The NFC East (23-11-1, .657) and AFC West (25-13, .658) have gone back and forth as the best division in the NFL for, seemingly, the entire 2016 season. They continued to flex their superiority over the rest of the league on Sunday but, much to the chagrin of New York Giants fans, it was the East who came out of Week 10 undefeated.
The Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles each scored huge victories. As the playoff picture begins to come into focus, it’s becoming increasingly clear the Giants have very little margin for error. And even then, a wild-card spot may be Big Blue’s most realistic shot at the postseason.
A loss to the Cincinnati Bengals tonight, on Monday Night Football, drops the Giants to the sixth-seed, where they’d be tied with the Eagles and Minnesota Vikings (5-4). The Giants hold tiebreakers over both.
Let’s take a look at where each NFC East team stands, if the season ended today.
Dallas Cowboys (8-1), 1ST SEED
The Cowboys just keep winning football games. Some have been calling them Super Bowl contenders since October. It may not be time to take things that far, but the rest of the league has to be on notice at this point, if they weren’t already. Dallas appears to be the real deal. Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Pittsburgh, the way they did reaffirms everything you though about this team.
You’d have to think Dak Prescott has put all the Tony Romo chatter to rest. Romo is slated to return next week — as the backup quarterback— and the ‘who should start’ storyline may be the only thing that, if mishandled, can slow down the Cowboys. They’re the number one seed in the NFC, two games ahead of Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1).
Washington Redskins (5-3-1), 6TH SEED
The ‘skins got back on-track, after heading into their Week 9 bye with a loss to the Lions and tie with the Bengals, with a big win over the Vikings. For some context on just how close and competitive the NFC playoff race is: it was Washington’s first win in nearly one calendar month, and they’re still in if the playoffs started right now.
The Vikings have been exposed as a middling team since a 5-0 start. Their elite defense could only cover for the loss of Adrian Peterson and Teddy Brdigewater for so long. Still, the Redskins deserve credit. In the end, they went out and found a way to win a game they needed, which is all one could ask of them. Washington stands firm at six in the conference and can move up to five with a Giants loss tonight.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-4), OUT, *0.5 games behind NYG & WSH
The Eagles pulled of the most surprising win of the weekend, topping an Atlanta Falcons (6-4) team who some believe can make a legitimate run in the postseason. Then again, is anything surprising as it pertains to the NFC East anymore? Aside from Dallas, the rest of the field has been unpredictable. You can expect the unexpected, every week. And don’t say you foresaw the Eagles beating the Falcons before Sunday. You didn’t.
The Eagles needed this game, especially after two straight losses in the division, and they got it. They’re on the outside looking in, but still right in the thick of the race as they’re only a half-game out.