Eagles playoff scenarios with Dallas Cowboys

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By SportsRadio 94WIP

They don’t ask how, they ask how many — and the Eagles are getting very close to enough wins to get into the postseason. 

The Eagles are now 7-7 following their comeback win over the Washington Redskins, their second win a row that has come in the final minutes. 

After the come-from-behind win, and the Cowboys’ win on Sunday, FiveThirtyEight has increased the Eagles playoff chances to 43%, which is actually 6% lower than last week, and 14% behind of the Cowboys. 

The drop, despite the win, is a sign that even though the Eagles control their own destiny, their path to the playoff is not an easy one — especially after the Cowboys’ impressive win. 

Here is an updated look at all the different scenarios over the next two weeks:

Eagles beat the Cowboys: 
Immediate Impact: If the Eagles beat the Cowboys next week they would improve to 8-7 and drop the Cowboys to 7-8, giving them a one game lead and keeping their playoff hopes alive. 
Impact on Week 17: If the Eagles beat the Cowboys next week it would make Week 17 very important. With a win over the Cowboys next week and the Giants in Week 17, the Eagles would clinch the NFC East, as they would end the season 9-7 and the Cowboys could at best finish 8-8. If the Eagles were to beat the Cowboys next week, then lose to the Giants with the Cowboys winning in Week 17, both teams would be 8-8. At that point the Eagles would lose the division on the second tiebreaker -- record in division, as the Cowboys would be 5-1 and the Eagles would be 4-2. 

Also, if the Eagles were to beat the Cowboys next week, and then both were to lose in Week 17, the Eagles would clinch the division at 8-8, with the Cowboys at 7-9. 

Cowboys beat the Eagles: 
Immediate Impact: The immediate impact in this scenario is pretty simple — with a win next week the Cowboys clinch the NFC East and eliminate the Eagles from the playoff race. 
Impact on Week 17: Both the Eagles and Cowboys won’t have anything to play for in Week 17 if the Cowboys win next week. 
Eagles and Cowboys tie:
Impact on Week 17: First, a tie would be a fitting end for these two teams, considering neither has played like a playoff team this season. A tie would not clinch the division for the Cowboys, but it would give them the chance to clinch the NFC East in Week 17 with a win, regardless of what the Eagles do. 
Impact on Week 17: If the two teams tie next week, and the Cowboys win in Week 17, they win the division. If they two teams tie and the Cowboys lose in Week 17, the Eagles would clinch with a win over the Giants. If the two teams tie next week, and then both lose in Week 17, the Cowboys would win the division. 
Tie Breakers: 

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head. The Eagles are currently behind in this one, 1-0. This one makes the Week 16 matchup that much more important, as the Cowboys would clinch this tiebreaker — and likely the division — with a win.  

If the Eagles win in Week 16, and end the season with the same record as the Cowboys, the next tie breaker would be divisional records. If both teams win the games they are supposed to, and the Eagles beat the Cowboys, they would each finish the season 5-1 in the NFC East, moving it to the third tie breaker. The Eagles are currently 3-1 in the NFC East with two games remaining in the division, the Cowboys are currently 4-0 with two games remaining in the division. 

The third tie breaker? Common opponents, which the Eagles and Cowboys have 12 of. The Eagles are 6-4 in the 10 games they have played so far out of the 12. The Cowboys are 5-6 after their loss to the Bears. The Eagles remaining common opponent games are the Giants and Washington. It is very possible, if the Eagles beat the Cowboys, they could win the tie breaker with a 8-4 record in common opponent games, as the Cowboys already have five losses against common opponents. 

If they were still tied after the third tie breaker, the fourth tie-breaker would be record against teams in the conference. The Eagles are currently 4-5 in the conference, with the Cowboys 5-5 after their win over the Rams. 

Potential Playoff Opponent:

Yes, it is time to start looking ahead to potential playoff opponents for the Eagles. 

The Eagles only way into the playoffs at this point is the NFC East title, which means if they are in the postseason, they will be hosting a playoff game. 

As of right now, the top of the NFC looks like this:

1. Seattle Seahawks (11-3)
2. Green Bay Packers (11-3)
3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-7) 
5. San Francisco 49ers (11-3)
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-4)

As you can see, if the Eagles win the NFC East, their current opponent would be San Francisco. Plenty could change, however, as the NFC West winner is likely going to be the top seed — and the 49ers and Seahawks still have to play each other. 

So although there is plenty to be decided, the 49ers and the Seahawks look like the two possible playoff opponents for the Eagles. The Vikings would only be the first-round opponent if either the 49ers or Seahawks were to lose their final two games. 

The Eagles were competitive with the Seahawks when they came to Philadelphia earlier this season. The 49ers would be coming to Philadelphia with a quarterback and head coach who have never played in a playoff game on the road — or at all together. 

Both games are winnable for the Eagles, and for the first time in a long time, fans should start feeling excited again about where this team is heading. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!