Never forget, one of these teams will be hosting a playoff game.
Take one look at the NFC East. Actually, don’t, it’s far too painful.
A come from behind victory Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis now gives the Dallas Cowboys their third win on the season. Sitting still in the cellar of the division, they aren’t too far out of the race for first place.
Dalton to Dalton!
The #DallasCowboys take the lead with 1:37 remaining!
— NFL (@NFL) November 23, 2020
It’s strange to discuss, but every team is a loss from picking in the top five next April. They also are a win away from gaining control of the division lead. The biggest problem here is, no one is pulling away as the front runner for title, meaning this bout between clear pretenders will likely be unraveling down to Week 17.
So many concerns for every team
Dallas played their best game in months, but that’s not a compliment. Andy Dalton returned to the starting role and finished with 203 passing yards and three touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for over 100 yards for the first time all season and the defense wasn’t putrid enough to choke the game away.
But this win wasn’t all about Dallas playing good football, but rather major mistakes from the Minnesota Vikings. Both Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook had a fumble that was recovered by Dallas. That ultimately cost them potentially 14 points in the first half that could have been saved them from a Dalton to Dalton (Schultz) with two minutes on the clock.
Washington looked great defensively, but did they win because of talent or injury? Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow left with a torn ACL in the third quarter and Ryan Finley threw for a grand total of 30 yards and a pick. The team’s final points both came on field goals from Dustin Hopkins and Alex Smith couldn’t throw for 200 yards against one of the league’s worst secondaries.
The Giants were on a bye, but they could be the front-runners. Joe Judge certainly changed the culture and when Daniel Jones isn’t committing countless turnovers, he’s a pretty nifty quarterback. If Saquon Barkley were healthy, maybe they’d already have the division?
The Eagles should have expected to lose against Cleveland, but how they lost is the problem. As the rain poured down, so did criticism of Carson Wentz’s longevity as the starter. His regression is clearly starting to hamper him as two interceptions ultimately cost them drives when they needed points.
Thanksgiving will feature Washington and Dallas meeting in AT&T Stadium for a showdown that will determine the week’s new division leader. At four wins, they’ll easily become the “team to beat” on the way to the final month of play.
In a way, this hurts the division winner as they’ll be picking in the 20s with massive needs that could be addressed with a game-changing selection in the top 10. Plus, the only benefit of winning will be to host a playoff game against a Wild Card team that could dismantle them on national television.
There’s no real winner for the NFC East anyway you look at it. Much like a groundhog seeing his shadow, here’s to six more weeks of mediocre football being played to determine who’s the worst NFC playoff team for 2020.