NFC East Showdown: Redskins Have the Advantage
With two games remaining in the 2012 regular season, the NFC East has become a muddled mess of winning streaks, blowouts and shutouts—turning the division into a three-way logjam at the top. The New York Giants have stumbled while the Washington Redskins have won five straight. The Dallas Cowboys have remained in the hunt and the Philadelphia Eagles have fans at home games booing.
The NFC East is the only NFL division that does not have a team to either clinch their division, a playoff berth or a wild-card slot. The two remaining weeks on the NFL schedule could not have made it more difficult as the four NFC East teams each have at least one inner-division game remaining.
Through Week 15, the Redskins have the advantage in the NFC East due to their 3-1 division record and .750 win percentage.
And to make things more complicated, three of the four teams are current odds favorites to win their Week 16 game.
The following slideshow is a breakdown of each team, their opponents and previous games played in the division.
Dallas Cowboys: 8-6 Overall (3-2 NFC East)
The Dallas Cowboys have a three-game winning streak after their dramatic overtime win Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cowboys' season has been inconsistent, winning games and then following it with a loss, holding a 3-5 record at the midway point of the season.
Over their last six games, they have lost one time and that was on Thanksgiving Day to the Redskins.
Led by QB Tony Romo, with 4,000-plus passing yards, and WR Dez Bryant, who is nursing an injured finger, the Cowboys still have a horse in this NFC East race.
This Sunday, the Cowboys host the New Orleans Saints and are an early two-and-a-half point favorite. They wrap up the season on the road against their longtime rival Redskins. In their previous meeting in front of a national television audience on Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys rallied from a 28-3 halftime deficit only to fall short 38-31.
The last time the Cowboys won the NFC East was 2009.
New York Giants: 8-6 Overall (2-3 NFC East)
The New York Giants have struggled of late and were shut out in Week 15 against the Atlanta Falcons 34-0 as QB Eli Manning accounted for only 159 passing yards and two interceptions. The offense had only 10 first downs. This was their first shutout since 1996.
They have lost four of their last six games after sitting atop the NFC East for a majority of the first half of the season.
If they manage to win their final regular-season game at home against the Eagles, they will have a series split with each of their division opponents.
On Sunday, the Giants head to Baltimore in a 4 p.m. ET game and currently are a one-and-a-half point favorite. The Giants should know where they stand in the division and if they're still in contention as the rest of the NFC East play earlier in the day.
Despite the title of Super Bowl champions, the Giants have been terribly inconsistent as they scored 52 points in a win over the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago before being shut out on Sunday against the Falcons.
The New York Giants are the defending it all in 2013, the challenge is to get to the playoffs first.
Philadelphia Eagles: 4-10 Overall (1-3 NFC East)
The Philadelphia Eagles have struggled this year and many have said head coach Andy Reid will be on his way out at season's end. The team was forced into a change at quarterback after Michael Vick sustained a concussion weeks ago and rookie Nick Foles had to step into the starting role.
The Eagles have been outscored by 122 points entering Week 16, and they have turned the ball over 34 times. In his six starts, QB Foles has six touchdowns (five passing) and four interceptions while completing 60 percent of his passes.
The Eagles are out of any playoff consideration with a 4-10 record, although they can cause chaos for the three division rivals vying for the top spot should they win either of their remaining games.
On Sunday, the Eagles host the Redskins where they are five-point underdogs. The two teams met in Week 11 and the 'Skins won soundly 31-6. Philadelphia concludes the regular season with a road game against the Giants. They can play the role of a spoiler in either game remaining.
The last time the Eagles won the NFC East was 2010.
Washington Redskins: 8-6 Overall (3-1 NFC East)
The Washington Redskins have come from the back of the pack and enter the final two weeks of the season with a five-game winning streak, their longest since 2005. After rookie QB RGIII sustained an injury to his right knee two weeks ago, backup QB and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins has stepped in admirably.
The Redskins control their destiny at this point and hold the advantage in the division with just one loss in four NFC East games. Their trip Sunday to Philadelphia, where the 'Skins are currently a five-point favorite, could secure their position atop the NFC East. In their previous meeting, the 'Skins soundly beat the Eagles 31-6.
The 'Skins seem confident and have no plans of executing their game plan any differently than in the previous five games they have won since their bye week. A decision on the starting QB for Sunday's game against the Eagles has not been announced, but based on all RG3 has done thus far in the season, if he is healthy I wouldn't think the coaching staff would keep him off of the field.
The 'Skins finish the season at home against the Dallas Cowboys. With the slight edge they currently hold in the division, their fate could be determined by other losses.
The last time the Redskins won the NFC East was 1999.