Scoreboard Watching: Week 16

The Philadelphia Eagles got a massive win on Sunday night, keeping their playoff hopes alive in the process. The Birds got a mixed bag of results in other games as the path to a potential playoff berth becomes clearer. Minnesota’s win over Miami hurt, while Carolina’s loss to the Saints and Dallas’ loss to Indianapolis were helpful. Seattle’s loss to San Francisco was technically a good result, but it remains unlikely that the Eagles will be able to catch the Seahawks.

As the playoff picture continues to crystallize, this week we will rank the games to watch in terms of importance. We’ll still consider all mathematically possible scenarios, but the more likely positive outcomes for the Eagles will be given priority. Let’s dig in.

Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9), Sunday 1 PM

The clearest, and most plausible, path to the playoffs for the Eagles is Philly winning out and Minnesota losing one of it’s last two, so we’ll be paying a whole lot of attention to this game and the Vikings’ final game against the Bears. Obviously, the Bears game presents a more realistic opportunity for the Vikings to fall, but the cliché “any given Sunday” is cliché for a reason, so we’ll see if the Birds can get some help from the Lions.

Tampa Bay (5-9) at Dallas (8-6), Sunday 1 PM

As we discussed in our look at the state of the NFC East, there remains a long-shot chance the Eagles could steal the division if Dallas loses out and the Eagles win out. Step one of that process happened last week as Dallas lost to the Colts and the Eagles beat the Rams. Dallas has Tampa Bay and the Giants left on the schedule, so an 0-3 finish is highly unlikely, but as long as it’s on the table we’ll keep paying attention.

Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6), Sunday 8:20 PM

We’re getting further into “unlikely” territory now, but Seattle’s surprising loss to San Francisco last week keeps open the possibility that the Eagles could catch the Seahawks. A Seattle loss to the Chiefs isn’t that far-fetched, but the Seahawks get to finish with the Cardinals which is likely a win. The Eagles would need Seattle to lose out, as the Seahawks hold the conference record tiebreaker over the Birds. Again, this is a highly unlikely scenario, but it remains on the table, so we’ll address it.

Overview

As we’ve been saying for weeks, this is all contingent on the Eagles handling their own business. The good news is that the Eagles took a huge first step last week and this week they get a challenging opponent at home. After last Sunday’s performance, a win against the Texans certainly feels within reach, and the Linc should be rocking.

It will be fascinating to see how these games play out this week, and it creates plenty of intrigue for Eagles fans. By Sunday night we’ll know where the Eagles stand and what they’ll need in Week 17 to get into the playoffs, and hopefully they can get a win Sunday to keep things interesting. Plenty of teams have snuck into the playoffs and gone on impressive runs, and we’ll see if the Eagles can add their name to that list. For now, all eyes will be on these games in Week 16.

 

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