Coaching hires paying rich dividends for East clubs

Coaching hires paying rich dividends for East clubs

WIGGINS' WORLD

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts attempts a pass. (Photo: AFP)
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts attempts a pass. (Photo: AFP)

For much of the last decade, the NFL's NFC East has been the NFC LEAST. Same for the American Football Conference's East division.

Except for the mandatory NFC East division titlists, not many clubs from that division have qualified for the play-offs of late.

As recently as 2020, Washington won the NFC East with a lacklustre 7-9 record. All other division members had even worse losing records.

And until a recent surge by the Buffalo Bills, the AFC East had been mostly reduced to New England and The Three Dwarfs (the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and the Bills).

During that time, the most powerful NFL divisions usually came from the West, North or South parts of each conference.

But how the worm has turned this 2022 season.

In the NFL, the East is now the BEAST!

After week 10, the NFC East had a .710 percent winning percentage against the rest of the NFL.

Three of the top four records in the NFC are now owned by East teams (the Philadelphia Eagles are 9-1, followed by the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, each 7-3).

Even the Washington Commanders, after a slow start, have won four straight to move to 6-5.

Thus, all four NFC East clubs are above .500 in the win-loss column.

It is possible, should their current form hold up, three of the postseason NFC wildcard spots could go to NFC East teams.

Over in the American Football Conference East, all four ball outfits are above the .500 mark as well.

At the top of the standings tied with 7-3 logs are the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.

Currently 6-4 and nipping at the pair's heels are the New England Patriots and the New York Jets (perhaps the surprise team in the whole NFL this campaign).

The perennial Super Bowl contending -- and winning -- Patriots, minus Tom Brady, have been reduced to scuffling just to make it to the postseason the past three seasons.

But the Pats are currently still very much in the divisional title hunt.

So why the turnaround for NFL East division ball clubs this campaign?

Well, the most obvious reason is recent coaching hires that are now paying dividends.

For the Eagles, Nick Sirianni was hired last season and took Philadelphia to the postseason with a 10-7 mark, this after Philly had a 4-11-1 log the year before.

Sirianni has seemingly crafted quarterback Jalen Hurts into an MVP calibre QB this season for the high-flying Eagles.

Meanwhile, all the pundits are pointing to the New York Giants hiring of Brian Daboll, former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator, as the big reason why the G-Men are off to their best start since 2008.

The Giants have captured all their wins by one score or less en route to reversing last season's 4-13 log.

Longtime Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, in his third year at the Dallas helm, seems to finally have the always-talented Dallas Cowboys pointed in the right direction as they hunt for an elusive Super Bowl title (the 'Boys last won a SB in 1996).

Heck, even a long postseason run would be an accomplishment for the Cowboys who have but four play-off wins to show for the past quarter of a century.

Over in the AFC East, two new head men are also given credit for turning the Jets and Dolphins into winners.

Robert Saleh, hired away before last campaign from the San Francisco 49ers after crafting the 2019 Niners' Super Bowl team defence, has the Jets clicking this season.

Meanwhile, first year Miami head coach Mike McDaniel (another ex-49er coordinator on offence) has seemingly unlocked quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's potential.

Of course, it helps to have receivers Tyreke Hill and Jaylen Waddle for Tua to throw to.

Both wideouts have topped 1,000 in receiving yards already this season.

Hill looks like a legit threat to be the first receiver to ever reach 2,000 yards in an NFL campaign.

There's still a long way to go this season. And down the stretch East divisions ballclubs will play each other more frequently.

So a lot could change for these Beasts from the East. But it sure looks like they have, at LEAST, announced their arrival as top flight NFL teams.

Contact Wiggins' World at davwigg@gmail.com



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