The Philadelphia Eagles are in the midst of a historic season for the franchise. Philadelphia is currently 11-1, tying the best 12-game start in franchise history previously matched in 1949, 1980, and 2004. All three of those teams went on to reach the championship game or Super Bowl, making it fair to have those expectations for this Eagles team.
Philadelphia is second in the NFL in scoring (28.2 points per game) and third in yards per game (388.1) while ranking seventh in points allowed (18.8 per game) and second in yards allowed (296.4). Led by the MVP-caliber play of Jalen Hurts, the Eagles have soared to the top of the NFC East and hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC -- where they've been all season.
Philadelphia can clinch a playoff berth on Sunday with a victory over the New York Giants -- or if the 49ers and Seahawks lose -- but that's just the beginning of the Eagles' path to the postseason. The NFC East crown and home-field advantage are also at play over the coming weeks, which would make the road to the Super Bowl run through Lincoln Financial Field in January.
As the Eagles brace for the playoffs, let's take a look at their remaining schedule and how they can lock up the NFC East title and home-field advantage over the next few weeks.
Week 14 (12/11)
1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 15 (12/18)
1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 16 (12/24)
4:25 p.m. (Fox)
Week 17 (1/1)
1 p.m. (Fox)
Week 18 (1/8)
How Eagles can clinch NFC East, No. 1 seed in NFC
Philadelphia has a two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys and 3.5-game lead over the New York Giants with five games to play. A win over the Giants in Week 14 eliminates New York from the NFC East race, taking one team from the division out of the equation.
The Dallas Cowboys are the biggest threat to the Eagles in the NFC East race. The Eagles also have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cowboys, which essentially gives them another game up on Dallas. If the Eagles win their next two games, they can clinch the division in Week 16 with a win over the Cowboys.
Even if the Eagles lose that game to Dallas, they still would clinch the NFC East with wins in their final two games. Winning three straight games would clinch the division in Week 16, which would be the ideal scenario for Philadelphia.
As for home-field advantage, the Eagles have a one-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings with the tiebreaker in hand -- essentially making it a two-game lead. The Eagles would have to go 4-1 in their final five games to clinch home-field advantage in the conference.
The magic number of wins for the Eagles is 15. Dallas can't reach 15 wins and Minnesota would lose the tiebreaker even if it runs the table.
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Where the Eagles need to improve
Run defense: The Eagles have taken measures to improve in that department, signing Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh in the wake of Jordan Davis going down with a high ankle sprain. Davis returned from injured reserve in Week 13 and has the luxury of getting back to game speed thanks to having Suh and Joseph on the roster in addition to Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave.
The run defense was much-maligned prior to Joseph and Suh arriving. Over the last three games, Philadelphia has allowed just 97.3 rushing yards per game -- which ranks ninth in the league over that span. The Eagles are allowed 117.9 rush yards per game (17th in NFL) and still allow 4.6 yards per carry (24th in NFL), so there are some things that need to be cleaned up.
Philadelphia is going in the right direction in improving the run defense. With Davis back in the fold, the unit should be better going forward.
Special teams: The Eagles had their best game of the season on special teams in the Week 13 win over the Tennessee Titans, thanks to a few changes on the unit that paid dividends. Promoting Christian Elliss from the practice squad helped the kickoff coverage while Reed Blankenship and Nakobe Dean have made plays on that unit.
Special teams coordinator Michael Clay made Boston Scott the kick returner and limited Britain Covey to punt returns -- and the undrafted rookie responded with his best performance of the year. Covey's 105 punt-return yards were second-most in the NFL this year as he averaged 17.5 yards per return.
Even with the strong performance, the Eagles are ranked 21st in special teams DVOA (per Football Outsiders). They are 22nd in kickoff DVOA, 28th in kick return DVOA, 20th in punt return DVOA, and 20th in hidden points on special teams -- so there's work to do.
If the special teams unit can show consistency and turn in more performances like last week, that's a huge advantage for the Eagles going forward.