NFC East standings: Cowboys remain on top after Eagles fall to Seahawks in Week 15

The Eagles enjoyed a Sunday off in Week 15 and watched their division rival Cowboys get waxed by the Bills, putting Philadelphia back in the lead. The next day, it was the Cowboys watching as the Eagles were stunned in a losing effort to give first right back.

Dallas was demolished on the road in Buffalo in a 31-10 loss that briefly put its NFC East lead in jeopardy. But in a game many expected Philadelphia to win, the Seahawks pulled off an improbable comeback in the final two minutes to take a 20-17 lead, then intercepted Jalen Hurts on the Eagles’ final play to seal the Seattle victory.

For a stretch, it seemed the NFC East was going to be Philadelphia’s to lose. The Eagles beat the Bills 37-34 in Week 12 to move to 11-1 with tiebreakers and a two-game lead over the Cowboys on their side.

With Monday’s loss to Seattle, the Eagles have now lost three straight contests, each in disappointing fashion. The losses to the 49ers and Cowboys came in blowouts and the loss to Seattle came against a Seahawks team free-falling with four straight losses starting a backup quarterback.

MORE: Eagles playoff picture after loss to Seahawks

The two losses put the 49ers in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed, now a game above both teams with wins over both Dallas and Philadelphia to serve as tiebreakers. 

But the divisional title is still very much in the mix for both teams. What did the losses by both contenders mean for the division race? Here’s what you need to know.

NFC East standings

With three games left in the 2023 season, the NFC East appears to be among the most top-heavy divisions in the league. The top two teams are tied and competing for the top two seeds in the NFC. The bottom team has been eliminated and the third-place team could be next.

Place Team Record
1 Cowboys 10-4
2 Eagles 10-4
3 Giants 5-9
4 Commanders 4-10

Though it is currently leading the division, Dallas does not currently control its own destiny. The Cowboys have the edge right now based on win-loss record in the division, but if the Eagles and Cowboys both win out, Philadelphia would have the edge based on win-loss record against common opponents at 10-2 compared to 9-3 by Dallas.

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Here’s a look at how Sporting News’ model projects the rest of the season:

Team xW-L Div% WC% Playoff% No. 1 seed% NFC% Super Bowl%
Eagles 13-4 64.2% 35.8% 100% 5% 17.4% 7.7%
Cowboys 12-5 35.8% 64.2% 100% 1.8% 11.1% 5.2%
Giants 6-11 0% 0.5% 0.5% 0% 0% 0%
Commanders 5-12 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

The model still gives the Eagles a big edge in the division, though perhaps not as large as some might think. Philadelphia is both in control of its own destiny and faces a far easier schedule. So why are they only 64.2 percent favorites?

At this point, the model believes the Cowboys are a better team and that Dak Prescott is playing at a higher level than Jalen Hurts. Even after the crushing loss to the Bills, the model would pick the Cowboys to beat the Eagles on a neutral field, and thus has some trust in Dallas to win its remaining games.

Most signs are still pointing toward Philadelphia claiming the division. But the Eagles’ latest slide has certainly sprinkled some doubt as to whether they can finish off a second straight NFC East title.

Cowboys remaining schedule

Dallas has three games left on the schedule, and only one looks like a gimme. Its remaining opponents combine for a 24-18 record, good for a .571 winning percentage.

The Cowboys face the AFC East and NFC North division leaders, then head on the road to face the NFC East bottom-dwelling Commanders.

Week Opponent Record Cowboys’ win probability
16 at Dolphins 10-4 37.4%
17 vs. Lions 10-4 63.5%
18 at Commanders 4-10 82.4%

Winning out won’t be easy, even if Dallas is favored in two of the three games by Sporting News’ projection model. And even winning out wouldn’t be enough to secure the division for Dallas.

Complicating matters further for Dallas is how the Eagles’ schedule looks the rest of the season.

Eagles remaining schedule

Philadelphia has three games remaining, and all of them look like clear, must-win games. Their opponents combined for a paltry 13-29 remaining record, a .310 winning percentage.

Every game is against an NFC opponent, and two are against an NFC East foe.

Week Opponent Record Eagles’ win probability
16 vs. Giants 5-9 88%
17 vs. Cardinals 3-11 91.4%
18 at Giants 5-9 82.2%

The Cowboys have lost one divisional game so far. The Eagles have lost one divisional game so far. If Philadelphia loses to the Giants once and Dallas beats Washington, that’s another tiebreaker in favor of the Cowboys.

Losing a game against any of New York or Arizona, two teams well out of the playoff race, would not only be crushing in Philadelphia’s divisional hopes, but would be concerning for a team with lofty postseason expectations.

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