Now that the dust has finally settled on the 2022 NFL regular season, only 14 teams remain in competition for the Lombardi Trophy.
Two NFC East teams will play on Super Wild Card Weekend while the division champion gets a bye week. Throughout the season, the NFC East Power Rankings have changed little, but with looming eliminations ahead for all but one NFL team, things are likely to get dicey in a hurry.
Super Wild Card Weekend begins on Saturday with a doubleheader, continues with a three-game slate on Sunday, and is capped off with the Dallas Cowboys against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a primetime matchup on Monday Night Football.
By Tuesday morning, six teams will have been eliminated, and the conference leaders will know who they will face in the Divisional round.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3, 4-2 division)
NFL Rank per NFL.com: 5 (no change from Wk.18)
Week 18 Result: 22-16 win vs. New York Giants
Jalen Hurts is back, sort of. He returned to the starting lineup against the Giants and played through pain to get the win and finally wrap up the No.1 seed and home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Hurts and the Eagles get the first-round bye and will host the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional round.
The Eagles lost two games without Hurts, and his ability to perform appears to be central to the squad’s success. The week off to rest and recover may be precisely what Philadelphia needed.
2. Dallas Cowboys (12-5, 4-2 division)
NFL.com Rank: 6 (no change from Wk.18)
Week 18 Result: 26-6 loss at Washington Commanders
The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of prep work to do before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a disaster of a game in Week 18. It is a good thing the game ultimately did not matter in terms of playoff seeding because the Cowboys were ineffective on offense, porous on defense, and mistake-prone on special teams.
The Commanders had nothing to play for and started a rookie third-string quarterback and still handily beat the Cowboys. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw another pick-six — his third in four games — and finished the season with more interceptions than any other QB in the NFL.
Dallas has never beaten a Tom Brady-led team, but that will be the task on Monday Night Football at 7:15 p.m. CST. The Primetime playoff game is a rematch of the season opener in which the Bucs dismantled the Cowboys, literally and figuratively.
3. New York Giants (9-7-1, 1-4-1 division)
NFL.com Rank: 11 (+2 from Wk.18)
Week 18 Result: 22-16 loss at Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 after a roller-coaster season that saw close wins, close losses, and tons of drama. The Giants rested most of the key starters against the Eagles in Week 18, as the outcome of the game would not make any difference for Big Blue.
New York’s strength is in their run game, with a revitalized Saquon Barkley opening opportunities for quarterback Daniel Jones to make efficient throws. In his first year as head coach, Brian Daboll has the Giants believing in themselves as they head into the playoffs.
The Giants will be on the road for the Wild Card weekend to face the Minnesota Vikings. The teams met previously on Christmas Eve, a game the Vikings won on a last-second desperation field goal from 61 yards out.
The Giants and the Vikings will play at 3:30 p.m. CST on Sunday.
4. Washington Commanders (8-8-1, 1-4-1 division)
NFL.com Rank: 20 (+2 from Wk.18)
Week 18 Result: 26-6 win vs. Dallas Cowboys
This was not the season for Washington, despite finally deciding on a name and getting a snazzy new logo. The lights are not even cool at FedEx Field, and already heads are starting to roll.
Offensive coordinator Scott Turner is the first to go, out after three years. Head coach Ron Rivera has been spared so far, but the Commanders’ poor performance over the past two seasons certainly has the coach in the hot seat for 2023 and beyond.
Washington ended the season on a high note with rookie Sam Howell in at QB, who threw a touchdown on his first pass and led the Commanders to a victory over a division rival headed for playoff glory. What is next for the Commanders is uncertain.
The team has two moderately expensive starting quarterbacks on the roster who both have glaring flaws among sparkling moments. As the coaching carousel spins, Rivera and the organization will likely have to answer increasingly more questions about whether they have the right coach in place to lead the team in 2023.