall order for a team that hasn’t been consistent all year. But after getting screwed by the schedule makers earlier in the season (playing three teams coming off a bye and the Falcons coming off 10 days rest), the Eagles finally get some lucky breaks.
For starters, four of their six remaining games are played at home, where the Eagles are playing considerably better football, especially on defense.
- Additionally, the Eagles get the Packers and Bengals while the proverbial wheels are falling off their season. The Packers have lost four straight, thanks in large part to a defense that has been derailed by injuries. During that span, they have given up 33, 31, 47 and 42 points, respectively. So the Eagles offense will have a chance to get back on track this week.
- The Bengals just lost AJ Green and Gio Bernard to injury. Green and Bernard account for 42% of the Bengals total yards gained on the year (1,637 out of 3,893). Losing them is a critical blow to a team that is already struggling to win games.
- The Eagles have a chance to avenge their three divisional losses in the last four weeks of the season with home games against the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys. The Eagles were in position to win all three games earlier in the season, so they should have a decent shot at running the table.
- Many have suggested that the Cowboys could be resting their starters by week 16, thereby giving the Eagles an easy victory. There’s certainly a chance that happens, but I am not as bullish about the prospects as mosts. The Seahawks are 7-2-1 on the season and are starting to look like the best team in football. That leaves the Cowboys little margin for error, and they have the third hardest strength of schedule remaining. If the Cowboys drop a game or two, they might need to beat the Eagles to secure home field advantage in the playoffs. The last thing they want is to have to travel to Seattle for the NFC Championship game.
- On paper, the Ravens game screams trap game, especially if the Eagles win their next three. The game is on the road and sandwiched between two divisional games. The Eagles have no margin for error, so you hope they won’t over look anyone. But with the Ravens stout run defense, they could be a harder opponent than we expect.
Bottom line: the Eagles have left themselves little margin for error on the rest of the season. The loses to the Lions and Cowboys — games they should have won — are starting to loom large. The Eagles are likely without Ryan Mathews for a few weeks, and are down to their third string right tackle after Big V suffered a sprained MCL last week against the Seahawks (thanks again, Lane Johnson!). It doesn’t look promising, but they still have a punchers chance. And given our expectations coming into the season, that’s all we can really as for.