NFC East Week 15 Recap: Well, at Least They ALL Won't Make the Playoffs

That feeling when you get to the bottom of a delicious bag of chips, and you’re grasping at the crumbs and dust that remain. That’s the point this Eagles season has come to, and thankfully we have the team down in Washington, which provided a finger-tips worth of spicy nacho dust on Monday night.

Though to compare this Eagles season with a bag of chips seems unfair to the potatoes. 

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Potato, tomato, Seumalo, what does it matter? Here’s a look at what happened this week in the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys 

What Happened: At home with a national audience watching, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the streaking Tampa Bay Bucs 26-20 off a career high day for rookie Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys running back had a season-best 159 yards on the ground, and found his way into the Dallas Stadium Salvation Army Bucket, which he was promptly flagged for.

BTW, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Elliott should be given “the highest award” for bringing attention to the Salvation Army, which is dumber than licking a streetlamp. Some McDonalds Heiress once gave $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army, which is more than what Jones spent on his monster truck of a stadium. But yeah, let’s give Elliott an award for doing a Reggie Brown impression.

Getting back to the game: the Cowboys did nearly blow it, letting a 17-3 lead slip into a 20-17 deficit. And while they would go on to win, it’s worth noting they were aided by four Jameis Winston turnovers. That being said, the story ESPN will run with is (once again) Elliott and fellow rookie Dak Prescott, who went a ridiculous 32-for-36 in the air.

Keep all that in mind. The running back had a career day. The quarterback barely threw an incompletion. And their opponent turned the ball over four times. Yet they only won by six. 

Back to Jerry real quick. There’s something strange going on between him and Tony Romo. Very strange.

What It Means: The hope was that the wheels were falling off for Dallas. Prescott had been struggling, they had just been swept by the Giants, and they were about to face a hot Tampa squad that had won five in a row.

Alas, Dallas did what good teams do; they bounced back. The Cowboys have now clinched a playoff berth and are one win (or a Giants loss) away from clinching both the division and home field advantage.

The worst thing that could happen to Dallas the final two weeks would be a great thing for the Giants. And that pretty much sums up the 2016 season for Eagles fans right there. That, or this video of a car crash.

What’s Next: A home game against the Detroit Lions, who are still fighting for their playoff lives. Then a grand finale against the Eagles at The Linc for what will, one can only hope, give us a proper sendoff.

New York Giants

What Happened: If the Prescott-Elliott praise has you feeling like you’re living in Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, then another Odell Beckham Jr. one-handed highlight grab may make you skip to the part where he kidnaps the rodent. So of course, Beckham had a ridiculous grab to help the Giants pull off a strong 17-6 victory against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Eli Manning was mediocre again, throwing for 201 yards. And the Giants mustered together barely 100 yards on the ground total. But the story was the Steve Spag’s defense, which shut down a Detroit offense that has been electric all year, holding Stafford to “just” 273 yards in the air and forcing a pair of turnovers (or what the pundits call “half a Jameis”).

The Lions have been come-back-kids all season, including against the Eagles back when this season was still awesome. While the highlights show Beckham, the true victors in this game were in the Giants secondary.

What It Means: The Giants now have the second best record in the NFC, and if it weren’t for the Cowboys, would be on their way to a bye week.  Like the Cowboys, the GMen won a game vs. a hot playoff team. Anyone trying to make the case against the NFC East being the conference’s top division is running out of evidence… even if Dallas is secretly woeful.

The Giants spent their offseason working to improve this defense. The results all year have been mixed, but the past two weeks have been fantastic. If this is the defense they’re bringing to the postseason, they’ll be hard to get rid of. Like an extremely long nose hair, or a terrible skin rash. 

What’s Next: The Eagles! The Giants still need a win Thursday against the Birds, as they could still potentially win the NFC East -- and could also fall out of the playoffs completely. The importance of an Eagles victory can not be understated; we need this just to stop all those annoying Giants fans from clamoring about how they’re GETTING HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME.

For those of you keeping score at home, yes, the Iggles last two remaining games this year are against the two teams with the top records in the NFC. 

Washington

What Happened: FINALLY, something fun. Washington lost a game they needed to win, falling hard to the Carolina Panthers on Monday 26-15. It was perhaps Kirk Cousins worst game of the season, featuring two brutal turnovers, including a fumble in the redzone. The Washington Franchise Leader in passing yards on a season did lead the team in rushing yards Monday Night, with eleven. Anytime your leading rusher is your quarterback, and he has less than a dozen yards, you’re probably in trouble (or you have Andy Reid calling plays).

Jay Gruden says they were completely outcoached, which is a way of deflecting blame away from his team that played like garbage-water. The Panthers got out to an early lead and never really looked back.

Oh, and Jordan Reed punched Kurt Coleman! The Washington star tight end felt good enough to take a swing at the former Eagle, despite a shoulder injury that’s been bothering him for weeks. Still, it’s a better end than the one Bernard Hopkins endured. 

What It Means: Washington is running out of time. Green Bay now sits in the second Wild Card spot, and Tampa stands between them. Gruden’s squad is now in the “needs help” category of the playoff hunt, and quite honestly, that’s what they deserve. This is a strong offensive team that has lost a lot of the games a playoff team needs to win, Monday night included. 

While it was Cousins worst game in awhile, it likely doesn’t change his season overall, which was good enough to get a long-term contract extension. Expect a prolonged negotiation over the summer, which will hopefully lead Washington to draft a QB in the 5th round as a negotiating tool.

What Next: A trip up to Chicago, then a home game against a Giants squad that could potentially be resting starters. There was a lot to like about the year for D.C. (that’s not a political hot-take, believe me), if they end up missing the playoffs, 2017 will be a step back.

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