With one game left in the regular season, two teams were fighting for one remaining playoff spot. If the Washington Football Team defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington would make the postseason. If Washington lost, the New York Giants would get in. The Eagles, playing for nothing, were in the game late, but Eagles coach Doug Pederson pulled his quarterback in favor of what was his third-string quarterback all season. The Eagles played dead, prompting Giants head coach Joe Judge to blast the Eagles.
It was an ugly season for the NFC East
In a perfect world, no NFC East team would’ve made the playoffs this season. None of the four teams had a winning record and it seemed none wanted to win the division. The Washington Football Team won the division with a 7-9 mark, while the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants were 6-10. The Philadelphia Eagles finished 4-11-1.
The biggest disappointment in the division was probably the Cowboys. The Cowboys were tired of mediocrity and fired longtime head coach Jason Garrett in the offseason. Dallas ended up below the mediocrity level under new coach Mike McCarthy. Dallas lost starting quarterback Dak Prescott for the season in Week 5 against the Giants.
The Eagles also turned out to be a disaster and were forced to turn to rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts, drafted in the second round, replaced a very ineffective Carson Wentz. Hurts made his first start in Week 14 and helped pull out a victory over the New Orleans Saints. He finished the season as the starter, going 1-3.
It came down to the last week
As bad as the NFC East was, there was excitement within the division through the final week of the 2020 season. Entering Week 17, three of the four teams had a shot at winning the division. The only team eliminated was the Philadelphia Eagles.
The New York Giants hosted the Dallas Cowboys in one of the early games and held on for a 23-19 victory. The loss eliminated the Cowboys and the Giants needed some help to get into the postseason. New York needed the Eagles to knock off the Washington Football Team in the night game to qualify for the playoffs. A Washington win would put the Football Team into the postseason.
The Eagles were home but were playing without several key players. Philadelphia hung tough with the Giants before Eagles head coach Doug Pederson pulled quarterback Jalen Hurts during the second half. Hurts, a rookie who made just four starts this season, went to the bench in favor of Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld went 5-for-12 for 32 yards and an interception. The Eagles lost 20-14. With the loss, the Eagles will pick sixth in the 2021 draft. Had they won, they would’ve had the ninth pick.
Giants coach Joe Judge blasts the Eagles
With his team relying on a Philadelphia Eagles victory over the Washington Football Team, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge had a lot to say after the Eagles loss. When the Eagles, down by six, turned to third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld, things didn’t go over well with Judge and the Giants. Judge called out the Eagles for disrespecting the game.
“The one thing to keep in mind about this season is we had a lot of people opt-in this season,” Judge said, according to Bleacher Report. “Coaches, players, and that includes family members as well. The sacrifices they made to come into work every day and test before coming in. To sit in meetings, spaced out, and wear masks and go through extensive protocols. And to travel in unconventional ways and to tell them to please not have their family over for Thanksgiving…
“To disrespect the effort that everyone put forth to make this season a success for the National Football League. And to disrespect the game by not going out there and competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win. We will never do that as long as I am the head coach of the New York Giants.”
Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.