Football Team

State of NFC East: Washington in control, Eagles get big win

Football Team

Coming into Week 14 in the NFL, the Giants were atop the NFC East. After Week 14, the Giants were the only NFC East team to lose. 

Of course, that helped the Washington Football Team the most as it gave them the keys to first place in the division and therefore the fourth seed in the NFC playoff picture. Of the division's three Sunday winners, the Jalen Hurts-led Eagles proved the most impressive with a 24-21 win against the Saints. 

Here's a look at the current NFC East picture. 

Washington Football Team (6-7): Control their own destiny

Now winners of their last four games, Washington improved to 6-7 to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. The Burgundy and Gold's path to the postseason is simple now that they control their own destiny - win their remaining three contests and they're in. 

Of course, that's much easier said than done. But the biggest takeaway from Washington's big victory against the 49ers (5-7) is that they're no longer tied with the Giants for first place. New York holds the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning both meetings earlier this season so that extra win is a huge deal. 

What's Next? The final three games for coach Ron Rivera's team won't be easy wins, but neither have any of Washington's non-Cowboys victories this season. Washington welcomes the Seahawks (9-4) and Panthers (4-9) before traveling to Philadelphia for the crucial Week 17 matchup. 

Seattle easily handled the Jets with a 40-3 blowout win on Sunday, and won't be overlooking Washington after getting upset by another NFC East team, the Giants, last week. The Panthers, on the other hand, are now on a two-game losing skid and face Green Bay (10-3) before coming up to FedEx Field to face their former coach, Ron Rivera - whom they fired 12 months ago. It all may come down to the final week. 

 

Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1): Jalen Hurts provides hope, confidence

Eagles coach Dough Pederson's move to bench Carson Wentz at the end of Philadelphia's loss to Green Bay last week seemed to be more of a desperation move than anything else. Hurts came in and did some nice things, but his masterful display against heavily favored New Orleans (10-3) put the Eagles back into the playoff hunt. 

Throwing for 167 yards and a touchdown and running for 106 yards more with his legs, Hurts led the upset charge over Taysom Hill's Saints, who had won their last nine games coming into Week 14. Now back with the confidence that they can compete with the league's elite, Philadelphia will try to make some noise these final three weeks. 

What's Next? Visiting Arizona (7-6) and Dallas (4-9) before hosting Washington, Hurts and company will look to carry the momentum going from their huge upset against the Saints. They'll need a lot of help from around the league to sneak into first place in the NFC East, especially with the teams playing Washington and New York. But now that the Eagles know they can perform like this, an end-of-season run isn't out of the equation just yet. 

New York Giants (5-8): Help needed from others

The Cardinals (7-6) dominated New York, 26-7. The Giants still hold the tiebreaker over Washington, however, and will be hoping the Football Team slips up at least once while needing to stay perfect these last few weeks themselves. 

What's Next? New York has perhaps the most difficult remaining schedule compared to their divisional foes. That starts with two straight AFC North opponents in Cleveland (9-3) at home before heading down to M&T Bank Stadium against Baltimore (7-5). Both those teams will be desperate for wins against the Giants as their own postseason aspirations depend on it. Should it somehow come away unscathed from those games, New York still has to play the Cowboys, who showed against the Bengals that they won't just roll over despite their chances being so remote. 

RELATED: 3 instant over-reactions as Washington takes sole possession of NFC East lead

Dallas Cowboys (4-8): Looking ahead to 2021

Dallas defeated Cincinnati, 30-7, for its first win since defeating Minnesota in Week 11. Backup quarterback Andy Dalton showed professionalism and poise with a two-touchdown, 185 yards through-the-air performance against the two-win Bengals. Given Philadelphia's win, however, Dallas will probably be looking more toward prospects in the draft than prospects of making the playoffs. 

What's Next? The Cowboys welcome San Francisco and Philadelphia before heading up to the Meadowlands to play the Giants to finish their season. Still not technically eliminated from winning the division, coach Mike McCarthy's squad would have to win out and hope their divisional rivals all lose out. Not likely, but 2020 has shown that crazy stuff can always happen.