Three of the NFC East’s four squads proved victorious in Week 14, further tightening what’s already been the closest division race in the entire NFL all season. Philadelphia scooted past Buffalo, Washington claimed its first road win of the season by knocking back Chicago, and the New York Giants snapped a three-game skid and held on to a fourth-quarter lead to upend Miami on the road.
The struggling and 4-9 Dallas Cowboys were the only squad to lose, and they fell in harrowing fashion 28-7 to Green Bay. However, despite their injury woes and issues on both sides of the ball, Dallas remains in contention for the division title due to everyone else’s sub-.500 record and its 3-2 mark against division opponents, standing as the only squad with a winning NFC East mark.
The NFL’s tie-breaking procedures might end up deciding who owns the division, starting with head-to-head matchup, followed by division record, record in common games, in-conference record, strength of victory (SOV), and strength of schedule (SOS).
Here’s a quick synopsis of each team’s remaining schedule and their odds of capturing the NFC East provided by Bovada.lv.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-7 overall, 2-2 division) +130 odds
Philadelphia’s the odds-on favorite after starting its three-game home-stand with a huge victory over playoff contender Buffalo, and they get to rest up at home for the next two weeks as well. After Week 15’s duel with NFC No. 2 seed Arizona, the Eagles have two games to get to 4-2 in the division, evening the season series with Washington while potentially burying the Giants hopes on the road with a sweep.
However, a loss to the Cardinals could spell trouble for Philadelphia, with the Eagles as a 3.5-point home underdog.
With everyone in the division playing NFC South and AFC East squads, the Eagles pulled their common games record even at 4-4 with big wins over New England and Buffalo, but have no other games to improve that tiebreaker. Philadelphia’s also just 3-6 in conference games, and will need to extend its winning streak to five games in order to catch Washington, which is 6-4 against NFC foes, by far the best in the division.
Winning out, or even going 2-1 with both wins coming against the Giants and Redskins, pushes Philadelphia through.
Remaining schedule: vs. Arizona, vs. Washington, at N.Y. Giants
New York Giants (6-7, 2-3) +190
The Giants must improve their overall, division, and common games record in order to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011. However, New York hosts undefeated Carolina in Week 15 and could slip from 3-4 in common games to 3-5 with no other opportunities to build up that mark. Week 16’s matchup with equally in-contention Minnesota is a very difficult game as well. Still, with three straight games versus NFC foes the Giants could gain ground in the in-conference record tiebreaker and jump to 7-5 if they can build momentum.
The Giants also have just one more division game remaining, Week 17’s matchup against visiting Philadelphia, a game that could pull them even in the division at 3-3.
New York’s best bet is winning out, a feat that ups its in-conference, overall, and division marks, since they have the poorest SOV and SOS percentages in the division.
Remaining schedule: vs. Carolina, at Minnesota, vs. Philadelphia
Washington Redskins (6-7, 2-2) +225
Even though Washington is technically in first-place due to its 2-1 record so far against New York and Philadelphia, odds makers have handed it the third-worst odds to win the NFC East crown. It’s mostly based on the Redskins inability to win on the road, going 1-5 away from FedEx Field, and with its last two games of the season taking place on the road.
But Washington does have a few tiebreakers in its favor and can build on others. They can sweep the Eagles with a victory in Week 16 for the head-to-head tiebreaker over Philly and New York, and go on to pad the division tiebreaker with a 4-2 record should they beat Dallas in the regular season finale.
The Redskins also have the best in-conference mark in the division, but that will mean nothing unless they can even out their 3-4 common opponents mark with a win over Buffalo in Week 15. Otherwise, they slip to 3-5 and must pound Philly and Dallas in the final two games.
Remaining schedule: vs. Buffalo, at Philadelphia, at Dallas
Dallas Cowboys (4-9, 3-2) +3300
Other than their 3-2 division record, Dallas has very little in its favor and that’s reflected in its massive underdog odds. It has a 1-5 record against common opponents and is 3-8 in the NFC. Furthermore, the Cowboys have to face the Jets and Bills, two teams gunning for one of the AFC’s wild-card spots, in order to bolster their overall record.
Dallas does have solid .550 SOS and .442 SOV percentages, but those will mean nothing unless they win out and New York, Washington, and Philadelphia all crumble in the final three weeks.
Remaining schedule: vs. N.Y. Jets, at Buffalo, vs. Washington