EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – SEPTEMBER 25: Matt Jones #31 of the Washington Redskins breaks a tackle from Landon Collins #21 of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

After two weeks of the NFL season, it appeared the NFC East race belonged to the New York Giants. A 2-0 record and an overhauled roster was the big story in the division as the Giants ran off to a strong start to the season, while the rest of the NFC East struggled, save for the rebuilding Philadelphia Eagles.

With the lead in the division, the Giants entered their Week 3 matchup with Washington at home as the favorites to go 3-0 and take control over their rivals in the NFC East. Instead, an upset in East Rutherford from Washington has changed the course of the division race as the Giants failed to seize an opportunity to move to 3-0 on Sunday.

In a game that was filled with missed chances from the Giants offense in the redzone, Washington’s resilience paid off in the fourth quarter as Kirk Cousins was able to execute a game-winning drive in the final minutes. Kicker Dustin Hopkins converting his fifth field goal of the game to put Washington in front for a 29-27 win.

Two interceptions from Eli Manning would doom the Giants on the day as an endzone interception followed by an interception on the final drive of the game sank any chance up a comeback. The end result makes the NFC intriguing again after many thought the Giants were on their way to running off with the devision.

Now at 2-1, the Giants are suddenly in what could be a three-way tie for the NFC East lead after Week 3 depending on the results of the late games. A prospect that makes the NFC East far different for the Giants, who had the chance to move to 3-0 and stay in the pole position at home to a Washington team that was 0-2.

The 2-0 Philadelphia Eagles (currently hosting the Steelers) and the Cowboys (at home on SNF against the Bears) both will now feel far better about their chances in the division. Two tough games out of the division for the Giants on the road against the Vikings and the Packers will likely factor into what could be a downturn in New York that could allow for a tighter divisional race.


If the Giants continue to struggle in the redzone on the road against two tough NFC North opponents in Minnesota and Green Bay over the next two weeks, it is easy to see a situation in which the rest of the NFC East catches up after the quick start in New York. The red-hot Eagles’ run with rookie Carson Wentz and the Dallas Cowboys’ ability to tread water with Dak Prescott now have both teams back in the discussion to contend for the NFC East this season.

The big question in the NFC East will be the results of the late games still pending in the division. If the 2-0 Eagles can find a way to win at home over the Steelers, the Giants loss will be magnified as Philadelphia will take the outright lead in the division. Wentz and the Eagles currently underway at home with a chance to take a late September lead in the division.

At best, the Giants will have a tie scenario in the NFC East with either the Eagles or the Cowboys should they win on SNF against the Bears. Such a development would be a big disappointment for new head coach Ben McAdoo, as a loss at home in which the Giants threw away points on several occasions has quickly erased a hot start to the season. How the Giants bounce back over the next two weeks over a tough stretch on the road against the Vikings and Packers will define the NFC East race for the rest of the season as the loss at home to Washington has suddenly made the division that much more interesting.

About Chase Ruttig

Chase Ruttig is a Canadian sportswriter who covers North American sports for various outlets.