NFC playoff picture: Here’s whom Eagles fans should be rooting for
Despite last week's disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, the Eagles still remain alive in the NFL playoff hunt heading into their Week 13 game at Cincinnati.
The Eagles (5-6) are in 11th place in the NFC, trailing four teams for a wild-card spot. Here's how things look headed into today's action:
1. Dallas Cowboys (11-1)
2. Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1)
3. Detroit Lions (7-4)
4. Atlanta Falcons (7-4)
5. New York Giants (8-3)
6. Washington (6-4-1)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)
8. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
9. New Orleans Saints (5-6)
10. Green Bay Packers (5-6)
11. Eagles (5-6)
The Cowboys' victory over the Vikings on Thursday night was exactly how the Eagles needed Week 13 to start. The Eagles hold the tiebreaker over Minnesota, thanks to their 21-10 victory in Week 7. A victory on Sunday against the Bengals would move the Birds ahead of the Vikings with just four games remaining.
That won't be an easy task. Both the Inquirer's Jeff McLane and the Daily News' Paul Domowitch think the Eagles don't have what it takes to defeat the Bengals, while the Inquirer's Zach Berman is slightly more optimistic about their chances.
In addition to a win over the flawed but still dangerous Bengals, here are the results around the league Eagles fans should be rooting for on Sunday.
Detroit Lions over the New Orleans Saints
The Lions have won three straight, and Eagles fans will be rooting for them to keep that streak alive in New Orleans. A Saints loss will drop them to 5-7, all but eliminating them from any shot at the playoffs.
Houston Texans over the Green Bay Packers
Not only have the Texans lost two straight, but they'll be traveling to Lambeau Field to take on a Packers team that has new life, thanks to a 27-13 drubbing of the Eagles on Monday night. Aaron Rodgers is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league, throwing multiple passing touchdowns in six straight games. And the Packers have scored 23 or more points in eight of their last nine games.
Pittsburgh Steelers over the New York Giants
The Giants secured their hold on the first wild-card spot with their lifeless 27-13 victory over the Browns last week. But now they travel to Pittsburgh to face a Steelers team in desperate need of a win to keep pace in both the AFC North and the AFC wild-card hunt. The Steelers will have to slow down Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has four touchdowns of 75-plus yards this season, most in the NFL since 2014.
Arizona Cardinals over the Washington Redskins
Despite their disappointing season, the Cardinals remain No. 1 in the NFL in total defense (294 yards per game). Unfortunately, they weren't able to slow Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan last week, and this week, they face Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is on pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards this season.
San Diego Chargers over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If the Chargers have any hope of defeating the streaking Buccaneers (and staying alive in the AFC wild-card chase), they'll have to contain wide receiver Mike Evans, who leads the league with 10 touchdown catches. They'll also hope to end James Winston's streak of 27 games in which he has thrown or run for a touchdown.
If the Eagles win and everything else goes their way, they would move all the way up to the eighth spot in the NFL playoff picture.
Yes, that's still out of reach of the final wild-card spot, but the Eagles will face Washington at the Linc next week, and that could go a long way in determining if the team has a real shot at the playoffs.