Over the past couple of years, SB Nation has run a series of polls under the FanPulse moniker. The polling has been expanded this year and includes a name change to NFL Reacts. There is a poll every week during the regular season, and at key points during the off-season that covers things like fan confidence in the direction of the team, the most exciting games each week, and a fan Pick’em where you get to predict the winners of every game on the schedule.
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There will be additional articles this week (and every week for the rest of the season), but this one will focus on some of the questions that were asked of all 32 fan bases across the NFL.
The most obvious result here of interest to Washington fans is that the 0-5 Giants are favored by fans across the league. Given the way the G-men looked in their losses to the Rams and Cowboys compared to how the burgundy & gold looked in its games against Cleveland, Baltimore and the same LA Rams, I can’t say I’m surprised. The Giants have looked like the better football team over the past two games at least, and Ron Rivera is going to need to find a magic wand or the right combination of buttons to push if he expects his offense, defense and special teams to rise to the occasion on the road on Sunday.
The NFC East divisional race
In the other two games involving NFC East teams, fans have picked the Ravens over the Eagles and the Cardinals over the Cowboys. Given that Washington has lost to both of these teams, these results would provide both a short-term boost in terms of keeping things close in the division, and a longer-term advantage in terms of record against common opponents in the case of tie-breakers at the end of the season. Of course, the fact that Philly played to a draw against the Bengals means that they are unlikely to be involved in any tie-breaking scenarios.
If the SB Nation fans are right, then the division standings following Week 6 would be:
- Dal 2-4
- Phi 1-4-1
- NY 1-5
- Was 1-5
A single change, though — assuming that WFT beats the Giants — changes the look of the division entirely:
- Was 2-4 (2-0 div)
- Dal 2-4 (1-0 div)
- Phi 1-4-1
- NY 0-6
That’s why this game against the Giants is so huge for both teams. With Dallas on the horizon a week from now, back to back wins for the Washington Football Team could see them undefeated inside the division with a full game lead on Dallas going into the Week 8 bye. On the other hand, two losses would leave the burgundy and gold mired in last place with a 1-2 division record, 1-6 overall, and a long bye week full of questions with no good answers.
Click here to see results from all of the 2020 NFL Reacts surveys
Click here to see results from all of the 2020 Hogs Haven Reacts surveys
Some other interesting picks
With regard to other games, Week 6 sees a lot of teams with losing records playing each other and a lot of teams with winning records going head to head.
One of the more interesting predictions that I see above is the Panthers expected to beat the Bears in Carolina. The teams have had two common opponents, the Falcons and Bucs, with the Bears winning both while Carolina beat the Falcons but lost to Tampa Bay. The Panthers have won three in a row after an 0-2 start, with wins against the Chargers & Cardinals in addition to beating Atlanta. The Bears have the better record, with only one loss to the Colts in Week 4. I’m guessing that this is a quarterback-driven decision, with fans going with Teddy Bridgewater over either Nick Foles or Mitch Trubisky. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bears hand Carolina a loss in that game.
Chiefs - Bills
In an east-meets-west battle of 4-1 AFC teams, the Chiefs travel to Buffalo for an early game on Monday. I agree with the consensus that KC will get the win, but can you imagine how the Bills can make a statement by winning a nationally televised game against the super bowl champs and reigning super bowl MVP? That could be an exciting game to watch — one that offers the team and its quarterback a chance to declare themselves as having arrived.
Falcons - Vikings
I wouldn’t want to be on the team bus for whichever team loses the Falcons-Vikings contest. The winner of that game can feel good for a week, but the losing fan base can start doing mock drafts right away. The Falcons, of course, just fired their GM and head coach this week, and teams often respond well to that kind of shakeup. Some seats in Minnesota could get pretty warm if the Vikings can’t take advantage of this week to get a home win and start the process of getting back into competition for the NFC North title.