The Eagles are 1-3-1, coming off of a bad loss in Pittsburgh and have a quarterback with one of the lowest passer ratings in the NFL.
Yet, somehow, things are looking up.
The combination of an injury to Dak Prescott, a bad Dallas Cowboys defense and a strong showing from the offense should have the Eagles not only thinking playoffs, but feeling good about their chances of getting their for the fourth-straight season.
So how can they get there?
Let’s take a look at the remaining 11 games for the Eagles and Cowboys, taking an overly pessimistic look at the remaining Eagle’s games, and an overly optimistic look at the Cowboys’ remaining schedule:
Home vs. Baltimore Ravens: LOSS (1-4-1)
Home New York Giants: WIN (2-4-1)
Home vs. Dallas Cowboys: WIN (3-4-1)
At New York Giants: WIN (4-4-1)
At Cleveland Browns: LOSS (4-5-1)
Home vs. Seattle Seahawks LOSS (4-6-1)
At Green Bay Packers: LOSS (4-7-1)
Home vs. New Orleans Saints: WIN (5-7-1)
At Arizona Cardinals: WIN (6-7-1)
At Dallas Cowboys: LOSS (6-8-1)
Home vs. Washington: WIN (7-8-1)
Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Home vs. Arizona Cardinals: LOSS (2-4)
At Washington: WIN (3-4)
At Eagles: : LOSS (3-5)
Home vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: LOSS (3-6)
At Minnesota Vikings: LOSS (3-7)
Home vs. Washington: WIN (4-7)
At Baltimore Ravens: LOSS (4-8)
At Cincinnati Bengals: WIN (5–8)
Home vs. San Francisco 49ers: LOSS (5-9)
Home vs. Eagles: WIN (6-9)
At New York Giants: WIN (7-9)
In this scenario the Eagles can lose to Baltimore next week, lose to the Cowboys in Week 16 and win just one of rough four-game stretch in the middle of the season against Cleveland, Seattle, Green Bay and New Orleans. That is a 1-5 record against the 6 quality opponents they have left. That is a very low bar.
To survive a 1-5 record in those six games, and make the playoffs, they would need to sweep the Giants, win their remaining game against Washington, beat Dallas once and get a win in Arizona. Nothing is easy for a 1-3-1 team. But as far as playoff paths go, their path to seven wins — and the division title — isn’t terrible.
On the Cowboys’ end, they have a tough game this Sunday against Arizona. It will be Andy Dalton’s first start, and our first look at what to expect from the team’s backup. The Cowboys have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, but there are certainly some losable games. Key games are this Sunday against Arizona, at Minnesota and home vs. San Francisco. The Eagles are likely going to need all of those to be losses — while assuming the Cowboys also lose to the much-better Steelers and Ravens.
The margin for error is thin. If the Cowboys win two, or even one, of those key games it is going to be tough for the Eagles to make to the playoffs.
But there is absolutely no denying that despite a horrendous start to the season, not only are the playoffs a possibility — they arguably should be expected.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!