The New York Giants woke up Monday morning having missed a tremendous opportunity for an upset of the unbeaten New England Patriots on Sunday. They woke up with a 5-5 record and a bye week starting so they have a chance to rest for the stretch run. They also worke up still in first place in the NFC East.
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The division figures to be a three-team sprint at this point between the 5-5 Giants and 4-5 Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. There is a distinct possibility that when the Giants return to action vs. the Redskins in two weeks that there will be a three-way tie atop the division standings. That, of course, would set up a crazy six-week finishing stretch.
Let's look at all four teams as that stretch run looms.
The Giants remain in first place despite now having lost four games in which they held fourth-quarter leads. Still, largely thanks to the follies of the rest of the division, the Giants still have a good chance to end their three-year playoff-drought.
"There's a lot of season left to be played. There's still chances to get to where we need to be," said Odell Beckham Jr. after the game.
"We're still in the lead in the division, so if anything, we've still got a great opportunity to finish the season strong," said quarterback Eli Manning. "we've got a bye week right now, which is late in the season so guys will be able to get healed up, to get healthy and we've got to come back and our season's going to depend on these last six games and that's the way we look at it. We've got six games to go, if we handle our business and play well, play the way we need to play and win some games, make the playoffs, and we'll be happy."
The Giants open their season-ending six-game stretch with a game in Washington. They close it with a game at Metlife Stadium against the Eagles. If they can win those two games there is a good chance they win the division. Lose them, miss the playoffs again and we're very possibly talking about a massive re-structuring of the Giants, coaching staff and players included.
Five Thirty Eight currently gives the Giants a 44 percent chance of winning the division and 47 percent chance of making the playoffs. Team Rankings puts the Giants' chance of winning the division at 36.1 percent, with their chance of making the playoffs at 38 percent.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)
The Eagles, a little bit like the Giants, can't seem to handle prosperity. Philadelphia lost a winnable game at home to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and saw quarterback Sam Bradford go down with both a concussion and a shoulder injury. No properly-thinking Eagles fan is going to tell you they are comfortable if their fate rests at all with Mark Sanchez down the stretch.
The Eagles, like the Giants, started the season 0-2. Also like the Giants, they are just sratching and clawing and trying to make that Week 17 encounter at MetLife meaningful in the playoff picture.
Five Thirty Eight slightly favors the Giants to win the division, giving the Eagles a 39 percent chance to win the NFC East and a 44 percent chance to make the playoffs. Team Rankings favors the Eagles, giving them a 46.6 percent chance of being division champs and a 48.3 percent chance of making the playoffs.
Washington Redskins (4-5)
I'm done snickering about the Redskins not being able to win the NFC East with Kirk Cousins at quarterback. The Redskins dropped 47 points on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday with Cousins throwing for 324 yards, four touchdowns and compiling a perfect 158.3 passer rating. The Redskins, amazingly, have a legitimate chance in the muddled NFC East.
Five Thirty Eight gives Washington a 15 percent chance to win the division and a 16 percent shot at the playoffs. Team Rankings has those numbers at 15.4 and 16.4 percent, respectively. It's time to take Washington seriously, especially with games vs. the Giants and Eagles still on their schedule.
Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
The Cowboys are done. Toast. Irrelevant the rest of the way. Sure, Tony Romo will be back at some point. Does anyone really think Dallas is winning seven straight games, though, which is what they have to do in order to have a shot at winning the division? The Giants don't have to play them again, though Giants fans may want to root for Dallas in its games against Philly and Washington the rest of the way. Yep, the Cowboys can actually help the Giants now.
The Cowboys season has virtually vanished in a swirling sea of awful quarterback play. All that's really left is watching Romo try in vain to really the Cowboys. That and watching Greg Hardy and JerryJones continue to embarrass themselves and the NFL.
Five Thirty Eight gives Dallas a 2 percent chance to win the division and 3 percent chance to make the playoffs. Team Rankings makes it 1.9 and 2.1 percent, respectively.
11/22 -- @ Miami Dolphins
11/26 -- vs. Carolina Panthers
12/7 -- @ Redskins
12/13 -- @ Green Bay Packers
12/19 -- vs. New York Jets
12/27 -- @ Buffalo Bills
1/3 -- vs. Washington Redskins