NFC East News & Odds: Will Division Champion Have Winning Record?

A total of four teams in modern NFL history had made the playoffs with a losing record: The 2014 Carolina Panthers won the NFC South and the 2010 Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West. Both would actually win a playoff game, too, before bowing out. The other two teams to make the playoffs with a losing record both made it in 1982 when the NFL only played a nine-game season due to a strike.

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Could a team with a losing record win the NFC East this season? It’s surely possible as not a single team is above .500 through four weeks with Philly leading the East at 1-2-1. The last time after Week 4 a first-place team in any division had one or fewer wins was the 2005 NFC North. Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, there have been 344 divisional races. Philadelphia’s tie two weeks ago vs. Cincinnati saved the 2020 edition of the NFC East from being the worst division in modern league history through four games.

However, Philly, the defending East champion, is the +120 second favorite on the NFL odds to win the East. The Dallas Cowboys are -125 favorites despite having the worst defense in the NFL. The New York Giants and Washington Football Team are both extreme long shots.

Dallas should be 0-4 but had a miracle Week 2 win over Atlanta. In the past three games, the Cowboys have allowed 39, 38 and 49 points. It’s the first time Dallas has allowed 38 or more points in 3 consecutive games since their first-ever season in 1960. The 126 points allowed by the Cowboys since Week 2 are the most allowed in any 3-game span in franchise history.

NFL teams have combined to score 371 total touchdowns, 359 offensive touchdowns (passing and rushing combined) and 3,233 total points, all the most in NFL history through Week 4. Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has brought a multifaceted scheme to a unit that played mostly one coverage in 2019. Both head coach Mike McCarthy and owner Jerry Jones

Those defensive issues are masking quite a stretch for NFL passing yardage leader Dak Prescott. He has become the first player in NFL history with at least 450 pass yards in 3 consecutive games, has the most pass yards in a 3-game span in NFL history (1,424 over the last 3 games), and most pass yards in a 4-game span in NFL history (1,690).

However, Prescott will be missing his center for a while. Joe Looney suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee in Sunday’s loss vs. Cleveland and could miss 2-3 weeks. Rookie Tyler Biadasz will replace Looney.

Overall, NFC East teams are 3-12-1. Since the league went to its eight-division, 32-team format in 2002, no division had failed to combine for at least four wins across the first four weeks of the season.

GIANTS: While the Cowboys can’t stop anyone, the winless Giants can’t score. They are averaging just 11.8 points per game. New York has gone consecutive games without scoring a touchdown and is last in the league in red zone production (20%). It should be very interesting when Dallas hosts the Giants this Sunday with the Cowboys at -9.5.

New York QB Daniel Jones has the highest four-game rushing total (137) by a Giants quarterback since Jeff Hostetler ran for 139 yards from Oct. 11-Nov. 1, 1992. Jones is the only Giants quarterback to lead the team in rushing three times in a season in the Super Bowl era.

Jones’ career total of six games with the team’s highest rushing yardage total is also the most by a Giants quarterback in the 55-season Super Bowl era.

EAGLES: Philly upset the Niners in Week 4 and Carson Wentz had another rushing TD. He has scored a rushing touchdown in 3 consecutive games, the longest active streak by any quarterback in the NFL and the longest streak by an Eagles quarterback since Mike Vick’s 4-game streak from Weeks 13-16, 2010. Philadelphia visits 3-0 Pittsburgh this week.

WASHINGTON: The Washington Football Team won its first game of the season but has lost the past three and a quarterback change could be coming soon as Dwyane Haskins has struggled. A bright spot of last week’s loss to the Ravens was rookie running back Antonio Gibson. The third-round pick had 128 total yards and a touchdown. Gibson has a Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) of 33.5% through four games, which is the best in the NFL among running backs with a minimum of 32 rushing attempts.

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