So you’re saying there’s a chance? Oh, it’s better than that, Eagles fans. According to ESPN’s updated Football Power Index, the Eagles, who have won a grand total of one game this season (though FanDuel Sportsbook has them pegged as 4.5-point favorites heading into Thursday night’s divisional showdown with the Giants), hold a 53.9-percent probability of claiming a second straight NFC East crown.
Last year Philadelphia earned its division title with a 9-7 record, but this year, at least according to ESPN’s algorithm, the Birds are only projected to finish 6-9-1, the latter number of course owing to their Week 3 tie against Cincinnati. If that outcome comes to fruition, the Eagles would boast the lowest winning percentage (.406) of any postseason qualifier in league history.
Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, only a handful of teams with losing records have managed to reach the playoffs with the most recent instance occurring in 2014, when the 7-8-1 Panthers fulfilled the minimum criteria needed to win the NFC South. Surprisingly, the last two teams to make the playoffs with losing regular-season marks—the aforementioned Panthers and the 2010 Seahawks (7-9)—each won their opening-round game. ESPN gives the Eagles a roughly 25-percent chance (24.6) of accomplishing the same feat.
Despite their anemic 1-4-1 record, the injury-plagued Eagles have shown a bit of fight recently, defeating the defending NFC Champion 49ers on the road in Week 4, an effort they followed up with close losses to the undefeated Steelers and Lamar Jackson-led Ravens in Weeks 5-6. Dallas may have the most talented roster in the division, though the Cowboys’ playoff chances (now down to just 24.7 percent) obviously took a major hit when franchise quarterback Dak Prescott was lost to a season-ending ankle fracture in Week 5. The Giants (4.7-percent playoff odds) and Washington Football Team (17.0), both in the midst of lengthy rebuilds, are even bigger longshots to win what projects as a historically awful NFC East.
The Eagles, who are seeking a fourth consecutive NFC playoff berth, still have a slew of challenging matchups on their 2020 agenda including a brutal three-game stretch against Seattle, Green Bay and New Orleans in Weeks 12-14. Luckily, the next month will be a lighter lift with winnable games against the lowly Giants and Cowboys and a Week 8 bye to catch their breath.