While the Eagles aren’t in action today, they do have a rooting interest in six of the seven 1:00 p.m. games and three of the four 4:00 p.m. games. Here’s your rooting guide for all of the action today. First, let’s take a look at the NFC Playoff Picture to put it all in perspective:
South – Falcons (7-2)
East – Giants (6-2)
North – Packers (6-3)
West – Rams (4-4)
In – Saints (6-3)
In – Eagles (5-3)
Out – Buccaneers (5-3)
Out – Bears (5-3)
Out – Redskins (4-4)
Out – Seahawks (4-4)
The tiebreaker that gets the Eagles into the last wild card spot currently takes seven steps. It starts as a three-way tie between the Eagles, Bears and Buccaneers. The Bears are eliminated for having a lower winning percentage in conference play, and the Eagles gain the edge over the Buccaneers on their strength of victory. Philadelphia has beaten five opponents with a 20-21 record, Tampa Bay’s five wins came over teams with a 13-27 record. So don’t scoff at the games below that point out an improvement to strength of victory as a rooting interest – it just might be the final factor in deciding one of the last playoff spots or seedings. Without further ado, here is a look at who Eagles fans should be rooting for today.
Cincinnatti Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (1:00): Root for Peyton Manning and company to rebound, as it could help the Eagles down the line in potential tiebreaking procedures. Strength of victory is the fifth tie-breaker, so it’s a bit of a reach, but the Eagles have no other interest in this game. The Colts haven’t lost a home game in November since 2007, while the Bengals haven’t beaten the Colts since 1997, before Peyton Manning was drafted.
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (1:00): The Eagles have nothing to gain from this one, so pick a Ryan brother and root away. Jets head coach Rex Ryan and Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan square off, and their father and former Eagles ehad coach Buddy Ryan will have to figure out who he wants to root for.
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (1:00): Both the 3-5 Vikings and the 5-3 Bears trail the 6-3 Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, making them wild card competition for the Eagles. In these scenarios, you want the records to come towards each other, so pull for the Vikings today, as difficult as that may be.
Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins (1:00): Similar to the Colts/Bengals game, the Eagles would gain a small improvement to their strength of schedule, which is the sixth tie-breaker, if the Titans win.
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (1:00): The Eagles should root for the Jaguars, since strength of victory is a more important tiebreaker than strength of schedule. Philadelphia already beat Jacksonville, but hasn’t faced Houston yet, so root for the Jaguars.
Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills (1:00): Since Philadelphia beat Detroit, root for the Lions for the tiebreaking benefits. While Detroit is 2-6 and Buffalo is 0-8, these two teams aren’t as bad as their records would indicate. Buffalo has lost its last three games by a field goal, while the Lions have five losses by a touchdown or less.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1:00): Since the Buccaneers are 5-3 and in the wild card mix, root for the big upset by the 1-7 Panthers, which would drop Tampa Bay below Philadelphia in the wild card.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (4:15):The Eagles would love nothing more than a Cowboys win today, as Dallas has no realistic chance of resurrecting its season and the Birds are chasing the Giants for the division lead.
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (4:15): The Rams are tied with the Seahawks atop the NFC West at 4-4. Root for the 49ers, since one of those 4-4 teams will be hoping to wind up in the wild card mix. The Eagles would just as soon have that be a smaller group, so they’d be fine with the Rams falling below .500.
New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (8:20): Philadelphia has no rooting interest in this one, but it should be an entertaining game on its own merit with two 6-2 teams squaring off. New England comes off a 34-14 blowout loss in Cleveland and tries to bounce back in the Steel City. The Patriots have lost back-to-back games just twice in the last eight years.
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