Eagles Wake-Up Call: Playoff Scenarios

Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 22, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The basic gist of Week 17 is simple for the Eagles: Beat the Cowboys and they’re in the playoffs. Lose and they’re out.

But since we tend to look ahead this time of year, there are other factors to keep in mind. For starters, if the Eagles get in, they’ll be the No. 3 seed. No other scenario is in play. That means they would face the No. 6 seed at home in the first round and travel to face the No. 2 seed in the divisional round if they advance.

So, who are the potential six seeds? There are four in play going into Week 17: the Saints, 49ers, Panthers and Cardinals.

Four games will affect who the sixth seed will be: Panthers-Falcons, Saints-Bucs, 49ers-Cardinals and Seahawks-Rams. There are 16 potential outcomes when you factor in those four matchups.

Here’s a breakdown.

The Saints will be the six-seed if (Week 17 winners listed)…

Panthers-Falcons
Saints-Bucs
49ers-Cardinals
Seahawks-Rams
PanthersSaints49ersSeahawks
PanthersSaints49ersRams
PanthersBucs49ersSeahawks
PanthersBucs49ersRams
FalconsBucs49ersSeahawks
FalconsBucs49ersRams

As you can see, of the 16 potential scenarios, six of them result in an Eagles-Saints first-round matchup. The Birds could get New Orleans at the Linc and with a potential divisional round matchup in Carolina against the Panthers.

The 49ers will be the six-seed if…

Panthers-Falcons
Saints-Bucs
49ers-Cardinals
Seahawks-Rams
PanthersSaintsCardinalsSeahawks
PanthersSaintsCardinalsRams
FalconsSaintsCardinalsSeahawks
FalconsSaintsCardinalsRams

There are four potential scenarios by which the Eagles could host San Francisco. Chip Kelly-Jim Harbaugh would be fun. So would the Eagles’ offense against the 49ers’ defense.

The Cardinals will be the six-seed if…

Panthers-Falcons
Saints-Bucs
49ers-Cardinals
Seahawks-Rams
PanthersBucsCardinalsSeahawks
PanthersBucsCardinalsRams
FalconsBucsCardinalsSeahawks
FalconsBucsCardinalsRams

A return trip to Philadelphia for Bruce Arians? That’s in play. The Cardinals have won seven of eight, their only loss coming against the Eagles in Week 13. Arizona needs a win and a Saints loss to get in.

The Panthers will be the six-seed if…

Panthers-Falcons
Saints-Bucs
49ers-Cardinals
Seahawks-Rams
FalconsSaints49ersSeahawks
FalconsSaints49ersRams

Carolina gets a first-round bye with a win or a Saints loss. But if the Panthers stumble against the Falcons, and New Orleans beats Tampa, Carolina drops down to a wild card.

There are only two scenarios by which the Eagles would host the Panthers. Kelly’s offense against Sean McDermott’s defense would be fascinating.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Tony Romo will not play against the Eagles because of a back injury and is out for the season, per Adam Schefter.

Kelly explains how Nick Foles has learned from his mistakes.

Eagles-Bears, the day after: Teammates expect Foles to be fired up for his second chance at Dallas. Plus five thoughts, No-22, game balls, snap counts and more.

The Eagles’ defense regained its edge against Chicago, writes T-Mac.

Here are photos from the Eagles’ 54-11 victory.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Peter King of The MMQB has the Eagles 11th in his Fine Fifteen:

Just when you think you’ve got the league figured out, a week after giving up 48 point to the Minnesota Vikings the Eagles go and beat the Bears by 43.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland has Kelly No. 2 in his power rankings:

The Broncos have the best offense in football; they average 38.2 points per game, which is comfortably ahead of the pack. In second are the Chicago Bears, who have averaged an even 29 points per game, even after their blowout loss last night. If you don’t include the two games when Matt Barkley suited up and played meaningful snaps, well, the Eagles are right there. The Eagles scored 10 points in those two games; otherwise, they’ve averaged 31.4 points per game, which would make them the second-best offense in football. The Broncos have Peyton Manning. The Eagles have Nick Foles.

COMING UP

We’ll hear from Billy Davis, Pat Shurmur and the players.

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