Contenders for NFL playoffs worth watching while Eagles are on bye
By Matt Giraldi
Is it time for the NFL playoffs already? Philadelphia Eagles fans are getting ready.
Playoffs? That’s right. NFL Playoffs to be exact. The Philadelphia Eagles are on a bye week, but Week 10 of the NFL season will go a long way in deciding how the postseason shapes up.
When the Eagles play football again, one week from tonight, nearly 59% of the regular season will be in the books. The home stretch for the Eagles will feature marquee conference games, beginning (and concluding) with a game against the Dallas Cowboys, along with a West coast trip against the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.
That all begins next week however. What takes place today could determine a lot as we move closer to the playoffs. Particularly as it pertains to the Eagles quest for the top seed in the NFC.
Let’s take a look around the league.
For the Cowboys, it’s all about Ezekiel Elliott. Can they establish a running game without him? They travel to face the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons. A loss by either team would be devastating. The Cowboys would, at worst, have to split against the Eagles. Fortunately, it would diminish the importance of the game for the Eagles. Go Falcons!
Quietly, the Falcons’ division rival New Orleans Saints are in the mix. Actually, it’s more than that. If the playoffs started today, the Saints would be the third seed in the NFC. The Minnesota Vikings would be the second seed, and the Rams would be the fourth seed.
If all three teams win today, they would be only one game behind the Eagles in the conference standings. Since the Eagles only play the Rams, it’s important if the Eagles can get insurance from elsewhere. Of course, after this week the Rams will face the Vikings and Saints in succession. A thinning of the herd is coming eventually.
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This week in particular, several NFC teams play opponents that reside in the AFC. The Saints are one of those teams. As is always the case, when an NFC team (other than the Eagles) faces an AFC team, rooting for the AFC team is the smart move. Maybe LeSean McCoy and Jordan Matthews can help the Buffalo Bills defeat the Saints and help the Eagles once again.
The Rams are set to host the Houston Texans this afternoon. While the city of Los Angeles will likely want to exact some revenge for the World Series loss, for the Eagles sake it would best if Houston wins again. Ultimately, the head-to-head record will be all that matters between the Eagles and Rams.
With Teddy Bridgewater set to return, the Vikings could be a sneaky team as the regular season winds down. After all, they beat the Saints during Week One. Remember Sam Bradford‘s performance? That was the only loss the Saints have suffered in the NFC.
If the Vikings defeat the Rams next week, they’ll be the biggest threat to home field in the playoffs. Lest we forget, the Vikings are trying to become the first team to ever be the home team hosting the Super Bowl.
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As rough as it sounds, supporting the Washington Redskins against the Vikings today isn’t a bad move. The Redskins are essentially five games back in the division and a long shot for making the playoffs. A loss to the Redskins would affect both the conference tie-breaker and the common games tie-breaker between the Vikings and Eagles.
As long as the Eagles play their style of football, tie-breakers aren’t applicable. As it stands, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC runs through Philadelphia. Of course, anything that can improve the odds of that highway being the only road in town is welcomed.