Despite disastrous loss, Eagles still set up to clinch top seed originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Even though the Eagles suffered an embarrassing loss to the Saints on Sunday afternoon, they’re still in a pretty good position to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a Week 18 win.
Just don’t tell Jason Kelce.
"I'm not even focused on that right now,” Kelce said after the frustrating 20-10 loss. “I could give two f— about clinching a first-place seed right now. We've got to get a lot of things fixed. That's what I'm focused on."
That’s fair. The Eagles really struggled on Sunday. They didn’t look ready on either side of the ball. And while the defense eventually got some key stops, the Eagles’ offense with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew put up just 10 points.
The Eagles have now lost two straight and are playing their worst football with the playoffs looming.
“You gotta find a way to stop the bleeding,” DeVonta Smith said. “We’re not playing our best ball so we gotta find a way to stop all the downpour and things like that. Get back on track.”
The Eagles have the right mindset. They have to fix their own problems instead of looking at the big picture and what things are looking like in Week 18.
But we can look at the bigger picture. And if the Eagles are able to fix their own problems and if they get Jalen Hurts back in a week, things are still setting up nicely.
With a win in Week 18 over the Giants, the Eagles would earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
The Giants on Sunday clinched a playoff berth with their win over the Colts and are locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC. So the Giants will have nothing to play for next week as the Eagles play their starters to go for the top seed in the conference. Giants head coach Brian Daboll on Sunday said he hadn't yet thought about whether he'll rest his starters or not next week.
"I haven't," he said. "I'm just going to enjoy this one right here – go home and smoke a cigar and hang out with my family."
The oddsmakers clearly expect the Giants to rest their starters though. The Eagles opened up as 14-point favorites, according to PointsBet.
Even after Sunday’s loss to the Saints, FiveThirtyEight still gives the Eagles a 92% chance to earn the No. 1 seed and first-round bye.
The Eagles could technically still earn the No. 1 seed next week with a loss but they would then need losses from the Cowboys and 49ers. That seems unlikely as the Cowboys face the Commanders and the 49ers face the Cardinals.
So the Eagles have to focus on themselves and take care of business next weekend.
“We're here now,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “We're 13-3 right now with a chance to go 14-3 next week to win the division. All our goals are in front of us. Any time you lose a game, any time you don't perform the way you think you should perform you're going to be upset and humbled, but that's not a bad thing.”
But they can erase the failure of these last two weeks with a win against the Giants. That’s what Kelce and Co. are focused on.
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