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Need to Know: How many wins to take the NFC East?

Jul 7, 2016, 5:16 AM EDT

Hall TD vs Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 7, 21 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


—The Redskins last played a game 179 days ago. It will be 67 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 8; Preseason opener @ Falcons 35; Final roster cut 58

The Redskins by the numbers

Last year, for the second time since 2011, a team won the NFC East with fewer than 10 wins. Back in 2011 it was the Giants who claimed the division with a 9-7 record. There are two things to note about that season. One was that they were outscored by the opposition on the season; the other is that they won the Super Bowl.

Last year it was the 9-7 Redskins who won the division. They did outscore the opposition but they went one and done on the playoffs.

Will the NFC East have another down year in 2016? How many wins will it take to win the division title? Let’s dust off the $100 in imaginary casino chips and place bets on the possible outcomes.

Eight or fewer wins, $10—This actually isn’t that hard a scenario to paint. The Eagles and Giants suffer from adjustment pains with their new coaches. In Dallas, Romo gets injured again and/or the defense is a steaming hot mess. With the Redskins, Kirk Cousins turns out to be who many thought he was before the 2015 season. Nobody can get anything going and the Cowboys and Redskins both finish 8-8 and sort out the playoff spot with tiebreakers.

Nine wins, $30—A carbon copy of last year, anyone? After facing the AFC West last year, everyone takes on the AFC North, a tougher, more balanced division assuming the Ravens bounce back after an injury plagued season. It’s not easy going against the NFC North, either. In short, I envision a lot of NFCE teams being road underdogs outside of the division. If a team goes 4-2 in the division they will have to fight for another five wins outside of the NFC East.

10 wins, $40—Despite a difficult schedule, I think this could be where Washington lands. The question is, will Dallas or the Eagles be able to catch them here? Sorry, Giants, but I don’t think that Eli to OBJ is enough to get you above .500. The Cowboys will be able to score and the Eagles have the best defense in the division.

11 or more wins, $20—This used to be the norm in the division. From 2000-2009 the division winner had 11 wins or more nine times. From 2010 through last year only the 2014 Cowboys, who went 12-4, took it with more than 10 wins.

How many wins do you think it will take to win the East? Let me know in the comments or vote in the poll!

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In case you missed it 

  1. Skulb - Jul 7, 2016 at 6:50 AM

    Agree with your response to the tweet. 16 games with injuries and such affecting things is short and volatile enough for statistical flukes to appear big, such as the third quarter woes of the Skins last year. Some people are just never satisfied I guess, and need to hunt for new reasons to question Cousins and Gruden rather than be happy the team is doing better. Weird fans if you ask me.

    • renhoekk2 - Jul 7, 2016 at 9:50 AM

      What a dumb tweet. “Other coaches have no problem in the 3rd Qtr”. I suppose Gruden and the Redskins were the only team to get outscored in the 3rd Qtr. What’s that? You mean other coaches and teams also got outscored in the third quarter of games? That’s not possible. That punches a hole in Ryan’s belief system that Gruden and Cousins are terrible. Funny that the Saints were even worse in the 3rd Qtr. I guess Sean Payton and Drew Brees are even worse than Gruden and Cousins.

      • Skulb - Jul 7, 2016 at 10:45 AM

        This is from the “no wins against winning sides” school of non-arguments. I am starting to recognize them now, so they don;t annoy me as much as they did before.
        I picture some sad, balding, sweaty dude in his underwear somewhere, cooking up these things sp he can pretend he was right last year about Cousins or the year before about Griffin.
        Making up nonsense is much better than admitting a mistake I mean. Everyone knows that.

        • bangkokben - Jul 7, 2016 at 11:06 AM

          “Making up nonsense is much better than admitting a mistake..”

          This is the crux of these people’s belief system. They double down on stupid. They are unable to see when they were wrong.

        • Skulb - Jul 7, 2016 at 11:25 AM


          Doubling down on stupid is exactly right. I nearly had a stroke last summer trying to make people see that a player doing everything right except one thing was a better bet than another player who did one thing right while doing everything else wrong. When simple things like that become a huge controversy you know you’re being treated to someone doubling down on stupid. I said something stupid, therefore stupid must be right, and here’s one isolated stat I will repeat endlessly to prove it, while ignoring all context.

          I need a liedown…

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 7, 2016 at 5:41 PM

          That’s just American discourse in general these days. Facts, logic, and reason don’t matter. Simply pick a side and dig in. If you change you’re mind you’re a weak flip flopper. Research is nonessential. We don’t celebrate growth and seeking more information. We celebrate sticking to your guns. I honestly think that’s what some people believe a conversation/debate is. Just repeate your preconceived notions enough until it sounds right.

    • renhoekk2 - Jul 7, 2016 at 9:59 AM

      Oh and did I mention DEN also got outscored in the 3rd quarter of games last season. I guess their coach is garbage too.

  2. Skulb - Jul 7, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    Oh and also: /hurls tea leaves and fish entrails into the air, Skins repeat with 11 wins!

  3. garg8050 - Jul 7, 2016 at 7:17 AM

    I think it’ll take 10, though I wouldn’t be surprised if 9 wins takes it. The AFC North will be a challenge, minus Cleveland, for the entire NFC East. I’m sure most teams would sign up for a 2-2 record vs. that division. Add on the usual ‘beating up on each other’ that takes place within the division, I don’t see anyone running away with the division.

    • redskins12thman - Jul 7, 2016 at 7:47 AM

      I agree with gang 8050; my initial gut says 10 wins although I wouldn’t be surprised if 9 wins is sufficient to win the division. It’s important for the Redskins to get out to a strong start, 5-2 or even 6-1 or 7-0, because games #8 (against the Bengals in London) through #14 (versus the Panthers — a team we lost to by 28 points last season) will be real tough. If the Redskins go 3-4 in those seven games, with a 8-6 record overall, the Skins would need to either win their last two encounters or at the very least split them. So let’s hope for a strong start — 5-2, 6-1 or 7-0!

      • bangkokben - Jul 7, 2016 at 11:18 AM

        The Panthers have lost more than half of their starting secondary from last year. File that under: Just Sayin’

        Charles Tilman
        Josh Norman
        Roman Harper

        Bene’ Benwikere
        Tre Boston
        Robert McClain

        Say what you will about their front seven, they took a talent hit in the back four.

        • renhoekk2 - Jul 7, 2016 at 12:15 PM

          I’m also skeptical of Cam Newton having a repeat season. He somehow doubled his career TD%. And that was without any great additions to the receiving corp. It almost seemed like a deal with the devil type performance. I’m betting he only got a one year deal.

      • Trey Gregory - Jul 7, 2016 at 2:18 PM

        I wouldn’t underestimate the panthers. Bang has a good point about their secondary, but that’s almost the only bad thing you can say about them. They still have a great front 7, including the best middle linebacker in the game, and Harper/Tillman were old and it was probably time to let them go. They did draft corners in the 2nd and 3rd. Who knows if they got the next Breelamd? Vernon Butler should only help them get better. I also think Shaq Thompson could break out. I badly wanted Washington to draft him last year. I think he will end up being the player we hope Cravens turns into.

        But I expect their offense to be smoking. Cam Newton is not a one year wonder. He’s had a very good NFL career since destroying records his rookie year. The teams around him, weren’t so hot. And he had some growing up to do. But the talent was always apparent and, even at his worst, he was good. Then add the return of Kelvin Benjamin. He has enough potential to transform that offense. They’re also returning most of the parts (OLine, run game, TEs, other receivers) who were good enough to get them to the SB. Maybe Cam doesn’t have as good a season, but the offense in general should be better.

        I believe we were beat so bad because the Panthers had a mental edge. They were on quite the streak, having fun, and felt very confident. We were a young struggling team, playing Goliath, and got punched in the mouth early. Carolina played very physical. I think their confidence waned early and we stood no chance of even competing. But I also believe Carolina was the superior team. Washington should be more competitive in year 2 of the rebuild. I don’t expect them to win but it shouldn’t be a blowout if they can stay confident.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Jul 7, 2016 at 3:56 PM

          What is with these people and this “one year wonder” thing with Cam? Here’s one way to debunk that, NAME A SINGLE WR THAT’S ON THEIR ROSTER (besides Benjamin that has played sparingly thus far) WITHOUT THE USE OF THE INTERNET. It’s just funny how you hear the “he has no receivers argument” work for other QB’s but with Cam, who is like 30-40% of their offense, it’s a mute point. The guy has been productive every year he’s been in the league. He’s been at least 3k and 500 passing/rushing since he’s been in the league AND HEALTHY! Now, for my Robert sympathizers how is this ANY different from the guy you’re trying to save? Oh and my Kirk enthusiasts that use the “oh well he’s improving and just needs a full year of continuity to really shine” excuse when arguing why we should “just pay him” HOW IS CAM ANY DIFFERENT? He’s improved pretty much every year he’s been in the league. I get that he’s braggadocios and actually enjoys playing the game so him being “fired up” bothers people but don’t say the guy is a one year wonder when he’s been to the playoffs 3 times in his career(5 years). THREE TIMES by contrast, Romo has been in the league 14 years and has only been 4 times. Phillip Rivers? 5 times in 13 seasons. Matt Ryan? 4 times in 9 seasons. But they’re considered “winning QB’s” while Newton’s SUSTAINED success is a fluke?

          You can always tell the people who started watching football last year.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 7, 2016 at 4:05 PM

          I agree with you. Cam rubs people the wrong way (for reasons I’ll never truly understand) but denying his talent and ability seems like fan denial. Or just plain hate.

          To the point about his receivers, I think people know who Ted Ginn is, but for the wrong reasons. He was mostly considered a bust until last year. And I remember hearing a stat last season: the panthers had 3 of the top 5 receivers in dropped passes. Their drop rate was stunning. That was mid season, I don’t know if they kept the same rate, but he was undefeated with receivers who led the league in dropped passes. And it’s not like they won games 10-6. The defense was good but the offense scored a ton. Cam was a huge part of that.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Jul 7, 2016 at 5:35 PM

          “I agree with you. Cam rubs people the wrong way (for reasons I’ll never truly understand) but denying his talent and ability seems like fan denial. Or just plain hate.” You just answered your own question… JUST. PLAIN. HATE I won’t delve any deeper into the topic but that is, at best, scratching the surface.

          The funny thing about Ginn is that I believe he’s a product of the system. People love to bash Norman because playing with an elite front seven boosted his numbers. How is the situation with Ginn any different? QB’s can’t make the people round them better? Ginn’s been around the league, for good reason (remember my earlier comments on stability being a reward for quality players), playing for 5 teams in ten years. What QB’s did he have throwing to him? Now I’m not saying he’s turned the corner, and this is what we should expect from him now but, having an elite passer at the helm makes a difference. Even with all that being said Ginn had a serviceable year by normal standards, 44 rec 740 yds. Our rookie got 59 rec 604 yds playing along Garcon, Jackson and Reed. Ginn was “the only option” so he should have better numbers than that. All that being said I’m not terribly high on Ginn he was drafted as a project, maybe the next Devin Hester, more like Teddy Jester friggin joke. That was mean but he is not a number one two or three. Rotational guy and ST at best. Cam made him look good last year.

        • mtskins - Jul 7, 2016 at 6:00 PM

          I know he’s not a WR but when counting up Cam’s passing game weapons think Greg Olsen should be throw into any conversation. I get your point but just wanted to mention him as I think he is one of the better tight ends in the game and Cam benefits from having him as a target.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 7, 2016 at 6:09 PM

          Absolutely. Olsen is a monster. He’s been one of my favorite TEs for a while and Cam benefited greatly from having him around.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Jul 7, 2016 at 6:47 PM

          @MTSKINS Olsen is an elite TE but he still only accounted for +/- 1/4 of Cam’s passing yds. Olsen definitely helps him out but that only furthers my point that Cam is far from a one year wonder. Everyone knows the TE is a QB’s best friend, Cousins-Reed Romo-Witten Brady-Gronk. A TE and a few pass catching RBs doesn’t merit a 15 win season. Like Trey said, it’s not like Carolina was in defensive slugfests and getting by with just 10-17 points. They didn’t scored in the teens once all season and again in the SB. That Carolina off was, dare I say, prolific and most can’t name their receiving core without help of the internet. The difference is Cam.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 7, 2016 at 5:36 PM

      10 wins sounds right. I think the division will be much improved and more competitive than people think. But, that means we will challenge each other more too. The division is on the right track as a whole from what I can tell though.

  4. troylok - Jul 7, 2016 at 7:20 AM

    I think the Redskins offense stays pretty much the same and the defense tightens up. It’s never easy with the Redskins, but I see nine wins, and unfortunately, another first round exit from the playoffs. Gruden learned a few good things under Marvin Lewis and it is too bad he also learned how to lose playoff games by being too conservative.

    • ET - Jul 7, 2016 at 1:24 PM

      I’m pretty much on the same page with you. I’m guessing 10 wins and a first-round exit from the playoffs—with a much closer, more exciting post-season loss this year.

      • redskins12thman - Jul 7, 2016 at 2:30 PM

        I am hoping for 1 to 2 playoff wins this season!

        • - Jul 7, 2016 at 5:33 PM

          We’re all hoping that. Really, we’re all hoping for a Super Bowl. But even making the playoff may be unrealistic.

          Winning the NFC East last year was irrelevant. Washington is a team in year 2 of a rebuild who won 9 games in a weak division last year. I have tons of optimism about the direction of this team but to assume they’ll improve upon last year is to deny to reality of their circumstances. This team could be better than last year and win less games. Tougher division and tougher schedule (on paper).

          We don’t actually know if this team got better. We gained some pieces, and lost some others. But teams don’t generally go from 5 wins over two seasons to a perennial playoff team. Rebuilds generally take a little longer. I worry that some fans have unrealistic expectations them will meltdown when the team doesn’t live up. The last thing we need is to hand Snyder ammo to get involved again.

    • Trey Gregory - Jul 7, 2016 at 2:30 PM

      Just curious, why do you think the offense stays about the same? Seeing as how Scherff and Moses should get better. our LG play should get better and we added Doctson. The run game can’t get much worse than last year, but the TE and OLine situation should help it get better. Adding Davis and getting Paul/Paulson back should significantly help the run game and Redzone. It’s also logical to think Crowder should get better. Then, conventional wisdom would suggest that the offense overall gets more comfortable with Cousins in his second year as a starter. I know people don’t want to get too high on Cousins until they see he’s not a one hit wonder, but he could improve, or get more consistent. A better defense also tends to help special teams and offense.

      You’re attitude about Gruden is unfortunate though. There’s a lot to be excited about. He made huge strides between his first season as a HC and the second. This team was downright awful the pasts two years. It’s really not that unusual for a young team, that maybe over performed in midst of a rebuild, to get beat in the first round of the playoffs. Especially when many of the players had no playoff experience.

    • lezziemcdykerson - Jul 7, 2016 at 4:35 PM

      I’m still trying to figure out how he Eagles have the best defense. And how that has any bearing when we swept them last year. Ok Bye.

  5. sidepull - Jul 7, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    10 wins and in.

  6. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jul 7, 2016 at 7:54 AM

    So there you go:

    Adam Schefter Verified account

    At a football camp at Kean Unviversity in Union, NJ on Wednesday, Eli Manning said he believes the Giants “definitely” are playoff bound.

    • ET - Jul 7, 2016 at 1:26 PM


  7. colorofmyskinz - Jul 7, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Redskins win the division with 10+ conservatively. I place money on 11 wins for skins and we make it at least to second round playoffs. Very possible we see NFC Championships this year!


    • colorofmyskinz - Jul 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM

      A number of reasons for my prediction:
      – Cousins entire offseason as the starter
      – offensive line better this year than last with 2 years under Callahan and Injuries resolved to start season
      – passing attack much better with DJax healthy, Reed confident, Crowder second year, miles Paul and Davis options, and Doctson add
      – running attack better with line improvements, and a full roster of TEs that can block which we did not have last year. With Niles and Davis on the field there is no dead giveaway of pass like when Reed is on the field. This will help run and pass.
      – defense line same as last year, not worse
      – ILBs better with Compton and foster full year offseason gel and Riley rotation healthy. Depth with Spaight, Garvin, Daniels.
      – OLB better with Gallette back raging and Preston second year development as breakout year
      – safety huge improvement with Bruton, Inhencho healthy, Hall second year, Cravens option, and depth finally, Blackmon et all
      – cornerback huge improvement with Nirman add, Fuller. Depth here too.

      Many improvements to justify 11 in my honest opinion.


      • bangkokben - Jul 7, 2016 at 11:45 AM

        I’m on board with eleven being in the realm of possibility but think you’re placing way too much value into intangible circumstance. There’s no reason to assume health across the board (o-line, WR, TE, etc). Injuries will happen but there is no way of predicting to whom, when, or to what extent. Therefore depth is paramount and these units are deeper this year — at this moment. Defensively, there are TWO paper upgrades — Normand and Galette. The rest is just change. Change can be good or bad. However, the impact of Galette and Norman could make those around them better. DeAngelo Hall — if he learns the position — stands to benefit the most from the addition of Norman and Galette. If all clicks, he will make the pro-bowl with at least a half a dozen picks and another couple of fumble recoveries.

        • wncskinsfan - Jul 7, 2016 at 1:34 PM

          That’s a bold prediction for D Hall . . . and I would love to see him achieve that! That would be great, I hope that happens. cheers! HTTR

        • bangkokben - Jul 7, 2016 at 8:02 PM

          It is a bit bold but it isn’t based in just wishful thinking. Kurt Coleman hadn’t been a full-time starter since 2012 and in his first season with Carolina intercepted 9 passes (2 in the playoffs) from free safety. With the retirement of Charles Woodson, Hall is the active leader in interceptions with 43 and that’s with zero since his Achilles injury. If he can learn the right way to play free safety and if the reports about his speed returning are true, there is good reason to expect a good season from Hall.

        • Trey Gregory - Jul 10, 2016 at 3:08 AM

          Hall could be a nice surprise this year. It’s such a natural progression for an instinctive CB. He’s already a ball hawk and good cover guy. It’s really just about new angles and assignments. Given his experience: a full offseason should do wonders.

          My only real concern is that he will play strong safety by default in this defense. Our safety roles blur depending on what the offense does. He doesn’t seem like a natural strong safety. I worry about his health a little bit too. It might not be warranted, but I worry. I’ll cringe every time he tackles someone. I really wish Jarrett hadn’t gotten hurt. He would be a great insurance policy.

        • bangkokben - Jul 10, 2016 at 8:12 AM

          David Bruton is Kyshoen Jarrett albeit an older and bigger version. Hall playing primarily SS last year should help when the lines blur but I’m with you, I wish he be allowed to play center field and ball hawk back there. If I’m not mistaken in my limited listenings of Chris Cooley, he said that the Redskins last year were a cover three team that had to switch to play cover two down the stretch due to personnel. He expects them to be a primarily cover three team. This is what Seattle and Carolina have run successfully.

      • ET - Jul 7, 2016 at 1:45 PM

        I’m also onboard with 11 wins as a possibility. But that means an awful lot of things have to go the Skins way. History indicates there’ll be a few real pitfalls, whether it’s a sudden rash of injuries, a key player under-performing, or an entire position group falling flat. The Skins managed to turn around some issues last year (e.g., decimation at TE and DB), but that won’t always be the case. Having said that, Scot has placed this team in a much better position to weather in-season issues than it’s been in the past decade or so—I’m still looking for a winning season.

  8. rtcwon - Jul 7, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    $100 – 9 wins

    Whenever we dust off the chips, I don’t like to hedge. I believe the Skins can get to 10 or 11 wins but it will only take 9 to win the East.

    Other than that one year, Dallas maxes out at 8 wins when healthy. Philly is going through a personnel overhaul & NY…Janorious Jenkins, lmao.

  9. smotion55 - Jul 7, 2016 at 12:28 PM

    My money is on 9 wins, if a team wins 10 in our division that Is great with the teams they play. Skins might play better and still lose more games this year. The schedule is harder and our division should be better this year.
    To many unknown’s for me.. RB and LG -C on offense and D-Line big Question on defense. Overall this team is better and it might come down to how many injuries and WHO gets injured that decide this division.
    My hope is that the offense plays really well and we are up on a lot of these teams and start getting turnovers from our defense because of it.

  10. Trey McGlohn - Jul 7, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    The Giants will be notably better this year. Last year they had the #6 offense in football and they have way more talent this year. Defensively, they’ll have one of the best d-lines and a very capable secondary. They’ll be a 9+ win team this year.

    • Rich Tandler - Jul 7, 2016 at 2:37 PM

      New coach, shaky O-line. Will free agents fix the defense? It hasn’t worked consistently in the past and not just in Washington. We’ll see.

  11. Manny Whiteaker - Jul 7, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    I say 10 wins. 1 word: chemistry… And I ain’t talking beakers and periodic tables Archives

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