NFC Wild Card Race Update

By Matthew Kaplan

While the Eagles are still in the divisional race, the current situation is not favorable. With a win this week the Dallas Cowboys can clinch the NFC East. They would be the last of the NFC division leaders to wrap up the division. With that said, the NFC wild card is still wide open. Their are currently six teams with a reasonable chance to earn a spot in the playoffs with a win.

While teams like the Falcons, Buccaneers, Giants, and Lions are all mathematically in the hunt, they should not be on the list of teams that worry the Eagles. They would all need the Seahawks to lose both of their remaining games while they win both. While that is not out of the realm of possibilities, it would involve a lot of help from other teams above them. Out of the teams with an outside chance to sneak in, the Lions have the best chance of the bunch as they have both the Vikings and the Packers remaining on their schedule; both are teams above them in the race and both are teams they would need to lose along the way.

Just shy of being a long shot are the Packers and Panthers. Both teams are more then a game out of the second wild card and both have been struggling. The Packers have the easier schedule of the two teams, but they are two and six since their week seven bye week. The Panthers have two divisional games remaining, but one of them is going into New Orleans and taking on arguably the best team in the NFC away from home. To make matters worse, the Panthers are one and six on the road this season, and as if it could not get any worse for Panthers fans, they are on a six-game losing streak.

In the final tier of teams chasing down the Vikings and Seahawks for the wild card spots are two teams still in the running for their division, as well. The biggest difference between the two is the situation at quarterback and the overall skill level of the teams. The Eagles have a clear advantage over the Redskins because of the situation at quarterback. While Eagles fans know what Nick Foles is capable of, the Redskins are not sure who their starter is. It could be Mark Sanchez, who we all know from experience will make his fair share of mistakes from week to week. The Redskins also have Josh Johnson. Johnson has looked to be the better of the two, but the career backup quarterback is not experienced in big situations and will also make mistakes in key situations.

While the Eagles and Redskins play on the final week of the season, the results from this week go a long way in determining what the future holds. As Eagles fans, we should all not only be rooting for an Eagles win, but we should also look for a Titans win on Saturday (v. Redskins), a Lions win on Sunday afternoon (v. Vikings) and a Chiefs win on Sunday night (v. Seahawks). With those teams winning, that would put the Eagles in the drivers seat with complete control over their playoff lives.

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