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All eyes on Atlanta

Why the Eagles' tie makes life so much easier.

You probably don't care about this but I do: the fact that the Eagles tied that game in Cincinnati is making the next couple of weeks so much easier.

There are no tiebreakers to worry about this year because of that tie. There is no pesky calculation of record against common opponents, no worry about conference or division record, no fantasizing about net points or any such stuff. The tie takes all of that out of the equation. In fact, there is no equation -- which means I can think of plenty of other ways to embarrass myself in print without having to resort to messing up wildcard calculations.

That said:

All eyes on Atlanta.

With three games to go, the Eagles now control their destiny against both the Cowboys and the Redskins. If the Eagles win out -- which would include a win over the Redskins and the Cowboys, as well as those pesky Browns on Monday night -- they guarantee that they will be ahead of both of them. That leaves the Bucs (who already have nine wins) and the Falcons (eight wins) leading the Eagles in the race for the two wildcard spots in the NFC.

The Bucs and Falcons play on Sunday. The game is at Atlanta and, depending upon where you look, the Falcons are a 2 1/2-point or 3-point favorite. Eagles fans, it would seem to me, need to be Bucs fans for that one. Because if the Bucs win, the Eagles really would control their destiny. If the Bucs win, and the Eagles win out, the Eagles would get the final NFC wildcard.

Even three weeks ago, it seemed impossible -- and they still have to beat the Redskins on the road and the Cowboys at home (oh, and the pesky Browns), which will be the working definition of high drama. But because every game fell so neatly last Sunday, the game at the Meadowlands most of all, that is where things stand.