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The NFC East: A Complete Mess

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.–Only four weeks remain in the regular season NFL schedule, and in most divisions, some teams have separated themselves from the others. That is, most divisions except for the NFC East.
The NFC East is made up four teams–the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins, who are all 5-7, as well as the Dallas Cowboys, who are at 4-8. All of the teams have losing records and all of them technically could end up winning the division.
The Giants held the first place spot recently, but proceeded to lose three consecutive games including one to the Redskins, who then took their spot. The Redskins, at 5-6, faced the Cowboys last week to attempt giving themselves cushion in the division. Despite injury and losing their starting quarterback, Dallas was able to beat them, creating a three-way tie for first (by record) and granting themselves new life.

Photo courtesy of Peter Douma
Photo courtesy of Peter Douma

The Giants are technically in third place in the division, due to losses to splitting game decisions with both the Redskins and Cowboys, while losing their only game with the Eagles. Their 2-3 division record does not put them in a great place for tie-breaker criteria, but some argue that they put themselves in this situation. The Giants have lost several games this year in the late fourth quarter due to mistakes made by the players or coaches. That includes that week’s loss against the Jets.
If the Giants had won those games, they would have separated themselves from the rest of the division. Now, though, the team will have a tough road ahead, having to face the undefeated Carolina Panthers, as well as the tough Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings teams. They also conclude the season playing the Eagles.
The Redskins, on the other hand, could be considered the surprise team of the division. They are 2-2 within the division and have been winning tough games. Their star running back Alfred Morris has been practically unused, and questions continue to surround their quarterback situation.
Their last two games of the season are with Philadelphia and Dallas, which could prove to be difficult but winnable. As long as players stay healthy, they could beat both the players on Chicago and Buffalo and subsequently help their position in the playoffs.
The 2014 Division champion, the Cowboys, have struggled the most. After losing some key players, such as Demarco Murray, in the off-season, and injuring others, like Tony Romo, they have had a difficult time regaining the offensive power they once had. Despite beating the Redskins in week 13, it will be difficult if not impossible for them to overcome the rest of the division without a starting quarterback. In fact, the team may be the least likely of all to win.
Finally, Chip Kelly’s Eagles, with their redesigned team, had a lot of media surrounding them this off-season. New faces and personnel gave the team a new look and a positive outlook. However, it just has not come together. They hold a 2-2 record in the division and have divisional games against the Redskins and the Giants to close the season.
Simply put, the NFC East this year is a mess. Fans may remember that, last year, the NFC South division was in a similar situation with a sub .500 Panthers making the playoffs. It came down to the last game. A similar situation could happen this year, and the East’s winner could easily be decided on the final day.
Chris Mott, a Monmouth senior and lifelong Giants fan agrees.
“Historically it comes down to the last game of the season a lot,” said Mott. “It wouldn’t be a surprise to see it again.”
Whether or not history repeats itself, this season is one that most teams will likely want to forget.