Eagles playoff opponents come into focus after Cowboys game moved to Saturday night

ROB TORNOE
The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
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Fresh off clinching a playoff berth, the Philadelphia Eagles will get a largely meaningless primetime game to finish the season.

The Eagles' Week 18 game against the Dallas Cowboys was moved by the league to Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field, and will now air on both ESPN and ABC.

Calling the game will be regular Monday Night Football announcers Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick. King of Prussia native Lisa Salters will reporting from the sidelines.

The Eagles-Cowboys game is mostly meaningless — both have secured spots in the playoffs and Dallas can no longer become the No. 1 seed, which the Green Bay Packers clinched Sunday night. But the Cowboys could still nab the No. 2 seed with a win, which is valuable because it would guarantee Dallas two home playoff games with a win in the first round.

So why did the NFL move a game without much playoff interest to Saturday night? Because the league didn't want to diminish the interest in games with real playoff implications. For instance, if the NFL had moved 49ers-Rams to Saturday and San Francisco won, the Saints' game on Sunday would suddenly become meaningless.

As for the Eagles, it looks likely they'll face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first week of the playoffs, though there are scenarios where the Birds could face either the Arizona Cardinals, the Los Angeles Rams, or the Cowboys again.

Basically, the Eagles will face the Buccaneers if they beat the Cowboys Saturday night, though these outcomes are also possible depending how Week 18 shakes out:

Eagles at Cardinals if the Eagles, Saints, Panthers, Cardinals, and 49ers win

Eagles at Rams if the Eagles, Panthers, Seahawks, and 49ers win

If the Cowboys win Saturday, it becomes more likely the Eagles will face an opponent other than the Buccaneers. The following would still have to occur:

Eagles at Cardinals if the Cowboys, Panthers, Cardinals, and 49ers win

Eagles at Cowboys if the Cowboys, Panthers, Seahawks, and 49ers win

Eagles at Rams if the Cowboys, Falcons, and Rams win