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State of the NFC East: Could the New York Giants possibly make the playoffs?

Our weekly look at the NFC East.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We have arrived at double-digit weeks for this NFL season, and while there is still half of this whole thing to go, one thing seems rather certain for most - the Dallas Cowboys are going to win the NFC East.

Obviously in the aftermath of last week’s humiliating loss to the Denver Broncos many people are slowing their roll on Cowboys hype, but the reason that they are going to win this division has to do with things beyond who they are on their own. In case you haven’t noticed, this division is awful.

Week 9 has only one victory for the division and it was the New York Giants who were responsible for it. Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Gowton and I discussed the current state of things for all four teams during the latest episode of the NFC East Mixtape, a podcast that is accessible on both the BGN and BTB podcast feeds. Make sure to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network so you don’t miss any of our shows. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

All three teams outside of Dallas are well below .500 at the moment, so what is going on there?

Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)

In our conversation, Brandon and I both found the fact that the Eagles kept it tight with the Los Angeles Chargers to be somewhat respectable, and Brandon even noted that head coach Nick Sirianni is doing a commendable (relatively speaking) job at running the football finally. But focusing on the run does seem to suggest that Philadelphia doesn’t exactly have a ton of trust in Jalen Hurts as a passer.

Defensively, Philadelphia isn’t getting any pressure these days and that is allowing other quarterbacks to pick them apart all day long. From our friends at Bleeding Green Nation:

Eagles Stats: Making history in a very surprising area- NBCSP WHERE’S THE PRESSURE? The Eagles have had four games this year without recording a sack, including three in their last four games. This is only the fourth time in franchise history the Eagles have had three games without a sack in any four-game stretch. They had three straight games with no sacks late in 1983, three out of four weeks in 2006 and three weeks in a row in 2012. This is the first time in franchise history the Eagles have had four no-sack games through Week 9. The Eagles are the only NFL team with more than two games this year without a sack.

The Eagles are actually so bad on defense right now and such bad-ness is encapsulated by one of the more wild statistics you will ever see.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert became the fifth quarterback to complete over 80% of his passes against the Eagles defense this season. This season. Between 1950 and 2020 (so just prior to this season) the Eagles had allowed six TOTAL performances of such kind. Insane.

Up Next: at Denver Broncos (5-4)

New York Giants (3-6)

As mentioned, the G-Men were the only NFC East team to win in Week 9, and while it does seem like their fans are managing expectations to a certain degree, the jubilation of victory does have a few of them asking a question. About the playoffs.

New York is currently 3-6 and while they are certainly not going to win the division they could theoretically be a Wildcard team this year. Consider that this week’s Dallas Cowboys opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, are the seven seed and third Wildcard right now with a 4-4 record. Odds are that final Wildcard spot will be a not-so-glamorous team.

Do Giants fans really think this is possible, though? From our friends at Big Blue View:

In a 17-game season, it is probably going to take at least that many [9] victories to earn one of the three wild-card spots. That means the Giants would have to go 6-2 over their final eight games.

Reality is, they probably are not going to pull that off. The Giants’ remaining strength of schedule (.441 opponents’ winning percentage) is among the league’s easiest, 27th overall. Still, it includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, two games with the Eagles and one with the Washington Football Team.

The Giants should get healthier. Running back Saquon Barkley, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and left tackle Andrew Thomas should all be back Week 11 against the Buccaneers, or shortly thereafter. That will help.

If the Giants manage to get to seven or eight wins, which is realistic if they continue to play like they have over their 3-3 stretch in their last six games, they are going to be haunted by the Week 2 and 3 losses to Washington and Atlanta. Those games should have landed in the win column, and ultimately could be ones they can’t overcome.

Call me skeptical but it’s hard to see a world where the Giants rip off six wins across their remaining eight games. This is the NFL and the land where crazy things happens as evidenced by last week, but even with reinforcements that will surely make them better this Giants team feels like it isn’t going much further than where they are at.

Up Next: BYE

Washington Football Team (2-6)

The Football Team spent this past week on bye and therefore did not win or lose; however, they did make one notable change.

Collectively football fans knew that things were going to backfire on Washington when they signed a kicker named Chris Blewitt. While Chris’ last name inspired a lot of jokes the reality was that the decision was a questionable one from the jump for head coach Ron Rivera, funny name aside.

This week he and the team waved the white flag on his time with the team. From our friends at Hogs Haven:

The Chris Blewitt experiment has finally ended. In Ron Rivera’s attempt to make a change on the team, he moved on from a kicker(Dustin Hopkins), who has been an average player, for a guy who never kicked in a regular season NFL game. This switch went hilariously bad if you didn’t have any money involved, or are just emotionally disengaged from the the 2-6 Washington Football Team. Blewitt had 3 kicks blocked over a 2 game stretch, and they were not even close to making it over the line. Blewitt went 2 for 5 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points. It was a very uninspired NFL career.

His replacement is someone that Ron Rivera is familiar with from his time with the Carolina Panthers. Joey Slye kicked for the Panthers from 2019-2020, and was Rivera’s kicker during his final season with the team. Slye is 65 for 81(80.2%) in the NFL, and 73 for 83(88%) on extra points. He also has an 87.3% touchback percentage. Slye has kicked for the Texans and 49ers this season after being replaced by Ryan Santoso in Carolina. Slye was brought in for a tryout this week, and did enough(kicked it over the line without hitting his own linemen in the head) to earn the job.

We have all seen this happen in the NFL where a head coach tries to make a move in an effort to send some sort of message only for said move to completely backfire. It appears that this was the case for Ron Rivera.

Up Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

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