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The Eagles' Week 17 game in Dallas could determine the NFC East, but Chip Kelly refuses to think that far ahead. (USA Today Images)
Don’t ask Chip Kelly about tiebreakers. Don’t ask him about standings or playoff implications or conference records.
He just doesn’t care.
There’s a great chance the Eagles-Cowboys game in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 29, will determine the division winner and NFC East representative in the postseason.
But Kelly gives a faint smirk and a blank stare when asked how much he thinks about the postseason, now that there are only six weeks left in the regular season.
“It's inconsequential,” he said. “It means absolutely nothing. I've always felt the same exact way. I look at college football and everybody talks about the BCS talk in October, and it doesn't mean anything. You lose a game and you're out.
“We're going to keep our head down until Dec. 29. I know I personally will and we’ll see how many games we’ve won. If that's enough games to qualify for a playoffs, then we did a good job. But wishing and hoping and looking at tiebreakers, you should be watching film and breaking down your opponent instead of doing that stuff.”
The Eagles are 5-5 with six games left, in a virtual tie for first place in the NFC East with the Cowboys, who own a head-to-head win over the Eagles.
The Redskins and Giants are both 3-6, and the Eagles have the opportunity to really knock the 'Skins out of the playoff hunt with a win at the Linc on Sunday.
“It's about that game that week,” Kelly said. “That's all we can control. If it's not going to help us accomplish our mission, [we don’t care]. Our mission is a one‑game mission to beat the Washington Redskins, then we shouldn't be thinking about it, talking about it or doing it.”
The only coach in Eagles history to reach the playoffs in his first year was Ray Rhodes, whose 1995 team went 10-6, won the NFC East and won a wild-card game before losing in the conference semifinal round.
The Eagles haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2008. Their last home playoff win came in 2006.
Only once in the last quarter-century have the Eagles gone three straight years without a postseason appearance. That was 1997 through 1999, Rhodes’ last two years and Andy Reid’s first.
From 1988 through 2010, the Eagles played in the postseason an NFL-high 15 of 23 times.
According to FootballOutsiders.com, which runs a computerized simulation of every game 50,000 times, the Eagles have a 43.4 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, compared to the Cowboys’ 59.5 percent chance. The Redskins are at 2.1 percent and the Giants 1.9 percent.
The Eagles have a 2.0 percent chance at a first-round bye, a 5.2 percent chance to reach as a wild-card team and a 38.2 percent chance to win the NFC East.
The computer simulation gives the Eagles a 0 percent chance at a No. 1 seed. It ranks the Eagles' chances from most likely to least likely as a No. 4 seed (26.9 percent), No. 3 seed (9.3 percent), No. 6 seed (4.6 percent), No. 5 seed (0.6 percent) and No. 2 seed (2.0 percent).
“For me to spend time looking at what number I think is going to be the number you need to win in games, it means nothing,” Kelly said.
“Just go out and prepare for that game you’ve got that week, and that's what it should be about and what it's always about.”