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NFC East Update: Cowboys move ahead but division anything from decided


NFC East Update: Cowboys move ahead but division anything from decided

The Cowboys won a decisive, important game against the Redskins last week. That put Dallas into a tie with Washington for first place.

And for three quarters in Philadelphia, it looked like the Eagles would be basically knocked out of the NFC East title chase. Carson Wentz rallied, and now it appears the Giants are officially done in the division. 

Don't count out the Eagles yet, or the Redskins. And while it might seem the Cowboys will run away with the division title, don't be so sure. 

  1. Dallas Cowboys (6-5, 3-1) - The Cowboys are surging, winners of three in a row, including the blowout win over Washington on Thanksgiving. Dallas is the only team in the NFC East with a positive point differential, and the trade to acquire Amari Cooper has revitalized the Cowboys offense. All that said, Dallas faces the Saints on Thursday. Win that, and the Cowboys belong in a group of real contenders. Lose it? Different conversation. Up next: Nov. 29th vs New Orleans, 8:20 p.m.
  2. Washington Redskins (6-5, 2-1) - Things aren't great for the Redskins right now. The team suffered its first losing streak of the year, with defeats from the Texans and the Cowboys in their last two games. The injuries have piled up, and while Colt McCoy moved the ball well in his first start since 2014, he also turned the ball over three times. The biggest issue in Washington is the defense's sudden inability to stop the run and make simple tackles. Still, the Redskins have winnable games on their schedule remaining, and McCoy can certainly play better with more practice with the first team. Up next: December 3rd @ Philadelphia, 8:15 p.m.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6, 2-1) - Winning the 2018 Super Bowl will never lose luster in Philadelphia, but it won't matter much this season. The Eagles were about 15 minutes from seeing their playoff hopes ruined for 2019 before coming back against the Giants on Sunday in a 25-22 win. it wasn't pretty, but Carson Wentz didn't turn the ball over and the Eagles were able to run the ball fairly well. If Philly wants to get back to the playoffs, they have to get hot, and their defense has been anything but. It needs to start next week for any hopes of a repeat run. Up next: December 3rd vs Washington, 8:15 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (3-8, 0-4) - Things got kinda fun watching the Giants. They won a few games in a row and seemed like their talent was clicking, especially early in Sunday's game against the Eagles. Now, however, with eight losses in 11 games, close the book on the Giants making the playoffs. New York needs to rebuild, and the questions about Eli Manning's future will be plentiful. Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley are elite talents, undoubtedly, but the Giants have a boatload of issues. Up next: December 2nd vs Chicago, 1 p.m.


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NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge


NFC East Update: Division race tightens as Redskins stumble, Cowboys surge

When the sun came up Sunday morning, the Redskins held a two-game lead in the NFC East and looked to have a clear route to a division title. 

By the time the sun went down, a lot changed. 

Washington lost at home in a crazy game to Houston, but big picture, the more important outcome was the broken leg for Alex Smith. The Redskins now turn to backup Colt McCoy, and while the Burgundy and Gold remain in first place, their lead shrunk.

Washington Redskins (6-4, 2-0)

Talk about a roller coaster game. The Redskins got down early to the Texans, trailing 10-0 in the first quarter, but fought all the way back. In the process, the team lost Smith for the season, but McCoy played well when he entered the game. A veteran in Jay Gruden's system, McCoy should be able to step in and run the offense without any hesitation. Will that be enough? What isn't being talked about in Washington: a suddenly slumping run defense. A huge game looms Thursday against Ezekiel Elliott and a surging Cowboys squad. 

Up next: Nov. 22 @ Dallas, 4 p.m.

Dallas Cowboys (5-5, 2-1)

It seemed like the Cowboys season was over a few weeks ago after a humbling home loss on Monday Night Football to the Titans. Two weeks later, the script has flipped. Dallas won their second straight game on Sunday, holding off a late Atlanta rally and winning the game on a last-second field goal. Elliott went for 201 total yards from scrimmage and the Cowboys young defense continued to make impressive plays. Jerry Jones' team struggles on the road, but at home, the Cowboys are 3-1 this season. 

Up next: Nov. 22 vs Washington, 4 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-6, 1-1)

Fans waiting for the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles to get it together might want to stop waiting. Philly got boat raced in New Orleans on Sunday, losing 48-7 and dropping to two games below .500. Carson Wentz threw three INTs in New Orleans and really, while the QB was bad in the Superdome, it's hard to pin the Eagles' woes on any one thing. The offense hasn't been very good, and the defense hasn't either. Sitting just two games back of the 'Skins and one behind Dallas, don't count the Eagles out yet. But don't really count them in either. 

Up next: Nov. 25th vs New York Giants, 1 p.m.

New York Giants (3-7, 0-3)

Don't look now but the Giants might be the hottest team in the division. Or at least not the coldest team in the division. The Giants won their second game in a row on Sunday, a nail-biting 38-35 victory over Tampa. New York got out to a big lead before the Bucs crept back in it, but powered by four combined TDs between Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning, the Giants did enough. Simple arithmetic suggests the Giants are closer to a Top 5 draft pick than a playoff run, but hey, they haven't been eliminated yet. Crazy things happen in this league. 

Up next: Nov. 25th @ Philadelphia, 1 p.m.


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NFC East Update: The division race is shaping up very well for the Redskins

NFC East Update: The division race is shaping up very well for the Redskins

The Redskins helped themselves in the NFC East division race with a big Week 10 win over the Buccaneers, and then the Cowboys helped their rival out again with a big win in Philadelphia.

With seven games remaining and the NFL calendar starting to get serious about playoff situation and scenarios, the 6-3 Redskins are in the driver's seat in the division. 

"I think the good thing being 6-3, being in first place is we control what we have to control. We don’t have to look at the other teams, we just have to focus on what we do and if we do our job, we don’t have to worry about anything," head coach Jay Gruden said Monday. 

And he's right. The Redskins have built a cushion in the division, and if they keep winning at a .667 clip, nobody can catch them.

Here's the NFC East update:

  1. Washington Redskins (6-3, 2-0) - This team isn't winning pretty, and they certainly don't make many highlight plays on offense, but the Washington formula for victories is working. At +11, the Redskins are 3rd in the NFL in turnover margin and they own a defense that doesn't give up many points. Fans can debate if the offense is too limited, but for now running the ball and playing strong defense is piling up wins. Washington hasn't been 6-3 since 2008. Another large test looms on Sunday when Houston comes to FedEx Field, riding a six-game win streak. Up next: Nov. 18th vs Texans,1 p.m.
  2. Dallas Cowboys (4-5, 2-1) - Things have been a roller coaster in Big D. Two weeks ago it looked like the Cowboys season might spiral out of control after a blowout loss at home to the Titans. Speculation began to mount about the future for head coach Jason Garrett. A week later, after a major win in Philly on Sunday Night Football, Cowboys fans are back focused on the playoffs, not firing their coach. Dallas has built an impressive young defense, though the offensive struggles remain. Similar to the Redskins, Dallas has one of the worst pass games in the NFL but relies on running the football. Up next:  Nov. 18th @ Atlanta, 1 p.m. 
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5, 1-1) - At no point this season have the Eagles looked like the same 2017 juggernaut that won the city's first-ever Super Bowl. Much of that was chalked up to injury, particularly Carson Wentz working back from a knee injury last year, and new parts on defense. The Eagles had a Week 8 bye, made a trade to acquire WR Golden Tate, and were facing the slumping Cowboys in Week 9. All signs pointed to a big Eagles win and the Philly machine getting back on track for the second-half of the 2018 season. Only it didn't happen. The Eagles haven't won two games in a row yet this season, and road games against the Saints and the Rams are still on deck. Up next: Nov. 18th @ New Orleans, 4:25 p.m.
  4. New York Giants (2-7, 0-3) - The Giants doubled their season win total with a road win in San Francisco over the 49ers. It was a good victory, but hardly impressive. The Niners are equally bad and currently starting their 3rd-string QB. Still, Odell Beckham remains optimistic for his New York squad and thinks the team could go on a undefeated streak to close out the season. It's not realistic considering the offensive line and Eli Manning's play at quarterback, but it's a nice theory. The Giants are 0-4 at home and 0-3 in the division. Up Next: Nov. 18th vs Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.