PHILADELPHIA (AP) — While the Philadelphia Eagles rested, they lost their hold on the NFC East.
The Dallas Cowboys (6-5) moved into a first-place tie with the Eagles (6-5) following their 24-21 win over the New York Giants on Sunday and set up a potential winner-take-all season finale at home against Philadelphia on Dec. 29.
But there are four important games before that one.
The Eagles return from their bye to host the Arizona Cardinals (7-4) this Sunday. The Cowboys are home against Oakland (4-7) on Thanksgiving Day. So Philadelphia can go from first to second place in a four-day span without playing a game.
Dallas holds the current tiebreaker advantage because of its 17-3 win over the Eagles last month. The Cowboys also have the edge in the second tiebreaker because they're 4-0 in the division while the Eagles are 3-2.
If the two teams have the same record going into Week 17, it's simple. The winner takes the division crown. If the Cowboys are one game behind the Eagles, they'd win the division with a victory because they would have swept the season series. If the Cowboys are one game ahead of the Eagles, it gets tricky. It's possible they would already have clinched the NFC East title at that point.
The key game that could determine the division before the Cowboys-Eagles matchup is Dallas at Washington in Week 16. A victory for the Cowboys would secure a better division record so they'd beat out the Eagles if the teams ended the season tied.
However, if the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, it would come down to record against common opponents. The Eagles currently have that advantage. They're 5-4 with games against Detroit, Minnesota and Chicago remaining. The Cowboys are 3-5 with games against Oakland, Washington, Chicago and Green Bay left.
Both teams play three of their final five games at home. The Cowboys are 4-1 at their $1.2 billion stadium. The Eagles are 1-4 at Lincoln Financial Field, having just snapped a franchise-worst 10-game home losing streak.