Washington now favorites to win NFC East for 1st time since 2015


Four weeks ago the Washington Football Team was all but dead and buried after falling to 2-7 on the season.

After seeing a golden chance to win slip away thanks to a boneheaded play by Chase Young in a 30-27 loss to the Detroit Lions, Ron Rivera’s first season as head coach looked destined for a disappointing finish. Well, what a difference four weeks and four consecutive wins can make.

With a 23-15 win over the 49ers and the New York Giants' loss to the Arizona Cardinals earlier Sunday, Washington (6-7) has now assumed control of their own destiny. If they win their final three games of the 2020 season, they capture the NFC East crown for the first time since 2015.

“For all the s--- we have put up (with), for everything that we have had to deal with, you have earned the right to be the first place team in the NFC East,” Rivera told his team in the locker room after the win. “That’s who you are.”

And, despite the Giants (5-8) holding the tiebreaker over Rivera’s side, Washington is now the favorites to win the NFC East according to multiple analytics sites.

Washington now has a 73 percent chance to win the division, according to FiveThirtyEight. The Giants' odds have plummeted to just 15 percent.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who scored a surprise upset in Jalen Hurts' first careers start and sit at 4-8-1, now have an 11 percent chance. The Dallas Cowboys, who got a win in Cincinnati over the Bengals, are still technically alive at 4-9 and have a one percent chance.

Football Outsiders also now has Washington in the driver’s seat, giving them a 68.2 percent chance at the division. That number is up 23.4 points from the 44.8 percent chance they had after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Giants are down to a 22.8 percent chance following Week 14's games, a 29.8 percent decrease. Football Outsiders is less bullish on the Eagles' chances, they only have a 7.9 percent chance. The Cowboys are given a 1.1 percent chance.

The New York Times' model sees Washington as the favorites at 63 percent with New York at 24 percent, Philadelphia at 12 percent, and Cowboys, ready to be eliminated, at a single percentage point.

In ESPN's playoff model, Washington entered the evening with close to a 75 percent chance.

And while one play alone doesn’t change the fate of a team, Young's first half fumble return for a touchdown was a huge play in determining Washington’s fate this season.

Take a look at what that one play did to boost Washington’s playoff chances in ESPN's model.

And while Washington can scoreboard watch next week the Giants host the Cleveland Browns and Eagles travel to play the Cardinals, the game against the Seahawks is what matters most.

And a win over Seattle would see Washington's chances at the division rise to 90 percent, per FiveThirtyEight.

They are peaking at the right time and are a scary team.

“And understand this, nobody, and I promise you, nobody wants to play us. I’m telling you that right now,” Rivera said Sunday.

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