The Dallas Cowboys helped kick Week 12 off with their Thanksgiving Day game, but they were only one of six teams to play on Turkey Day. Unlike previous years, this season’s Thanksgiving Day matchups all delivered some high-quality football, and all three results had some important ramifications on the playoff picture across the league.
Of course, the Cowboys had a huge hand in that with their win which meant a loss for the New York Giants. Just a few hours after Dallas took care of business, the Minnesota Vikings kept their hopes for the number one seed in the NFC alive with a win against the New England Patriots, but the Philadelphia Eagles kept their hands on it for now with a Sunday night win against the Green Bay Packers.
There is still one game to go in Week 12, but seeing as how it is between the Indianapolis Colts (who Dallas will host this week, a pretty huge rest disparity with the Cowboys coming off of a home Thursday game and then hosting a Colts team coming off of Monday night) and Pittsburgh Steelers, those games have no bearing on the state of the NFC playoff picture.
After Week 12 all four NFC East teams are in the playoffs
If the playoffs started today then all four NFC East teams would make the tournament. The Eagles currently lead the division, the Cowboys hold the top wildcard spot, and even with their Thanksgiving Day loss the Giants are slotted into the second wildcard spot at the moment. The big change came on Sunday when the Washington Commanders defeated the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks fell to the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime which set the leapfrog up.
NFC Playoff Picture through Week 12:
- Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
- Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
- San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
- New York Giants (7-4)
- Washington Commanders (7-5)
Things are going to get very interesting starting this week seeing as how the Commanders visit the Giants on Sunday. What’s more is that Washington will finally have their bye after that game and the next week will play... the New York Giants. Yes that is correct, they technically play the Giants two games in a row which is a silly thing for NFL schedule-makers to do, but here we are.
Additionally the 49ers will play the Buccaneers next week, the Eagles still have both of their games left against the Giants, Dallas obviously still has yet to host Philly, and we will of course have the standard Week 18 divisional matchups where the Cowboys visit Washington and the Giants are at Philly. Sometimes things can feel locked into place but as evidenced by the latest round of action the NFL is very much a week-to-week league.
For now, the NFC East has all four teams represented in the tournament and if this were to hold they would become the first division in NFL history to send all of their teams to a single postseason. To be fair, this only became possible in 2020 when the league added a third wildcard team to each conference, but seeing as how this division is the only one where every team has won the Super Bowl it sort of feels appropriate.