How Bad is the NFC East, Really?

With a combined record of 5-18-1, including 2-15-1 in out-of-division games, a case can be made for this season's NFC East as being the worst division of all time.

But a contrarian will have three words to say to this:

Strength of schedule.

Through six games — and none of the division's four teams have had their bye week yet — an analysis of each of the division's team's strength of schedule is revealing.

The Cowboys, who are in first place in the division despite their 2-4 record, have played six teams with a combined record of 19-16.

The 1-4-1, second-place Eagles, whose future appears to be particularly bleak as their injuries pile up, have played six teams who are 19-15-1 among them.

The third-place Giants, who at 1-5 hold that position due to having beaten the Washington Football Team head-to-head for their lone win on Sunday, have a 20-15 strength of schedule, while the WFT's six opponents are an aggregate 19-16-1.

That's a combined 15 games over .500 (77-62-2), or two games more than the NFC East's collective deficit.

And it doesn't figure to get any easier for the NFC East from here on: The NFC West, the division the NFC East plays in the intra-conference rotation, is a combined 16-7 so far in 2020, while the AFC North, which the NFC East plays outside the conference, is 15-7-1.

With such back-breaking schedules, it is not surprising that the NFC East is faring so poorly — and even the two "extra" games that each team plays within the conference offer little if any relief: the Eagles, for example, will have to play the Packers and the Saints, while the Giants, who have already lost at the 5-1 Bears, will host Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Monday night in Week 8. Even Washington has to play Carolina at home in Week 16, and barring a miracle will be an underdog in that game. Only the Cowboys, who have already beaten Atlanta at home and will visit disappointing Minnesota in Week 11, get any real help here.

If nothing else, this means that all of the teams in this division, other than the team that wins it, will almost certainly have top 10 picks in the 2021 draft — and at least one, and maybe even two of them, could land in the top five.

Moreover, next year's schedules will be a lot easier for this division, in that their intra-conference assignment will be the NFC South, currently 11-12, and outside the conference, the AFC West, currently 11-10.

So better days lay ahead for the NFC East — both next spring, and next fall.

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