Schedule Breakdown: How the Eagles Are Still In the Playoff Race
October 2, 2013 in Philadelphia Eagles
By Phil Thompson:
Well that game hurt, but we knew that it was a long shot to win (especially in Denver). The Eagles may have fallen to 1-3, but in this down year for the NFC East (or at least as some are calling it), the Eagles still have a chance.
The best news is it is not one of those pie in the sky 1 in a million shots either. Philadelphia hasn't lost a conference game and has a win in the NFC East so far. And though the three conference games are all "common games" within the division, none of the other teams in the East have beaten the Chargers, Broncos or Chiefs yet either. Here is what the Eagles have to do in the final 13 weeks (including the bye) to be atop the NFC East (Week 1 starting this week):
This is a key game for the Eagles and one that they should win. Yes Philly is on the road, but he Giants have been terrible this year both offensively and defensively. Philly can take this game and go to 2-0 in the division.
Week 2: @ Tampa Bay: Win
Eagles are on the road again, but it is another pretty easy test. Tampa's defense has been okay, but their offense isn't a threat at all. The Eagles should be able to take this one on the road and improve to 3-3.
Week 3: Dallas: Win
This is a must win game because the Eagles really need to at least split this series so they can move on to additional tie breakers (if needed). Philadelphia needs to be able to take this one at home and get to 4-3 and possibly atop the division at this point.
Week 4: NY Giants: Win
Giants won't go down without a fight, but the Eagles need to take this one at home and get to 4 division wins (and 5 overall). If the Eagles want to still make a playoff run this is the type of game where they can't play down to their opponent.
Week 5: @ Oakland: Win
Another road game, but again against a pretty easy team. You don't want to get over confident, but the Raiders gutted their team this year to clean their cap for 2014. This is not a dangerous football team and one that can keep up with a high powered offense. The Eagles should get the win here and go to 6-3.
Week 6: @ Green Bay: Loss
The chances of beating Green Bay are basically slim to none. Of course anything can happen on any given Sunday, but it's good to be realistic. This would push them down to 6-4, but still in good shape.
Week 7: Washington: Win
This might not be the same Redskins team that the Eagles beat up for their lone win this year, but they also aren't likely to be in great shape either. Their defense is still a mess and RGIII will likely still be dealing with injuries. This game will be close regardless of record, but a steady dose of LeSean McCoy and the home crowd should give the Eagles the win.
Week 8: Bye
Rest up, the Eagles would have taken care of the tough job of getting to a winning record (7-4), but they still need to close out the season.
Week 9: Arizona: Win
The Cardinals continue to struggle this year as they still lack a great quarterback situation or offensive line. The Eagles should be able to out last them, especially at home. This would put the Eagles at 8-4.
Week 10: Detroit: Loss
I'd like to predict a win here, but the Lions are playing pretty well this year, and I don't know if the Eagles can stop Stafford/Bush/Johnson. This should be a high scoring game so maybe they can steal it late, but its' likely a loss. That puts the Eagles at 8-5, but in this division that is okay.
Week 11: @ Minnesota: Win
Stopping Adrian Peterson at home isn't something I relish, but the Eagles can take him out of the game some if they use their up tempo offense to score early and often. The Vikings don't really have the defense to slow down the Eagles or the passing attack to match-up with them.
Week 12: Chicago: Loss
This is tough because you hate to lose a game at home as you are trying to stay atop the division, but the Bears are going to be a tough team and hopefully the Cowboys are are couple games behind the Eagles.
Week 13: @ Dallas: Loss
Now if the Eagles need to win this maybe they can muster the win on the road, but the good news for the Eagles is unless Dallas has 9 wins heading into this game or 5 win already in the East, the Eagles won't have to win this game to take the division. With a head-to-head split, and the Eagles at 5-1 in the division they are in a great position to win the tiebreaker here versus Dallas (and there is no guarantee that Dallas will have 8 wins by this point).
Yes this is optimistic, but the weak division and the weak schedule going forward gives the Eagles a little bit of hope. Philly has to take care of business versus weak teams on the road (and weak teams at home). The key here is of course having a strong division record and knocking off Dallas in Philadelphia. It won't be easy, but it is still possible.