NFC playoff tiebreakers: Breaking down scenarios between 49ers, Cowboys, Eagles

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The race for supremacy in the NFC East is officially on. With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles find themselves with identical 10-3 records as the two teams jockey to capture their division and host a first-round playoff game, along with the added possibility of a bye if either team finishes with the best overall record in the conference.

Here’s how the tiebreakers would play out should the Cowboys and Eagles find themselves finishing with the same records after Week 18:

NFC East tiebreakers

  • Dallas and Philadelphia are both 10-3, but the Cowboys currently own the tiebreaker over the Eagles as they have one more win in the NFC East (Eagles still have two upcoming games against the Giants, while the Cowboys have just one NFC East game remaining).
  • If both teams finish with the same record, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head — as the two teams split the series 1-1, the next tiebreaker would be record against division opponents — which is why the Cowboys are currently ahead, as mentioned above.
  • In a scenario where the Cowboys and Eagles have the same record and both finish 5-1 against NFC East opponents, the next tiebreaker would be record in games against common opponents (excluding NFC East): Patriots, Rams, Jets, Dolphins, Bills, 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals.
  • If the two teams finish with the same record against common opponents, the next tiebreaker is record in games played within the conference — each team will have played 12 games against NFC opponents.
  • If the two finish with the same record against NFC teams, the team with the greater strength of victory will be seeded higher; strength of victory is the combined record of all the teams that were beaten in their respective schedules.
  • If both teams have the same strength of victory, the team with the better strength of schedule will be seeded higher; strength of schedule is the combined record of all the teams played on their respective schedules.
  • If both teams have the same strength of schedule, the below tiebreakers will be used (listed in order):
  • -Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed in all games
  • -Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed in all games
  • -Best net points in common games
  • -Best net points in all games
  • -Best net touchdowns in all games
  • -Coin toss

NFC No. 1 seed tiebreakers

  • San Francisco, Dallas, and Philadelphia are each 10-3, but the 49ers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over both the Cowboys and Eagles for the No. 1 seed.


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