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NFC East standings update: Giants take first place in division in Week 12

Let’s check out where things stand in the division after the Giants’ victory

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The New York Giants narrowly defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-17, on Sunday afternoon to move into first place in the NFC East - a win made all the more significant when considering the Giants’ remaining schedule.

As of Sunday evening, here are where things stands in the NFC East, keeping in mind that the Philadelphia Eagles do not play until Monday night.

New York Giants (4-7)

Washington Football Team (4-7)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1)

Dallas Cowboys (3-8)

The Giants are in first place ahead of Washington because they defeated the Football Team in both meetings between the two teams this season.

Here is a look at each team’s remaining opponents on the season (accounting for Philly’s Monday night game):

NFC East Remaining Opponents

Philadelphia Eagles New York Giants Washington Football Team Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles New York Giants Washington Football Team Dallas Cowboys
Seahawks (7-3) Bengals (2-8-1) Cowboys (3-8) Football Team (4-7)
Packers (7-3) Seahawks (7-3) Steelers (10-0) Ravens (6-4)
Saints (8-2) Cardinals (6-5) 49ers (4-6) Bengals (2-8-1)
Cardinals (6-5) Browns (8-3) Seahawks (7-3) 49ers (4-6)
Cowboys (3-8) Ravens (6-4) Panthers (4-8) Eagles (3-6-1)
Football Team (4-7) Cowboys (3-8) Eagles (3-6-1) Giants (4-7)

With the Cowboys effectively out of the playoff race following their loss to the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving Day, let’s focus on the remaining three teams.

New York is now in first place but it has a difficult remaining schedule on the season. Its next four opponents are the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. All of these teams have records above .500. The Browns are in second place in their division, trailing only the undefeated Steelers. The Seahawks do not play until Monday night but are currently tied for first place in the NFC West.

After this four-game stretch, the Giants will close out the season against the Cowboys - a winnable game. But if New York does not manage to upset one team in the next four weeks, it will finish the season with just five wins.

Five victories might not be enough to clinch the division title. Washington currently sits at second place in the NFC East, but it has the easiest remaining schedule. Their last five games include matchups against the undefeated Steelers and Seahawks, but they also play three winnable contests against the 49ers, Panthers and Eagles - all of whom have records below .500.

Worse case scenario for New York, Washington wins all three of those games and finishes the season with seven wins - a number that would be hard to match for the Giants given their remaining opponents. Of course, it is not a given that Washington wins all three of these games despite their growing momentum over the past two weeks with veteran Alex Smith under center and break-out running back Antonio Gibson. But they did win their last two contests by 11 and 25 points apiece - convincing victories against admittedly lower-quality opponents in the Bengals and Cowboys.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have the toughest remaining schedule as their upcoming four opponents are the Seahawks, Packers, Saints and Cardinals.

Unlike the Giants and Football Team, the Eagles have been trending downwards. Since defeating the Ben Diniucci-led Cowboys on Monday Night Football, Philly has lost its last two matchups against the Giants and Browns, respectively. Given the fact that Carson Wentz continues to lead the league in sacks and turnovers, it is hard to believe the Eagles will turn things around against four straight quality opponents in the upcoming weeks.

Philly closes out the season against the Cowboys and Football Team. They can win both of these games but neither is guaranteed.

The moral of the story? Washington is best poised to make a playoff run as of Week 12. But the Football Team needs everything to go right. And in a season in which they have fielded three different starting quarterbacks, lost one game to the Lions on a last-minute rushing the passer penalty, and continue to get off to slow starts in the first half, success is not necessarily imminent. The Football Team may in fact be the better team on the field in its upcoming games, but that does not mean that they will not beat themselves.

But the same is true for New York - a team that almost lost to the Bengals Sunday due to poor special teams play, too many penalties and a turnover.

In the final stretch of the season, the winner of the lowly NFC East will likely be whichever team can get out of its own way first.