Eagles Playoff Chances: Tiebreaker scenarios with Cowboys


The Eagles return to Philadelphia following their loss to the Miami Dolphins losers of three-straight games, but still, somehow they still have a chance. 

FiveThirtyEight has the Eagles playoff chances at 34%, basically half of the 66% chance they give the Cowboys. The New York Times playoff predictor gives them an even smaller chance at just 27%, and the Cowboys are given a 73% chance of going to the postseason. 

Despite what the odds say, however, the bottom line is this — if the Eagles win out, they will finish 9-7 and win the NFC East. 

Here is an updated look at the tiebreakers that the Eagles will need over the Cowboys to make it to the postseason: 

NFC East: 

The Cowboys’ remaining schedule is not easy, especially with the Chicago Bears playing much better now than they were when the Eagles faced them earlier this month:

At Chicago (6-6)
Home vs. Los Angeles (6-5)
At Philadelphia (5-7)
Home vs. Washington (3-9)
Record of remaining opponents: 20-27

Games against the Bears and Rams a few weeks ago looked like wins for the Cowboys. Now? With how they are playing, it wouldn’t be surprising if they dropped both, and came to Philadelphia with a 6-8 or 7-7 record. The chances of 8-6 are now looking slim, which is great news for the Eagles. 

The Eagles’ schedule still looks favorable, even if they are playing terrible right now:

Home vs. Giants (2-10)
At Washington (3-9)
Home vs. Cowboys (6-6)
At Giants (2-10)
Record of remaining opponents: 13-37

The Eagles just lost to the Dolphins, so it is hard to say any game is a sure-win, but the fact that it is possible there isn’t a single playoff team on their schedule the rest of the way.

If the Eagles go 4-0 and finish with a 9-7 record. The Cowboys can win all of their remaining games, other than their trip to Philadelphia, and would finish 9-7. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head, and if the Eagles beat the Cowboys in Week 16, they would be tied, 1-1. 

If the Eagles win in Week 16, and end the season with the same record as the Cowboys, the next tie breaker would be divisional records. If both teams win the games they are supposed to, they would each finish the season 5-1 in the NFC East, moving it to the third tie breaker.

The third tie breaker? Common opponents. The bad news from Sunday is that the Dolphins are one of the 12 common opponents the Eagles have with the Cowboys, including the division. The Eagles are 5-4 in the nine games they have played so far out of the 12. The Cowboys are 5-5 after their loss to the Bills. The Eagles remaining common opponent games are the Giants and Washington (twice). It is very possible, if the Eagles beat the Cowboys, they could win the tie breaker with a 8-4 record in common opponent games, as the Cowboys already have five losses against common opponents. 

If they were still tied after the third tie breaker, the fourth tie-breaker would be record against teams in the conference. Picking the likely favorite in each game, the two teams would tied there as well, each at 7-3.

Wild Card:

A result of the loss on Sunday? The chances at the Wild Card are gone.

The Eagles are currently on the outside looking in at 5-7, trailing the Vikings (8-3) and Seahawks (9-2) by at least three games. They lost to both this season, which means they would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker to both. So to pass either they will need to finish a game ahead of one of them. They can’t pass the Seahawks, but they could in theory finish 9-7 and the Vikings could finish 8-8. Still, if that happened, the Eagles would be division winners and not get in through the Wild Card. 

A look at the team's realistically still in the Wild Card hunt (using NFL.com's current order): 

1. Seattle (9-2)
2. Vikings (7-3)
3. Los Angeles Rams (6-5) 
4. Chicago Bears (6-6)
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)
6. Eagles (5-7)

Yup, the Buccaneers are listed ahead of the Eagles in the NFL Playoff Picture — a sign of just how far this team has fallen. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!