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NFL playoff picture: What does Cowboys-Eagles mean for NFC standings

The Dallas Cowboys face the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly in Week 18. We break down what the game means for the NFL playoff picture.

General view of fans during the second half of the National Football League game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles on December 26, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Saturday update: The Cowboys beat the Eagles to open Week 18. The Cowboys need help but can climb from No. 4 to No. 3 or No. 2 in the NFC. The Eagles will be No. 7 if the 49ers claim the final wild card berth and No. 6 if the Saints claim it.

The Philadelphia Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys in a matchup of playoff teams that could end up meeting a week from now in the Wild Card round. The game was moved up to Saturday and kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. The game will air on ESPN and ABC. The Cowboys are a touchdown favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook and the Eagles could elect to rest some of their starters.

Cowboys playoff picture

Current NFC standing

The Cowboys clinched the NFC East, but a loss to Arizona in Week 17 dropped them from second to fourth in the overall standings. That allowed the Packers to clinch the No. 1 overall seed so the 11-5 Cowboys can now finish no better than second and no worse than fourth.

If Dallas loses, they’re guaranteed the fourth seed. If they win, they need losses by the Bucs (or tie), Rams, and Cardinals (or tie) to move up to the No. 3 seed. To claim the No. 2 seed, they need losses by the Bucs and Rams and a loss or tie by the Cardinals.

Rest of the NFC playoff field

49ers (9-7) @ Rams (12-4)
Seahawks (6-10) @ Cardinals (11-5)
Panthers (5-11) @ Buccaneers (12-4)

Eagles playoff picture

Current NFC standing

The Eagles clinched a playoff berth, and will either finish in sixth place or seventh place. They claim sixth place with one of the following three scenarios:

  1. Eagles win + 49ers loss or tie
  2. Eagles tie + 49ers loss
  3. 49ers loss + Saints win

They claim seventh place with one of the following scenarios:

  1. 49ers win
  2. Eagles loss or tie + 49ers tie
  3. Eagles loss + Saints loss or tie

Rest of the NFC playoff field

49ers (9-7) @ Rams (12-4)
Saints (8-8) @ Falcons (7-9)

How Eagles-Cowboys could meet in the wild card round

If the Eagles win this game, the Cowboys are locked into the No. 4 seed while the Eagles will be No. 6 or No. 7 depending on the 49ers outcome. However, if the Eagles lose, they would finish in the No. 7 spot with a 49ers win or Saints loss. If that happens, the Cowboys would have a shot at the No. 2 seed, which means they would host the Eagles next week. To claim the No. 2 seed, the Cowboys need a win, losses by the Bucs and Rams, and a loss or tie by the Cardinals.