The NFC East is the worst division in the NFL, but it will still have a playoff team — either the Cowboys or Eagles — when the 2019 regular season is all said and done in two more weeks.
Both Dallas (7-7) and Philadelphia (7-7) won in Week 15 to stay in a virtual tie for the division lead. The Cowboys hold the slight edge — thanks to their 37-10 home win over the Eagles in Week 7 — going into next Sunday’s Week 16 rematch in Philadelphia.
NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE: Updated AFC, NFC standings for Week 15
The winner of the NFC East will get into playoffs with the No. 4 seed and host a wild-card game, most likely against the tough runner-up in the NFC West, either the 49ers or the Seahawks.
Here’s a breakdown of how the Cowboys or the Eagles can win a second division title in three seasons:
How the Cowboys win the NFC East
They beat the Eagles in Week 16 . . .
This is the easiest and most likely way for them to get into the playoffs. The Cowboys would improve to 8-7 and complete a season sweep of the Eagles, who would drop to 7-8. The Cowboys would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker to repeat as division champions, regardless of what happens to both teams in Week 17.
. . . or they lose to the Eagles, but they beat the Redskins while the Eagles lose to the Giants in Week 17.
In this scenario, both teams finish 8-8. The Cowboys would get in with a superior division record, 5-1, vs. 4-2 for the Eagles. Given the Eagles just struggled to beat the Giants and Redskins in consecutive games, this way can’t be ruled out.
How the Eagles win the NFC East
They beat the Cowboys in Week 16 and the Giants in Week 17 . . .
The Eagles have a little more control of the division than the Cowboys do. Despite all of their struggles on offense and defense and with injuries, everything is front of the team to turn a season of frustration into one of vindication.
. . . or they beat the Cowboys in Week 16, lose to the Giants and have the Cowboys lose to the Redskins in Week 17.
The Eagles can’t afford to go 1-1 in any fashion and expect to get into the playoffs. Should they lose to the Cowboys, they would be eliminated. Should they lose to the Giants instead, they would need unlikely help from the Redskins to win the division.
Either the Cowboys or Eagles can be a dangerous playoff team if they qualify. Unlike last season, there’s room for only one in the NFC tournament.