Certainly, the Eagles kept their playoff chances off of life support by beating the Atlanta Falcons 24-15 on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, and the exact opposite would’ve been true had they come up short and lost for the fifth time in six games since their 3-0 start.
Still, remaining in the playoff hunt is a far cry from leading the pack and for the Eagles to make the playoffs with a rookie head coach in Doug Pederson and a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz is going to require a lot of work and probably a little help over the final seven games of the season.
As generally the case around the midway point of a season, the NFC playoff picture is a jumbled mess with 13 teams having legitimate mathematical shots at winning one of the four divisions or earning one of the two wild card spots.
Currently the Eagles (5-4) stand in seventh place in the playoff race – trailing the NFC East rival New York Giants (5-3) and Washington (5-3-1) for the wild ard spots.
That will not change even if the Giants lose to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday.
With Dallas (8-1) leading the NFC East, it would require both a massive collapse by the Cowboys and an impressive finish by the Eagles for them to win the division.
There is still almost half a season to play, but right now, the Birds' best shot at the playoffs looks like a wild card bid.
Historically, that means the Eagles will have to get to at least 10 wins.
While there have been recent division winners with fewer than 10 wins – the Seattle Seahawk won the NFC West with a 7-9 record in 2010 – the NFC has not had a wild card winner with fewer than double-digit victories since the Eagles earned one while going 9-6-1 in 2008.
Considering five of their final seven games are against teams (Seattle, Washington, Baltimore, New York and Dallas) with winning records, the Birds getting to 10 wins will be a challenge.
Working in the Eagles' favor is that they are 4-0 at Lincoln Financial Field and have remaining home games against division rivals and Green Bay (4-5).
Still, because of who the Eagles have already lost to, the 10-win plateau may not matter if it isn’t reached by beating the right teams.
The Eagles are 0-3 in the NFC East and 3-4 in the NFC.
If teams have the same record, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head games, which means the Eagles would currently lose out to any NFC East team and the Detroit Lions (5-4) for a wild card.
In a best-case scenario, the Eagles, if they can’t win the East, would hope for the Cowboys, Lions, Seahawks and Falcons to win the divisions.
The good thing for the Eagles is that the teams that they are contending with for the playoffs will be facing each other over the final weeks, so as long as the Birds take care of their own business some circumstances should break in their favor.
Of course, a week from now, this is likely to all change depending on who beats who, and that’s how it’s likely to be for the remainder of the season.