NFL flexes Washington-Panthers to keep intrigue in Cowboys-Eagles
The NFL has bent Washington-Carolina in such a way that the result is unknown at the time of Dallas and Philadelphia start.
In week 16, the NFC East title is still up for grabs as no teams are able to land over .500.
All four clubs have a path to the division title, but only Washington controls their own destiny.
Another victory in Washington will eliminate both the Cowboys and the Eagles.
The Dallas Cowboys are only two days away from their Sunday afternoon affair, which was supposed to be played on Sunday evening. The NFL rightly ruled that a matchup between a wriggling team of Cowboys and a beating San Francisco 49ers didn't deserve to be the week 15 flagship and turned them from primetime slot into the early games. Little did they know that Cowboys-49ers were going to be one of the funniest matchups of the weekend, and the game it replaced, Browns-Giants, was going to be a snoozer.
Now the NFL continues to shuffle the planning deck, this time around to keep as many eyeballs as possible in the Cowboys game instead of trying to stave off the glare. With their win on Sunday, Dallas holds the slightest hope of winning the NFC East, so the league wants the first matchup of week 16 to be as important as possible to FOX.
That intrigue depends on both the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles still having something to play, which means they have to manipulate an entirely different game. The NFL has moved the Washington Football Team and Carolina Panthers from kicking off noon CT to 3:05 p.m. CT start.
There will still be intrigue for the Cowboys and Eagles when they start at 3:25 p.m. CT.
Washington currently leads the division with a 6-8 record, one game ahead of the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys (5-9) and a game and a half ahead of Philadelphia (4-9-1).
The New York Giants play against the Baltimore Ravens at noon. Because of sweeping Washington, they'd win a tiebreaker if both teams ended on the same record. Therefore, their game is important to them regardless of that.
A loss to New York means Washington can win the division with a win in their game against Carolina.
Dallas and Philadelphia would have nothing to play with but their rivalry without a loss in Washington. A WFT win in an early game would have meant that both the Cowboys and Eagles could rest the few remaining uninjured stars and escape the intrigue in the game.
Their fate will still not be entirely in their hands, but now they have to play the way it is.
Whoever emerges victorious from the Cowboys Eagles game still has a chance to win the division in week 17, but only if Washington loses.
Dallas would then have to win the Eagles on Sunday, beat the New York Giants in week 17 and beat the Eagles that week against Washington to win the NFC East for the third time in three seasons.
Philadelphia (after losing to the Panthers in Washington) would have to beat Dallas and Washington and New York would lose to either the Ravens or the Cowboys.
The Giants would have to win their last two games against the Ravens and Cowboys and let Washington lose one of their last two games.
Let's not even start if any of the games ended in a draw in the last two weeks.
7 Takeaways: Cowboys Draft Slot, Playoff Path, and Pollard's Position have been updated
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