Eagle Outlook: Games To Watch


NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

The Eagles’ weekend off comes with the added comfort of knowing that they have positioned themselves very well for the stretch run. They are currently the No. 1 seed in the NFC and, according to Football Outsiders, have a 72 percent chance of reaching the postseason.

If the season ended today, the NFC playoff scene would look like this:

  1. Eagles (5-1)
  2.  Cardinals (4-1)
  3. Lions (4-2)
  4. Panthers (3-2-1)
  5. Cowboys (5-1)
  6. Niners (4-2)

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

7. Packers (4-2)
8. Seahawks (3-2)
9. Bears (3-3)
10. Giants (3-3)

Plenty will change between now and January, of course. There will be multiple games each week from here on in that will impact both the Eagles and the playoff picture at large. Here are a few to keep an eye on Sunday:

Seahawks (3-2) @ Rams (1-4), 1 p.m.

The path of least resistance is the one that doesn’t wind through Seattle. Fortunately for NFC hopefuls, the Seahawks already have a couple losses and currently sit in third place in the highly-competitive NFC West behind Arizona and San Francisco. On Sunday, they play the weakest of their divisional opponents and are sure to be in a foul mood after falling to the Cowboys at home their last time out. Despite the somewhat slow start, Football Outsiders has the Seahawks as the favorites to win the West and gives them a 22 percent chance to claim a first-round bye.

Saints (2-3) at Lions (4-2), 1 p.m.

New Orleans is still very much in the NFC South race despite dropping three of four to start the season. Its next four games (@Detroit, Green Bay, @Carolina, San Francisco) should teach us a lot about this team. If Seattle is the No. 1 place you want to avoid in the postseason, Green Bay is probably second. Given that logic, Eagles fans might want to root for Detroit to capture the NFC North.

Panthers (3-2-1) @ Packers (4-2), 1 p.m.

Speaking of those Packers, they play host to the Fightin’ McDermott’s this weekend. The Panthers, who are coming off a tie against Cincinnati, are currently the only team in the NFC South with a winning record. Big stretch for them coming up. After Green Bay, they host the Seahawks and Saints before coming to Philly for a Monday night showdown. The Packers have won three straight. Despite their current standing, Football Outsiders gives them a 78 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 44 percent chance to secure a first-round bye.

Cardinals (4-1) @ Raiders (0-5), 4:25 p.m.

If Arizona wins, next week’s Eagles-Cardinals game in the desert will be a battle between two 5-1 clubs. The Cards have a pair of quality wins against San Francisco and the Chargers under their belt, and their lone loss came against the Broncos.

Giants (3-3) @ Cowboys (5-1), 4:25 p.m.

Interesting psychology element to this one. You have New York coming off an embarrassing loss to the Eagles, and Dallas riding high after a big win in Seattle. Recipe for an upset? The Cowboys have won five straight, thanks in large part to a rushing attack that is tops in the NFL. The Giants proved last week that they can be gashed in the run game, and are 1-2 on the road this season. The Cowboys are the Eagles’ biggest threat in the division, so Philly fans will likely be in the very unusual position of cheering for the boys in blue this weekend.

49ers (4-2) @ Broncos (4-1), 8:30 p.m.

The Sunday night matchup is a good one. Starting with its victory over the Eagles, San Fran has rattled off three straight wins and is right in the thick of things. Besides Denver, the Niners have two games against the Seahawks and tilts with San Diego and Arizona remaining on the schedule. They will be tested quite a bit between now and the end of the regular season.