All of sudden, the NFC East isn’t such a joke anymore. The weakest division in the NFL is still bad, but the four teams are nowhere near as awful as they were after the first six weeks of the season. Washington, Dallas, Philadelphia, and the New York Giants have all improved in the past month.
While the best record in the NFC West was 2-4 by the Dallas Cowboys after Week 6, Washington now leads the division at 6-7 and, with three games remaining, might actually finish with a record above .500.
Combined, the four NFC East teams might actually finish the season without posting the worst overall record by a division. That dubious distinction currently belongs to the 2008 NFC West. Arizona won the division with a 9-7 record last year. San Francisco was second at 7-9, Seattle 4-12, and St. Louis was 2-14. The 2008 NFC West went 22-42 for a winning percentage of .344. Currently, the NFC East is 19-32-1 for a winning percentage of .365. They can still better that winning percentage since there are three weeks remaining in the season.
Washington Tops in NFC East, but for How Long?
Washington is currently the only team in the NFC with a four-game winning streak. In that span, they handed Pittsburgh their first loss of the year, ruining the Steelers’ chances of going undefeated.
Not bad for a team that began the year, 1-5, saw its head coach battle cancer, and has gone through three different quarterbacks. In an impassioned speech after Washington defeated San Francisco, 23-15 on Sunday, Rivera told his team they are gaining respect.
Earned the right to be the FIRST PLACE team in the NFC East! pic.twitter.com/wAe8eroF8q
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) December 14, 2020
Rivera reiterated his belief in his team during Monday’s press conference.
“What happens is, when you become relevant and a part of that conversation, now sometimes your reputation is going to proceed you, and that’s going to help you,” Rivera said Monday. “For you personally, the confidence, the swagger, I think that’s helpful. Again, it can’t be false. You’ve got to earn that relevance. You’re not given the relevance.”
Rivera may be right. The team hosts Seattle this Sunday and is just a five-point underdog. The last two teams the Seahawks faced in the division were the Giants and Eagles, two and three weeks ago. Seattle was favored by 6.5 points against Philadelphia and 11 against New York. They defeated the Eagles, but didn’t cover, and were beaten outright by the Giants.
G-Men Saving Lost Season
When the 2020 season began, the New York Giants weren’t expected to do much. They were the third pick to win the NFC East at 100/1, and had a win total over/under of 3.5.
The team certainly didn’t do anything to threaten the over in the first two months of the season. They lost their first five games and squeaked out a win in Week 6 against division rival Washington for their first victory.
Since then, however, the Giants have been challenging Washington for the division lead. They carried a four-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against Arizona, ultimately losing 26-7.
Still, they continue to have a chance to win the NFC East. They are just a game behind Washington, and New York head coach Joe Judge said his squad can’t get caught up thinking about the postseason.
“The focus is still what the focus has been the entire year, to come to work, to improve as a team, to move forward, and play our best ball next Sunday,” Judge said on Monday. “That’s the only thing that can help us, that’s the only thing that matters.”