With five games left in the regular season, the Washington Football Team controls its own destiny.
A four-game win streak has brought Washington from the depths of the standings to a .500 record and the No. 6 seed if the playoff started today. But Washington now has something bigger to play for, as its remaining opponents are all within the division. Should Washington claim the NFC East, Washington would have the division crown in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1984.
Here's where each team currently stands:
Dallas Cowboys (2-0 division, 8-4 overall)
The Cowboys jumped out to a 6-1 start, and there were points they looked like one of the top teams in the league. Now, that isn't quite the case, and Dallas' stranglehold on the division is starting to slip.
Wins against the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints have helped, but a lackluster home loss to the Denver Broncos, followed by back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders, have dropped the Cowboys' division lead down to just two games.
Within the division, though, Dallas has two thoroughly convincing victories against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Its two matchups against Washington, which occur over the course of three weeks, will be crucial. If Dallas manages to sweep the Burgundy & Gold, then first place is all but secured; on the other hand, if it gets swept or even splits the games, Washington still has a chance to secure the title.
Washington Football Team (1-0 division, 6-6 overall)
Washington has not played a division opponent since Week 2, and the last-second victory against the Giants has proven to be even more valuable after its recent resurgence.
On paper, Washington has a formula for winning in December. Antonio Gibson is running better than most backs in the league right now -- he's fifth in rushing with 800 yards -- and the defense, which was a liability, is starting to play closer to the unit many expected it to be. What's more, Taylor Heinicke has been one of the most accurate signal-callers since the bye week and only thrown two picks in the last four games.
All division games are important, but it's hard to undersell the significance of its next matchup with the Cowboys. A win wouldn't put Washington in first place, but it would make it the only team with an undefeated division record. It will certainly be a challenge; Dallas has the most productive offense in the league, and Trevon Diggs leads the league in interceptions.
Philadelphia Eagles (0-2 division, 6-7 overall)
The Eagles are currently on their bye week, although they have had a similar surge to Washington in recent weeks. A 33-22 loss to the Raiders gave the Eagles a 2-6 record, but four wins in the last six weeks, the most recent being a 33-18 win over the New York Jets, has the team one game below .500.
In terms of the division race, the Eagles' chances are hurt by two losses -- one to the Cowboys and the most recent coming at the hands of the Giants. Like Washington, the remainder of the Eagles' games are against NFC East opponents, but even if they do manage to win out, they will likely need help from around the league in order to claim the division.
The Washington Football Team takes the field for its first practice of the week as it prepares for its Week 14 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
New York Giants (1-2 division, 4-8 overall)
Getting a win over the Eagles does help the Giants' cause, but they also have the most to overcome in the final stretch of the season. They were without Daniel Jones, who is actually third on the team in rushing yards, against the Miami Dolphins, and there is a possibility former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm will start against the Chargers.
If Washington is in control of its own destiny, the Giants are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Not only will they need to win out, which is no guarantee with the Cowboys, Eagles, Bears and Washington next on the schedule after the Chargers, but they will also need help since they've already played one more division game over the other NFC East teams.