After two weeks, it looks like it’s back to square one for the Dallas Cowboys, at least in the NFC East where Dallas, Philly, and Washington all share the same 1-1 record.
But that doesn’t mean the playoff odds for those three teams are the same, far from it. Fivethirtyeight.com currently shows the Cowboys as the clear favorites to win the NFC East.
In the FiveThirtyEight ranking, the Cowboys are ranked 12th overall, the Eagles are ranked 22nd, with Washington and the Giants close behind at 24th and 27th respectively.
It may be a bit early to talk about the division title, but it’s never too early to talk about the playoffs - even if some eager beaver is already frantically searching for the Jim Mora “Playoffs? Playoffs?” gif to offer a never-before-seen, completely original, and lough-out-loud-funny rebuttal to this playoff talk.
Don’t be that eager beaver.
If you read our playoff tracker from last week, you’ll know that the season for the 0-2 Giants could already be over if they lose next week: since realignment in 2002, 96 teams started the season 0-3. Only three of those 96 teams made the playoffs, that’s a historic playoff chance of about 3%.
For Philly, Washington, and Dallas, the playoff door remains open: teams that started 1-1 have a 48% chance of finishing among the top seven seeds in the conference, thus qualifying for the playoffs this year.
After winning their season openers, Philly and Washington last week had historic playoff odds of 58%, but dropped by 10 percentage points after their Week 2 losses. The reverse happened for the Cowboys, who sat at 30% after losing their season opener and jumped by 18 percentage points after their win yesterday.
The Cowboys next play consecutive home games against the Eagles and Panthers, and after the first four games of the season, they could have a 3-1, 2-2, or 1-3 record. Here’s what the data since 2002 shows as the playoff odds (based on a 14-team playoff field) for each of those W/L records:
|Playoff odds based on Week 4 W/L records, since 2002|
|Record after Week 4||3-1||2-2||1-3|
We’ll continue monitoring the Cowboys’ playoff chances every week, and it would sure be nice if we could talk about a 2-1 record after next week.