Congratulations to the NFC East champion Washington Redskins! Yes, congratulations. Like it or not, the Redskins are the only team in the division that actually deserved the title. In an awful division, they are the one team that exceeded expectations.
Who saw the Redskins winning the division? Pretty much no one. Entering the season, they were the division's laughingstock. Washington, though, hired a real general manager in Scot McCloughan. They moved on from Robert Griffin III. They built an offense quarterback Kirk Cousins could succeed in. They played their best when it mattered most. Washington has won its last three games and four of its last five, including two on the road after starting the season by losing its first five games away from Landover, Md.
The Redskins earned the NFC East title.
The Dallas Cowboys? Last year's champs fell apart with injuries to Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. Maybe it was karma for selling out and having Greg Hardy on their roster, but the Cowboys never had a chance once Romo got hurt.
The Philadelphia Eagles? Chip Kelly's roster rebuild pretty much blew up in his face. If you watched the Redskins-Eagles game Saturday night you saw an Eagles team that is a bumbling mess. Hate to say it, but they looked a lot like the Giants on Saturday. Dropped passes, dropped interceptions, missed opportunity after missed opportunity, complete inability to cover the middle of the field on defense. Yep, the 2015 Giants and the 2015 Eagles have a lot in common.
Now, let's talk about the Giants.
In no way, shape or form did the New York Football Giants earn the right to win the NFC East and go to the playoffs. The Giants took a division that they were basically handed, and tossed it in the trash.
After beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-18, on Nov. 8 the Giants were 5-4 and in position to take control of the division. Since then? They have gone 1-4, losing three games they had a chance to win late and sleepwalking through a game against the Redskins they seemed to think they would win just by stepping on the field.
Let's forget the coulda/woulda/shoulda of the five last-minute losses this season by the Giants. Blame whoever you want, the Giants as a whole weren't good enough to win those football games. The defense is atrocious, devoid of talent and totally unable to get a stop when it matters. The offense turned out to be nowhere near as explosive as some thought it would be, and consistently let the Giants down at critical times. Yes, there were curious coaching decisions. What Tom Coughlin usually did, though, was try to put games in the hands of a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback, a superstar wide receiver and the offense as a whole. That group let him down. Special teams? Meltdowns on special teams at critical moments proved to be major factors in several losses.
In the end, the Giants -- collectively -- have not been good enough. General manager, coach, quarterback -- all the way to the bottom of the roster.
The Redskins earned the NFC East crown. Good for them. The Giants? They earned another off-season of looking themselves in the mirror, wondering how with a coach and quarterback who are both borderline Hall of Famers they have managed to make such as mess of everything, and trying to figure out if there is a way to fix it short blowing the whole thing up and starting over.