The NFC East is a disaster. After the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins on Monday night in one of the uglier games of the season, the NFL is once again heading towards their nightmare scenario and this one could be the worst one yet.
After 12 weeks, three of the teams in the NFC East, the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles, are all 5-7. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are just one game behind at 4-8.
The immediate concern is that the NFL is on pace to have a team with a losing record make the playoffs, their third in the last six seasons, joining the 2010 Seattle Seahawks (7-9) and the 2014 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1).
Of a greater concern is that the NFC East is so bad that there are multiple scenarios in which the winner of the division will be 6-10 and at least one in which all four teams finish tied at 6-10. This means, not only would a 6-10 team make the playoffs, they would also host a playoff game at home against a far-more-deserving Wild Card team thanks to the NFL’s archaic division and playoff-seeding system.
Here is how the NFC East can finish in a 4-way. As first laid out by Ryan McCrystal of DraftAce.com. If the teams win the highlighted games and lose the rest, all four teams will finish 6-10.
Under this scenario, the Dallas Cowboys would actually win the division based on the tiebreaker rules as they would have the best record in the division (4-2).
As McCrystal notes, the only big upset in this scenario would be the Cowboys beating the Jets. But even that game, at At&T Stadium, would not be that surprising of an upset. However, if the Cowboys lose that game, and the remainder of the games play out as outlined above, the other three teams would be tied at 6-10 and the Eagles would win the tiebreaker.
Still, that is 12 or 13 games that need to play out a certain way, so either scenario is unlikely. But even just being a possibility is proof enough that the NFL’s playoff system needs to change.
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