Wake-Up Call: How Sunday Affected the Eagles

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia EaglesThe Eagles have company atop the NFC East.

Dan Bailey booted a 35-yard field goal with time running out Sunday to give the Cowboys a 24-21 victory over the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Dallas is tied with the Eagles at 6-5, while the Giants fell to 4-7. The Redskins are 3-7 going into tonight’s game against the 49ers.

That means there will be plenty of scoreboard watching in the weeks ahead. Let’s take a look at the Eagles’ and Cowboys’ remaining schedules.

The Birds’ remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .500:

 
Opponent
Wins
Losses
Week 13vs. Arizona74
Week 14vs. Detroit65
Week 15at Minnesota28 (1 tie)
Week 16vs. Chicago65
Week 17at Dallas65
TOTAL2727 (1 tie)

Dallas’ remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .453:

 
Opponent
Wins
Losses
Week 13vs. Oakland47
Week 14at Chicago65
Week 15vs. Green Bay55 (1 tie)
Week 16at Washington37
Week 17vs. Philadelphia65
TOTAL2429 (1 tie)

That Week 17 finale in Dallas obviously looms large. When teams finish with the same record atop the division, the first tiebreak is head-to-head record (the Eagles need to win Week 17 for a split).

The second tiebreak is division record. Right now, the Cowboys are 4-0 against NFC East foes. If Dallas beats the Redskins in Week 16, it will own the tiebreak against the Eagles regardless of what happens in that final game (the best the Birds can do in the division is 4-2).

In simple terms, what that means is the Eagles would have to be either tied or ahead of the Cowboys going into Week 17 for it to be meaningful in terms of the NFC East title. If the Birds are one game back (again, assuming a Cowboys win over Washington in Week 16), they’ve already lost the tiebreak.

Of course, we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves. The Eagles still have four more games before they play Dallas again. And first up is an important matchup against the Cardinals in six days.

Arizona crushed the Colts 40-11 yesterday and has won four in a row.

Going into Sunday’s game, Todd Bowles’ defense ranked first statistically, according to Football Outsiders. In other words, not a bad opponent for Chip Kelly to get some extra time to game-plan for.

The other consideration going forward is the wild card. The second-place team in the NFC South – either the Saints (9-2) or Panthers (8-3) – is in great position to land one of the wild card spots. But the second-place team in the NFC East still has a shot to claim the other spot.

Here’s a look at all the non-division leaders who have at least five wins:

 
 
Panthers8-3
Cardinals7-4
49ers6-4
Eagles6-5
Bears6-5
Packers5-5-1
Rams5-6

It’s worth noting that the Lions (not listed above) are tied with the Bears atop the NFC North at 6-5. The Eagles play the Lions in Week 13 and the Bears in Week 16. Green Bay could get Aaron Rodgers back on Thanksgiving.

The Cardinals have quietly snuck into that second wild card spot at 7-4. The 49ers could improve to 7-4 tonight with a win over Washington.

Going into December, there are plenty of teams still in the mix.

Eagles players will return to the NovaCare Complex for practice on Tuesday with the Cardinals on their minds. Unlike the previous two seasons, there figures to be plenty of meaningful football around here in the final five weeks.

WHAT YOU MISSED

From DeSean Jackson’s production to DeMeco Ryans’ playing time, here are five Eagles numbers that matter.

Three Eagles leftovers, including Kelly’s admission that he doesn’t miss the recruiting grind.

New and improved Eagles pass-rusher rankings through 11 games.

Three-and-out: Our predictions for the stretch run.

The Birds 24/7 podcast from late last week.

T-Mac on the Eagles’ youth movement.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Jerry Jones tells CBS Dallas he plans on being the Cowboys’ owner/GM for the next 15 to 20 years:

But Jones believes his time as GM is far from ever, saying that he plans to remain the owner and GM for the next 15-20 years.

“Of course, I said it, and I really meant that and just think about that a minute: Why wouldn’t you?” said Jones.

“One of the reasons that I to some degree have taken the risks that I have over the years and kind of had the professional life that I followed is so that I get to decide when enough is enough — God willing. So I do get to decide that. It’s a certain part of working for yourself if you still are standing when the time comes. So I get to really make that decision, and I want to make it in a way that I think is in the best interest of the team, franchise and really our fans.”

The Eagles need to add an outside linebacker this offseason, writes Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz:

The Eagles need a ROLB who has the speed to be a disruptive force. I think you could get by with Cole if you had a great LB on the other side, but that’s not the case. Connor Barwin is more of a complete OLB than a dynamic pass rusher. Barwin is good at what he does so I think having a guy like him at LOLB is fine. He can cover, rush and play the run. Plus, he’s 27 years old and in his prime. This is a guy you want on your defense. The Texans had a younger, cheaper option and went with Whitney Mercilus.

COMING UP

We’ll have plenty to get you ready for the final five games.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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