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NFL Playoff picture: Eagles looking to hold on in NFC scrap

Mirroring the situation in the AFC, three NFC teams have pathways to the No.1 playoff seed going into Week 18 and a 9-8 record is going to be good enough for a wild card berth. 

The identity of which team takes the last open postseason spot could be decided in Sunday's late game when the Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions. 

Eagles need Hurts so bad 

The Philadelphia Eagles are +200 to win the NFC and have been in possession of the NFC's best regular season record since Week 3 when they became the conference's last remaining undefeated team. 

Their successful sequence was finally halted at eight, but they then went on another five-game win streak to improve their record to 13-1. 

However, without injured QB Jalen Hurts the past two weeks, Philly have looked anything but special in defeats to the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. 

Their latest chance to lock up the No.1 conference seed comes at home to the Giants this Sunday when Hurts could be back under center. 

Considering the game could mean the difference between being the No. 1 seed or No. 5 seed in the playoffs, the Eagles could be sorely tempted to risk Hurts and his gammy shoulder. 

Niners and Cowboys unlikely to slip up 

If Nick Sirianni's men fail to win or tie in Week 18, they can still seal the prize with either a loss or tie from the Cowboys against the Washington Commanders and a slip-up from the San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals. 

However, neither look very likely with Dallas -110 to cover -7.5 points on the Spread at FedEx Field this Sunday and the Niners favoured by two touchdowns at home to the Cardinals. 

Hurts' status could therefore have a major impact on the order of the seeding.   

San Francisco, +220 for ultimate NFC glory, have more momentum than anyone else in the league right now after nine straight wins, although only one of the teams they took down during the current run currently boasts a winning record. 

The last time Kyle Shanahan's men earned the top seeding they parlayed it into a Super Bowl appearance, so they know the importance of winning this weekend. Any Eagles loss would then complete their task. 

Dallas need to win and hope both the Giants and Cardinals can do them a favour. But, they will move up to the No.2 spot and clinch the NFC East crown if only New York can help them out - as long as they take care of their own business in Washington. 

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Trio of 8-8 teams wrestle over wild card berth 

Following Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns and victories by the Lions and Packers, the Commanders were officially eliminated from postseason contention for a second straight season. 

Now it comes down to one of three 8-8 teams to claim the final invitation to play on wild card weekend. 

Green Bay are the masters of their own fate as they hold the only win-and-in scenario of the trio. 

Packers can punch their playoff ticket against Lions 

Matt LaFleur's men have overcome a 4-8 start in which they looked like a team that lacked any chemistry and were consequently written off as playoff contenders. 

Aaron Rodgers was seen screaming at his head coach over a play call on the sideline only a month ago - so the turnaround since then has been quite remarkable. 

The Packers played their most complete game of the year in destroying the Minnesota Vikings 41-17 last Sunday and can punch their playoff ticket with another home win against Detroit. 

Lions looking for help from Rams 

The Lions, +660 to make the playoffs, are performing just as well as their NFC North rivals with seven wins from their last nine outings and an average of 28.9 points a game across that span. 

Jared Goff is running the offense so efficiently that Lions fans have stopped lamenting the loss of Matthew Stafford. The ex-Los Angeles Rams QB has completed 65.8 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns against just one interception since their home win over the Packers in November. 

And they will need a favour from Goff's former employers if they are to squeeze into the postseason as the Seattle Seahawks hold a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions thanks to their 48-45 win over Detroit in Week 4. 

Seattle, +280 to make the playoffs, host the Rams in Week 18 and will take the No.7 spot from the Packers if they win and the Lions get it done in the late game - although Detroit's motivation to knock off Green Bay will be affected by the Seahawks' result. 

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