With their 17-0 shutout loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the New York Giants not only had their playoff hopes squashed, but they were guaranteed a last place finish in the NFC East for the second consecutive season.
The back-to-back basement finishes put these Giants in rare territory, having accomplished a mark of futility not seen since they had three consecutive last place finishes from 1976-1978 under then-head coach John McVay, father of current Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.
Although the Giants, Eagles and Redskins could all finish with the same 7-9 record, Washington would ultimately hold the conference tiebreaker over New York with Philadelphia holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning Big Blue can’t improve their current NFC East positioning at all.
After 15 weeks, here’s how things stack up in what once was the NFL’s best division:
Like the Giants, the Cowboys were completely blanked on Sunday, falling to the red hot Indianapolis Colts, 23-0. The loss proved the inconsistent Cowboys are still locked away in there somewhere, and as fate would have it, their Week 17 game against the Giants may very well mean something significant now. They have a one-game lead in the NFC East with the Redskins and Eagles inching up behind them.
With Carson Wentz out for the season, Nick Foles once again stepped up and brought his magic with him on Sunday night. No, he didn’t throw a touchdown and did have an interception, but with Foles under center, the Eagles just seem to win. And they did again in Week 15, upsetting the Los Angeles Ram, 30-27, to remain in the thick of the divisional title race. It was arguably the biggest upset in Eagles history.
It took everything they had and a last second field goal, but the Redskins were able to rebound from a crushing loss to the Giants in Week 14 to squeak out a 16-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, returning their record to .500. Josh Johnson, who is their fourth starting quarterback this season, played relatively well all things considered and will be back under center for an important Week 16 game against the Titans.
What might have been. A brutal last second loss to the Carolina Panthers, a collapse against the Eagles a few weeks ago and an ugly egg on Sunday are the difference between the Giants leading the NFC East and being in the basement. The game, as they say, is one of inches. With only two games remaining — one against the Colts and one against the Cowboys — the Giants must decide if they want to tank for the best draft position possible or attempt to avoid a 10-loss season.