On Thanksgiving, everything went the Bird's way. First, the Cowboys (10-1) topped Washington (6-4-1), preventing them from pulling away from the Eagles in the wild-card hunt. As painful as it must have been to watch the Cowboys win, the Eagles were never going to catch them for the NFC East title, anyway.
Next, the Lions (7-4) managed to beat the Vikings (6-5) on a last minute field goal, thanks to an untimely interception thrown by former Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford.
Not only does the win help the Eagles' draft standing (they own the Vikings' first round pick in next year's draft), the Eagles own a tiebreaker against Minnesota thanks to their 21-10 victory in Week 7. They don't own a tiebreaker against the Lions, who beat the Eagles 22-21 in Week 5. So the Lions moving ahead of the Vikings by essentially two games (by virtue of a season sweep) is good news for Eagles fans.
Unfortunately, Sunday didn't go so well for the Eagles.
First, the winless Browns weren't able to pull off an upset win at home against the Giants (8-3) Sunday afternoon, who keep a firm grip on the top wild-card spot with their 27-13 win.
Later in the afternoon, the Buccaneers (6-5) defeated the Seahawks (7-3-1) 14-5, putting them a game ahead of the Eagles in the wild-card race. Even if the Eagles win on Monday night, the Buccaneers will have the tie breaker with just five games remaining.
Here's how the playoff picture in the NFC looks heading into Monday night:
1. Dallas (10-1)
2. Seattle (7-3-1)
3. Detroit (7-4)
4. Atlanta (7-4)
5. New York (8-3)
6. Washington (6-4-1)
7. Vikings (6-5)
8. Tampa Bay (6-5)
9. Philadelphia (5-5)
Things also get tougher for the Giants and Washington in coming weeks. The Giants' final five games of the season are all against Playoff contenders, while three of Washington's final five games are on the road, including a Week 14 visit to Philadelphia.
The Buccaneers road isn't quite as tough, but they do face three road games, including a Week 15 visit to Dallas, where Eagles fans will once again be rooting for the Cowboys. The Vikings face the easiest remaining schedule, with four of the next five games against opponents who all have losing records.
Of course, all this is purely academic unless the Eagles defeat the Packers at the Linc Monday night. The Packers are on a four-game losing streak, but despite their down year, Aaron Rodgers remains a dangerous opponent.
As the Inquirer's Zach Berman notes, Rodgers isn't the reason for the Packers' down year:
Through 10 games, Rodgers has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 2,761 yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. That's somehow considered a down year for a passer who has a career quarterback rating of 103.4 and whom Eagles coach Doug Pederson called a future Hall of Famer.