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Cowboys or Giants could easily be NFC East’s only 0-1 team after Sunday

Philadelphia and Washington are both favored in their season openers, putting extra pressure on Dallas and New York.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Nobody wants to be the only winless team in their division, even after Week 1. But given the schedule this week for all four NFC East rivals, the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants could very well be fighting to avoid a lonely spot in the division’s basement when they meet on Sunday Night Football.

The Washington Commanders have one of the better matchups of the entire Week 1 schedule, hosting the Arizona Cardinals in what is already looking like a lost season for them. All signs are that Arizona is in tank mode for 2023, giving the Commanders a very soft entry into their regular-season schedule.

The Eagles will have a tougher test, traveling to New England to open against the Patriots. But the reigning NFC Champions are still favored in this one; Philadelphia is generally seen as the best in their conference while the Patriots aren’t even expected to make the AFC playoffs.

Of course, projections early in the season aren’t always trustworthy. While the Cardinals’ perceived issues are hard to deny, the Patriots are still coached by Bill Belichick and were only 8-9 in a rare losing season in 2022. With some time in the lab and offseason moves, New England could be more competitive than most expect.

That said, if the consensus opinions hold, the Commanders and Eagles should both be 1-0 to start the season. That means when the Cowboys and Giants kick off on Sunday night, they’ll be looking to match their rivals and avoid being the only losing team in the NFC East.

Sure, it’s a small thing in the grand scheme. The loser could win their next three or four and soon be the division leader. By the end of Week 2, the entire division could be tied at 1-1. There’s going to be a whole lot of season left after Sunday night for things to balance out and for the cream to rise to the top.

Nevertheless, nobody wants to see their team at the bottom of the standings. It’s bad enough to come out of the gates with a loss, but especially if the rest of the division is crowing about their successful debuts. And for Dallas or New York, a loss would be compounded by potential implications later for tiebreakers.

This is just another of the many wrinkles going into the big showdown on Sunday night. The Cowboys and Giants won’t be lacking any incentive to get the win in their season opener. But if the Commanders and Eagles are both victorious earlier that day, it will add a little extra drama to the main event in the NFC East.

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