Last weekend’s Eagles game was not pretty. The Packers put about three wins’ worth of play into one game, but thankfully the Eagles could only walk away with one extra loss. In many ways, the Mark Sanchez-led Eagles are a big mystery going forward, and the playoffs are up in the air. The ESPN Playoff Machine is going to help us through this, however. That image above is how the playoffs would look if the season ended today. The season does not end today. So, let us take a look at a variety of outcomes.
The above situation, perhaps the most unlikely of the bunch, is what it would look like if the team with the highest-ranked offense won every game for the rest of the season. Since the Eagles offense currently ranks near the top, they win out. But on the other side?
With the better defense winning each game, the Eagles are in trouble. They’d end up 8-8 and missing the playoffs. Luckily, this might actually be less likely than that #1 seed above it.
If the Eagles win out at home — and so does everyone else — there is good news and bad news. The good news is they can be proud of an 8-0 record on the year at Lincoln Financial Field. The bad news is that they’d face the Packers in the first round. That matchup, as we saw last week, is less than ideal, but being at the Linc instead of being at Lambeau could make a huge difference.
Using win percentage as the difference maker leads to all kinds of insanity. This is the bizarro playoff picture where the Patriots and Cardinals are the only teams to make the cut without a tie, and this would also require the Eagles and Cowboys to tie both of their matchups, which may implode both cities.
And finally, that is what happens if I predict every game for the rest of the season correctly (perhaps the least likely of all the scenarios): The Saints are embarrassing but make the playoffs. The Eagles and Dallas each take one from the other at home, and end up facing off at the Linc in the first round. And every team in the AFC North has a better record than the Saints, which will lead to more talk of restructuring the playoffs.
Any of these scenarios could be right — or completely, amazingly wrong — but when you look at strength of schedule, offensive rank, home field advantage, and all the other options here, the Eagles still look to be in pretty good shape. You can pick each game for the remainder of the year and see how your playoff bracket would shake out over here.