There are three weeks left in the regular season, and when it is all said and done, the Dallas Cowboys are going to be NFC East Champions. It just isn’t official yet (here is how they can clinch it, though).
All of the caps, t-shirts, and confetti have to wait at least a week since the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team did not tie on Tuesday, but soon enough Dallas will officially be headed towards a home playoff game for the first time since 2018.
Every week Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation and I get together to discuss the state of the division on the NFC East Mixtape. This is a unique podcast across SB Nation as it is distributed across all four feeds from the teams in the division. It is accessible here at Blogging The Boys, at Bleeding Green Nation, at Hogs Haven, and at Big Blue View. Remember to subscribe to the Blogging The Boys podcast network wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss any of our episodes. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
This week in particular was a bit special as Brandon and I had a very special guest on. If you are a fan of the reality show Survivor you likely remember Rick Devens, it just so happens he is a WFT fan and happens to co-host a podcast discussing the team called Surviving Snyder.
Obviously we had to delay recording and our State of the NFC East discussion by a day this week given the delay in the Washington/Philadelphia game. But here we are! Let’s take a look at all three division rivals and how they are feeling entering the season’s final three weeks.
Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
As a result of Tuesday night’s win the Eagles are the only non-Cowboys team in the division that has a not totally ridiculous chance at making the playoffs. They are currently the first team out of the Wildcard race.
Up next for them is a rematch against the New York Giants (who they lost to a few weeks back). Things were made a little bit more difficult for them on Wednesday as head coach Nick Sirianni tested positive for COVID so his status is a bit up in the air for now, but if Philly is going to play beyond Week 18 they have to put something together starting now.
The Eagles are currently right on the cusp of the NFC playoff picture. If the season ended today, they’d just miss out due to Minnesota having the common games tiebreaker. Fortunately for the Eagles, the season doesn’t end today. They still have three games to make up ground on the Vikings.
If the Eagles go at least 2-1 the rest of the way, there’s a solid chance that could be enough to make the postseason. Philly’s next three games: vs. NYG, at WFT, vs. DAL. The Eagles should be able to beat either Jake Fromm or Mike Glennon this Sunday despite the rest disadvantage. The second Washington game could be tougher than the Tuesday night matchup assuming the Football Team gets some key players back from injury/COVID. Still, reasonably winnable. There’s been thought that the Cowboys might rest their starters in the regular season finale but one shouldn’t be so sure. There’s value in avoiding dropping to the No. 4 seed; the Cowboys could be playing to secure a top three spot.
There is a world where the Los Angeles Rams win the NFC West, the Arizona Cardinals fall to the four seed, and the San Francisco 49ers are the five seed. In that hypothetical it might be more advantageous to be the four seed than three seed so we will see what Dallas ultimately has to play for come Week 18, for now the Eagles are scrambling trying to find any way in.
Next Up: New York Giants (4-10)
Washington Football Team (6-8)
Obviously it hasn’t been too long since we saw WFT, but they are coming off of a Tuesday game before having to travel to AT&T Stadium so the circumstances for them entering this week are a bit different. Remember that Dallas was coming off of their Thursday night game when they traveled to Washington so the Cowboys will have had a rest advantage in both contests against their rivals this season.
Tuesday night was a rather boring affair for the Football Team as their playoff hopes took a significant hit.
- Gilbert, given the circumstances, played pretty well. He took a few downfield shots, but generally used his checkdowns and outlets well. You can’t expect much more from a guy who was signed on Friday of the previous week.
- Terry McLaurin was targeted just four times on the evening, hauling in two of them for 51 yards, but the Eagles game-planned against him, so he wasn’t getting much single coverage.
- Antonio Gibson never got it going on the ground, gaining just 26 yards on 15 carries, but he did find his way into the endzone early in the game by going up and over the line from one yard out. He chipped in six receptions for 39 yards. Also to note, he didn’t fumble!
- Humphries dropped a touchdown that Gilbert threw to him early in the game. The ball literally hit him right in the chest!
- Jeremy Reaves saw his first extensive action of the season, and his performance was really a mixed bag. He led the team in tackles with 12 (nine solo), but was abused a few times in coverage and gave up a touchdown to Ward (in which his coverage was actually pretty good).
Washington’s season is just about over and can be made fully so with a third straight loss, the second in three weeks to the Cowboys.
Next Up: at Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
New York Giants (4-10)
The Dallas Cowboys have won 9 of their last 10 games against the Giants with the lone loss coming with a non-Dak Prescott player making the start at quarterback (Andy Dalton). Needless to say, he owns them.
As the Giants deal with their fifth straight season of double-digit losses they are starting to come to terms with things that have to be addressed over the offseason.
I want to believe in Barkley, but it was telling that the two biggest runs of the day by the Giants (31 and 28 yards) were by Devontae Booker.
Evan Engram dropped a pass that would have been a first down. Fortunately for him, there weren’t enough Giants’ fans in the stadium to hear any boos.
I think Sterling Shepard’s Giants’ career ended Sunday when he tore his Achilles tendon.
In case you are looking for signs that Judge has lost the locker room, I don’t think so. I thought the Giants competed vigorously Sunday. They are just inept offensively.
It is a bummer to see Shepard’s season end and one has to wonder where, Evan Engram, and/or Saquon Barkley will be in 2022. Their team will potentially hit a massive reset button up and down their roster. They are also going to have to make a decision as to whether or not they are going to pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Daniel Jones, who they placed on injured reserve to end his season this week.
Next Up: at Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)