I had planned to write a well-researched article with game predictions for Sunday’s NFC East games, but then one of my students had a technical problem with our online assignment system and I spent two-plus hours helping her trouble-shoot that.
When I looked at the clock, I realized that I don’t have time left to put together a meaningful article and publish it before kickoff.
That seems to leave two choices: I can just not publish an article this morning, or I can throw out a seat-of-the-pants prediction article. Normally, I’d just opt for no article, but I’m feeling a bit reckless today, so, here’s an article that is basically just a front-page comment that won’t enlighten you about anything at all.
The Giants are on bye this week, so the one prediction I am 100% sure of is that they will finish the week at 3-7.
The three games that involve the NFC East all look like pretty even matchups. I don’t think there’s a slam-dunk prediction in the bunch. Still, here are my thoughts on those three games.
Cowboys (2-7) @ Vikings (4-5)
Game Time: 4:25
My thought here is that the Vikings are at home with a chance to get to .500. Minnesota has won three in a row against NFC North opponents — Packers on the road, Lions at home, Bears on the road. I don’t see this team dropping a game against the struggling Cowboys.
The Cowboys have had to move another offensive lineman to IR:
On Saturday, the @dallascowboys:— Dallas Cowboys Public Relations (@DallasCowboysPR) November 21, 2020
- Placed C Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin) on the Reserve/Injured list
- Activated T Brandon Knight (Indiana) from Reserve/Injured
- Elevated C Adam Redmond (Harvard) and CB Rashard Robinson (LSU) from the practice squad
It seems like Andy Dalton will be back in the lineup, and the coaches are moving Zach Martin to tackle in an effort to protect him. The Cowboys will likely be better with Dalton at QB, but probably not good enough, especially with another re-shuffled O-line.
Prediction: Vikings win 27 - 20
Eagles (3-5-1) @ Browns (6-3)
Game Time: 1:00
I look at the teams that the Browns have lost to:
Combined record: 21-6
Then I look at who the Eagles have lost to. They’ve lost to the same Ravens & Steelers, but they’ve also lost to WFT & NYG and tied with the Bengals.
The Eagles would have to play their best game of the season against a pretty good Browns team. I don’t think it happens today, though I think Philly has a chance if Baker Mayfield has a bad game and Wentz has a good game.
Prediction: Browns win 24 - 20
Cincinnati (2-6-1) @ Washington (2-7-1)
Game Time: 1:00
Twice this season I have predicted a Washington win — Week 1 versus the Eagles, and Week 7 versus the Cowboys:
For the second time this season, I am ready to predict a victory for Ron Rivera’s Washington Football Team. The Washington defensive line should be living in the Dallas backfield. The Washington run game should find life for the first time all season. [T]he Football Team gets the “W” on Sunday and gets a needed win against an exhausted division rival.
Today, I’m calling a win for the third time this season.
The basis for my confidence has little to do with research, statistics or any kind of measurable or provable facts. Basically, this is a “gut” call.
I don’t think the Bengals will lose the game by playing badly; I think Washington will get the win by playing very well.
Offensively, I think Alex Smith plays as well as or better than he did a week ago, with no turnovers, few mistakes, good leadership and two touchdown passes (one to Terry and the other to Cam Sims).
Defensively, I think that the team gets burned deep a couple of times but overall manages to confuse Joe Burrow a few times and get one or two takeaways.
Basically, I think the Washington team is ready to step up. I think they’ll run well with Gibson & McKissic; I think the passing game will click; I think the defense may struggle at times but won’t make many stupid mistakes; I think the team will limit penalties. I think the Football Team will win, with the Bengals scoring a late touchdown to make the final score look close in a game that Washington controls.
Prediction: Washington wins 30 - 27
By late tonight, the NFC East will look like this:
Philly 3-6-1 (2-2)
New York 3-7 (3-2)
Washington 3-7 (2-2)
Dallas 2-8 (1-2)
The only way any standings change in the division this week is if the Cowboys win while the Football Team loses. Otherwise, all four teams stay in the same spots they are in right now. For today, I think the Washington Football Team is the only one to grab a win, which would mean no change in the division standings this week.
With most of the division facing rough games against the NFC West and AFC North down the stretch, it seems very likely that the division winner will have a sub-.500 record, and, as we sit here in Week 11, no team in the division can truly be counted out as the potential division winner, with only a game and a half separating the top and bottom of the division.
I think the story is going stay pretty much the same week to week for the remainder of the season. I mentioned in an earlier article this week that whoever does win the division is likely to get a bit of a “poison pill” insofar as whichever team gets the title is unlikely to have playoff success, but will give up a lot of draft position by being grouped with the playoff teams for the 2021 draft.
We’re in the unusual position of 4 fanbases all seemingly hoping one of the other divisional teams will win the title — 2020, the gift that keeps on giving.