NFL Playoff Scenarios: NFC East Race Will Come Down to Week 17

Michael MillSenior Analyst IIIDecember 23, 2011

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 17:  Running back Sammy Morris #23 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 17, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Right now there is no more interesting race to the playoffs than the one in the NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are all still alive and have the opportunity to win the division.

One team will make the playoffs; two won't.

There is no way that the losers can get a Wildcard berth. It's win the NFC East, or go home.

The fun begins tomorrow.

The Eagles are currently the team on the outside looking in. They will need for some miracles to happen and games to fall their way to stay alive.

The Cowboys and Giants each control their own destiny.

If the Cowboys win out, they win the NFC East. If the Giants win out, they will take the division.

How does that work? They play each other next weekend.

The division could be decided this weekend, but that's pretty unlikely.

If the New York Jets defeat the Giants and the Cowboys take out the Eagles, Dallas will win the division Saturday afternoon.

If the Eagles pull off a win, the race will continue into next week. Regardless of the result in Dallas, if the Giants win the race will also continue into the final week of play.

If the Eagles and the Jets win, then things get really interesting.

Philadelphia crushed Dallas the first time the two teams met. The Jets have been really hot until stumbling against Philadelphia last week.

It's very possible both walk away with wins.

If that's the case, all three teams will still be fighting for the division in Week 17.

All of the scenarios are confusing and exciting at the same time.

Commissioner Roger Goodell pushed for division play to be key at the end of the season. It's one move that he can be applauded for.

It's making for one of the most exciting playoff races for a division in recent history.


Here are the possible scenarios that would determine the 2011 NFC East Champion.

Dallas Cowboys

Scenario 1:
Week 16 - Cowboys defeat Eagles
Week 16 - Jets defeat Giants

Scenario 2:
Week 17 - Cowboys defeat Giants

New York Giants

Scenario 1:
Week 16 - Giants defeat Jets
Week 17 - Giants defeat Cowboys

Scenario 2:
Week 16 - Jets defeat Giants
Week 16 - Eagles defeat Cowboys
Week 17 - Giants defeat Cowboys
Week 17 - Redskins defeat Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles

Scenario 1:
Week 16 - Eagles defeat Cowboys
Week 16 - Jets defeat Giants
Week 17 - Eagles defeat Redskins
Week 17 - Giants defeat Cowboys