There is no secret that the weakest division in football right now belongs to the NFC East. As of week 13, not a single team is above .500, yet it is the most competitive playoff spot in the NFL. The Giants and Football Team both sit at 5-7, but because of the Giants two wins over Washington, they sit atop the NFC East.
Although stats and records suggest a first-round exit, there is a looming idea that the representative from the NFC East has a chance to win a playoff game. With The Football Team and the Giants winning over the Super Bowl contending Steelers and Seahawks, respectively, both have proven they can compete with some of the NFL’s best teams.
While Washington and New York are the favorites to win the divison, the Eagles and the Cowboys both have a shot to win the division through their next four games. I will breakdown each team’s chance to make the playoffs as well as how they may do if they get a shot.
New York Giants
The Giants 5-7 record does them no justice. Anyone who has watched the Giants can agree that they have competed in every game they’ve been in. Aside from their loss to the 49ers, every one of the Giant’s losses has been by 10 points or less with three of those being under three point differentials.
The Giants have a tough schedule coming up, with Arizona, Cleveland, Baltimore, and finally Dallas to close out the regular season. If the Giants are able to win two of their final four games, they have a good chance at a postseason. In terms of how they will do in the playoffs, all depends on either Daniel Jones or Colt Mccoy, considering their defense has been very strong all season if they don’t turn the ball over and continue their strong run game, a wild card victory is not a stretch.
The Giants have the 3rd worst scoring offense in the NFL, but the 9th best scoring defense. If the offense can produce, the fate of the Giants relies on the very proficient New York Defense. Considering their next three opponents are playoff-caliber teams, Giants fans, look at these weeks as a preview for the postseason if they get to that point.
Washington Football Team
If someone told me the Washington Football Team would be in the playoff hunt coming into this season, I would have laughed in their face. But it’s 2020, so anything goes. Washington has won four games in a row including a win over the 11-0 Steelers on Monday Night.
Alex Smith has been extremely efficient at quarterback, and the run game led by rookie Antonio Gibson has headlined the recently strong Washington offense. Terry McLaurin has established himself as a premier receiver in his second season, but the strong suit of Washington is their defense, ranked 8th and scoring and the league’s 3rd best pass rush.
Regardless of how the season ends for Washington, the future is extremely bright. The Football Team sits at 5-7 post week 13, same as the Giants, but have an easier schedule ahead, as they play three sub .500 teams in their final four weeks.
If they end with the same record as the Giants, the Giants will be awarded the playoff spot due to their two wins against Washington. If the Football Team is able to stay hot, they could prove to be a threat in the playoffs.
Coming off a win against the Steelers, Washington has proven they can beat good teams, and if momentum stays with them, a postseason run is not out of the question. In order for that to happen, their pass rush needs to continue its success, and Alex Smith needs to continue his streak of good football.
The Eagles making the playoffs is definitely possible. Their remaining games feature the 10-2 Saints, the 6-6 Cardinals, and two division games against the Cowboys and Washington. If the Eagles are able to match the win total of the division leader they will be the candidate from the NFC east because they have a tie from earlier in the year.
The problem with the Eagles is their recent play. Philadelphia has dropped four in a row and starting week 14, they will be turning to rookie Jalen Hurts at quarterback given the atrocious play of Carson Wentz this year.
You can’t pin the Eagles’ failures on one thing, but quarterback play, as well as a poor offensive line, has been a clear weakness for the team. Their pass rush is second best in the NFL, but other than that, the Eagles defensive unit has been mediocre.
Based on how the Eagles have played, them making the playoffs, seems like a stretch. Given how they have played against better teams, even if the Eagles sneak in the playoffs, it is unlikely they make a deep playoff push. Injury has plagued the team all year and disappointment has been a motif for the entire season. Any eagles fans should be looking forward to an interesting offseason with front-office changes likely coming.
Another year, another disappointment for cowboys fans. The Cowboys’ chances at a winning season were forgotten the second Dak Prescott got hurt. Prescott was having a phenomenal season prior to his gruesome leg injury.
The Cowboys sit at 3-9 and have lost six of their last seven games. Ezekiel Elliot has not been able to perform at a high level, and the passing game has not been the same without Prescott. Andy Dalton has done a decent job as the backup, but the Quarterback play has been poor none the less for Dallas.
The Cowboys are without a doubt one of the most talented teams in the NFL, and the coaching change has seemed to have little effect on the struggles over the past few years. They have allowed the most points in the NFL, which paired with a top 10 worst offense in the NFL, is not a formula for playoff success or appearances.
The Cowboys do have the easiest schedule to close out the season with all four opponents under .500. The cowboys would likely have to win three out of four or win out to make the playoffs with the most important game coming in week 17 against the division-leading Giants. The cowboys have been hard to watch this year. If they sneak into the playoffs, a win is extremely unlikely given their overall team defense and lack of scoring with Andy Dalton.
The NFC East is by no means home of the best team in football. But with a winner yet to be called, and four games left, this division is the tightest in football. Washington and New York are the clear favorites but because of how weak the overall record is for each team, all four NFC East teams have a chance to win the division. Each game left holds massive value for each team in the division, and somehow, one of these teams will be hosting a playoff game this year.