Brandon Graham in Philadelphia, Morgan Moses in Washington and Mike McCarthy in Dallas over the course of October uttered noteworthy takes on winning the NFC East using different words ... while saying the same thing.
From Graham, the Eagles defensive end: “We don’t worry about the past. We try to stay futuristic as, ‘It is what it is, now what are we going to do?’ … We fight to the end.”
From Moses, the WFT tackle: "You play divisional opponents, you want to win those games. ... The division is wide-the-hell open.''
READ MORE: 'Holy Moses - Look at This Division!'
From McCarthy, the Dallas coach: "Win the division games, you win the division ... On a yearly basis, the production of wins, how it leads to a playoff berth, you need to really be north of four division wins. If you look at the fourth division win, it kicks you into a lot higher percentage as far as your probability of making the playoffs.
"Obviously if you win five or six of your division games, your probability is even higher.''
Graham's "futuristic'' wording is unusual. Moses was given credit for his colorful take. McCarthy has been ripped for his "fake-deep'' approach to math, for a few days after saying this to reporters in Dallas, he apparently did it again to FOX, which issued this nugget during the Dallas-Washington game:
Really, coach? More division wins will increase the likelihood of winning the division? Unfortunately, while Dallas (and the rest of the NFC East) can do simple math ... simple victories are tough to come by - yes, even for the "fighting'' Eagles, who lead the East.
As we entered Week 7, the the teams' .229 combined winning percentage was the second-poorest for any division through Week 6 since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Sitting atop the pile of slop at that time were coach McCarthy's Cowboys - but at just 2-4.
Washington's 25-3 win over Dallas changed the Cowboys' status - but not the NFC East's stature. Now we enter Week 8, Washington is on a bye, the Giants play host to favored Tampa Bay on Monday, and Dallas is at Philadelphia to close Sunday.
The Eagles (2-4-1) lead the division. The Giants (1-6) pull up the rear but absurdly remain in the running. The 2-5 WFT shares a record with Dallas ... and if things go right for Washington on Sunday, WFT will make progress ... without even having played.
This is the poorest division in the history of the NFL. ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) recently predicted a 28-percent chance that the NFC East winner will have six or fewer wins. The FPI ran 20,000 simulations and on 13 of those the division-winner ended up with four wins.
There is an argument to be made for "tanking.'' But the problem in the NFC East? There is a three-out-of-four chance you'll get "out-tanked!
So, you let things like injuries determine "organic tanking.'' Dallas has done so much whining about injuries that McCarthy has chided his players for their "woe-is-me'' attitude. Meanwhile, in fairness, the Eagles in recent years have experienced as much injury-related adversity as anyone ... and won a Super Bowl despite it.
“The guys never stopped fighting, that’s never going to change,” said running back Boston Scott after Philly's recent 22-21 win over the New York Giants that required an 11-point comeback in the final six minutes. ... a game won with Scott starring while playing in place of actual star Miles Sanders.
Dallas' challenge in Sunday's 7:20 start at Philly begins at QB: No Dak Prescott, no Andy Dalton, so rookie Ben DiNucci is the QB.
"Woe is me''?
Or "Beast of the Least''?
Which shall it be?
A few years ago, we coined the phrase "organic tanking.'' The idea: A bad enough team doesn't have to chase losses; the losses will come soon enough, naturally - organically. For now, will more than a half-season left, somebody in the NFC East needs to continue to pursue excellence - or, at least, pursue mediocrity, for a berth in the NFL Playoffs ... where the NFC Least winner will, incredibly, open the postseason with a home game.
Yes, incredibly, Dallas - though a 10-point underdog for Sunday night - can master the math and ignore the injuries and still be "The Beast.'' Even though it'll be of "The Least.''