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NFC East Power Rankings | Week 16

Sports

Dallas Cowboys fall to Jacksonville Jaguars | Image by Dallas Cowboys/Website

Only three games remain in the regular season, two NFC East teams have booked tickets to the postseason, and yet plenty is still to be decided in the coming weeks.

This week will see a marquee matchup between No.1 and No.2 in the NFC East on Christmas Eve, a showdown that will lead to coal in someone’s stocking. The back-and-forth at the bottom of the division has a little more clarity after Week 15, but every team in the division still has a lot on the line.

The final three weeks will feature several division games and plenty of jockeying throughout the NFC as some teams lock up opportunities while others are eliminated from the process.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (13-1, 3-1 division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 1 (no change from Wk. 15)

Week 15 Results: 25-20 win at Chicago Bears

The Bears’ feistiness against the Eagles was somewhat unexpected, considering that Chicago was one of the first teams to be eliminated from playoff contention. Still, quarterback Jalen Hurts’ two interceptions and a fourth-quarter fumble by Miles Sanders opened up an opportunity for the Bears. Philly walked off the field with a win, but news that Hurts suffered a shoulder sprain could spell disaster at this late stage of the season.

Philadelphia travels to Dallas on Christmas Eve with players, coaches, and Eagles fans asking Santa for a Hurts start and a win that will give Philly the NFC East title.

2. Dallas Cowboys (10-4,- 3-1 division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 6 (no change from Wk. 15)

Week 15 results: 40-34 loss at Jacksonville Jaguars

Over the last four weeks, quarterback Dak Prescott has become a turnover machine, tossing seven interceptions, including a devastating pick-six against Jacksonville that gave the Jags the walk-off win. The Cowboys’ much-lauded defense is showing cracks as injuries take a toll, but stars like linebacker Micah Parsons continue to make critical plays in big moments.

The loss to Jacksonville puts everything on the line for Dallas, who has already sewn up a playoff berth, likely as one of the three NFC wildcard teams.

The Cowboys’ duel with Philadelphia on Christmas Eve could establish divisional dominance and is essential to any statistical chance the Cowboys have of overtaking the Eagles for the NFC East title. Currently, the odds are less than 1% in favor of a Cowboys repeat for the division title in 2022. A loss would clinch the division for the Eagles and relegate Dallas to no better than the fifth seed.

3. New York Giants (8-5-1, 1-3-1 division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 13 (+6 from Wk. 15)

Week 15 Results: 20-12 win at Washington Commanders

The Giants finally got back into the win column after three losses and a tie over the previous four weeks. Running back Saquon Barkley showed up for the first time in weeks, keeping the Commanders’ defense honest and pounding the rock for 87 yards and a touchdown to set New York up with a good chance at making the playoffs. The Lions and Seahawks are just behind the Giants in the NFC playoff standings, and the Commanders are not out of the running yet.

New York is on the road next against the Minnesota Vikings, who trail the Eagles by just two games and have plenty to play for in the game. The Giants face the Eagles in the regular season closer, but that game may not mean anything for either team by that point.

4. Washington Commanders (7-6-1, 1-3-1 division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 15 (-1 from Wk. 15)

Week 15 Results: 20-12 loss vs. New York Giants

It is easy to blame the refs after a blown call or two affects the outcome, but the reality of the game is that there are a full 60 minutes to play. A lot of mistakes have to happen before a referee’s call makes an impact.

The Commanders’ rookie receiver Jahan Dotson provided one of the few bright spots against the Giants with a 19-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter for Washington’s first touchdown. An illegal formation penalty on second-and-goal from the Giants’ one-yard-line nullified a Brian Robinson touchdown. Then, QB Taylor Heinicke tossed two incomplete passes to turn it over on downs, which may be how the 2022 season is remembered for the down-but-not-out Commanders.

Washington heads west on Christmas Eve to face the San Fransisco 49ers, who are already established as the winners of the NFC West. The team will also face Dallas again this season in a home game to close the season.

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