Who's Gonna Win the NFC Least?
A disturbing trend over the past few NFL seasons has been the specter of losing teams making the playoffs.
How can this be possible?
More to the point, with only four-team groupings, this is caused by an unavoidable scheduling format that features more out-of-division games than in them. And that results in analysts getting through segments like this with a straight face:
Give the dude credit for nailing the result, and give 7-9 Carolina props for landing a crippled 11-5 Arizona team in the first round. Odds are the 10-6 Philadelphia Eagles would've posed a greater challenge to the 12-4 Seahawks in the next round, though.
Whereas the Wild Card scrums cast aside the playoff dreck, divisional races allow these teams to fight for a playoff spot that their overall body of work gives them no right to assume.
It sets the stage for every dog having his day, which is exactly what the 2010 Seahawks and 2014 Panthers did, to name two cases in point. As a result, in the latter, NFL fans were thus consigned to a dog's breakfast:
This year’s NFC East winner has a solid chance of being the third team in NFL history to make it to the post-season with a subpar record.
With 12.5% of the regular season in the books, let’s break down the dogs in the hunt for that divisional banner.
The Dallas Cowboys are by far the strongest team in it. They're 2-0, with both victories coming against their division opponents, the Giants and Eagles. However, the injury bug has hit hard in Dallas, with Dez Bryant and Tony Romo out for a significant portion of the season.
Had the 'Boys not lost their star QB, WR combo, they'd be a shoo-in to win the division, but that's not the case anymore.
Amazingly enough, the Washington Redskins may have the next best chance to win the division.
The 'Skins have been able to achieve a .500 record early into their 2015 campaign -- well, 1-1 is .500 -- even with RG3 being delegated to waterboy duties.
The running back duo of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones may be able to help the 'Skins move up in the NFL through some good old fashioned ground-and-pound offense. It also doesn’t hurt that Washington plays a weighted schedule of last year’s last place teams. Thanks again, NFL.
But are the Redskins really serious division contenders?
Brining up the rear are the Giants and Eagles, both of whom are winless thus far.
The 2015 Giants have created new ways to break their fans hearts, becoming the first team in NFL history to blow consecutive fourth-quarter 10-point leads. The Eagles, on the other hand, have been disaster of biblical proportions.
That never gets old.
Things are actually a little bit better in Giants land.
The G-Men have put together solid performances in its first two games; however, poor clock management and overall sloppy play has cost the team two wins. If the Giants can stop beating -- and over-thinking -- themselves late in games, they've got a shot. Or at the very least, they might spare fans from enduring Tom Coughlin's exasperation twenty times a game.
It's anybody’s guess who takes this disaster-in-the-making, but placing a pretty penny on the winner being a losing team doesn't look like a bad bet.