- The Washington Football team remains favored, at odds of +100, to win the NFC East championship
- Washington missed an opportunity to clinch the division title Sunday by losing to the Carolina Panthers
- The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are also still in contention for the NFC East crown
The Washington Football Team missed an opportunity to clinch the NFC East title Sunday but remains favored to win its first division title since 2015.
Washington would have sewn up the crown by beating visiting Carolina Panthers at home. Instead, it lost 20-13 as a one-point underdog.
Washington is now tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place as both are 6-9. The New York Giants, at 5-10, also have a chance.
NFC East Championship Odds
|Washington Football Team||+100|
|New York Giants||+280|
Odds taken Dec. 23 from DraftKings
Washington is now an even-money favorite to finish first, though their NFL divisional odds are longer than the -288 they were at going into the game with Carolina. Meanwhile, the Giants’ odds to have improved from +600 from last week while the Cowboys were not even on the board going into Week 16.
Washington Blows First Chance
Washington blew its first chance to win the NFC East thanks in large part to a dismal effort by quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Pressed into the starting role with Alex Smith (calf) sidelined, Haskins threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Haskins completed just 14 of 28 passes for 151 yards before giving way to Taylor Heinicke, who was signed to the practice squad three weeks ago.
Dwayne Haskins with a second interception.#WashingtonFootball
— TWSN (@TWSN___) December 27, 2020
Haskins’ poor performance came after he was fined $40,000 and stripped of his captaincy earlier in the week for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Washington’s usually stout defense gave up two touchdown drives and 202 total yards in the first half. Carolina scored another first-half touchdown when Washington’s Steven Sims muffed a punt return in which the ball rolled into the end zone.
Cowboys Stay Alive
The Cowboys kept what had been flickering postseason hopes alive by beating the visiting Philadelphia Eagles 37-17 at home as three-point underdogs for their third straight win. The loss eliminated the Eagles (4-10-1)
Andy Dalton passed for 371 yards and three touchdowns with two of the scores going to Michael Gallup, Dallas came back from a 14-3 deficit in the first quarter.
Michael Gallup is going off on the Eagles ?
And it’s only the first half @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 27, 2020
The Giants lost to the Ravens 27-13 in Baltimore as Daniel Jones was sacked six times. Though New York’s losing streak reached three games, it still has a chance to win the division.
Washington Unsettled at QB
Washington finishes its season next Sunday by visiting the Eagles while the Cowboys travel to play the Giants in the Meadowlands.
Washington opened as a 1.5-point underdog. Dallas is a one-point favorite despite playing on the road.
A victory in Philadelphia would give Washington the division title. If Washington loses then the winner of the Cowboys-Giants game would finish first.
Washington’s first-year team president remains hopeful.
Gutted for what could have been tonight, but excited for the guys to play a win and get in next week at Philly. Those moments don’t come easily in the League and it’s huge for this young team to be in one. Can’t wait! #WashingtonFootball
— Jason Wright (@whoisjwright) December 28, 2020
The big question surrounding Washington is at quarterback. Smith is still questionable with the calf injury.
Washington has gone 4-1 in games the veteran has started this season. Meanwhile, with Haskins as the starter, Washington is just 1-5.
If Smith cannot play against the Eagles, it would not be a surprise if coach Ron Rivera went with Heinicke in the must-win game following Sunday’s debacle. Heinicke was solid in relief as he 12-of-19 passing for 137 yards and a touchdown.
? #CARvsWAS CBS pic.twitter.com/He7ZORWE10
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) December 28, 2020
Rivera also has familiarity with Heinicke. The 27-year-old’s lone career start came in 2018 for the Panthers when Rivera was their coach.
Still the WFT’s Division to Lose
Considering the possibility exists that the division champion could finish with a 6-10 record, it would be easy to say none of the four teams deserve to advance to the postseason.
However, somebody is going to win the division and Washington still controls its own destiny. Even if Heinicke gets the call – and that might be the right move over the mercurial Haskins – Washington’s defense can keep the game close and allow the Football Team to eke out a road win over the eliminated Eagles.