It’s Week 14, and we still don’t know a thing about the NFC East. Well, perhaps other than it’s bad, but that’s not hard to figure out. It’s the only division in football where all four teams have records below .500. Heck, even a terrible AFC South division has two teams at least at 6-6 – the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans.
There’s currently a three-way tie for first place between the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants at 5-7, while the Dallas Cowboys are just a game back at 4-8. Despite a 19-16 loss to the Cowboys on Monday night, Washington somehow remains in first place based on three-way tiebreaker rules, which begins with head-to-head records among all three teams, then moves to division record.
The Redskins are currently 2-1 against the Giants and Eagles with a game remaining in Philadelphia in Week 16. The Giants are also 2-1, but the Eagles are 1-2. That would eliminate Philadelphia, leaving Washington and New York tied heading into the second tiebreaker. The Redskins are 2-2 in the NFC East with two division games remaining, but the Giants are 2-3 with one game left in Week 17 against the Eagles.
Washington missed an opportunity to take control of the division, as it seemed every team has at some point this season, after losing to Dallas at home. Currently, the Redskins have the second-best odds of winning the NFC East at 32.3 percent, per MakeNFLPlayoffs.com, behind just the Eagles at 34.2 percent. The Giants have the third-best odds at 22.7 percent, then the Cowboys at 10.7 percent.
Say the Redskins had defeated the Cowboys by three points in overtime, they would’ve had a 63.5 percent chance of winning the division. Dallas would’ve been all but eliminated with a .0005 percent shot at the NFC East title.
If the Redskins win their final four games, they’d win the division and clinch a playoff berth. They have yet to win consecutive games in the second season of the Jay Gruden era and have just one road win during that stretch. Washington has a 78.2 percent chance of making the playoffs if it wins three of its last four games and finishes at 8-8, but it drops to 20.2 percent if it finishes 7-9.
Here’s how the final four weeks look for all four teams:
Redskins: at Chicago (5-7), vs. Buffalo (6-6), at Philadelphia (5-7), at Dallas (4-8)
Giants: at Miami (5-7), vs. Carolina (12-0), at Minnesota (8-4), vs. Philadelphia (5-7)
Eagles: vs. Buffalo (6-6), vs. Arizona (10-2), vs. Washington (5-7), at New York (5-7)
Cowboys: at Green Bay (8-4), vs. New York Jets (7-5), at Buffalo (6-6), vs. Washington (5-7)
There’s a good chance every NFC East team will lose this week, which would mean the Redskins would remain in first place at 5-8. The margin for error continues to shrink with every passing game though, and the Redskins blew a great opportunity to give themselves a significant cushion in this tight race. Now they have to try and find a way to pull out a road victory against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. With this team, that’s not an easy thing to say or do.
All in a day’s work
- The Redskins missed some opportunities on Monday, especially on offense, against Dallas.
- Gruden won’t hesitate to put wide receiver DeSean Jackson back on punt returns after a costly fumble.
- Defensive end Stephen Paea is expected to miss his homecoming game against the Chicago Bears.
- Here are five observations from the Redskins’ loss to the Cowboys.
- Running back Alfred Morris didn’t receive a carry during the final three quarters in the latest look at the Redskins’ snap counts.
The opposing perspective
Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was placed on injured reserve because of sore ribs on Tuesday.
Opposing beat writer to follow
I know this market is familiar with Rich Campbell, but I think Dan Wiederer does a good job as well for the Chicago Tribune. He has a pretty straightforward Twitter account with a few snarky tweets here and there.
DeAngelo Hall tweets through it
The Redskins canceled practice on Wednesday and will instead hold a closed walkthrough in the afternoon. Gruden won’t talk to the media until 4:10 p.m., followed by quarterback Kirk Cousins. The Redskins media will also receive Bears Coach John Fox and right tackle Kyle Long on conference calls during the day.
Master Tesfatsion begins weekday mornings on The Insider with a quick take on the Redskins, and catches you up on everything you missed.