There are three games left in the NFL regular season, but for the participants of the NFC East, the season is mathematically over. The Eagles won their 11th game of the year, clinching the division title with ease and before any other team won their division. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and remember how the Eagles 2017 NFC East title came to be and revisit when their rivals lost their sixth game of the season to retroactively eliminate them, and how they got there in the first place.
Philadelphia Eagles (11-2)
Last Week: The slow, inevitable death of everyone and everything inched closer to completion.
This Week: Visit the Giants in a battle of Week 13’s backup QBs.
Actual moment of clinching: They beat the Rams. Let’s just leave it at that.
Moment where it really started: When they traded up for Carson Wentz. When you see a chance, take it.
Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
Last Week: Dak Prescott threw for 332 yards and 3 TDs, which is more than he did in his last two games combined, to beat a Giants team that is so lifeless they had fired their head coach.
This Week: Visit the Raiders and their exist-in-name-only defense, who should probably fire their head coach.
Actual moment of elimination: Every year the Cowboys host a game on Thanksgiving. Through thick and through thin times, the Cowboys know that everyone will be watching them as the holiday season starts. For Dallas this season, the start of the holiday season was end of theirs, as they put up a pathetic effort against the Chargers and lost 28-6, with Los Angeles gaining over double the yardage Dallas did. Back-to-back wins over the bottom of the NFC East merely kept reality from hitting until Sunday, when the Eagles clinched the division title and eliminated the Cowboys from repeating.
Moment where it really started: The threads of the Cowboys failure in 2017 go back so far that it’s easy to get lost. Years of cap mismanagement shoulder a good deal of blame, Dallas had to turnover a massive amount of starters and contributors and had little money to adequately replace them. They still haven’t learned their lesson. Cedric Thornton has the 9th highest cap hit for the Cowboys in 2017, he was cut in September after one lousy season. Nolan Carroll is the 17th highest cap hit, he played in two (2) games this year. They will combine for $4.5M in dead cap space in 2018, which is less than Alshon Jeffery will count against the Eagles cap in 2018, per Over The Cap. Also taking blame have been their drafts. Their 2015 draft has produced just 1 starter while 3 players are no longer on the roster and another is suspended for at least the season. Their 2016 draft has just as many players suspended. Dak Prescott has a 79.9 passer rating without Ezekiel Elliott, which is worse than Mitch “Mitchell” Trubisky has for the season.
Washington Redskins (5-8)
Last Week: Kirk Cousins threw for fewer yards than Chargers ran for, lost 30-13.
This Week: Host the Cardinals, who are 30th in rushing, so Kirk has his work cut out.
Actual moment of elimination: After a “statement” 17-14 win in Seattle where Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh missed three field goals, the Redskins went on a two game losing streak. The nail in the coffin was 34-31 overtime loss to the Saints after leading by 15 with just under 6 minutes to play. The Redskins high water mark for 2017 was beating the hapless 49ers by 2 off a bye week to improve to 3-2.
Moment where it really started: In March, the Redskins fired Scot McCloughan, the only guy in their front office who resembled competency, after less than two years in charge. Browns-like patience.
New York Giants (2-11)
Last Week: Put Eli Manning back in, still lost
This Week: Face a team that has won as many times as the Giants have lost.
Actual moment of elimination: After notching their first win of the season in Week 6, the Giants followed up any chance of momentum by gaining just 177 yards on offense against the Seahawks, and gave up 425.
Moment where it really started: After back-to-back double digit loss seasons in 2014 and 2015, the Giants decided that cleaning house was the worst move they could make. Ben McAdoo was promoted to head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and General Manager Jerry Reese were retained. 29 games later, after a third double digit loss season in four years, the moldy, hole in the roof, house with a sinking foundation was finally cleaned. McAdoo and Reese were fired, and Spagnuolo is just keeping the seat warm until the season ends. Better late than never?
Tweet of the Week
We should always ignore Skip Bayless, but there are exceptions to rules
I wish Dak Prescott had just ONE of Wentz's top 4 receivers and even half of his pass protection.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) December 10, 2017