The NFC East is going to send a team to the playoffs — the rules say so. But six weeks into the season, none of the four teams in the NFC East have made a solid case for the division title. In fact, of the eight NFL divisions, the East is the only one that has no team with a winning record.
Sure, the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys should eventually get their act together after three straight losses. And the 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles likely will too. But heck, with rookie quarterback phenom Daniel Jones, maybe it will be the 2-4 New York Giants who end up taking down the division. The only team that appears to have no hope of finishing the season as division champs are the lowly 1-5 Washington Redskins.
The NFC East is a division in search of a leader. With the specter of an 8-8, or heaven forbid, a 7-9 team winning the division, someone has to step up.
The two 3-3 division leaders play in the Sunday night marquee matchup. Playing at home, the Cowboys are a 2.5-point favorite.
Sputtering Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
The Cowboys are the team most experts lean to when pushed to pick a favorite in the NFC East. But at 3-3, the Cowboys only have wins over the 0-6 Miami Dolphins, the 1-5 Redskins, and the 2-4 Giants. On the other hand, their losses are to the 5-1 New Orleans Saints, 5-1 Green Bay Packers, and last week’s upset loss to the 1-4 New York Jets.
The Dallas offense has sputtered without key players lost to injury. Coming up Sunday, the Cowboys hope to have Tyron Smith, Amari Cooper, and Randall Cobb back in uniform.
This week may tell the divisional tale not only for the Cowboys, but for the Eagles as well.
Fly-Away Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
There is no team harder to read this season than the Philadelphia Eagles. They can win big and lose ugly, and some of the wins aren’t really big. The first two games of the season saw a sloppy 5-point win over 1-5 Washington, followed by a 4-point loss to 1-5 Atlanta. The Eagles then lost by a field goal to Detroit before rebounding to beat the 5-1 Packers. An easy, 31-6 win over the Jets was followed up last week by an 18-point loss to Minnesota. The remaining Eagles’ schedule is tougher than any other team’s in the division.
We just don’t know who or what the Eagles are yet. On Sunday night in Texas, they get another chance to confuse us about where their season, and the NFC East, are going.
Not-Dead New York Giants (2-4)
At 2-4, it would be easy to write off the season for the Giants. Don’t. At least, not yet.
As die-hard Giants fans (like our editor) will point out, Big Blue is pretty banged up right now, with many offensive starters playing hurt, if they’re playing at all. But, the Giants are capable of miracles as they proved back in 2011 when they became the third-ever team with a 9-7 record to reach the Super Bowl, and the first ever to win it.
The Giants have an almost perfectly balanced schedule going forward. Easy games against the Cardinals, Jets and Dolphins are offset by tough matchups against the Lions, Packers, and Bears. The rest of the New York schedule is within the NFC East, and both the Eagles and Cowboys are looking to feast on the Giants. Probably, maybe, sort of, the Giants are currently the solid third-place pick in the division.
WTF Washington Redskins (1-6)
It’s not too early to write-off the season for the Redskins. They fired their head coach, and their one win is against the 0-6 Miami Dolphins who may have tanked a 2-point conversion last week to hand Washington the win. The Redskins will pick up another win or two, possibly against the Giants or the Jets, but that’s it for Washington this season.
Better Luck Last Year?
In 2018, the NFC East sent two teams to the playoffs. Dallas and Philadelphia both won wild card games but lost in the divisional round.
2018 NFC East Final Standings
Dallas Cowboys 10-6
Philadelphia Eagles 9-7
Washington Redskins 7-9
New York Giants 5-11
It may be too early to declare a postseason drought for the division. But now more than a third of the way through the 2019 season, few are predicting that any of these four teams will be adding another Lombardy to their trophy case.