Tight NFC East Playoff Race Favors Dallas Cowboys

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Jay Ginsbach

December 5th, 2018

The NFC East playoff race has been up and down this season, and the latest team to rise is the Dallas Cowboys, who have won 4 straight, including three as underdogs, following last Thursday’s 13-10 home win over the Saints.

The most meaningful NFC East division game of the season is in Week 14 when the Cowboys host the Eagles. A win by Dallas gives them a 2-game lead over the defending division and Super Bowl champion Eagles, and the Cowboys will have swept the season series from Philadelphia.

Dallas is 5-1 at home this season, and the Cowboys are a 3.5-point home favorite over the Eagles on Dec. 9. When the teams played Nov. 11 in Philadelphia, the Eagles were a 7.5-point favorite. Philadelphia was pounded at the point of attack, as the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards in victory with Ezekiel Elliott rushing 19 times for 151 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles have won two in a row over division foes Washington and the New York Giants, and a three-game division sweep over the Cowboys would have the Eagles flying high and right in the thick of the playoff push and tied on top of the NFC East division. Both teams are currently 3-1 in division play, and following head-to-head records, the next tiebreaker is division record, so the Eagles would have an edge into the final three games if they can beat the Cowboys in Week 14.

A look at the remaining schedules for the NFC East playoff race clearly illustrates that the Eagles have the toughest road to return to the playoffs with a slew of hard matchups on tap.

Dallas Cowboys (7-5) – Philadelphia, at Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, at NY Giants. Cowboys 81% chance to make playoffs, 73% to win division Philadelphia Eagles (6-6) – at Dallas, at LA Rams, Houston, at Washington. Eagles 28% chance to make playoffs, 21% to win division Washington Redskins (6-6) – NY Giants, at Jacksonville, at Tennessee, Philadelphia. Redskins 26% to make playoffs, 7% to win division. New York Giants (4-8) – at Washington, Tennessee, at Indianapolis, Dallas. Giants less than 1% chance to make the playoffs

The Redskins were in such good shape just over three weeks ago, sitting at 6-2 and with no other division teams having a winning record. But three straight losses by Washington and some key offensive player injuries, including a season-ending injury to QB Alex Smith, has the Redskins wounded as they push towards the playoffs. A season-ending game against the Eagles could be a playoff play-in game if one or both teams can continue winning.

The Giants have won three of their last four games, and can play spoiler down the home stretch with four opponents all pushing for a playoff position.

This might be Jerry's World after all.

Odds to win NFC East Playoff Race Dallas Cowboys -305 Philadelphia Eagles +300 Washington Redskins +1100 New York Giants +2000

Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.