As the butt of most jokes last season, the NFC East was nothing short of a dumpster fire. In 2021, it has largely been the same story, with one exception. Through seven weeks, the Dallas Cowboys are two wins away from tying the win total from the division winner from last season. Dallas is currently playing a different game than the other NFC East teams.
Since the Cowboys currently project to have a 94% chance to win the division, it’s entirely reasonable to assume they will be competing in January. Granted, a lot can happen throughout the remaining eleven games, but it would take a devastating collapse for the Cowboys not to win the NFC East.
With that in mind, when will Dallas wrap up the division? The safety of a guaranteed playoff spot has its advantages. Thus, the Cowboys clinching the NFC East as soon as possible and being able to focus on seeding is priority number one for Dallas. And this might come sooner than we think.
Figuring out exactly when the Cowboys will clinch the NFC East
To put it lightly, the rest of the NFC East is not great. Even with the Giants winning a defensive battle against the Panthers, the Cowboys still have a three-and-a-half-game lead on the division despite playing one fewer game than every other team. And the competition doesn’t project to get much tighter.
Of the Cowboys’ remaining eleven games, they are projected to win nine of them, according to Five ThirtyEight. That’s 82% of their remaining matchups. Of the other three NFC East teams, they are projected to win a COMBINED eight games. This is even more outstanding considering five of those projected wins result from the other three teams having to play one another.
To summarize what Five ThirtyEight expects from this division, the Cowboys should win a lot, while the other three teams will not.
Based on these same estimations, the most likely outcome for Dallas this season is 12 total wins. Compare this to the Eagles most likely winning around seven games, the Football Team at six, and the Giants at five, and the discrepancy in this division becomes even more apparent.
If you need additional proof of the difference in talent in the NFC East, we can look at the odds that each team finishes over .500. The Cowboys currently have a 98.7% chance of finishing with a winning record, while the Giants are at .8%, the Football Team is at 8.3%, and the Eagles have the second-best odds at 21.6%.
Given this imbalance, it is not too early to start wondering when the Cowboys will win their division. The answer is somewhat soon.
The Cowboys theoretically won’t be able to clinch the division until week twelve due to the other NFC East games occurring during the final month of the regular season. This scenario is unlikely, as Dallas currently has a 5% chance of wrapping up the NFC East by week twelve, which is the weekend after Thanksgiving.
But the most likely outcome is the Cowboys clinch by week 14 since Dallas has a 54% chance to have the division wrapped by then, according to Five ThirtyEight.
Let that sink in for a little bit, the Dallas Cowboys have a 54% chance to clinch the NFC East by December 12th. That is nearly a full month before the NFL regular season ends, which means that two weeks before Christmas, the Cowboys will most likely be dawning “NFC East Champions” hats.
If this scenario occurs, Dallas will have four weeks to focus on seeding and jockey for position in the NFC playoff picture. Clinching the division by week 14 is impressive but doing so in a season where the league added an extra game is even more outstanding.
You may think it is too early to focus on playoffs, and it is entirely reasonable to take it week-to-week. But it seems to be a one-horse race for the division lead, so wondering when the Cowboys can clinch is now a legitimate question. After all, the NFC has several teams looking dominant, meaning that focusing on seeding is becoming even more paramount.
Maybe the Eagles or the Football Team step up their play and surprise everyone, or perhaps the Giants become a contender out of nowhere. But for now, neither of those scenarios seem probable, and the Cowboys should have no problem winning the division.
We will see how the rest of the season plays out, but the race could be over two weeks before Christmas. The bottom line is things are looking good for Dallas, and the fact that we can speculate about when the Cowboys could win the NFC East is fun.
We discussed this idea in greater detail in one of the latest videos on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!
It sure would be nice to wrap things up so quickly!