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It wasn’t that long ago that it seemed the Philadelphia Eagles wouldn’t have anything to play for in Week 18. With only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, Nick Sirianni’s squad held a seemingly insurmountable lead in the NFC East and was destined to take the conference’s lone first-round bye.

But that was before Jalen Hurts banged up his throwing shoulder in a Week 15 win over the Chicago Bears.

Since then, with Gardner Minshew taking the snaps, the Eagles have taken losses to the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, dropping them to 13-3. And while they’re still tied for the best record in the NFL, they could fall out of the top spot in both their division and the conference if things don’t go their way in this final week of the regular season.

So what does Philly need to do in Week 18 to win the NFC East and clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC?

Eagles playoff chances: How the Eagles can clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the NFC in Week 18

Philadelphia Eagles helmet
Philadelphia Eagles helmet | Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The good news for the Eagles heading into Week 18 is that they control their own destiny.

With a one-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East and a one-game lead over the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings in the overall NFC standings, all they have to do to claim the division and a first-round bye in the NFL Playoffs is beat the New York Giants.

And the even better news for Philly is that New York has absolutely nothing for which to play.

With a 38-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17, the Giants punched their postseason ticket for the first time in six years and are locked into the No. 6 slot in the NFC no matter what happens in Week 18.

So there’s a strong chance the Eagles won’t see Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and several other of Brian Daboll’s starters. And if they do play, one wouldn’t think it would be for very long.

But even if New York rests players, Philadelphia still has to go out and win. Even with Minshew under center, the Eagles should’ve taken care of business against New Orleans. So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hurts back in action, whether he starts or comes in if Minshew struggles again.


NFL Playoff Picture 2022: Who’s In and Who’s Out Heading Into Week 18?