FRISCO - To paraphrase Ricky Bobby, "If you ain't first ... you're NFC Least.''
Except going into the 2021 NFL season, the NFC East - hope of the Dallas Cowboys, and the losing-record defending champ Washington Football Team - are "least'' no more.
This according to CBS Sports, which did a ranking of the eight divisions across the NFL and guess what? The NFC East is not "Least.''
It's second-to-least ... but who's counting?
Actually, the counting of what the quartet of NFC East clubs might collectively accomplish doesn't add up to much; the division is ranked seventh and rated by CBS as being only ahead of the AFC South.
Worth noting there: The AFC South, make up of Indianapolis, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Houston does have one team coming off a dismal season (the Jags were 1-15) and another team that seems destined for dismal (the Texans have star QB Deshaun Watson in limbo and are therefore in limbo themselves).
But the Colts and Titans were both playoff teams last year.
This ranking is something short of flattering ... though a fair evaluation of the defending champ, the WFT, suggests a first-class defense, and a fair evaluation of Dallas' 6-10 finish last year would greatly take into account Dak Prescott's life-sucking season-ending injury.
It's not a biased though to believe that Washington is a playoff team and improved. ... and to believe that Jerry Jones' Cowboys can rebound as well.
We're less certain of the New York Giants (though they added Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney to a stale offense plus are getting back Saquon Barkley back) and the Philadelphia Eagles' unpredictability can be about both hope and concern.
As it regards 2020? It couldn't get much worse than it was. As it regards 2021? Teams hoping to up-end the WFT can take solace in the knowledge that the rest of the division's clubs are likely to benefit from not having a first-place schedule like Washington does. ... and maybe take strength from the belief that the "NFC Least,'' compared to the AFC South ... isn't.