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How Cowboys’ win over Redskins creates an opportunity for Eagles in the NFC East

Updated NFL playoff picture.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving, 31-23. Here’s an updated look at the NFC East standings.

1 - Dallas Cowboys: 6-5 overall, 3-1 division, 5-4 conference
2 - Washington: 6-5 overall, 2-1 division, 6-4 conference
3 - Philadelphia Eagles: 4-6 overall, 1-1 division, 2-5 conference
4 - New York Giants: 3-7 overall, 0-3 division, 1-5 conference

In theory, at least, the Cowboys beating Washington was good for the Eagles. Here’s why:

If the Cowboys beat a Colt McCoy-led Washington team on Thanksgiving, both of those squads will be 6-5. The Eagles could then beat the Giants on Sunday to move to 5-6. If the Cowboys lose to the Saints in Week 13, they’ll drop to 6-6. An Eagles win over Washington on Monday Night Football, meanwhile, would also put Philly at 6-6 while dropping Washington to the same record. The Eagles and Cowboys would then be playing for first in the division in Week 14.

If all goes according to plan there, the Eagles will be 7-6 after Week 14 while the Cowboys will be 6-7. Here’s what the remaining three games would look like for each team:



Even if the Eagles only go 1-2 in that stretch and the Cowboys go 2-1, the Eagles would have the division record tie-breaker assuming Philly’s one win comes over Washington. Both the Eagles and Cowboys would be 8-8 in that situation.

But how does Washington fit into this picture? Well, their outlook isn’t so great considering Colt McCoy isn’t good. But they don’t have a super tough remaining schedule:


If the Eagles can beat Washington twice, they shouldn’t have to worry about them challenging for the NFC East lead. That would mean Washington would have to win all three non-Eagles games to get to 9-7. Possible, but wouldn’t say it’s likely.

Speaking of unlikely, I don’t have much confidence in the Eagles’ ability to seriously make a run here. This team hasn’t won back-to-back games all season long. But it’s at least worth noting that they do have a path to winning the division. If they can’t beat the Giants on Sunday, though, it’ll really be time to shut down playoff talk.


Which team will win the NFC East?

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