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Eagles clinch NFC East; playoff scenarios

The Eagles clinched their first NFC East title since 2006 Sunday evening without ever stepping on the field. Here's an updated look at their playoff scenarios.

The Eagles clinched their first NFC East title since 2006 Sunday evening without ever stepping onto the field.

The Giants' 45-17 loss to the Packers gave the Birds the division and ensured them no worse than the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

It's the team's sixth NFC East crown under Andy Reid.

Now the focus shifts to earning a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The chances of sitting out the wild-card round were reduced earlier Sunday afternoon when the Chicago Bears beat the New York Jets, 38-34. The Eagles need to overtake the NFC North champion Bears to get the two-seed, since Chicago beat them earlier this season and owns the tiebreak.

Here's what needs to happen for the Eagles to get that two-seed:

* A Bears loss in Week 17 against the Packers in Green Bay.
* AND Eagles wins against the Vikings and Cowboys to close out the season.

The Eagles could benefit from the fact that the stakes for Green Bay are high in Week 17. It's win and you're in for the Packers. A victory over the Bears will earn them a playoff spot. Green Bay will be playing at home where it's 6-1 this season. The Bears beat the Packers, 20-17, in Week 3.

As for the Eagles, if they lose Tuesday night, they're out of the running for the No. 2 seed. A loss to the Vikings would lock them into the No. 3 seed, which means hosting the No. 6 seed in the wild-card round. Who will that six-seed be? It's down to four teams: the Packers, Giants, Bucs and Saints. All of them are still eligible to get in, and there are scenarios in which any of the four could be the six-seed.

As I explained last week, there is one strange scenario that would give the Eagles the No. 1 seed. If the Falcons, Bears and Eagles finish 12-4, and the Saints finish 11-5, the Eagles would win the three-way tiebreak and be the top seed.

If the Falcons (12-2), Bears (11-4), Eagles (10-4) and Saints (10-4) all finish 12-4, the Saints would win the four-way tiebreak and be the top seed. Note: I screwed this one up the first time around.

I know some of you were confused by this scenario when I wrote about it last week. You can find the NFL's tiebreaking procedures here. The step-by-step process is spelled out.

Of course, that scenario is highly unlikely since the Falcons take on the 2-13 Panthers in Week 17, but still worth mentioning.

Earlier today, I posted on why I don't think four days rest is a big deal for the Eagles in Week 17 against the Cowboys. And Sunday morning, I posted the roundup of Eagles-Vikings picks.

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