With the Philadelphia Eagles sitting out this week on their bye, the rest of the NFC East was in action. While things went according to the script between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, the Washington Commanders continued to be surprisingly feisty and remain a potential playoff team.
There was nothing surprising about what went down in Dallas on Sunday. The Giants, already falling apart before having to play third-string quarterback Tommy DeVito, barely put up a fight. The Cowboys rolled to a 49-17 win and hope to keep it going next week against another bottom-feeder in the Carolina Panthers.
What few expected was how the Commanders have performed in their last two games since the trade deadline. When Washington discarded defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat in trades, it felt like they were focusing on the future. But then they went into New England and got a win in Week 9. Last Sunday, again on the road, they pushed the 6-3 Seahawks to the limit in a narrow 26-23 defeat.
Here are the NFC East standings going into Week 11:
- Philadelphia Eagles 8-1 (3-0 in division)
- Dallas Cowboys 6-3 (2-1 in division)
- Washington Commanders 4-6 (0-3 in division)
- New York Giants 2-8 (1-2 in division)
The Eagles and Cowboys are well on their way to playoff spots this year, but the Commanders are still in the hunt as well. They have to hope that the 6-4 Minnesota Vikings, currently thriving with the insertion of Josh Dobbs at quarterback, come back to earth. But right now Washington looks like the best of the rest in the NFC playoff picture.
While putting three NFC East teams in the playoffs would be a nice trivia point, ultimately we care about the top two. The Cowboys need to keep padding their record over the next few weeks against the Panthers and Commanders, then pass a solid test in Week 13 against the visiting Seahawks. Getting to 9-3 before facing the Eagles again is crucial.
Philadelphia comes out of the bye with a tough stretch, traveling to Kansas City and then hosting the Bills and 49ers. If Dallas can keep on winning, the Week 14 rematch between the Cowboys and Eagles could put a lot of chips on the table. Dallas could pull even in overall records, erase the head-to-head tiebreaker, and move into first place thanks to a superior record within the division (they’d be 4-1 if they also beat Washington on Thanksgiving).
Naturally, the one-loss Eagles could keep right on soaring. There may be nothing that the Cowboys can do to catch them at this point, but at least there’s still plenty of football left before we can make definitive statements. The NFC East rarely lacks for drama, so hopefully Philadelphia allows for some as the season rolls on.