Football Team

NFC East roundup: WFT and Eagles' playoff fates are linked

Football Team

With 13 games down and just four to go, the NFC East looks to have one final, tight playoff race before the end of the 2021 regular season. 

With the Dallas Cowboys all but guaranteed a division title, the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team remain in the hunt for a wild-card spot. Given they have the same record and play each other twice over the next three weeks, this should be plenty of fun to watch down the stretch of the year. 

But first, a look around at what transpired for the division this week and what it means moving forward. 

Washington Football Team (6-7, 2nd)

Washington could have made the race for the division much more interesting with a win over the Cowboys in Week 14, but a terrible first half ultimately doomed them against their hated rival. They tried to stage a miracle comeback in the fourth quarter, but a late fumble by Kyle Allen put that to a stop right before Washington could even tie the score. 

Now, Washington sits firmly in the seventh seed in the NFC playoff picture with two crucial games against Philadelphia to decide their playoff fate. If they win in Week 15 over the Eagles, they'll control their own destiny to make the playoffs. If they lose, their playoff hopes take a big dive. Washington beat Philly last year to secure a playoff spot, so why not do it again for old-time's sake?

Philadelphia Eagles (6-7, 3rd)

The Eagles' playoff destiny is linked to Washington's in the same way. If Philly can beat Washington at home, they'll have a good shot at clinching the seventh seed by the time these two teams see each other again in two weeks. The advantage the Eagles have is they play the Cowboys in Week 18 while Washington gets Dallas in Week 16.

 

The Cowboys could have the division wrapped up by the final week of the season and could rest its starters against an Eagles team in need of a win. If Washington drops two in a row to the Eagles and Cowboys in Weeks 15 and 16, their playoff chances are likely gone. Philly is also coming off their bye week and should have a few injured players back on the field for their most important games. Washington, on the other hand, has seemingly lost at least one or two key players per week. 

Dallas Cowboys (9-4, 1st)

Mike McCarthy guaranteed a win against Washington this week and his team delivered. At 9-4 with four games to play, the division is most certainly Dallas' to lose. They can probably start to think about their playoff seed as well. If the Cowboys win out, the No. 1 seed could even be in play.

If not, it might be better to lock up the division for good and focus on getting players 100% healthy before the playoffs. With only one first-round bye on the table, health might be more important than seeding. 

New York Giants (4-9, 4th)

The bad news? The Giants got crushed by the Los Angeles Chargers to drop them to 4-9 on the year and all but end any chance this team had at a late playoff push. The good news is the Bears keep losing too, which could mean two top-five picks for New York in the 2022 draft. 

The challenge then becomes hitting on those first-round picks, which the Giants haven't exactly done much of over the last 10 years.