After eight weeks of regular season play in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFC East Division despite posting a losing record of 3-4-1. The Eagles currently boast a two-game win streak as they begin to find success after losses early in the season.
Halfway through the season, the NFC East has proved to be the disappointment of the NFL. Of the four teams in the division, which includes the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Football Team, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Giants, no team in the division posts a win percentage of at least .500. Meanwhile, all of the seven other divisions across the NFL have at least two teams with a win percentage over .500. Aside from the Eagles, no team in the division posts a win percentage of at least .300. Despite leading their division, the Eagles have only had marginal success compared to the rest of the league, where division leaders have at least five wins.
This past Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys engaged in one of the most bitter divisional rivalries across the NFL, with Philadelphia earning the win over Dallas 23-9. Although Dallas gained more total yards and first downs than Philadelphia, Dallas was unable to score a single touchdown. The Eagles’ quarterback, Carson Wentz, threw two touchdowns for the win. The Cowboys’ third-string quarterback, Ben DiNucci, earned his first start on Sunday after Dallas’ two previous quarterbacks suffered injuries. Dak Prescott, the original starting quarterback for Dallas, suffered an ankle injury in a game against the New York Giants three weeks earlier which ended his season, and Andy Dalton, the Cowboys’ second-string quarterback, suffered a concussion and was out for Sunday’s game. If Dallas’ injury streak continues and Philadelphia is able to keep finding success in league play, a Philadelphia win will be the likely outcome when the two teams rematch later in December.
The Washington Football team had a bye-week this past weekend, which unfortunately did nothing to improve the team’s standings. After four consecutive losses, Washington finally earned a win over Dallas during the previous weekend. Though a bye-week may have interrupted Washington’s momentum, the team will face the New York Giants next weekend. Through week eight, the Giants only have one win, which was against Washington in week six. Washington is Philadelphia’s closest contender for the NFC East divisional title. It cannot be forgotten that Washington beat Philadelphia 27-17 during week one of the season. The teams will rematch again in January for the final divisional game of the season. While it may be far too early to tell who will be the favorite in the matchup, the final game of the season may end up being what Philadelphia or Washington needs to clinch the division.
The final team in the NFC East, the New York Giants, have had the least success of any team in the division with a losing record of 1-7. Their only win is against Washington, whom they will play again this coming weekend.
Philadelphia will have a bye-week in week nine, providing an optimal opportunity for Washington to tie Philadelphia in wins if they are able to secure the victory against the New York Giants on Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys, after three consecutive losses in the past three weeks, will be in another difficult position next weekend when they face the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, who post a 7-0 record through week eight. The Philadelphia Eagles will remain in the lead in the NFC East through next weekend, as the other three teams already have more losses than the Eagles. While week nine will not be pivotal in influencing the standings of the NFC East, a potential Dallas upset over Pittsburgh might restore some optimism to the team and increase competition between NFC East teams.
For Philadelphia, despite their losing record, the remainder of the season looks bright. The chance to clinch the NFC East division and earn a spot in the playoffs seems entirely promising thanks to poor performances by Washington, Dallas, and New York. But with all four teams within only two wins of each other, the standings are subject to change over the next two weeks. While it is good news for Philadelphia to be in the top position of the division, the team’s lack of success compared to the rest of the league could prove to be detrimental if the Eagles were to earn a spot in the playoffs.