Prior to Week 13, an NFC East team had not beaten a single team with a winning record from outside of their own division. However, that all changed, as the Giants knocked off the Seahawks and the Washington Football Team handed the Pittsburgh Steelers their first loss of the season.
Arguably the worst division in football history, the NFC East now features two 5-7 teams that are just one game out of a Wild Card spot. That’s right — the NFC East could feasibly secure two playoff spots if Washington and the Giants play strong football throughout the final four weeks of the season. It would have sounded impossible just a week or two ago, but hey, it is 2020.
32) New York Jets (Prev: 32)
Of the 12 losses the Jets have suffered this season, none was more painful than Sunday’s last-second loss to the Raiders. Las Vegas scored with just five seconds remaining to take the lead, and the Jets are now 0-12 with four difficult games remaining on their schedule. Sunday featured their best performance of the season by far, so there may be some hope, but looking at the schedule, it’s hard to see where their win is going to come from.
31) Jacksonville Jaguars (Prev: 31)
The Jaguars dropped their 11th-straight game, this time an overtime loss to the Vikings. Jacksonville has looked good in their past two games with Mike Glennon at the helm, but they have fallen just short in both contests and now sit at 1-11 on the season. Glennon finished with 280 yards and one touchdown, but he also threw two interceptions, including one that led to the game-winning field goal in overtime.
30) Cincinnati Bengals (Prev: 30)
Once again, the Bengals’ offense looked absolutely hopeless without Joe Burrow. They fell to the Dolphins 19-7 on Sunday and only managed 196 yards of total offense. Brandon Allen threw for 153 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in his second start of the season, but he left the game early after being injured on a sack. In total, the offensive line gave up six sacks.
29) Los Angeles Chargers (Prev: 28)
The Chargers lost their fifth game in six tries as the New England Patriots blew them out 45-0. In what was the most lopsided game of the season, the Chargers’ offensive numbers actually weren’t all that much worse than the Patriots’. They were outgained 291-258, but they did turn the ball over twice and allowed the Patriots to score one defensive and one punt return touchdown. Justin Herbert had the worst start of his rookie campaign, finishing 26-53 for 209 yards and two interceptions.
28) Dallas Cowboys (Prev: 29)
The Cowboys face Baltimore on Tuesday night and absolutely must find a way to win if they want any chance to win the NFC East. With the Giants knocking off Seattle and the Football Team defeating the Steelers, a loss to the Ravens would likely spell the end of the Cowboys’ already disappointing season.
27) Philadelphia Eagles (Prev: 27)
Carson Wentz was finally benched for Jalen Hurts, and the Eagles lost their fourth consecutive game to fall to 3-8-1 on the season. They now trail the Giants and Washington by a game and a half, and with their offense playing as terribly as it is, it’s hard to imagine Philadelphia making up the ground necessary to win the NFC East. In relief of Wentz, Hurts threw for 109 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
26) Atlanta Falcons (Prev: 20)
Moving the Falcons down six spots after a one-possession loss to the Saints may seem unfair, but with almost every team in their tier winning this past weekend, it only makes sense to drop them. They put up a valiant effort against the top seed in the NFC, but with the loss, they are guaranteed another season at or below .500.
25) Denver Broncos (Prev: 22)
The Broncos executed their gameplan about as well as they could have hoped for on Sunday night, and yet, they still fell to the Chiefs 22-16. They rushed for 179 yards as a team, which allowed them to keep the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands for most of the game. However, two costly turnovers were all the Chiefs needed to secure the victory and move Denver to the brink of official playoff elimination.
24) Chicago Bears (Prev: 19)
After their collapse against the Lions on Sunday, the Bears have now lost six straight games after starting the season 5-1. Chicago led by 10 with just minutes remaining, but a 96-yard touchdown drive — and a costly Mitchell Trubisky turnover — ultimately did them in, dropping them to 5-7. David Montgomery had his best game of the season, rushing for 72 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
23) Houston Texans (Prev: 24)
Deshaun Watson’s fumble with just seconds remaining all but ended the Texans’ 2020 campaign. For anyone already looking ahead to 2021, there are always a few teams that are undervalued in the futures market because of the team’s performance from the previous season. The Texans could be a team with a low win-total line heading into the offseason, but they have been very competitive this season and have only gotten better as the year has progressed. Now, it will be about keeping the key pieces together, and this could be a surprise team next year.
22) Carolina Panthers (Prev: 21)
The Panthers were off this week, and nothing much changed for them, as they are likely out of the playoff picture. If they can stay healthy for their final four games of the season, perhaps they could at least get to .500 and make things interesting, but with the injuries they have had this season, that is a big if.
21) Detroit Lions (Prev: 26)
In their first game after firing Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, the Lions turned their 2020 season storyline on its head by pulling off a double-digit comeback against Chicago on Sunday. The Lions had been known for blowing double-digit leads under Patricia, but they showed fight to the very end against the Bears, and now somehow find themselves at 5-7 and just one game out of the NFC playoff race. Their schedule is incredibly difficult moving forward, and their defense can’t stop the run, but if Matthew Stafford can play like he did against the Bears, could there possibly be hope for Detroit?
20) Washington Football Team (Prev: 25)
Who had their money on Washington being the first team to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers this season? That’s right — the Washington Football Team did what no other team in football has been able to do this season. They knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers, and not only that, they did it in Pittsburgh. With the win, they kept pace with the Giants, but they are in second place in the NFC East by virtue of being swept by New York. There were many impressive aspects of Washington’s victory. They trailed by 14, Antonio Gibson left early in the first quarter, and Terry McLaurin was almost wholly ineffective. Next week, they travel to Arizona to face the 49ers.
19) New York Giants (Prev: 23)
The Giants have won four straight games since starting 1-7, and their win over the Seahawks was the biggest and most shocking of the entire season. Without Daniel Jones, Colt McCoy and the offense were able to do enough to keep the Giants in the game, but phenomenal defensive play propelled this victory. They turned Russell Wilson over twice and only allowed the Seahawks to score 10 offensive points throughout the entire game. Up until Week 13, the NFC East had been the laughingstock of the league, but suddenly the Giants and Washington are in a real divisional race. If the Giants continue to play like they have over the past four weeks, and they win the division, they will shockingly be a very good representative for the worst division in football.
18) San Francisco 49ers (Prev: 16)
In their first home game in Arizona, the 49ers were no match for the Bills. Nick Mullens started yet again, and though he was able to move the ball alright against Buffalo’s defense, untimely turnovers and the inability to punch the ball into the end zone cost San Francisco dearly. They’re still in the hunt and are just one game behind the Vikings and the Cardinals, but they missed a big opportunity to draw even on Monday night.
17) Arizona Cardinals (Prev: 13)
The Cardinals lost their third straight game and have officially worked their way out of a playoff spot with just four games remaining. They were outgained 463-232 in their loss to the Rams on Sunday, which is what has come to be expected during the last five games where Arizona is just 1-4. Arizona now trails both the Rams and Seahawks by two games in the NFC West, and it seems their only chance of making the playoffs is by holding onto one of the Wild Card spots.
16) Las Vegas Raiders (Prev: 15)
Derek Carr’s miracle touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III saved the Raiders’ season and prevented them from being the first team to lose to the Jets this season. Over the last two weeks, the Raiders have looked terrible, and their performance against New York was certainly not what the Las Vegas faithful hoped to see after getting blown out last weekend. The Raiders are still in the playoff hunt, but if they fail to improve upon their play from the last two weeks, it is unlikely they will be a factor in the crowded AFC.
15) New England Patriots (Prev: 18)
Bill Belichick just knows how to ruin a rookie’s season. He is now 21-5 all-time against rookie quarterbacks, and his latest win over Justin Herbert was one of the most impressive. The Patriots demolished the Chargers 45-0, as they got back to .500 and kept their playoff hopes alive. Cam Newton threw for just 69 yards in the victory, a little more than half of the 130 that New England threw for as a team.
14) Minnesota Vikings (Prev: 17)
The Vikings very nearly lost to another bad football team, but they were able to knock off the Jaguars in overtime to move back to .500 and take over the seventh seed in the NFC playoff race. Next week, Minnesota will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs. With a win, the Vikings would actually jump into the sixth seed in the conference. That would be quite impressive for a team that started 1-5.
13) Baltimore Ravens (Prev: 14)
Lamar Jackson has been activated off the COVID-reserve list and will be starting Tuesday night against the Cowboys. The Ravens must win to keep pace in the AFC. Even with a victory, they will still be one game behind the Colts and Dolphins for an AFC Wild Card spot.
12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Prev: 12)
The Bucs were off this week, and they remain the sixth seed in the NFC, thanks to a loss from the Cardinals. They will return from the bye with a massive game against the Vikings, who have moved into the final playoff spot in the NFC.
11) Seattle Seahawks (Prev: 7)
What happened to the Seattle Seahawks this weekend? The offense, which has been fantastic, looked horrible against the Giants, and the defense couldn’t get any big stops in the second half. With the loss, the Seahawks move into second place in the NFC West, and they look nothing like the team that started the season 5-0.
10) Tennessee Titans (Prev: 6)
When the Titans play badly, they’re abysmal. If you look at their losses this season, they were getting blown out at one point or another in every single one of them. Sunday’s final score looks like a close shootout, but for anyone who watched the game, you know the Titans were dominated in every single facet against the Browns. The Titans still lead in the AFC South, but they will need to do better than they did Sunday if they’re going to contend with other contenders.
9) Miami Dolphins (Prev: 10)
The Dolphins won their seventh game in eight tries when they defeated the Bengals by 19-7. They’re now 8-4 on the season and hold the sixth seed in the AFC. However, the test will begin now, as their schedule begins to pick up. If they’re going to make the playoffs, they’re going to have to earn it. They end their season with games against the Chiefs, Patriots, Raiders, and Bills.
8) Indianapolis Colts (Prev: 9)
The Colts played a very clean football game on Sunday, and the defense recovered a massive fumble with just seconds remaining, which moved them to 8-4 on the season and a tie atop the AFC South. Currently, the Colts are clinging to the final playoff spot in the AFC. Philip Rivers threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
7) Los Angeles Rams (Prev: 8)
The Rams have taken over first place in the NFC West by virtue of tiebreakers over the Seahawks. LA had no problem taking care of the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday, and they look poised to wrap up a playoff spot very shortly. After a disastrous performance against the 49ers, Jared Goff threw for 351 yards and one touchdown and didn’t turn the ball over once. Again, it seems that the Rams’ success will solely depend on how consistent they can be. Up until now, it has been a serious issue.
6) Cleveland Browns (Prev: 11)
The knock on the Browns was that they hadn’t beaten anyone good. Seven of their eight wins entering Week 13 were against teams with losing records. That all changed on Sunday, as they put up 41 points on the Titans to move to 9-3 on the season, announcing to the rest of the AFC that they’re for real. Though the final score makes the game seem close, the Browns led by 31 at halftime, and Tennessee scored twice in the final two minutes. Baker Mayfield threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns in the victory.
5) Green Bay Packers (Prev: 5)
Green Bay rattled off their fourth win in five games as they defeated the Eagles by 30-16. They are now 9-3 on the season, just one game behind the Saints for the one seed. Aaron Rodgers threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns, 121 and two of which were to Davante Adams. Aaron Jones added 130 yards on the ground, including a 77-yard touchdown run to seal the victory.
4) Buffalo Bills (Prev: 4)
While the Steelers got caught napping on Monday night, the Bills took care of business. Although they won’t have the opportunity to be the first to defeat Pittsburgh next week, they will certainly be looking to make it back-to-back losses for the 11-1 team. In their victory over the 49ers, Josh Allen was absolutely incredible. He threw for 375 yards and four touchdowns. The Bills maintained their one-game lead over the Dolphins in the AFC East.
3) New Orleans Saints (Prev: 3)
The Saints haven’t struggled without Drew Brees. They just wrapped up a playoff berth after their ninth-straight victory, and they are inching closer to locking up the NFC South. The defense has tightened up in recent weeks, and the offense has played very well with Taysom Hill at quarterback. It all looks very similar to what happened last season when Brees missed some time, back when Teddy Bridgewater came in and played respectably. The Saints don’t have the luxury of slipping up, however, as Green Bay is breathing down their neck for the conference’s number one seed.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers (Prev: 1)
And just like that, the perfect season is over. Everyone was talking about next week’s game against Buffalo as a possible slip-up spot for the Steelers. Instead, they blew a 14-point lead against a 4-7 team that was without their most productive offensive player for nearly the entire game. They still hold the number one seed in the AFC thanks to their perfect conference record, but now the pressure is firmly on Pittsburgh as they try to hold off the Chiefs for the top spot in the conference.
1) Kansas City Chiefs (Prev: 2)
The Chiefs didn’t look very good on Sunday night, but they found a way to get the victory and now share the same record as the Steelers with just four games remaining. The defense struggled against the run, giving up 179 yards, and the offense settled for five field goals, but it was enough to win the game and clinch a playoff berth in the process. Next up, the Chiefs will take on the 8-4 Miami Dolphins.
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