The NFC East is the worst division in the NFL this season, barely worse than the AFC South, which features impotent Jacksonville. In the NFC East, there isn’t a team over .500. The “best” team in the division is Dallas, and the Cowboys are the only team in the division with a positive point-differential. The Cowboys have lost four games by a total of 14 points, but please save your “clutch” discussion for another day.
Yet the Cowboys feel like anything but a lock to emerge from the inept NFC East, especially given their struggles defensively – 517 yards permitted against Denver, 623 allowed against Detroit – in recent weeks. The running game will probably rebound when DeMarco Murray returns from injury, but eventually, the discussion will turn back to Tony Romo. Since his excellent (career-best?) afternoon against Denver, here’s what he has done:
18-30, 170 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT in an ugly win over Washington
28-47, 317 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT in an ugly win over Philadelphia
14-30, 206 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT in an ugly loss to Detroit
Romo completed over 69% of his passes in the first five games of the season. He was over 70% in four games. In the last three, respectively: 60, 59, 46.
Let’s look at the rest of the division:
Philadelphia Eagles 3-5
First string QB (Vick) is hurt. Second string QB (Foles) is hurt. Third string QB (Barkley) is a rookie and clearly ill-prepared for the NFL. The Eagles haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in over eight quarters. The defense has been capable the last two weeks, but it doesn’t matter because the offense is so woeful. The Eagles can’t win at home, and still have three weeks until the bye. Given their remain opponents (five of eight games with teams .500 or better), it’s impossible to see Matt Barkley guiding this team to the playoffs.
Washington Redskins 2-5
It’s either the defense not showing up, or the offense struggling, but the Redskins two wins have been beating Matt Flynn on the road and Jay Cutler’s backup at home (barely). The Redskins have given up 30+ points times five times in eight games, including the last three. Last season, a late push got the Redskins into the playoffs. The good news is, they once again have a friendly December: vs. the Giants, vs. KC, at Atlanta, vs. Dallas, at New York. There’s an outside shot the Redskins go 5-0 there, depending on your view of the Giants and Chiefs.
New York Giants 2-6
Two wins in six days! Does beating the hopeless Vikings and the struggling Eagles inspire confidence? New York still has no running attack (though Andre Brown is expected back this week), but the defense hasn’t allowed a TD in the last two games (both came on special teams). It should be noted that the Giants beat Minnesota’s new QB (Josh Freeman), and 2+ quarters of Matt Barkley. Odd tidbit – since returning home from a loss in Chicago on Thursday, October 10th, the Giants were essentially home for six weeks, with the only ‘road’ trip being a jaunt down I-95 to Philly, which was probably a 24-hour job. After the bye this week, the Giants are home to Oakland, Green Bay and Dallas. Stop dreaming about the division and playoffs: the Giants still have to travel to San Diego, host Seattle, and travel to Detroit in a brutal December 3-game stretch.