Breaking Down the NFC East

We are just seven short weeks till the NFL Playoffs start. The NFC East what used to look like a deep division is looking reminiscent of the 2010 NFC West. That was the year the Seattle Seahawks went 7-9 and won that division. It looked like a new team would win this division with the Redskins torrid start to the season. Robert Griffin III looked like he hadn’t shaken off the rust from his knee injury that ended his season last year.

The Washington Redskins started the year 1-4 after a Sunday Night loss to their long time rival Dallas Cowboys. Despite being 3-6 after winning two of their last four games, they are within striking distance of the NFC East lead. The Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are tied for the division lead, but the Cowboys hold the tiebreaker. The Redskins will play the Eagles Sunday to try and pull within a game of the lead. The Eagles already defeated the Redskins this season, beating them 33-27 on kickoff weekend.

Just a few short weeks ago it looked like the Dallas Cowboys were about to run away with this division. They had just lost to the Denver Broncos but many felt that their offense could wreak havoc against just about any defense. However, that offensive showing was just a mirage. At this point they are tied with the division lead having lost three of five by three points or fewer. However the injury bug has hit this team hard on defense. Only three defensive starters have played all ten games.

The Eagles had a quarterback issue with an often injured Mike Vick and an unproven Nick Foles. He was injured in a 17-3 loss to the Cowboys. Nick Foles has since proven that he is the man for the job. This season he has a staggering 16-0 TD-INT ratio. Despite only scoring ten points combined in two weeks against division rivals, Foles has this team on a role heading into this weekend. Foles even tied a NFL record for touchdown passes in a game with seven just two weeks ago.

The Giants, well they couldn’t buy a win. Big blue started the season 0-6 and were outscored 209-103. Fast forward four weeks later and they are 3-0 in that stretch outscoring their opponents 62-34.  Eli Manning struggled through the first six games with his 15 interceptions. Over the current three game win streak, Manning has only thrown one interception. While Victor Cruz has been huge for this team, Hakeem Nicks has to yet to catch a touchdown pass. Not to mention this team has no running game to take pressure off of Manning.

With all the turmoil that has surrounded these four teams, one of them will be representing the NFC East in the playoffs. If the Giants and Redskins get wins in the next two weeks, the NFC East will be heading into the final five weeks with a four-way tie. Each team would have a 5-6 record. While many have pointed to the Cowboys-Eagles regular season finale as the “NFC East Championship”, it very well might be the Giants-Redskins game that decides the division.

At this point it may not matter which team pulls it out in the end with the Panthers, 49ers, Seahawks, Lions, Packers and Saints waiting in the wings.