An Eagles Fan’s Complete Rooting Guide For Week 16

The Eagles, following a close game against the Bears, have advanced to 13-1 with three games remaining in the season.

Elsewhere in the league, the Cowboys lost to give the Eagles an extra step on them, while the Vikings and 49ers won games of their own to keep them two and three games back from the Birds, respectively.

In the embarrassment that is the NFC South, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers inched closer to the playoffs with a loss as the even worse Atlanta Falcons were defeated by the division rival Saints. This is, of course, relevant to the Eagles because they own the Saints’ first-round pick and the fact that the Falcons lost that game moves that pick from the fourth overall to the ninth.

With three games to go, however, the Eagles have plenty of rooting interests around the league in regards to trying to lock up the number one seed (and the only playoff bye week in the NFC) as well as the status of the first round pick they will be receiving from the Saints.

Who should Eagles fans be rooting for in Week 16? Let’s take a closer look.

Jaguars at Jets

At 6-8 and 7-7 respectively, both of these teams could potentially end the season with worse records than the Saints. After this matchup, the Jaguars play the Texans (1-12-1) and Titans (7-7) while the Jets play the Seahawks (7-7) and Dolphins (8-6). This is a match-up that either team winning could distance then from the Saints.

Looking at the potential strength of schedule tiebreakers from those teams sitting near the same record as the Saints but with a lower strength of schedule, the Raiders and Colts would see their SOS increase with a Jaguars win giving them a higher likelihood of getting a pick lower in the round if they wind up with the same record as the Saints. The Broncos played both the Jaguars and the Jets, so their SOS is unaffected. The Browns, Steelers and Bears would see their SOS increase, but all of those teams currently have a higher SOS than New Orleans.

The pick: Jaguars

Falcons at Ravens

The Ravens, at 9-5 on the season, cannot wind up with a pick worse than the Saints unless the Saints make the playoffs themselves. The Falcons, meanwhile, have the same record as the Saints but with a worse strength of schedule and the head-to-head tiebreaker being in favor of the Saints. The Falcons can push that first round pick for the Eagles higher, they just need to win more games than the Saints do in the final three weeks.

The pick: Falcons

Lions at Panthers

The Lions are 7-7 and could still wind up with a worse record than the Saints, but the closer issue to worry about here is the Panthers, who have the same record as the Saints. They also currently have a worst strength of schedule, so they would need a better record than the Saints to raise the Eagles pick up in the first round.

The Panthers and Saints are also competing for the division title at this point and Eagles fans don’t want to see the Saints be able to back their way into a playoff spot. With a win over the Lions, the Panthers could get themselves a tiebreaker advantage over the Saints, something that could be of great importance to preventing the Saints from making the playoffs and pushing their pick to the 19th pick at best.

The pick: Panthers

Seahawks at Chiefs

The Saints could still wind up with the same or a better record the Seahawks (7-7). Meanwhile, the Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot and, at 11-3, cannot end with a worse record than the Saints even if they weren’t a playoff lock. It’s also worth noting that the Saints have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, so if they had the same record right now the Seahawks would wind up with the higher pick.

The pick: Seahawks

Saints at Browns

In one of the most obvious games to pick, Eagles fans should be looking for the Saints to lose every week to push their first-round pick higher. This week, that just so happens to mean the Browns winning.

The pick: Browns

Texans at Titans

The Texans are already locked into a top-six pick and the Saints pick has no chance of being higher than the Texans’ own pick. Meanwhile the 7-7 Colts are competing with the 6-8 Jaguars for a playoff spot as the AFC South division winner. One of those teams should have the 19th pick or later in the draft by virtue of being a division winner and playoff team, but as long as the Saints don’t win their division, that leaves one team with the potential to end the season with a worse record than the Saints. The Titans winning another game would either keep them at two games ahead or move them to three games ahead of the Saints with just two games left to play.

The pick: Titans

Bengals at Patriots

The Bengals are 10-4 and will have a better record than the Saints in the regular season no matter what (plus they are likely playoff bound). On the other side, the 7-7 Patriots are a team that could theoretically end the season with a worse record than the Saints.

The pick: Patriots

Giants at Vikings

This is a game where Eagles fans might have a tough time picking a rooting interest. When it comes down to it, the Vikings are a team that will be in the playoffs and it is looking pretty unlikely that the Giants don’t also find themselves there. That said, there should be some divisional pride for Philly fans as the NFC East becoming the first and only division to get every team into the playoffs would be quite the bragging rights. Of course, the Vikings losing also helps the Eagles by taking Minnesota out of the competition for the first-round bye entirely.

The pick: Giants

Bills at Bears

The Bills have 11 wins and are playoff locks, so there’s no risk of them ending the season with a worse record than that of New Orleans. The Bears, however, are at 3-11 and could still improve their record to that of what the Saints have or even better. The Bears do have the stronger strength of schedule, including a win over the 49ers that could certainly play a huge factor in deciding the tiebreaker of who gets the higher pick.

The pick: Bears

Commanders at 49ers

This is essentially a copy/paste of the Giants and Vikings matchup. The bragging rights for all NFC East teams getting into the playoffs as the first and only division to do that would be great. A 49ers loss ensures that they cannot get the one seed no matter what.

The pick: Commanders

Eagles at Cowboys

I debated even listing this one. Of course it’s the Eagles to win. A win over the Cowboys would clinch the division and the number one seed.

The pick: Eagles

Raiders at Steelers

Both Pittsburgh and Las Vegas are one game ahead of the Saints at this point and both have looked really bad at points this season, putting them in jeopardy in of a record that ties or is worse than the Saints. If you’re concerned about tie breakers, the Raiders have the head-to-head win on the season, which would grant the Saints the lower pick. The Steelers and Saints common opponents tiebreaker has multiple common opponents left over the next three weeks (in fact, all three games for both teams are against common opponents) so that tie breaker is yet to be determined. If you’re pressed to pick a winner, that might make the Steelers the more enticing option, but the Raiders also appear unlikely to win either of their next two games unless starters are benched by San Francisco and KC. What might be best now is to just get each team an extra half game.

The pick: Tie

Packers at Dolphins

The Dolphins don’t get a first-round pick because of their tampering (which it should be noted, was unsuccessful multiple times – embarrassing), so they are irrelevant to the NFC playoffs or the Saints pick. With the Packers having just a one-game lead over the Saints’ record, it would be nice to see them put some distance between themselves and a higher pick.

The pick: Packers

Broncos at Rams

This is a tough one as these teams are both actually one game worse than the Saints right now, so they would both need to win multiple more games than the Saints to pass them. The Saints have the head-to-head over the Rams and the Broncos appear poised to beat the Saints in tiebreakers, as well. Due to the fact both teams would need to makeup multiple games to win, a tie is not helpful.

The upcoming schedule after this for the Rams is the Chargers and Seahawks, the last team in on the AFC right now and the one of the first teams out on the NFC side respectively. Both teams figure to show up like this is a playoff game. For the Broncos, though, they have those same Chargers and the Chiefs, who are in a dogfight for the top seed and a playoff bye. With the Broncos looking at times like the worst team in the league and the Rams having the slightly lower bar of competition, it might be a better idea to bank on them pulling off an extra upset.

The pick: Rams

Buccaneers at Cardinals

This is a tough one to choose. Of course, many Eagles fans are not fans of Tom Brady, but the teams themselves are both close to the Saints. The Bucs are one game up and the Cardinals are one game back. While in a perfect world, the Saints would lose out the rest of the way and allow the Cardinals to catch up on them, that should not be counted upon. Unfortunately, the most pressing issue for that Saints pick the Eagles will get is ensuring that the Saints do not get into the playoffs. The Falcons or Panthers could have something to say about that themselves (preferably), but the Falcons just lost to the Saints for the second time this year and the Panthers are a team that I’d rely on less than even the lackluster Buccaneers. If you’re someone who’s confident that the Saints will not be winning anymore games, however, the Cardinals picking up ground on them would be ideal.

The safe pick: Buccanneers

Chargers at Colts

The best the Saints could do is get to the same record as the Chargers and, if that happens, there’s a decent chance the Saints themselves could be in the playoff picture. On the other side, the Colts are 4-9-1 and that tie puts them a half game behind the 5-9 Saints. If the Colts can win one more game than New Orleans down the stretch, they’ll push that first round pick one spot higher. Plus, it’s looking like Eagles legend Nick Foles will lead Indianapolis.

The pick: Colts