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Eagles-Seahawks could be a playoff preview

From a schematic standpoint, there isn't a more intriguing matchup in the NFL this year than the one that will take place at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday night, with Chip Kelly's get-'em-in-space offense squaring off against Pete Carroll's zone defense.

This is speed on speed, with both units excelling in space. Only two offenses have gained more yards after the catch this season than the Eagles. Only four defenses have allowed fewer yards after catch.

But this is also an intriguing matchup from a narrative perspective. The way things line up right now, the Seahawks could be back in town in a month in the divisional round of the playoffs. A win by the Eagles would go a long way toward locking up the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but as you'll see below, a loss would by no means ruin their chances.

Let's run through the rest of the season and project the NFC playoff field:

Wild Card

Lions (6) at Seahawks (3)

Cardinals (5) at Saints (4)

Divisional Round

Seahawks at Eagles (2)


Current: 9-3

Projected: 11-5

Remaining: v. KC, at STL, v. SEA, at SF

Breakdown: The Cardinals are the most vulnerable of the current top seeds, with home games against the Chiefs and Seahawks and road games against a rejuvenated Rams team and the 49ers. I have them going 2-2 the rest of the way, but I don't feel good about it, particularly after yesterday's loss against a Falcons team with a defense that would struggle to stop me and the first 10 commenters on this post.


Current: 9-3

Projected: 13-3

Remaining: v. ATL, at BUF, at TB, v. DET

Breakdown: Their two toughest remaining games are at Lambeau, which the Packers are undefeated this year. At this point, the Eagles have to hope they can at least force the Packers to play their starters against the Lions in Week 17 to secure home field advantage. One loss by the Eagles and the Pack should have it wrapped up by Week 16.


Current: 9-3

Projected: 12-4

Remaining: v. SEA, v. DAL, at WSH, at NYG

Breakdown: The Cowboys are collapsing, and the Redskins and Giants have given up. Beat the Seahawks this week and 13-3 is a possibility. You can run on Seattle, but they are more vulnerable between the tackles than at the edges, where Lesean McCoy thrives.


Current: 8-4

Projected: 11-5

Remaining: at PHI, v. SF, at ARI, v. STL

Breakdown: Reports of the demise of the Seahawks defense have been greatly exaggerated, and Seattle finishes the season against the following quarterbacks: Mark Sanchez, Colin Kaepernick, Drew Stanton, Shaun Hill. This Sunday's game could very well determine where the Eagles-Seahawks playoff game will be played. e


Current: 8-4

Projected: 11-5

Remaining: v. TB, v. MIN, at CHI, at GB

Breakdown: The Lions have a serious flaw under center, and a near total inability to run the ball with any consistency. But they should be favored in their next three games. Even Matt Stafford can't mess this up.





Current: 5-7

Projected: 7-9

Remaining: at GB, v. PIT, at NO, CAR

Breakdown: The fact that we are even discussing the Falcons is a testament to the ineptitude of the AFC South. They can't play defense, they can't protect the quarterback, and they can't run the football. The division could very well come down to that Week 16 matchup against the Saints.