The NFC East is usually regarded as one of the league's toughest, most talented divisions, year-in and year-out. On paper, coming into the season, expectations were high, the norm for the NFC East. But, things aren't what they seem. Philadelphia, a lock for the Super Bowl this year, or at least, touted as such by numerous experts (whose opinions are rarely far off), is in the cellar, a 2-4 record a far cry from 13-3 projections. The Giants, the division's perennial 8-8 team (in the preseason projections), is 4-2. The Cowboys are 2-3. The Redskins are 3-2. Everything is backwards, and yet, so typical of this division.
But how good is this division? How good are these teams? It's hard to say, but with a look at the numbers, maybe we can see how things stack up after six weeks of football.
Overall Record: 4-2
Division Record: 1-1
Vs. NFC West: 2-1
Vs. AFC East: 1-0
Turnover Differential: +4 (8th)
Notable Wins: Buffalo (4-2)
Overall Record: 3-2
Division Record: 1-2
Vs. NFC West: 2-0
Turnover Differential: -3 (23rd)
Notable Victories: Giants (4-2)
Overall Record: 2-3
Division Record: 1-0
Vs. NFC West: 1-0
Vs. AFC East: 0-2
Vs. NFC North: 0-1
Turnover Differential: -2 (19th)
Notable Victories: 49ers (5-1), Redskins (3-2)
Overall Record: 2-4
Division Record: 1-1
Vs. NFC West: 1-1
Vs. AFC East: 0-1
Vs. NFC South: 0-1
Turnover Differential: -8 (31st)
Notable Victories: Redskins (3-2)
First Take: Bumbling, stumbling, fumbling...
The most notable thing that jumps out at me is just how sloppy our division is when it comes to taking care of the football. The Giants are the only team with a positive turnover differential. Dallas is ranked in the top ten for total offense and defense. Philadelphia has the 3rd ranked offense. Washington is ranked 6th in total defense. These rankings indicate that these teams have a good deal of talent, and yet, are killing themselves with carelessness.
Second Take: Beating up on the NFC West, eh?
The NFC East is a collective 6-2 against the NFC West. The division's record is 11-11, and of those 11 wins, a whopping 10 come from within the division, or against an NFC West opponent. Yes, the NFL's toughest division makes short work of the Rams, that much is certain (the Rams are still winless, mind you).
Against other divisions, the NFC East is 1-5, with that lone win being the Giants narrow victory over a tough Buffalo opponent. One and five. One and five. I did not know that it was this bad. These five losses:
Cowboys (24) Jets (27)
Cowboys (30) Lions (34)
Cowboys (16) Patriots (20)
Eagles (31) Falcons (35)
Eagles (24) Bills (31)
Alright, so maybe it's not so bad. Despite losing a lot of these games, they were all decided by a touchdown or less. In fairness to the Eagles, the matchup versus the Falcons was a sure "W" until Vick went out with a concussion. Still, good teams win these games.
The East has wins against quality opponents. The Giants have beaten a very tough Buffalo team. The Cowboys have beaten the 49ers. They have not been blown out by opponents of other divisions.
Still, the resume, through six weeks, is not all that impressive. It's hard to say. Even after looking at the numbers in more detail, this division leaves me guessing. I suppose it's safe to say that the East is half cupcake, half powerhouse, and all teams show both sides in every game.