The last time any NFC East team had more than 10 regular season wins was in 2009, when the Cowboys and Eagles both achieved 11-win seasons. In the four seasons since, the NFC East has seen only four 10-game winners: The Eagles and Giants in 2010, the Redskins in 2012, and the Eagles in 2013.
With that kind of track record, 2014 could easily be another season in which nine or 10 wins could be enough to win the NFC East.
Last year, the Cowboys almost went unbeaten in the division, going 5-1 and sweeping the Giants and Redskins. But where their divisional record might have been impressive, their non-divisional record was a disturbingly unimpressive 3-7. And the Cowboys' plight highlights a bigger NFC East problem: Over the last four years, the NFC East teams have not been particularly impressive outside of their own division: The 2010 Giants are the only NFC East team to manage a 7-3 non-divisional record over the four years, every other NFC East team over the last four years had a worse non-divisional record.
Going off the record of the past four years, and with the NFC East scheduled to meet the NFC West in four of those non-divisional games, it's hard to imagine that any team will be able to be better than 6-4 at best outside of the division. And I also don't see any NFC East team finishing better than 4-2 in the division.
Add that all up, and it's not much of a reach to expect the NFC East winner to be a nine- or 10-win team.
But while a nine- or 10-win season almost certainly rules out a bye week for the NFC East, it does not necessarily rule out post-season success. The 2007 Giants won the Super Bowl with a 10-6 regular season record, the 2011 Giants did it coming off a 9-7 regular season record. Add the 2012 Ravens (10-6) and the 2010 Packers (10-6) and four of the last eight Super Bowl winners had 10 wins or less during the regular season.
So if you're wondering where the upside is in all of this, here it is: There's no reason whatsoever that the Cowboys couldn't be the team to win the NFC East, even if they end up doing it with a 10-6 of 9-7 record.