The NFC East’s long, bizarre season could come to a close on Saturday night when the Philadelphia Eagles host Washington. Or it could not conclude, because that’s how the NFC East rolls this year.
If Washington (7-7) wins, it clinches the division title and a No. 4 seed in the playoffs, no questions asked. However, if the Eagles (6-8) win, they control their own destiny and can clinch by beating the New York Giants the following week. Saturday’s win would give the Eagles an edge over Washington on division record, and next week’s win would drop the Giants to at least nine losses.
That sounds easier said than done if you watched Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football in Week 16. The Eagles were barely competitive in a 40-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and their defense once again failed to show up.
They need to win out, and they need the Bengals to lose out, but the Steelers could earn one of the top three seeds in that scenario. If Pittsburgh can’t take the AFC North, they can grab a fifth or sixth seed as a wild card team. Currently, they are in a heated race for the wild card spots with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. All three teams are tied with a 9-5 record, though the Chiefs currently hold the tiebreak based on best win percentage in conference games.
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But the Giants still have a lot to offer on the field, and Manning is always dangerous at quarterback. Despite all of the issues this season, the Giants rank 12th in the league in total offense, and sixth in the league in passing yards per game at 270.1. That has also led to the sixth-most productive scoring offense with 26.6 points scored per game.
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Defensively is where things really fall apart for Coughlin’s Giants. They rank dead last in the league in yards allowed per game at 423.0, and 23rd in the league in points allowed, at 25.6.