The Eagles Were Just Handed a Massive Break That Drastically Increases Their Chances of Winning the NFC East
The Philadelphia Eagles received pretty awesome news over Thanksgiving. The Dallas Cowboys lost in overtime to the Las Vegas Raiders, dropping their record down to 7-4 on the season.
The Eagles (5-6), on the other hand, are quietly sneaking their way back up the NFC East standings. They’re winners in three of their last four and are officially within striking distance of Dallas following their turkey day loss. To make matters even better for Philly, their schedule lines up quite favorably for a second-half surge.
The Eagles have an incredibly easy schedule moving forward
Alongside receiving a good draft pick, one of the top benefits to finishing at the bottom of a division is the following last-place schedule that comes with it. The Eagles won a measly four games last year and finished dead last in the NFC East, setting them up for a far more favorable year in 2021.
They effectively used their top draft pick on wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who’s already impressing, and now get to reap the rewards of a more manageable schedule moving into winter.
They play the New York Giants twice, the Washington Football Team twice, the New York Jets once, and the Dallas Cowboys once (at home). It’s about as easy a schedule as a team could ask for, especially considering the high number of divisional games. The Eagles are being afforded a prime opportunity to stack up divisional wins leading into a crucial Week 18 matchup with the Cowboys.
Of course, the Eagles have to continue playing well to actually win these games. However, it certainly feels like they control their destiny to an extent. Even if they can’t close the gap on Dallas by the time Week 18 rolls around, 4-5 wins during this stretch of games should be enough to secure a Wild Card spot in the NFC.
The Eagles just received a massive boost before their Week 12 game against the Giants
First up for the Eagles during their second-half push is a date with the Giants in New York. The Giants are struggling yet again this season despite a busy offseason, sitting dead last in the NFC East with a 3-7 record.
This is a game the Eagles should be feeling confident about, no matter the situation. However, during this past week, there were some minor concerns they would be without their top cornerback, Darius Slay.
Slay suffered a head injury during the Eagles’ recent win over the New Orleans Saints and entered concussion protocols. The Eagles don’t have a deep cornerback room, and Slay has been playing lights out this season (three defensive touchdowns). Losing him would be a significant loss even against a weak Giants offense.
However, Slay announced on November 26 that he had cleared concussion protocol and would be suiting up for the game this weekend. A collective sigh of relief can be let out by Eagles coaches, players, and fans alike.
The Giants should struggle to move the ball against Philly
With Slay set to suit up and the Eagles defense dealing with minimal other injuries, Week 12 should be another rough outing for Daniel Jones and the Giants offense.
The Giants currently rank 28th in yards gained and 25th in expected points contributed by the offense. This is not a unit that should be expected to shine during a hard-fought divisional battle.
Maybe the Giants have some tricks up their sleeves following the recent firing of OC Jason Garrett. However, with Slay active and ready to go, this feels like a game the Eagles should comfortably win, bringing them one step closer to contending for the top spot in the NFC East.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.