We went over playoff scenarios earlier in the week, but since several of the early games could impact Sunday night’s Eagles-Bears matchup, here is your one-stop shop for what to be looking for/rooting for during the day.
How can the Eagles clinch the NFC East Sunday?
You should know this one by now, but it’s pretty simple: If the Cowboys lose to the Redskins and the Eagles beat the Bears, the Eagles are NFC East champs.
How can the Eagles be eliminated Sunday?
They can’t be. Any scenario other than the one described in the previous question results in a Week 17 showdown between the Eagles and Cowboys for the division.
What happens if the Eagles and Cowboys tie in Week 17?
I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve received this question multiple times. If the two teams finish with identical records and tie in Week 17, the Cowboys win the division. The tiebreak would be head-to-head record, and Dallas won the first meeting.
If the Eagles win the division, will they definitely be the No. 3 seed?
No. There are multiple scenarios where the Eagles could be the No. 4 seed. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles have a 49.8 percent chance of getting the No. 3 seed and a 20.8 percent chance of getting the No. 4 seed.
Both the three and four seeds host home playoff games in the first round. The three seed plays the sixth seed, while the fourth seed plays the five seed.
The bigger factor at play is what happens in the second round. The lower-seeded winner will almost definitely be going to Seattle, while the other first-round winner will go to New Orleans/Carolina.
The Eagles cannot get any other seeds except the three or four. They cannot earn a first-round bye or a wild-card berth under any scenario.
How can the Bears clinch Sunday?
If the Packers lose to the Steelers and the Lions lose to the Giants, Chicago can clinch the NFC North with a victory over the Eagles. Even if the Bears lose in this scenario, they can still win the division with a Week 17 win over the Packers. They cannot be eliminated from playoff contention under any scenario Sunday.
What is the scenario whereby Sunday’s game would be meaningless for the Bears?
If the Lions lose to the Giants and the Packers beat the Steelers, the matchup with the Eagles will be meaningless for the Bears (aside from potential seeding). The NFC North would be decided in Week 17 when Chicago takes on Green Bay.
If the Lions and Packers win their early games, the Bears need to beat the Eagles to control their own playoff chances in Week 17. Under this scenario, if they lose Sunday night, the Bears would need to beat the Packers in Week 17 and get a Lions loss to Minnesota to take the NFC North. Under this scenario, if they win Sunday night, they just need a Week 17 win to take the division.
What’s the best-case scenario for the Eagles?
The Cowboys lose to the Redskins. The Lions lose to the Giants. And the Packers beat the Steelers.
Under this scenario, the Eagles would be in position to clinch the division with a victory. And they would be facing a Bears squad with nothing at stake except for seeding.
Here are game-times for the matchups mentioned above:
Cowboys at Redskins, 1 p.m.
Giants at Lions, 4:05 p.m.
Steelers at Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Bears at Eagles, 8:30 p.m.
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments, and I’ll try to respond before games kick off Sunday afternoon.