We’re six weeks into this NFL season. We’ve seen enough so far to start making some broad-strokes judgments, analyses that rely on data rather than gut feelings. And it’s in that spirit that I offer this utterly logical take:
It’s time to fire the entire NFC East into the sun.
No, I’m serious. Pack ‘em all in. Dallas, Philly, the Giants, Washington — load ‘em up and shoot ‘em into orbit. Forfeit all the rest of their games — it’s not like they were going to win much of them anyway — and give their playoff spot to, I don’t know, Alabama or something.
This is a division that’s incompetent (New York), infuriating (Washington), indecisive (Philadelphia) and incomprehensible (Dallas). New York appears utterly directionless; Washington is just a swampy mess that not even Ron Rivera can clean up; Philadelphia has suffered through decimating injuries; and Dallas clearly lost its heart and soul when it lost Dak Prescott.
How bad is this division? Oh, let us count the ways:
The division is a combined 5-18-1. To get the division above .500, every single member of the NFC East would have to win every single game from now to Week 11, in mid-December.
Outside the division, the NFC East teams have only two wins: Dallas over Atlanta, which was a gift from the Falcons, and Philly with a five-point victory over San Francisco, which is 3-3 on the season. Yes, the best opponent anyone in the division has beaten doesn’t even have a winning record.
The NFC East is the only division in football that is completely underwater — in other words, every team has totaled fewer points on the year than their opponents. The average point differential across the division for the season is -46. The Eagles are the “best” of this bunch, and even they have scored 34 fewer points than their opponents.
The Eagles, Giants and Washington have three of the six worst cumulative quarterback ratings in the league, and three of the nine worst completion percentages. (Shoutout to the Jets and Broncos for holding down the bottom of both categories.)
Digging deeper into the stats only brings more pain. Washington has the worst rushing attack in the league, ranking last in yards per carry and last in longest carry. Washington, Philly and New York have three of the six worst yards-per-reception totals. The Giants have the lowest number of receiving touchdowns — three — in the entire league, tied with New England. The Eagles only convert first downs on half (50.4 percent) of their passes; only the Jets are worse in that category.
It’s not likely to get any better for the rest of the season. The NFC East’s cross-conference opponent is the AFC North, the least interesting member of which — Joe Burrow’s Bengals — is more compelling than any of these four teams. Hell, a team made up of the best of the NFC East wouldn’t even make the playoffs out of the AFC North.
And speaking of playoffs, we’re looking at another one of those glorious sub-.500 teams-gets-a-home-playoff-game years. Philadelphia looks like the best bet to host the Saints or Bucs in January, one of those chilly Saturday night playoff games that’s over before halftime.
If the NFC East’s playoff participant isn’t able to clear the .500 hurdle — and they’ll need to win seven or eight of their next 10 games to even do that — they’ll be the first sub-.500 team since the 2014 Panthers (7-8-1) to make the playoffs. At least it’ll be over quick.
Are there signs of hope down the line? Maybe. Washington president Jason Wright really seems to be trying to create a new culture, a herculean task in the Snyder regime. Philadelphia can’t stay injured forever. Dallas will be much better when Dak returns to the field (in 2021, but still). The Giants … I mean, the Giants apparently aren’t actively setting cars on fire or anything. There’s that.
One bright spot for the rest of us: The godawful state of the NFC East means we’re not subject to watching Cowboys-Giants or Eagles-Cowboys on Sunday night. Nothing worse than settling in for some prime-time football, with no other game on, and getting the NFC East force-fed down your throat.
Anyway, so let’s see when we next have to suffer through these teams…
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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