The entire NFC East is currently in a playoff position. The division has a combined record of 36-14-2, by far the best winning percentage by any division in the league currently.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are on four-game winning streaks and are already in the playoffs, especially the Eagles, who clinched a spot with their win over the New York Giants.
Speaking of the Giants, they’re on a slight losing skid since their 7-2 start to the season. The Giants are now 7-5-1, the same record as the Washington Commanders. Both teams are set to face off on Sunday Night Football this week, the winner almost guaranteeing themselves a playoff spot. Both teams tied two weeks back, so this rematch has very high stakes.
That said, here’s the rundown on what should be another fun week for the NFC East teams.
New York Giants (7-5-1) at Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Spread: Giants +3.5
The Giants are playing their biggest game since 2016 on Sunday. They’ve been 1-3-1 since coming off of their bye week. Injuries and better teams have gotten the best of the Giants since the start of November. Their rematch against Washington became even more important after both teams tied in Week 13, so much so that the league flexed the game to primetime on Sunday night.
It’s year one of a rebuild, but it would be amazing for the franchise if they could win this game and potentially punch their ticket to the postseason for the first time in six years. If they want to get there, they need some key players to step up. Running back Saquon Barkley has not looked like the player he was earlier in the year. Since his 152 rushing yard performance against the Texans in Week 10, Barkley has rushed for only 152 yards since. It was revealed last week that Barkley had an MRI on his neck late last week and was limited in terms of snaps in their loss to the Eagles.
The defense must also play well for the Giants to stay in this game. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney don’t appear to be playing again this week, so the team will have to rely on guys such as Fabian Moreau, Nick McCloud, and Jason Pinnock to fill the void. Safety Julian Love whiffed on an interception last week, leading to an Eagles touchdown. The Giants must avoid mistakes like that if they want to stay in this game.
It all comes down to the Giants playing fundamentally sound football. They haven’t looked like themselves over the last few weeks. They need to get back to what was working for them if they want any chance of beating Washington.
The Commanders are coming off their bye week to face the Giants again for the second time in a row.
The Commanders are still 6-1-1 in their last eight games despite tying two weeks prior. The team has started to come together at the right time. While he may not be the flashiest quarterback, Taylor Heinicke threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants to give them a chance to win the game. They ultimately did not win, but seeing the team rally around Heinicke says something about him as a leader.
Washington also has good news on the injury front, as the team is looking healthier as of late. Pass rusher Chase Young is in a ‘good place’ according to head coach Ron Rivera. Young still has yet to make his 2022 season debut, and it could come in primetime with the Commanders looking to make it to the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Quarterback Carson Wentz was activated from IR after a thumb injury. Rivera said Heinicke will continue to be the starter, but having Wentz as insurance is still good news for Washington.
One of the things Washington will need to do if they want to win on Sunday is contain Daniel Jones. Jones ran 12 times for 71 yards and averaged almost six yards per attempt against the Commanders last time. While they did a good job of containing Saquon Barkley, they cannot discount Jones’ legs as they can be fatal for opposing defenses.
If Washington wants to win this game, they need their strong front seven to get to Daniel Jones and attack the Giants’ weak secondary.
Dallas Cowboys at Jacksonville Jaguars
Spread: Cowboys -2.5
The Cowboys were almost upset last week but ultimately came out with a 27-23 victory against the Houston Texans. Despite not having their best game, the Cowboys earned their tenth win of the year and are well on their way to another playoff appearance.
Quarterback Dak Prescott did not have the best game against Houston, throwing for 284 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was Dallas’ ground game that kept them alive. Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott combined for 104 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, with Pollard scoring one receiving touchdown.
The Cowboys usually have a strong defense, but that was not the case against Houston. Dallas had no sacks, and just one quarterback hit last week, a very unusual performance from one of the NFL’s toughest defensive lines.
At this point, Dallas’ main focus is trying to catch up to the Eagles, who now sit at 12-1 on the season. The Cowboys this week face the Jaguars. The Jaguars should not be taken lightly, as quarterback Trevor Lawrence is starting to look like the real deal. The Cowboys’ plan for beating the Jaguars is getting to Lawrence and continuing to run the ball effectively against one of the worst run defenses in the league.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Spread: Eagles -8.5
The Eagles are now 12-1 and the first team to clinch a trip to the playoffs this season.
Philadelphia’s coming off a 48-22 beatdown of the rival Giants. It was all Eagles from the start, with an early 21-0 lead in the second quarter. Quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to make plays look effortless, throwing for 217 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants. It wasn’t the passing game that was impressive; it was the ground game.
The Giants have one of the worst run defenses in the league, and the Eagles easily exploited that, rushing for 253 yards and four touchdowns as a team. Running back Miles Sanders rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while Hurts had 77 yards and one touchdown.
The other rushing touchdown was from running back Boston Scott, who also had a 66-yard kickoff return earlier in the game. The Eagles defense also dominated, sacking Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor seven times, with Brandon Graham having three of those sacks.
This week, the Eagles travel to Chicago to take on the Bears. At this point, the Eagles are trying to lock up the number-one seed in the NFC. They just need to take care of business on Sunday to get there.