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Ranking the 6 most embarrassing losses for NFC East teams this season

All four teams in the NFC East have laid some serious eggs in 2019.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

One of the teams in the NFC East has to go to the playoffs. The NFL rulebook says so.

It sure doesn’t seem like any of them want to step up and grab that division title, though. The Cowboys fell to under .500 by losing four of their last five, the Eagles have lost three straight, and the Giants haven’t won a game since September.

The only NFC East team winning as of late is Washington, but barring a miracle, its postseason hopes were doomed by a 1-9 start to the year. With four weeks left, the standings in the NFL’s worst division look like this:

  1. Dallas Cowboys: 6-7
  2. Philadelphia Eagles: 5-7
  3. Washington: 3-9
  4. New York Giants: 2-10

Yeesh. Every other division has at least one team with eight wins.

How did the NFC East get here? By way of many awful losses. Out friends at Blogging The Boys already ranked the Cowboys’ losses by how disappointing they were. But Dallas isn’t the one team failing to take advantage of opportunities. All four teams in the division have shit the bed at least once in 2019.

Here are the six most inexplicable losses by the NFC East so far, ranked by how embarrassing they were:

6. Falcons 24, Eagles 20 in Week 2

Even though it wasn’t such a weird result at the time, losing to the Falcons looked worse and worse as Atlanta continued to fall on its face. The Eagles were the only team to lose to the Falcons the first two months of the season.

The Eagles led the game, 20-17, with just a couple minutes left and had the Falcons facing a fourth down near midfield. One more stop and the game would be over. Philadelphia thought it’d be a good idea to blitz six players and have five defensive backs play man coverage against the Falcons receivers.

That blew up in their face when a screen pass to Julio Jones turned into an easy 54-yard touchdown for the win.

Hindsight is 20/20, but the Eagles trusting their much-maligned defensive backs to lock down the likes of Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley one-on-one was ill-advised.

5. Vikings 28, Cowboys 24 in Week 10

Coaching failed the Cowboys against the Vikings, as it has all year. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Ezekiel Elliott was held to 47 yards on 20 carries.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what plan of attack the Cowboys should’ve gone with down 28-24 late in the fourth quarter. Dallas started its drive with Prescott picking apart the Minnesota defense, but it ended when the Cowboys banged their head against a wall with Elliott.

Even after the turnover on downs, the Cowboys got another chance at a game-winning touchdown. However, with a couple dozen seconds left in the game, Tavon Austin passed up on a golden opportunity to return a punt.

While this game could go higher on the list, it only sits near the bottom because the Vikings are a playoff contender.

4. Bears 31, Washington 15 in Week 3

There were never high expectations for Washington. Quarterback Alex Smith suffered a bad leg break during the 2018 season and — with him ruled out for all of 2019 — Washington traded for Broncos castoff Case Keenum to be the temporary starter. Left tackle Trent Williams has missed the entire season due to a dispute with the front office.

So not many of the team’s losses are too embarrassing. Falling to Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears by 16 points qualifies, though.

In a nationally televised Monday Night Football matchup, Washington outgained Chicago with 356 yards to 298. It wound up a blowout loss anyway, because Keenum couldn’t take care of the dang football. He threw three interceptions and fumbled three times, losing two of them.

Keenum has since been replaced in the starting lineup by Dwayne Haskins, Washington’s 2019 first-round pick. Haskins hasn’t been stellar so far (his 58.5 passer rating is the worst among current starters), but at least he isn’t sinking his team’s chances by turning the ball over five times.

3. Jets 34, Giants 27 in Week 10

The intrastate battle for New Jersey New York was a pretty sad matchup to begin with. The Giants were 2-7 and the Jets were 1-7. It felt like rock bottom for the Giants when they couldn’t even beat this level of competition.

Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 308 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. That still wasn’t enough to win. Part of that was poor defense from the Giants, but it was also because Jones fumbled three times — including when he allowed Jamal Adams to snatch the ball straight out of his hands and score a touchdown.

It was the worst of Jones’ many, many, many fumbles this season.

Even the usually mild-mannered Saquon Barkley — who carried the ball 13 times for just 1 yard — couldn’t hide his frustration with that particular loss.

The Giants haven’t won a game since they took down Washington in Week 4. Now, they’re in contention for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, none of their losses was more deflating than this one.

2. Jets 24, Cowboys 22 in Week 6

Dallas didn’t score its first touchdown against the Jets until there were less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Jets jumped out to a 21-3 lead with three first-half touchdowns. The Jets!

It’s perplexing how the Cowboys managed to finish with 399 yards of offense and zero turnovers, then only get into the end zone twice late in the game. Even after their horrible start, Dallas had its chance to win. But Jamal Adams blitzed right up the middle on a two-point conversion that would’ve tied the game and forced an errant pass from Dak Prescott.

Ultimately, the early hole the Cowboys dug for themselves was too deep. Tight end Jason Witten summed up the frustrating performance of the offense as calmly as he knew how.

The Jets entered the game 0-4 on the year. After getting their first win of the season, they lost their next three. Through the first eight games of the year, the Jets topped 18 points just once. It was their win over the Cowboys.

Even two months later, the win is difficult to rationalize.

1. Dolphins 37, Eagles 31 in Week 13

Philadelphia had a couple tough matchups on the schedule after its Week 10 bye. Losing one-score games to the Patriots and Seahawks was frustrating for the team, but understandable. Losing to the Dolphins isn’t as easy a pill to swallow.

The Dolphins have spent 2019 stripping the roster down and selling it for parts. It’s a full-fledged tank job. Yet Miami was still able to rack up 409 yards of offense against the Eagles.

Even Dolphins punter Matt Haack got in on the action with a touchdown pass to kicker Jason Sanders.

It’s hard to imagine any game in 2019 will be more embarrassing for an NFC East team than the Eagles — a team that really thought it had Super Bowl aspirations — falling to a team that was intentionally engineered to be bad.

Then again, there are still a few more weeks left in the season for the division to humiliate itself worse.