Lunch Break: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Sunday
If the Eagles win out, they win the NFC East. That's the easy version. (USA Today Images)
MINNEAPOLIS – Even on a day when they allowed 48 points to a last-place team, the Eagles managed to reduce their magic number to win the NFC East.
The Eagles lowered their number from three to two Sunday night when the Packers came back from a 23-point halftime deficit and stunned the Cowboys, 37-36, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Eagles fell to 8-6 with a 48-30 loss to the Vikings at the Metrodome (see Instant Replay), and when the Cowboys led the Packers 26-3 at halftime it certainly looked like the Cowboys were about to improve to 8-6.
But the Packers became the eighth team in NFL history to win after trailing by 23 points or more and dropped the Cowboys to 7-7, still one game behind the Eagles.
Two Eagles wins, two Cowboys losses, or one Eagles win with one Cowboys loss over the last two weeks gives the Eagles their first NFC East title since 2010 and puts them in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, as well.
The Cowboys face the Redskins at 1 p.m. Sunday in Landover, Md., and the Eagles are home against the Bears at 8:30 p.m.
The two teams finish the regular season with a 1 p.m. game on Dec. 29 in North Texas.
If the Redskins and Eagles win Sunday, the Eagles will clinch the division, rendering the Dec. 29 game meaningless.
Otherwise, that game will determine the division winner.
If the Cowboys win Sunday, Chip Kelly could conceivably rest his starters against the Bears, since the Bears game won’t affect whether the Eagles get into the playoffs or not.
But that game could affect whether the Eagles become a No. 3 seed or a No. 4 seed, which would determine the Eagles’ potential first-round opponent.
As the No. 3 seed, they would face the No. 6 seed in the first round, the wild-card team with the worst record. As the No. 4 seed, they would face the No. 5 seed at the Linc on wild-card weekend.
If the Eagles and Cowboys finish tied, the Cowboys win the division based on a superior record against division opponents. The Eagles are 3-2 in the division, and the Cowboys are 4-0. The only way the Eagles can catch the Cowboys in division record is with a win over the Cowboys and a Cowboys loss to the Redskins -- in which case they would win the division anyway.
The Eagles, for the record, cannot make the playoffs as a wild-card team. The only way the could earn a wild-card berth is by tying the Panthers and 49ers at 10-6. That said, if they get to 10-6, by winning their last two games, they'll have won the NFC East anyway.