Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Beat of the East here at PhillyInfluencer.com. The predictions didn’t make it out, due to a busy birthday weekend, but let me assure you I’d have hit them all on the head…ehhhhh maybe not. But we can’t keep score on the ones I’d didn’t predict…so let’s get into this.
The Redskins played a reeling Vikings team and put them down. Sam Bradford seemed to be matching Kirk Cousins throw for throw, then exceeding him in what was more of a shootout than I’d have expected. The difference was that the ‘Skins had the only discernable ground game. Speaking of teams without running games, the Giants edged out the Bengals and sealed it with Rashad Jennings and the ground game, because of course they did. In what makes the least sense possible the Giants somehow managed to find their running game last night and it was hugely important. Fox had “America’s Game of the Week” and it absolutely lived up to the billing. The Cowboys/Steelers game was incredible. The stinking, dirty, filthy Cowboys walked out with a win again. They did it once again behind the OROY in waiting Ezekiel Elliott who has now thrust himself into MVP discussions with pundits who are just starting to notice apparently that he’s been good for weeks. This game saw THREE touchdowns scored in the last two minutes with the lead changing every time. You can’t ask for a more exciting game than this.
The Redskins draw the struggling Packers in a must win game for the Pack. The Skins are at home and still very much in the playoff hunt, currently the 6th seed in the NFC. They’d be one of three NFC East teams in right now…the only one not in…The Eagles. The Giants, the current 5th seed face the moribund Bears. The Bears are only 2-7 on the year and this should be, barring a total letdown, a cakewalk for the Giants. The Cowboys end up getting the Ravens this week, the Ravens have played some great games, including last week’s thrashing of the Browns, but have thrown too many clunkers in there to likely be a major threat to arguably the hottest team in all of the NFL. Does that make your skin crawl as much as it makes mine crawl?
As we discussed above the other three teams in the NFC East currently hold the hammer on their own playoff destinies. But just how likely is each team to make the playoffs? That’s what I wanted to explore in today’s edition of the Long Bomb. I’m going to review the remaining schedule for each team, how I think they’ll do in each game, their final record and whether I believe that will make them a playoff team or not. So here we go.
Current Record: 5-3-1
Predicted Division Finish: 4th
Playoff Odds: 10%
Thoughts: With the projections above in mind, the Redskins won’t make the playoffs. But a one win swing anywhere changes the equation heavily. The Packers are a desperate, and I believe, better team than the Redskins. The ‘Skins then hit the road for three straight against tough foes and I think they’ll run into a four game losing streak to start the next seven. After that, they win out, but too little, too late.
Current Record: 5-4
Predicted Division Finish: 3rd
Playoff Odds: 30%
Thoughts: The Eagles could have a chance to win the final game of the year if Dallas is in the catbird seat and doesn’t need to play their starters. Otherwise, I think they’re going to have a very difficult road that likely ends with them having had a solid season that falls short of the playoffs. This would be a better season than almost anyone predicted, yet sadly hollow after the 3-0 start.
New York Giants
Current Record: 6-3
Predicted Division Finish: 2nd
Playoff Odds: 55%
Thoughts: I was debating where to put the Giants’ odds, I didn’t want to put them at 50% but I couldn’t go much higher than that. The Giants are a team that I expect will finish with the same record as the Eagles, but win out on the divisional record tiebreaker. They’re a solid team, and Landon Collins is helping to carry that secondary. The real issue for me is that I basically believe the Giants are a coin flip to win just about any game. While they should stomp the Bears and Browns, would you be surprised if they lost? I wouldn’t. That’s why I can’t bring myself to be terribly bullish on them.
Current Record: 8-1
Predicted Division Finish: 1st
Playoff Odds: 100%
Thoughts: Based on these projections the Cowboys are going to win the division in a landslide. They’ll finish with likely the best record in the conference and a number one seed. Dallas is a scary good team. The idea of them not making the playoffs after their 8-1 start is implausible. It’s really just a matter of how far they’ll go.
THE EZEKIEL ELLIOTT BEAST OF THE BEAT AWARD
I had said early in the season if Zeke kept winning, I’d just name the award after him to give others a chance. Well, Elliott won again last week, and absolutely would have won this time, too, so we’re just renaming it. That means that this week’s award goes to Odell Beckham. Beckham came out and delivered ten catches for just under 100 yards en route to becoming the fastest player ever to 3500 yards receiving. Beckham is a stud and just as we predicted in this column a few weeks ago, he’s a slow starter who was due to heat up. He’s doing just that, and it’s going to be a key time for a Giants team looking to make the playoffs.