It might be time for another rule change in the NFL. The NFC East continues to prove it doesn’t have a team that deserves to make the playoffs. And yet, there will still be a team representing that division, regardless of how poor the record turns out to be.
Two of those contenders for the NFC East “crown” took the field on Thursday night. The majority of the game was a struggle to watch, but at least it finished in exciting fashion.
The Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1) scored two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter to secure a 22-21 come-from-behind win over the New York Giants. The best play of the evening came on the final score when quarterback Carson Wentz hit running back Boston Scott for an 18-yard touchdown.
BOSTON SCOTT COMES THROUGH.
The @Eagles take the lead with 40 seconds left!
— NFL (@NFL) October 23, 2020
Unfortunately, most of the game didn’t bring that same level of flare. Things looked worse for the Giants, but neither team looked like a competitor. Philadelphia did show a pulse late, but it still wasn’t enough to garner much attention.
Once again, it was revealed that the NFC East continues to be a mess.
I think Alabama or Clemson could win the NFC East
— Cruz Oxenreider (@TheRealCruzOx) October 23, 2020
But where do we go from here? Where does the NFC go from here? This is how the playoff picture currently stands:
- NFC West: Seattle Seahawks (5-0)
- NFC North: Chicago Bears (5-1)
- NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)
- NFC East: Dallas Cowboys (2-4)
- Wildcard spots: Green Bay Packers (4-1), Los Angeles Rams (4-2), Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
Do any of those teams stand out for any reason? The easy answer is yes.
There is no justifiable reason for the Cowboys to be an automatic playoff team right now, except “that’s the rule.” Boring and lame. The NFC East is terrible across the board, and there isn’t a team in that division that will look remotely competitive in the playoffs, at least not from what we’ve seen.
Is this really the best we can do? The argument could be made for at least two, maybe three, more-deserving teams from stronger divisions.
The New Orleans Saints (3-2) and Carolina Panthers (3-3) are better football teams, especially once Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey return from injuries. The San Francisco 49ers (3-3) aren’t great, but they’re better than anything we’ve seen from the NFC East.
It’s unfortunate that the league sacrifices better football for division rules. It is rare that the truly top teams make it into the playoffs, and that’s unfortunate. It’s a broken system that should be addressed as soon as possible.
Playoff expansion was an important step, but it shouldn’t be the only step. Eliminate the divisions and take the top seven teams from the NFC and AFC.
It’s not that hard.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.