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News » LAST DASH FOR POSTSEASON


LAST DASH FOR POSTSEASON


LAST DASH FOR POSTSEASON
Proving once again that anything can happen in an NFL stretch run, four teams that seemed safe to make the playoffs are scrambling for their postseason lives today.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys are on the verge of missing the playoffs after stumbling in December. All need to win, and some also need help elsewhere to make it to the postseason.

The Bucs were 9-3 before a three-game losing streak put their playoff bid in jeopardy. The Jets were 8-3, sitting atop the AFC East with a five-game winning streak, but they lost three of the next four games. The Broncos appeared to have the AFC West wrapped up at 8-5 but lost two in a row and face elimination in San Diego.

After the Cowboys lost to the Ravens, they maintained control of their season only with the gift of a Tampa Bay loss.

Welcome to wacky Week 17. Here's a primer on the games that will determine this year's playoff seeding.

Denver (8-7) at San Diego (7-8): : The Broncos led the Chargers by three games with three to play, but they are out if they lose tonight. There is the appearance of justice in this winner-take-all stare-down. Denver was the beneficiary of a horrendous call by referee Ed Hochuli in a Week 2 win over San Diego. Now the Chargers, who have won three in a row, get to make amends.

Miami (10-5) at Jets (9-6): : The Dolphins can win the AFC East with a victory at Giants Stadium in what would be the ultimate payback for quarterback Chad Pennington. The Jets released Pennington in August when they acquired Brett Favre, but Pennington has outplayed Favre by a wide margin this season. The Jets can still win the division (by beating Miami with a New England loss at Buffalo) or gain a wild card (by beating Miami with a Ravens loss to Jacksonville).

Dallas (9-6) at Philadelphia (8-6-1): : The Cowboys would clinch the sixth seed by beating the Eagles. There are also four scenarios in which Dallas could tie Philadelphia and still get in, all far-fetched. The Eagles need a miracle: a victory over Dallas and losses by the Bucs and Vikings or Bucs and Bears.

Jacksonville (5-10) at Ravens (10-5): : A victory would give the Ravens the sixth seed in the AFC. A New England loss in Buffalo earlier in the day would also send the Ravens to the postseason.

New England (10-5) at Buffalo (7-8): : To win the division, the Patriots need to beat the Bills and need the Dolphins to lose or tie. They need a win and a Ravens loss or tie to gain a wild-card berth. The Patriots also could get in with a tie in Buffalo and a loss by the Dolphins or Ravens.

Giants (12-3) at Minnesota (9-6): : The Vikings would clinch the NFC North with a victory in a game the Giants don't need to win and in which they probably will rest certain starters. The Vikings would also clinch with a Bears loss or if both teams tie.

Chicago (9-6) at Houston (7-8): : The Bears take the division title if they beat the Texans and the Vikings lose or tie. They get a wild card with a win or tie at Houston and losses by the Cowboys and Bucs.

St. Louis (2-13) at Atlanta (10-5): : The Falcons already have clinched at least the fifth seed in the NFC but could go as high as the No. 2 seed with a victory over the Rams and a Carolina loss in New Orleans. That would give Atlanta the NFC South title.

Carolina (11-4) at New Orleans (8-7): : The Panthers would clinch the NFC South by beating or tying the Saints or with a Falcons loss or tie.

Oakland (4-11) at Tampa Bay (9-6): : The Bucs would salvage a playoff spot if they beat the Raiders and the Cowboys lose to or tie the Eagles. There are also four tie scenarios in which the Bucs could make it.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008

Chris Clemons Name: Chris Clemons
#91
Position: DE
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
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