Sports Illustrated's Peter King pretty much nailed it Tuesday morning when writing about how bad the Eagles looked Monday, even in defeating the Raiders 19-10. The score was tied 10-10 late, and the Raiders had plenty of chances to go ahead.
Philly's defense — which is formidable, to say the least — bailed the team out. The offense, though, looks like a mess after Nick Foles took over at QB for the injured Carson Wentz. King wrote:
"Philadelphia clinched home-field advantage in the NFC last night with some sort of Christmas miracle, the 19-10 high-wire win over Oakland. But it's hard to think of a win that felt more like a loss for Philadelphia than this game.
"Foles now has a five-point win over the moribund Giants and an all-time lucky win over the disorganized [that's putting it nicely] Raiders. The next game he has that means something is nearly three weeks away.
''The Eagles' staff has a lot of work to do to find some way that Foles can perform competently to win a playoff game."
As King noted, it was a win and it did give the Eagles the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Vikings have a very good chance to secure the No. 2 seed next weekend. The only way they wouldn't is if they lose to the Bears, while the Saints and Rams lose and Carolina wins. FiveThirtyEight.com gives Minnesota a better than 99 percent chance of securing that No. 2 seed and the bye that goes with it. That's not 100 percent, but it gives you an idea of the path.
What follows is an exercise in possibilities and what-ifs, which Vikings fans tend to like to avoid. But let's do it anyway.
Let's say the Vikings wrap up that No. 2 seed next weekend. And let's say the Saints wind up as the No. 3 seed while the Rams end up No. 4 (or even vice-versa). And then let's say the Vikings manage to win their divisional game after the bye to reach the NFC title game.
And let's say in that same divisional weekend, the Eagles had to play either the Rams or Saints. The winner of that game would set up this potential question:
If you're the Vikings or a Vikings fan would you rather have an NFC title game at home against the Rams or Saints — two teams that have potentially explosive offenses and healthy starting QBs — or would you rather play at Philadelphia in what could be a defensive struggle but a game in which the Vikings would seemingly have an edge at least on offense?
Obviously this isn't a true "choice" since the Vikings won't have any influence over what happens in other games and they will have to win a tough game before getting to the NFC title game, but after watching the Eagles on Christmas I'm not sure which outcome I'd prefer even if it means going on the road into a hostile and cold environment.
It's all a long way of saying: The NFC already was wide open, and it only looks more wide open after seeing just how much Philadelphia is capable of struggling without Wentz.