It’s early days in the NFL with just two games in the book, but it already looks as if for the Cowboys, the NFC East is there for the taking.
Fivethirtyeight.com currently shows the Cowboys as the clear favorites to win the NFC East.
In their overall ranking, the Cowboys are ranked fourth overall, the Eagles are ranked eighth, the Redskins sit at 28 and the Giants round out the NFC East ranked 30th.
If you read our playoff tracker from last week, you’ll know that the season for the 0-2 Giants and 0-2 Redskins could already be over if they lose next week: since realignment in 2002, 81 teams started the season 0-3. Only one of those 81 teams made the playoffs, that’s a historic playoff chance of about 1%.
And despite much bravado and posturing in Philadelphia, the folks there are already talking about must-win games. In Week 3. At home. Against the Lions.
If they don’t beat the Lions and move to 2-1, they could easily be looking down the barrel of a 1-3 start, with Week 4’s contest in Green Bay against the talented Packers looming.
They then get a home game against the Jets in Week 5, but have to play three straight road games after that against the Vikings, Cowboys and Bills, then host the Bears, then play the Patriots and Seahawks at home after the bye.
So while this Sunday’s game against the Lions isn’t a “must-win,” it’s as close as one can get in Week 3.
In the table above, Fivethirtyeight also predict records for the four NFC East teams. The Cowboys are projected for an 11-5 record, the Eagles struggle to achieve a winning season at 9-7, and the Redskins and Giants are competing for Top 5 draft picks.
And those projections are not far off the historic record. Here’s a look at the average season win total by starting record since 2012:
Over the last 17 years, teams that started the season 2-0 have averaged 9.7 season wins, teams with a 1-1 start managed 8.3 wins, and teams with losses in the first two games managed just 5.7 wins.
It’s hard not to be optimistic after a start to the season like the Cowboys had, and it looks like the Cowboys could repeat as NFC East champs this year, especially given the way the schedule is developing.
The Cowboys are 2-0 after beating the Giants and Redskins, and their next 4 games are against the Dolphins (!), Saints (no Brees), Packers, Jets (possibly no Darnold).— new-age analytical (@benbbaldwin) September 16, 2019
What do you think the Cowboys’ regular season record will be this year?
How many wins will the Cowboys have in the 2019 regular season?
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11 or more wins
Less than 8 wins