With Sunday’s win over the Bucs, the Eagles improved to 4-9 on the season with three games left.
Three teams – the Jaguars (2-11), Chiefs (2-11) and Raiders (3-10) – have fewer wins than the Eagles. Four teams – the Panthers, Lions, Cardinals and Titans – have the same record (4-9) as the Birds.
The tiebreaker among teams with the same record is strength of schedule. The team with the overall easier schedule gets the higher pick. Here’s a look at the top five.
Chiefs (1) 2 11 .500
Jaguars (2) 2 11 .541
Raiders (3) 3 10 .457
Eagles (4) 4 9 .510
Panthers (5) 4 9 .510
Titans (6) 4 9 .532
Cardinals (7) 4 9 .562
Lions (8) 4 9 .566
The Chiefs get the nod over the Jaguars because they’ve had an easier schedule. The Raiders are third as the only 3-9 team.
But why are the Eagles ahead of the Panthers? Somehow, their strengths of schedule are identical. Each team’s opponents have combined for a 106-102 record (.510 winning percentage) through 13 games. But the Eagles (2-8) have a worse conference record than Carolina (4-7). That gives the Birds the edge. The Eagles still have two conference games remaining – against the Redskins and Giants. The Panthers have one conference game left – in Week 17 against the Saints.
Even if the Eagles had lost yesterday, they would be fourth since the Raiders have an easier strength of schedule.
Of course, a lot can change in the next three weeks. In addition to being tied with four teams at 4-9, five teams (the Saints, Dolphins, Bills, Chargers and Browns) are just a game better at 5-8.