With the Eagles loss to the Cowboys Sunday they also lost the ability to determine their own fate with regard to a playoff berth.
The Birds have two games remaining, both on the road. Saturday night they travel to Washington where they’ll play a sluggish DeSean Jackson and a team without a bona fide starting quarterback in the 3-11 Redskins.
Then in Week 17, Philly travels up I-95 to MetLife Stadium to finish the regular season against the suddenly hot Giants, winners of two straight.
These games take on an even stronger importance after the Eagles dropped from 9-3 and the division lead to 9-5 and in second place after their first back-to-back losses sinceOctober of 2013.
All the Eagles can focus on is what they can control.
“The only thing that matters is just our next game,” Chip Kelly said after the Eagles 38-27 setback Sunday. “We can’t think anything long term. We don’t worry about who does what and who does anything. If we don’t go out and beat Washington, then it’s kind of a moot point, anyway.”
While the Eagles coaches and players are focused on the task at hand, the fans and pundits can focus on the big picture. There are three scenarios with which the Eagles make the postseason.
1. Eagles go 2-0, Cowboys go 1-1
The Eagles must win out with Dallas losing either next week to the Colts or in Week 17 to the Redskins. Should this occur, the Birds would actually win the NFC East with the same record as the Cowboys due to their division record (the tie-breaker).
2. Eagles go 1-1, Cowboys go 0-2
This is the situation the Birds hope to avoid, but as long as the Cowboys fall to the Colts in Week 16, the Eagles have life. Should Dallas win this coming Sunday and after the Eagles lose, the Cowboys would clinch the division and the Birds’ only hope would be the wild card.
3. Eagles go 2-0, Seahawks, Packers or Lions go 0-2
The Eagles are currently in seventh place in the NFC. If they can’t leapfrog Dallas for the division, they need one of the three teams listed above to go winless in their last two games. Since the Eagles would lose tie-breakers against all three, Philadelphia must have a better record than one of these teams, each of which is currently 10-4. The Seahawks face the Cardinals and the Rams, the Packers face the Buccaneers and Lions, and the Lions face the Bears and Packers.