Football Team

WFT enters playoff picture as Eagles, Cowboys stumble

Football Team
Taylor Heinicke

Entering Week 12, three NFC East teams had a chance to improve their place in the conference playoff picture. 

The first-place Cowboys' hopes for a top-two seed in the NFC hinged on a Thanksgiving Day game against the Raiders, while Washington and the Eagles were playing to move into one of the three wild-card spots in the conference. All three teams played close games -- and only one came out with a win. 

Washington Football Team (5-6, 2nd)

It wasn't pretty and they almost blew the game three or four times before time ran out, but Washington earned a solid win over the Seahawks on Monday night to vault themselves into the seventh seed in the NFC playoff picture. Antonio Gibson led the way with 146 scrimmage yards while J.D. McKissic gave Washington a rushing and receiving touchdown before going down in the fourth quarter with an upper-body injury.

Injuries remain a massive problem for this team moving forward, but the defense's ability to stifle Russell Wilson and the Seahawks all night has to be an encouraging sign. Washington made a late playoff push behind good defense and an opportunistic offense with a reliable running game. If that's the way they have to do it this year as well, at least it'll be a familiar path for them.

Dallas Cowboys (7-4, 1st)

Before their bye week, the Cowboys were playing great complementary football to give themselves a seemingly insurmountable lead in the NFC East. In the five games since, they've had trouble getting both their offense and defense to get on the same page. One week it's the offense like in their loss to Denver or Kansas City, then it's the defense getting shredded by the Raiders.

 

Dallas should still be favorites to win the division and they'll likely win it going away, but the last month hasn't been the best confidence builder for those picking them to come out of the NFC.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-7, 3rd)

At 5-6 and coming off two impressive wins over the Saints and Broncos, the Eagles had the table set for them to close the season strong with five of their last six games coming against teams with losing records. Well, in their first of two matchups with the Giants, Philly laid a big, fat egg.

Jalen Hurts played his worst game as a pro, throwing for just 129 yards on 14-of-31 passing to go along with three interceptions. The game plan mysteriously shifted away from the running game despite the Eagles' incredible success on the ground, so while Hurts will and should catch heat for this performance, it was a perplexing decision by Nick Sirianni to go so pass-happy when he didn't need to.

A matchup with the Jets next week should get the Eagles back on track, but a sobering reality played out for them once again. Hurts has an obvious ceiling as a passer, and you can't win consistently in the NFL without a reliable passing attack.

New York Giants (4-7, 4th)

They may still be in last place, but the Giants have plenty of reason to feel good about their performance in Week 12. Beating the Eagles is one thing, but hurting their playoff hopes after the tanking fiasco from a year ago cost the Giants a wild-card spot must bring that staff a little bit of joy despite their poor start to the year. 

New York had a 4-0 turnover advantage in this game and only won by six points. The offense didn't appear "fixed" with Freddie Kitchens replacing Jason Garrett, but at least the defense looked good and capitalized on some bad throws from Hurts. As the saying goes, though, a win is a win.