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What would have happened if all 4 NFC East teams finished with 6-10 records?

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Let’s imagine total shenanigans in the NFL’s worst division.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Update, 12/9: After the Eagles’ overtime win over the Giants in Week 14, there can no longer be a 6-10 division winner. The Eagles and Cowboys are both 6-7, but play each other in Week 16. Here’s what would have had to happen to keep the dream alive.

The Dallas Cowboys could’ve had the NFC East wrapped up a while ago, but three straight losses have them sitting at 6-7. The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t taken advantage of that slide. They’ve dropped three in a row too, including an embarrassing Week 13 loss to the tanking Miami Dolphins that sank the Eagles to 5-7.

Even if one of those teams reverses its misfortunes to finish 9-7, the NFC East would still be the first division in three years without a double-digit win champion. The likelier scenario, though, is that no NFC East team will finish 2019 with a winning record.

That’s happened before. Five years ago, the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers won the NFC South. In 2010, there were the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks, who clinched the NFC West. But a 6-10 record for a division champion? That’d be an all-time low.

It’s still possible in the NFC East too.

All that would need to happen is for the Cowboys to lose their last three games against the Rams, the Eagles, and Washington. Then if Philadelphia loses to the Giants twice and Washington once, there we have it: a tie between the Cowboys and Eagles at 6-10.

Washington and New York could climb into the mix at that point. We’re already assuming two wins for each team in games against Dallas and Philadelphia. Washington can only get to 6-10 by winning out. For that matter, even the 2-10 Giants could get there by winning out.

Aww yeah, you know what that means. Tiebreaker hell!

OK, maybe not so much. Every possible 6-10 tie in the NFC East can be broken with either the first tiebreaker (record in head-to-head play) or the second (record in divisional play).

Who would come out on top of a two-way, three-way, or even a four-way tie of 6-10 teams? Let’s break all the possibilities down:

Scenario 1: A Cowboys-Eagles 6-10 tie

Winner: Cowboys

Tiebreaker: Divisional record

How it could happen:

  • Cowboys finish 6-10: Lose vs. Rams, lose vs. Eagles, lose vs. Washington
  • Eagles finish 6-10: Lose vs. Giants, lose vs. Washington, win vs. Cowboys, lose vs. Giants
  • Washington finishes 5-11: Lose vs. Packers, win vs. Eagles, lose vs. Giants, win vs. Cowboys
  • Giants finish 5-11: Win vs. Eagles, lose vs. Dolphins, win vs. Washington, win vs. Eagles

In this hypothetical, the Eagles even the season series with the Cowboys by winning in Week 16. But the other part of this scenario is Philadelphia losing two games against the Giants and one against Washington. That’d mean finishing with a 2-4 record in NFC East play. The Cowboys are already 4-0 in divisional play, meaning they’ll finish no worse than 4-2. That’s enough to own the tiebreaker over the Eagles.

Scenario 2: A Cowboys-Eagles-Washington 6-10 tie

Winner: Cowboys

Tiebreaker: Divisional record

How it could happen:

  • Cowboys finish 6-10: Lose vs. Rams, lose vs. Eagles, lose vs. Washington
  • Eagles finish 6-10: Lose vs. Giants, lose vs. Washington, win vs. Cowboys, lose vs. Giants
  • Washington finishes 6-10: Lose vs. Packers, win vs. Eagles, win vs. Giants, win vs. Cowboys
  • Giants finish 4-12: Win vs. Eagles, lose vs. Dolphins, lose vs. Washington, win vs. Eagles

The only difference in this scenario is one extra win for Washington against either the Packers or Giants. Let’s assume it’s the latter, considering it’s significantly more likely.

The three divisional wins for Washington would boost its NFC East record to 3-3. That still wouldn’t be enough to top the Cowboys in the divisional record tiebreaker, though.

Scenario 3: A Cowboys-Eagles-Giants 6-10 tie

Winner: Cowboys

Tiebreaker: Head-to-head record

How it could happen:

  • Cowboys finish 6-10: Lose vs. Rams, lose vs. Eagles, lose vs. Washington
  • Eagles finish 6-10: Lose vs. Giants, lose vs. Washington, win vs. Cowboys, lose vs. Giants
  • Giants finish 6-10: Win vs. Eagles, win vs. Dolphins, win vs. Washington, win vs. Eagles
  • Washington finishes 5-11: Lose vs. Packers, win vs. Eagles, lose vs. Giants, win vs. Cowboys

Here we have the Giants winning out and Washington dropping its Week 14 game against the Packers. New York would actually tie the Cowboys’ 4-2 record in NFC East play in this outcome. The problem is that the Cowboys already beat the Giants twice. Dallas would be 3-1 against New York and Philadelphia in the head-to-head tiebreaker, while the Giants would be 2-2 and the Eagles would be 1-3.

Scenario 4: A Cowboys-Eagles-Washington-Giants 6-10 tie

Winner: Cowboys

Tiebreaker: Head-to-head record

How it could happen:

  • Cowboys finish 6-10: Lose vs. Rams, lose vs. Eagles, lose vs. Washington
  • Eagles finish 6-10: Lose vs. Giants, lose vs. Washington, win vs. Cowboys, lose vs. Giants
  • Washington finishes 6-10: Win vs. Packers (EDIT: nope!), win vs. Eagles, lose vs. Giants, win vs. Cowboys
  • Giants finish 6-10: Win vs. Eagles, win vs. Dolphins, win vs. Washington, win vs. Eagles

Unfortunately, Green Bay’s win over Washington in Week 14 means we won’t see the four-way tie at 6-10 the NFC East truly deserves. That’s tragic, but here’s how it could have happened:

The Giants still win out, but Washington beats the Packers and (chef’s kiss), it’s beautiful. Four teams deadlocked in mediocrity. Unfortunately, the not-so-exciting result is still the Cowboys winning the tie. Dallas and New York would be 4-2 in games between NFC East teams and Philadelphia and Washington would both be 2-4. The Cowboys’ season sweep would then eliminate the Giants.


All 6-10 ties in the NFC East end with the Cowboys coming out on top. The only way they miss the playoffs is if the Eagles finish with a better record. That means, at minimum, getting to seven wins.

If there’s a reason for NFC East teams to be optimistic, perhaps they could look at how the aforementioned 2010 Seahawks and 2014 Panthers did in the postseason. Neither team got to eight wins in the regular season, but both pulled off an upset win during Wild Card Weekend. Seattle even had an iconic moment in Beast Quake.

Despite their three-game skid, the likeliest scenario is that the Cowboys win the NFC East. A four-way tie at 6-10 is still too fun not to root for, though.