NFC Playoff Picture: The Eagles Didn’t Get Much Help Sunday

One of the problems faced by a team that starts the season 1-4 is that in order to rebound it’s going to require some help from other teams. On Sunday, the Eagles received no such help.

You might argue it was helpful to the Eagles that the 49ers knocked off Washington. I’d argue that the Redskins are absolutely baked and John Beck plays quarterback for that team, so they can no longer be considered a threat. So let’s move on.

Instead, let us take a look at the Eagles’ other NFC foes and breakdown what today’s action means for their postseason hopes.

Dallas: The Cowboys struggled early, going into the half tied 6-6 with Seattle. The Seahawks ran the ball with some success as Marshawn Lynch carried 23 times for 135 yards and a touchdown. Tavaris Jackson made some big plays against the Dallas secondary, but threw three interceptions which helped the Cowboys pull away late with a 23-13 win. Tony Romo finished the day 19 of 31 for 279 yards and two touchdowns, and DeMarco Murray racked up 139 yards on the ground in a must-win game for the Cowboys.

While the win puts Dallas (4-4) ahead of the Eagles in the standings, it will only be a temporary hold should the Eagles win tomorrow night.

New York: This is one hurts. The Giants went into Foxboro as nine-point underdogs and came away with a dramatic 24-20 win over the Patriots. The result was hard to believe in many ways:

1) Offensive ineptitude. How the hell did this two teams play a scoreless first half? Tom Brady looked disoriented and disinterested for much of the first half as he forced bad throws into tight coverage and checked down to secondary options. The New York front four rattled Brady and kept the Giants in the game as their own offense struggled to find its way early.

2) Defensive ineptitude. There were four lead changes in the final 7:08 of a game that was dominated by defense through the first three quarters. It appeared Brady directed two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter, but it was not to be. The Patriots took a 13-10 lead midway through the quarter, but the Giants answered with a Mario Manningham touchdown reception.

Still, after Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski on a clutch fourth-down touchdown to give the Patriots a 20-17 lead with 1:36 remaining it seemed a forgone conclusion that New England, despite struggling for much of the day, would escape with a win.

As Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend.

It took Manning all of eight plays to go 80 yards in 1:21 to put the Giants ahead for good.

I hate Eli Manning and I’m about the last guy on earth willing to give him credit, but nobody outside of Aaron Rodgers is playing the quarterback position better than Manning right now. His final numbers weren’t pretty, completing just over 50 percent of his passes, but his 250 yards and two late touchdown passes have given the Giants a two-game lead at the halfway point despite the absence of a consistent ground game.

Wild Card Update:

The Eagles enter tomorrow night’s contest behind Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Tampa Bay in the Wild Card standings. That’s quite a long list of teams to leapfrog. At this point, you have to assume Detroit is a virtual lock, but the sixth-seed remains wide open. Atlanta beat up on the hapless Colts, 31-7, while Tampa Bay fell to New Orleans. If the Eagles knock off Chicago tomorrow, they will move up to the seventh spot in the NFC. It’s still possible the Eagles can chase down a Wild Card spot, but it’s a long shot.

Topics: NFC Playoff Picture

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