Which NFC East team has the best chance to win the division title?
Wide receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass against cornerback Will Blackmon of the Washington Redskins late in the fourth quarter at FedExField on December 7, 2015 in Landover, Maryland.
The Cowboys’ 19-16 win over the Redskins on Monday night made the NFC East a lot more interesting.
The division has been interesting all year in a rubbernecking sense. There’s always a curiosity factor about a division that could send a 6-10 team to the playoffs. But now this is the only division that all four teams have a legitimate chance to win. The Eagles, Giants and Redskins are all tied at 5-7, and the Cowboys are a game behind at 4-8.
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There's a scenario where all four teams in the NFC East could finish 6-10. Cowboys would win it. This almost seems probable
So who’s going to win this division and get a home playoff game? Let’s take a look at each remaining week of the regular season and sort out this mess.
Bills at Eagles: LeSean McCoy gets his revenge and leaves Philly with a victory. Since blowing a 27-3 lead to the Jaguars at London in Week 7, the Bills (6-6) have won three of their last five and the two losses have come on the road to the Patriots and Chiefs.
Redskins at Bears: The Redskins are 0-5 on the road this season, but they’ll beat the Bears (5-7), who are 1-5 at home and will still be shell-shocked after Sunday’s overtime loss to the 49ers.
Cowboys at Packers: Beating the Redskins at FedExField is not enough evidence that the Cowboys are ready to beat the Packers (8-4) at Lambeau Field.
Giants at Dolphins: The Giants’ only one-sided loss this season was their 27-7 loss at Philadelphia in Week 6. They’ll beat the Dolphins (5-7), who have lost four of their last six, in this Monday-night tilt.
Jets at Cowboys: The Jets (7-5) are a solid AFC playoff contender, but they get caught looking ahead to the Patriots in Week 16 and the Cowboys win this Saturday-night game.
Panthers at Giants: Historically, the Giants have a knack for ruining perfect seasons. Everyone remembers Super Bowl XLII. Not as many will remember 1998. The Broncos were 13-0 that year when they visited the Giants. They lost 20-16. The Panthers will be 13-0 after they take care of business at home against the Falcons Sunday. History will repeat itself in Week 15 and the Giants will pull off the upset.
Cardinals at Eagles: Since Bruce Arians became their coach in 2013, the Cardinals (10-2) are 2-2 outdoors in December. In 2013 they won at Seattle in 48-degree weather and at Tennessee in 37-degree weather. It could be colder than that in Philadelphia for a night game on Dec. 20, and the Eagles will bounce back from their loss to Buffalo and regain the upset mojo they showed in New England.
Bills at Redskins: This will be the second of three straight games against the NFC East for the Bills. In typical Bills fashion, they won’t be able to win all three.
Redskins at Eagles: Like last year, the Eagles play the Redskins on a Saturday night in Week 16. Last year, the Redskins played spoiler and won 27-24 at Washington and the Eagles ultimately missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record. This year, the game is in Philadelphia, and Chip Kelly musters up the coaching chops to not let it happen again.
Cowboys at Bills: The Bills bounce back and beat the Cowboys at home, and the Cowboys are eliminated.
Giants at Vikings: Unlike the Eagles, the Giants don’t get to stay at home and ride the momentum of their Week 15 upset. They’ll come back to earth and lose at Minnesota (8-4) and again there will be a three-way tie atop the division heading into Week 17.
Redskins at Cowboys: Let’s just make this exciting and say the Redskins win it to go to 8-8. They would then be in the weird position of hoping for a tie between the Eagles and Giants in a game that could be moved to the late afternoon or possibly Sunday Night Football because it would involve two teams that could win the division. If the Eagles win, they’d be 8-8 and win the NFC East based on a better division record (4-2 to 3-3). If the Giants win, it would go to common games, and the Giants would win the division based on their 4-4 record against the NFC South and AFC East compared to 3-5 for the Redskins. So a tie would be the only way the Redskins sneak in. In this division, anything can happen.
Eagles at Giants: This will be a battle between two coaches fighting to save their jobs. Chip Kelly’s troops are notorious for starting games slowly. According to Team Rankings they’re averaging 2.8 first-quarter points per game, 29th in the NFL. On the other side of the coin, Tom Coughlin’s Giants have blown five leads with less than two minutes left in the game. So guess how this one turns out. There’s something to be said for a team getting its worst football out of its system in mid-season, and the Eagles will bounce back from allowing 45 points in back-to-back weeks and make the playoffs.