How Three NFC East Teams Can Make the Playoffs
The NFC East is the best division in football. It boasts two legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The New York Giants, surprisingly, are also pretty good. The Washington Commanders continue to simply exist but aren't godawful so they contribute to the overall competitiveness of the division.
The Eagles are 8-0. The Cowboys are 6-3. The Giants are 7-2. There is a legitimate chance all three could make the postseason. How could that happen? Let's break it down.
In the NFL, every division winner gets a playoff spot. So no matter what, the NFC East will have one representative in the playoffs. Add in the three other divisions and that gets us to three playoff spots taken up by non-NFCE teams. Thanks to the NFL's decision to expand the playoffs two years ago, that leaves three Wild Card spots.
The Eagles currently have a pretty big lead for the divisional crown so let's say they take the NFC East title. That means the Giants and Cowboys need to post better records than other non-division winning NFC teams in order to qualify for the playoffs. That shouldn't be difficult considering both teams are several games above .500 with eight contests to go; if the season ended today, the Cowboys and Giants would earn the top two NFC Wild Card spots with the San Francisco 49ers taking the third.
The NFC as a whole is actually pretty bad this year outside of the East. The NFC South will spit out a .500 division winner (probably the Bucs) and certainly has nobody keeping pace in the Wild Card race as of now. The NFC North is the biggest wildcard. The Vikings are pretty much locked in as division winners but the Packers could make a late push after a big win over Dallas on Sunday. The NFC West is shockingly subpar and it seems like the Niners and Seahawks will fight it out for the division crown. The loser will probably end up a Wild Card.
So on the whole it's pretty likely the NFC East produces three playoff teams this year. When was the last time that happened? Back in 2007, when the Eagles, Giants, and Washington all made the playoffs.
It's rare but when the stars align three teams can, in fact, make it to the playoffs from the same division. This feels like one of those years for the NFC East.