The NFC East is currently the runt of the litter compared to other divisions in the NFL. The Steelers sit on top of the AFC North with a near perfect record (thanks to our boys in burgundy and gold), the Bills are on pace to win the AFC East for the first time in 25 years, and of course, the high-powered Chiefs are an undeniable favorite returning to the Super Bowl this season.
Back in the NFC, there are legitimate teams in the Seahawks and Rams, both with eight wins. The Saints are on top of their conference with a 10 and 2 record while Green Bay is on top of their division with one more loss than the Saints. Meanwhile, here in the NFC East, Washington’s very own football team has hopes to be the No. 1 seed in the division with a proud 5 win and 7 loss record.
Although our local division may be the butt of the joke around the league, I would counter by pointing out that the NFC East is, historically, also the most competitive division. A quick search of division champions by year shows the Patriots’ dominance in their own division throughout recent history. This is not the same story for the NFC East, which hasn’t had a repeat champion since 2004.
Although Washington was able to pull off a satisfying victory over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the story is much the same this year in the NFC East, as Washington remains tied up with New York for the No. 1 seed after both teams pulled off upsets. The Cowboys and Eagles are still not out of the question though, both with a relatively easy next four games to close out the season. For now, Washington’s main rival is the Giants, who could be liable to lose two of their next four games to the Browns and Ravens.
The Washington Football Team looks good in the standing right now, but has the most opportunities to fall in the divisional rankings. Washington could edge out a win over the 5-and-6 49ers this Sunday, December 13, but after that, Washington has a difficult game against the Seahawks. The season closes out with the Panthers and Eagles, supposedly relatively easier games to secure a win.
It’s a well-known fact that Washington has a long way to go for improvement, but each week we’re reminded of promising bright spots that could carry the team into the playoffs. Washington is within the top five teams in least passing yards allowed in the league, something that helped against the pass-heavy offense of the Steelers on Monday night.
Key offensive factors that aided Washington’s win in Pittsburgh include star running back Antonio Gibson, who is in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, and core wide receiver Terry McLaurin, a major asset known for putting in maximum effort at all times. Dominating defensive superstars Montez Sweat and second overall draft pick Chase Young are also huge assets on the field, and make hefty contributions to Washington’s No. 4 ranked defense.
Realistically, a lot needs to go right for D.C. to get a playoff berth, even after beating the Steelers. To get into numbers and odds, Washington’s chances of making it to the playoffs are +525 and the odds that they will miss the playoffs are at -750. No matter the outcome, whichever NFC East team manages to be on top of the division will be going into the playoffs with a historically bad record. The good news: Washington was able to pull off the totally unexpected upset against the previously undefeated Steelers.
For the first time in recent memory, Washington Football hasn’t dropped the ball, unlike the Steelers wide receiver core. In fact, those multiple dropped passes were a big reason Washington was within striking distance of the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
Important moments of their recent game on primetime include the early defensive stand on fourth-and-one on the 1 yard line, Cam Sims’ remarkable one-handed catch to keep the clock running late in the game and Sweat’s ability to swat Ben Roethlisberger’s passes regularly. Sweat’s effort is eventually what put the game away, as his tipped pass led to Jon Bostic nabbing the INT. This upset came just as experts thought it would: Washington was mostly able to contain Pittsburgh’s offense with its rushing and secondary efforts, leaving it to the WFT’s offense to outscore PIT.
Right now with first place of the division in sight, Washington has 264 PF (points for) and 260 PA (points against) as New York has 231 PF and 265 PA. Even though these two teams are tied up for the No. 1 seed, it could be argued that Washington is the better team over the Giants. Plus, that upset over the Steelers was a lot more impressive than the Giants over the Seahawks.
It’s tougher to be a football fan in the DMV than it is to be a hockey or baseball fanatic, which is why it’s so admirable to remain loyal. However, it’s also a good time to be a Washington fan, and that loyalty is what makes victories like Monday night even more sweet. This team is on a red hot, three-game winning streak, and that energy should translate into the next game versus the 49ers. Wins are more valuable now than ever with the competition in the division so tight, and pulling out this upset tarnishing the Steelers’ perfect season was the first and hardest step toward a playoff run.
If you’re looking to stay up-to-date on analysis and team stories, the NFL Network, specifically “Good Morning Football,” has you covered. There’s also a plethora of informative Instagram pages related to the Washington Football Team that will update you with the latest, such as @wshnations and @redskinstoday. Learn more about the Washington team here.
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