It has been widely reported that an Eagles win over the 49ers on Sunday would be enough to clinch a playoff spot. That is incorrect. We learned earlier this week from the NFL that the Eagles would need to win and have one of two things happen - either a loss or tie by the Giants OR a WIN or tie by the Cowboys.
How exactly does a Dallas win over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night help the Eagles? Here's the explanation we got from the NFL.
If the Eagles win, the only thing that can prevent the Eagles from making the playoffs is if the Giants win the NFC East. The only way the Giants can win the NFC East is a three-way tie at 10-6. The tiebreaker that would come into play is common games. That eliminates the Eagles and leaves the Giants and the Cowboys to vie for the division, which goes to the Giants who swept the Cowboys in the regular season. The Eagles would have been swept by the Cowboys and therefore lose out on the Wild Card spot.
If the Cowboys beat the Saints on Saturday and all three teams finish 10-6, the tiebreaker becomes division record. The Eagles and the Giants would have a better NFC East record than the Cowboys and the Eagles own the head-to-head record over the Giants.
Again, not that any Eagles fan is going to root for the Cowboys, but there's the explanation of how a Dallas win helps the Eagles.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 4:50 p.m., December 18