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NFL Playoff Picture: Yes, the Eagles Are Still Alive in the Playoff Race

[CSNPhily] NFL Playoff Picture: Yes, the Eagles are still alive in the playoff race
CSNPhilly.com

I tried to wait a couple days. And you're probably not going to want to hear this but the Eagles are still alive in the playoff race.

The easiest way to put this: If they win out, they're in.

Philadelphia Eagles

Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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I know, I know, losing to the Dolphins doesn't exactly inspire much confidence, but if you've been paying attention to the Cowboys, they're not exactly running away with this thing either.

"We're not throwing in the towel," Doug Pederson said on Monday. "We have a lot of football left. We have a great opportunity. There is still a chance for us. We control our own destiny. So that's going to be the message moving forward to this football team, and the leaders have to embrace that and they have to also take it to the team as well."

As hard as it is to imagine this Eagles team making it into the playoffs, the numbers say there's still a decent chance. There's no chance at a wild card spot, but the NFC East is so bad, they're still very much alive. They're one game behind the Cowboys (6-6)

In fact, FiveThirtyEight has the Eagles with a 35% chance to win the division and the Cowboys with a 65% chance. If the Eagles beat the Giants on Sunday and the Cowboys lose to the Bears - both possible - the two teams would be 6-7. The Cowboys would have a 53% chance and the Eagles a 47% chance.

Take a look at their remaining schedules:

Cowboys

Week 14: @ Chicago (6-6)
Week 15: vs. Rams (7-5)
Week 16: @ Philadelphia (5-7)
Week 17: vs. Washington (3-9)

Eagles

Week: 14: vs. Giants (2-10)
Week 15: @ Washington (3-9)
Week 16: vs. Dallas (6-6)
Week: 17: @ Giants (2-10)

Taking out the Week 16 showdown, the Cowboys' other three opponents have a combined winning percentage of .444. The Eagles' other three opponents have a combined winning percentage of .194.

If - and I understand it's a big if - the Eagles win out, they would win the division because of an advantage in the third tie-breaker. The first tie-breaker is head-to-head matchups and they'd both be 1-1. The second is division record and they'd both likely be 5-1. The third is common opponents, where the Eagles would have an edge.

If the Eagles were in any other division with a 5-7 record, they'd be cooked right now. But the NFC East, as a division, has six fewer wins than the next closest division.

Take a look:

NFC West: 30
NFC North: 26
NFC South: 23
NFC East: 16

AFC East: 26
AFC South: 25
AFC North: 23
AFC West: 22

A question I've been asked recently is this: Would it even be a good thing for the Eagles to make the playoffs?

I understand that thought process. Because if finding a back door into the postseason really changes the way the Eagles evaluate this season, it would be a bad thing. This team needs major change.

But I still think it's better to be in the playoffs than out, even if they'd be looking at an early-round exit. And either the Cowboys or Eagles will host a game in the wild card round, which is just a laughable as it is true.

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