NFL Playoff Picture 2012: Predicting How the NFC East Mess Will Play Out

Soven Bery@@realsovenberySenior Analyst IDecember 22, 2012

NFL Playoff Picture 2012: Predicting How the NFC East Mess Will Play Out

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    With two weeks left to play in an exciting NFL season, every division has a clear-cut winner. 

    Except the NFC East. 

    The Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are all tied atop the leader board with an 8-6 record. 

    It’s a perfect mess. 

    If the playoffs started today, the Redskins would make the postseason as they win the tiebreak over Dallas and New York based on head-to-head win percentage. 

    But the playoffs don’t start today. There are still games left to play and each of these teams will get a say in what their destiny will be. 

    It will be a crazy ending to a crazy season for the most competitive division in the NFL. 

    But there can only be one winner. Who will win and who will be forced to fight it out in the wild-card race? 

    Will only one team make the playoffs?

    Will all three? 

    Your answers are right here as I predict how the NFC East will play out.  

New York Giants

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    Current Record: 8-6 

    Projected Record: 10-6 

    Left to Play: @Ravens, Eagles 

    Playoffs: Yes

    To take you back to high school algebra, the Giants have been more up and down than a parabola. Some weeks, they look like the defending world champions. Other weeks, they look like a team tied with the Redskins and Cowboys in a division mess. 

    Right now, the Big Blue is more of the latter. They are losers of four of their last six games, including a 34-0 thrashing by the Atlanta Falcons last week. That does not bode well for Eli Manning and company as they head into a huge game against the Ravens in Baltimore. 

    Win and New York is in the playoffs. Lose and they’ll be watching from the Big Apple. 

    But rest easy, Giants faithful. Manning will deliver and the Giants will be playing January football yet again. 

    It will be difficult, but the Ravens have looked more and more vulnerable as of late. Plus, the Giants tend to show up in big ways in crucial games. 

    Just ask the New England Patriots

    This tumultuous season will climax in a Giants win to nab the final NFC Wild Card and waltz into the big dance. But they won’t win the NFC East. Who will? 

Dallas Cowboys

2 of 3

    Current Record: 8-6 

    Projected Record: 9-7

    Left to Play: Saints, @Redskins 

    Playoffs: No

    Tony Romo is enjoying one of his best seasons ever and the much-malinged quarterback has his Cowboys controlling their own destiny in regards to the playoffs. 

    Win out and Dallas is in the playoffs. But even one stumble could prove incredibly costly. 

    They will have no problem taking out Drew Brees and his Saints at home in the House that Jerry Built. Instead, this squad will face problems in a virtual playoff game at Washington. 

    Don’t get me wrong. This Dallas team is good. No one is denying that. But the Redskins are at home with all the momentum swung their way. Robert Griffin III should be back and the nation's capital will be electric. 

    I’m incredibly excited for that football game to end the season and it could go either way. Tony Romo will have a field day facing a pedestrian secondary. But RG3 and Alfred Morris should rip apart the Dallas defense. 

    It’s going to hurt, ‘Boys fans. You’ll have to watch your hated rivals play in the postseason while your team came oh-so-close to the playoffs. 

    But close doesn’t cut it in the NFL. 

Washington Redskins

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    Current Record: 8-6 

    Projected Record: 10-6 

    Left to Play: @Eagles, Dallas 

    Playoffs: Yes

    For the first time since 2006, the Washington Redskins will be in the NFL playoffs. After a crazy season with unforeseen highs, RG3 will take his team on the first of many postseason trips. 

    Beating the 4-10 Eagles in Philly will not be much of a challenge for the red-hot Redskins, winners of their last five. The challenge will lie in dismantling the Dallas Cowboys in what will be a virtual playoff game. 

    It will be the biggest game that the NFL Rookie of the Year favorite Griffin has ever played in, hands down. The same can be said for first-year sensation running back Alfred Morris. But, in front of an electric crowd at the nation's capital, Mike Shanahan and crew will not disappoint. 

    The first time these two teams clashed this season was a 38-31 Redskins win on Thanksgiving at Dallas. In that game, Robert Griffin III craved up the Cowboys to the tune of 304 passing yards and four touchdowns. 

    Morris added 113 yards and a trip to the end zone on the ground. 

    Expect more of the same in Week 17 as the Redskins beat the Cowboys to win the NFC East for the first time since 1999.