A closer look at the NFC East with the Eagles on their bye week

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A closer look at the NFC East with the Eagles on their bye week originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles have their bye week in Week 9 but no matter what happens, they will still be in first place in the NFC East heading into Week 10 — even with a 3-4-1 record.

No, the NFC East hasn’t been a good division — it’s by far the worst in the NFL — but the Eagles are in a prime spot to win it and get into the playoffs in 2020. Even if they don’t get a winning season.

While the NFC East doesn’t have a single winning record and won’t even have that chance until Week 11, every other division in the NFL has at least two teams with winning records. Heck, the NFC West has three teams with winning records. If the 49ers (4-4) were in the NFC East, they’d be winning the division, but they’re last in the NFC West.

Updated standings in the NFC East:

Eagles: 3-4-1

Washington: 2-5

Cowboys: 2-6

Giants: 1-6

Updated point differentials:

Eagles: -19

Washington: -32

Giants: -54

Cowboys: -81

Updated chances to win the division, per FiveThirtyEight:

Eagles: 69% 

Washington: 21%

Cowboys: 7%

Giants: 3%

Eagles (3-4-1)

They weren’t the prettiest wins but the Eagles’ have won two in a row against the Giants and the Cowboys to finish out the first half of their season. After opening the season with two straight losses, the Eagles are 3-2-1 in their last six games. And those two losses were relatively hard-fought games against superior opponents in the Steelers and Ravens. Conversely, that win over the 49ers back on Oct. 4 was against an injury-riddled team that’s 4-4.

The big key for the Eagles is that they’re expecting to get healthier after the bye week, getting back players like Lane Johnson and Miles Sanders, two additions that will definitely help an offense that hasn’t gotten out of the 20s yet this season. It would also help if Carson Wentz plays better in the second half. He has 16 turnovers through eight games and the Eagles desperately need him to take care of the football better.

Points per game: 23.3 (23rd)

Offensive yards: 330.0 (26th)

Points allowed: 25.6 (16th)

Yards allowed: 340.1 (9th)

Remaining schedule: @NYG, @CLE, SEA, @GB, NOR, @ARZ, @DAL, WAS

Remaining strength of schedule: .525 (11th)

Washington (2-5)

The Washington Football team beat the Eagles in the season opener at FedEx Field then they lost five straight before thumping the Cowboys in Week 7. Their losses came to the Cardinals, Browns, Ravens, Rams and Giants. That loss to the Giants was a one-point loss that gave the Giants their first and (so far) only win of the season.

Washington actually has a pretty good defense but its offense is awful. Dwayne Haskins got benched in favor of Kyle Allen, who has played slightly better but still isn’t a game-changer. Their offense has Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson and not much else. But with their defense and remaining schedule, they have a real chance to keep this close. It could come down to Week 17 in Philly.

Points per game: 19.0 (30th)

Offensive yards: 292.7 (30th)

Points allowed: 23.6 (11th) 

Yards allowed: 309.1 (4th)

Remaining schedule: NYG, @DET, CIN, @DAL, @PIT, @SF, SEA, CAR, @PHI

Remaining strength of schedule: .464 (24th)

Cowboys (2-6)

Without Dak Prescott, this Cowboys team has completely tanked. The Cowboys averaged 36.5 points per game in Prescott’s last four games and in the three games since, they’ve scored a total of 22 points. Andy Dalton wasn’t playing well before his concussion and we all saw Ben DiNucci on Sunday Night Football.

This awful offense for the Cowboys is such a problem because the only chance they had to win games was to win shootouts because they’re defense is historically bad. Mike Nolan’s defense has given up an incredible 266 points through eight games. That’s more than the Dolphins and Ravens have given up combined this year.

Points per game: 23.1 (24th)

Offensive yards: 398.9 (7th)

Points allowed: 33.3 (32nd) 

Yards allowed: 384.9 (24th)

Remaining schedule: @MIN, WAS, @BAL, @CIN, SF, PHI, @NYG

Remaining strength of schedule: .450 (27th)

Giants (1-6)

The Giants opened their season with five straight losses before a one-point win over Washington. Then they blew a lead and lost by one point to the Eagles and then lost another close one to the Bucs. In the last four weeks, the Giants are 1-3 but those three losses have come by a total of six points. So they’re playing everyone tough right now.

The biggest problem, of course, for the Giants is their anemic offense. They are one of the worst scoring teams in the NFL and Daniel Jones just hasn’t been very good. He has completed just 61.8% of his passes with 7 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. If you think Wentz has turned the ball over too much, that’s been Jones for two years now.

Points per game: 18.1 (31st)

Offensive yards: 291.8 (31st)

Points allowed: 24.9 (14th)

Yards allowed: 354.8 (13th)

Remaining schedule: @WAS, PHI, BYE, @CIN, @SEA, ARZ, CLE, @BAL, DAL

Remaining strength of schedule: .517 (13th)

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