One year after being a running joke, the NFC East looks back in a big way. A pair of rookie QBs deserve a lot of the credit for the division's renaissance, and this weekend's matchup between the Eagles and Redskins suddenly is packed with importance. Let's run through the East-
- The Dallas Cowboys (4-1, 1-1) take first place on the strength of a four-game win streak and a nasty run game. It's hard to believe Dak Prescott is a rookie; through five games he has no interceptions. Ezekiel Elliot is starting to look like a Pro Bowler behind that massive Cowboys O-line. Their early schedule hasn't been too tough, but the impressive 28-14 win over the Bengals stands out.
- The Philadelphia Eagles (3-1, 0-0) take the second spot in the division but might have a legit gripe with the NFL scheduling office. The team played terrific through three games, crushing the Steelers at home, before a Week 4 bye. The time off disrupted the Eagles focus as the squad looked flat in a disappointing loss to the Lions last week. Sunday's game in Washington will be rookie Carson Wentz's first ever NFC East tilt; a huge test for the young man. The hype on Wentz may remind some Redskins fans of the hype surrounding RG3 during his rookie season in 2012.
- The defending East champs looked just about done after two straight losses to open the season but the Redskins (3-2, 1-1) reinserted themselves into the division race with a three-game win streak. Washington is still yet to play a complete game; either the offense does well like in wins against New York and Cleveland or the defense sets the tone like in last week's win against Baltimore. One new facet for the 'Skins: dependable special teams with the ability to make explosive plays. If Jay Gruden's squad beats the Eagles this weekend and the Cowboys lose in Green Bay, the Redskins would be in first place.
- After spending a truck load of money this offseason to fix their defense, most oddsmakers installed the New York Giants (2-3, 1-1) as favorites to win the NFC East after Tony Romo went down for Dallas in the preseason. New York opened the season 2-0, including a win in Dallas, but has since lost three straight. What's worse for Big Blue is a slumping defense now dealing with injuries as well as the sideshow of Odell Beckham. Arguably the most physically gifted receiver in the NFL, Backham has not produced particularly impressive numbers and has been a distraction at times in the sidelines and in the tabloids. For many years with no nonsense coach Tom Coughlin the Giants saw little off the field drama; rookie head man Ben McAdoo does not have his Giants squad on nearly as tight of a leash through his first five games at the helm.
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