State of the NFC East: Week 11

Well, the Eagles got embarrassed in epic fashion Sunday, decimating any sliver of confidence that remained in the team. The offense was anemic, the secondary has been reduced to playing guys who were on the street weeks ago, and the team was overall listless.

Faced with a challenge and a huge opportunity, they once again showed up unprepared. However, the purpose of this article isn’t to go deep into the problems, it’s to assess the state of the division. And as much as Eagles fans probably don’t want to hear it right now, and as unprobeable as it is after watching Sunday’s performance, the reality is that this team still has playoff hopes, at least mathematically. So as painful and frustrating as it is, let’s look at where things stand.

Redskins (6-4)

The Eagles got help from the Texans, who beat the Redskins on Sunday. The Redskins not only lost the game, but also their starting quarterback, as Alex Smith suffered a devastating leg injury that will end his season. Colt McCoy will lead the Washington attack, with Mark Sanchez brought in to back him up. The Redskins’ hold on the NFC East lead has felt precarious for weeks, and it feels more so now.

Washington has four division games remaining, including two with the Eagles, and four of their six remaining games are on the road.

They have a huge Thanksgiving matchup with the Cowboys this week.

Cowboys (5-5)

The Cowboys earned a huge win over Atlanta with a last-second field goal Sunday. The win moves Dallas to within a game of Washington. Ezekiel Elliott has put the offense on his back the past two weeks while the defense has looked much better. The Cowboys, once teetering on the brink, are suddenly right back in the mix courtesy of two-straight wins.

They can overtake the Redskins with a head-to-head win on Thursday.

Eagles (4-6)

Again, we all saw what happened Sunday and there’s no need to rehash it here. A loss to the Saints wouldn’t have been shocking, but the way it happened was and makes it hard to believe in this team right now.

The good news is that the Birds need to look no further than the Cowboys for hope. The Eagles’ next two games are against the Giants and the Redskins, and if they can win those two games things suddenly look a whole lot different.

The Eagles will look to start the work of remaining in the race when they host the Giants on Sunday.

Giants (3-7)

Don’t look now, but the Giants have won two in a row after beating Tampa Bay on Sunday. Wins over the 49ers and Bucs aren’t particularly exciting, but for a team that looked like it had checked out after a 1-7 start, those wins are something.

The Giants offense has found some life, and Saquon Barkley continues to be a monster. It’s not great that the Giants enter the game with some momentum, but perhaps the Giants being suddenly on the Eagles’ heels will catch their attention.

Overview

The hope is that Sunday was rock bottom. The Eagles were embarrassed, and the Saints made a further mockery of the game by running up the score on a decimated Eagles defense. The football world is having a whole lot of fun at the Eagles’ expense right now. Ideally, all of this will serve to make the Eagles angry and they will come out on Sunday and play with some pride. Entering the season, it was impossible to imaging the Eagles in this situation, but here we are. Now, it’s all about the team’s response.

Again, after Sunday’s showing it’s pretty hard to be excited about this team or their hopes even if they would somehow manage to sneak into the playoffs. But football is a fickle game, and we’ve seen less-than-dominant teams get into the playoffs and make noise. In a win-or-go-home situation, anything can happen. As frustrating as Sunday’s loss was, and the entire season has been, the opportunity is there for the Eagles to salvage a respectable finish and at least give themselves a chance. Now we’ll wait to see what they’re made of.

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