The NFC East is setting records this season for the level of competition.
All four teams are .500 or above after a stunning upset on Monday Night Football between two division rivals, a disappointing overtime finish for a coach looking for redemption against his former team, and another win by a team proving that the running back position is back in vogue.
The final stretch of games heading into the 2022 NFL season finale promises to be a rollercoaster for all four NFC East teams. Key division matchups on major holidays almost certainly hold the potential for make-or-break in this division. Anyone who predicted this division would look like this ten weeks into the season hopefully bought a lottery ticket.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (9–1, 2–1 division)
NFL Rank per NFL.com: 1 (no change)
Week 10 Result: 32–21 loss vs. Washington Commanders
For what little fans got to see of the vaunted Philadelphia Eagles offense, it did not look good. Key dropped passes cut short several promising opportunities, and the turnover bug bit this otherwise sure-handed team.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a crucial interception early in the second quarter, only his third of the season. More misery would ensue for Hurts and the Eagles offense.
Driving in the fourth quarter and down by just two points, tight end Dallas Goedert caught a pass but fumbled the ball. The officials missed an apparently blatant facemask penalty on the play, and the Commanders took over at the Eagles’ 34-yard line.
The next Eagles drive was even more heartbreaking, as Quez Watkins came down with a spectacular deep ball only to have Washington defenders knock the ball from his hands as he tried to gain extra yards.
Philly’s first loss of the season doesn’t diminish what this team is capable of doing against some of the top teams in the NFL.
But the formula for shutting down the NFL’s fifth-place scoring offense was exposed by Washington: The Commanders allowed the Eagles just 19 minutes with the ball.
The Eagles head to Indianapolis on Sunday.
2. Dallas Cowboys (6–3, 2–1 division)
NFL.com Rank: 8 (-4)
Week 10 Result: 31–28 OT loss at Green Bay Packers
Much will be made this week about the questionable play calling by head coach Mike McCarthy and the execution of those plays by quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense, particularly the line.
Referee game interference deserves discussion, but the truth is the Cowboys failed to execute and allowed the Packers to climb back from a 14-point hole in the fourth quarter. It marks the first time in franchise history that Dallas has lost after leading by 14 or more points in the last quarter of play.
The secondary was particularly gashed after showing up week in and week out all season. The Cowboys gave up a second-quarter 58-yard bomb to tie the game and then Prescott’s interception led to a Packers rushing touchdown.
This certainly was not the game McCarthy hoped he would see in his Lambeau Field return, but there was a lot more wrong with this game than just the final series in overtime.
The Cowboys head north to face the Minnesota Vikings, winners of a shocker themselves in Week 10. Dallas has the easiest remaining schedule in the division, with just three NFC East opponents ahead.
3. New York Giants (7–2, 0–1 division)
NFL.com Rank: 13 (no change)
Week 10 Result: 24–16 win vs. Houston Texans
Saquan Barkley is back. After two disappointing seasons curtailed by significant injuries, the New York Giants running back has emerged as a solid three-down crusher.
Against the NFL’s worst rush defense, the Giants handed it to Barkley a career-high 35 times. He finished the day with 152 yards and a touchdown in the win.
While Barkley was the reason the Giants’ offense hung in there, it was the defense’s athletic performances that kept Houston from a comeback win. Two huge red-zone interceptions for the G-Men brought the Texans to their knees, but New York has one of the more challenging schedules ahead.
They face division rivals in five of their final eight games, including a Week 17 contest against the Eagles that likely will have major playoff ramifications. New York is home against the Lions on Sunday.
4. Washington Commanders (5–5, 1–2 division)
NFL.com Rank: 17 (+8)
Week 10 Result: 32-21 win at Philadelphia Eagles
What the Commanders did on Monday night was more than just knock off the last undefeated team in the NFL. They laid out the game plan for how to attack one of the league’s most potent offenses.
The Commanders held the ball for more than 40 minutes as they slugged away at the Eagles defense. Washington got tremendous performances on defense, forcing three fumbles and an interception to terminate promising offensive drives.
It was a statement win for a team in the midst of front-office turmoil and got the franchise back to .500. Playing in the NFC East this season means every win is vital, and there might not be a bigger one on this team’s remaining schedule than this huge win.
In a scheduling anomaly, Washington is one game away from back-to-back contests against the New York Giants, two games that could alter the landscape of this prominent division.
The Commanders head to Texas for a game with the Houston Texans this Sunday.