The Tragedy of the NFC East

Written By: Pigskin Spins

To cap off Week 8 of the 2020 NFL Season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to play the New York Giants. The Buccaneers, being an NFC powerhouse at 5-2, were expected to run away with the win. Surprisingly, the 1-6 Giants played hard and kept things close after jumping out to an early lead. Late in the fourth quarter, New York was down 28-20. They got the ball back with just a few minutes left in the game, and Daniel Jones marched the Giants down the field and scored—now, all they needed was a two-point conversion. Jones hesitated and threw a late pass to Running Back Dion Lewis, which was broken up by Buccaneers’ rookie Cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Like the failed 2-point try, the NFC East division has been disappointing thus far. The Philadelphia Eagles sit in first place, with a record of 3-4-1. In second, the Washington Football Team at 2-5. The Dallas Cowboys are in third, also at 2-5, and the New York Giants are in last place with a 1-7 record following their loss to the Buccaneers. The Eagles and Cowboys both had high expectations coming into the 2020 season, but due to a combination of factors—devastating injuries, questionable coaching hires, and rising tensions in locker rooms—the NFC East has been by far the worst division in football. So, the age-old question: What team will win the division and host a home playoff game? After all, one team will have to do it, whether it be with a winning record or a losing one. 

Since every team is under .500, it’s tough to determine which is the best. The Cowboys had the best start to the season, where they put up great offensive performances, even with a bottom-of-the-league defense. This all ended when Quarterback Dak Prescott unfortunately fractured and dislocated his ankle in Week 5, landing him on the Injury Reserve. Within the division, they’ve beaten the Giants and lost to the Eagles and Washington Football Team. The Eagles seem to be the best performing team right now, coming off a two-game win streak; however, they have the most difficult remaining schedule, where they’ll play teams like the Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, and Cardinals. These teams have a combined record of  26-10. The Eagles have beaten the Giants and Cowboys, yet lost to Washington. Likewise, The Washington Football Team seems to be on the rise, winning their most recent game against the Cowboys. They lost to the Giants in Week 6, and have a chance to make up for that loss this Sunday in a divisional rematch. Finally, the Giants are—based on record—the weakest team in the NFC East. Their only win came against Washington, where New York made a game-winning stop on a Washington potential game-winning 2-point try in the final seconds of the game.

If I had to pick a division winner, I’d go with Washington. I believe in their Head Coach, Ron Rivera, and their Defensive Coordinator, Jack Del Rio. Their defense is a true force with tons of talent, ranked 4th best in the league in yards allowed per game, and ranked 1st in the league in overall passing defense. Their schedule is significantly easier than the Eagles’, which is the main reason why I chose Washington. In a division where a team with 6 victories may win the division crown, schedule heavily matters. With that being said, the NFC East is completely up for grabs for any of the four teams: Your guess is as good as mine.

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