NFC East Week 17 Power Rankings: Comes Down to Dallas-Washington

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 26, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan looks during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles the at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In all likelihood, the NFC East will only be represented by one team in this year's NFL playoffs. That despite the fact that three of the division's four teams remain alive with only one week remaining in the regular season.

So, of course, whoever that team turns out to be, it will finish the season atop our divisional power rankings.

It's come down to Sunday's night's season finale between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, with the New York Giants all but locked into the No. 3 spot and the Philadelphia Eagles waiting—again—for next year.

Some brief thoughts on where everybody stands with one game remaining...

1. Washington Redskins (9-6, 1st last week)

The defense continues to get enough pressure to cover up for a bad secondary, while the Robert Griffin III-Alfred Morris-Pierre Garcon trio continues to carry the offense.

Those injuries to the offensive line didn't cost them at all in Sunday's victory over Philadelphia, and now they're on the verge of winning seven in a row for the first time since 1996. If that happens, they'll be division champions for the first time this century.  

2. Dallas Cowboys (8-7, 2nd last week)

The defense is really looking soft, but it's still limiting big plays to the best of its ability, while the offense is running the show. Only three teams have scored more points than the Cowboys since Week 12, and Dez Bryant is coming off a career game.

With one of the hottest quarterbacks and the hottest receiver in the game, the Cowboys might have the firepower to win, despite the depleted D. 

3. New York Giants (8-7, 3rd last week)

The Giants are lucky they haven't dropped to the No. 4 spot after losing back-to-back games by a combined score of 77-14. They need a win and a ton of help to get back to the postseason, and the more closely you look at the last 15 games, the more you realize how average this team has been.

There have been some promising moments, but overall, the Giants have defined "Super Bowl hangover" in 2012. 

4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-11, 4th last week)

At least they've been within a score in four of their last five games. Now, they can at least close the Andy Reid/Michael Vick eras out with a bang by ensuring that the Giants don't reach the postseason and playing spoiler in New York Sunday. That won't make Eagles fans feel much better about how this season went, but at least they might have their next quarterback in Nick Foles.