Last week everyone was saying the NFC East was the toughest division in the NFL. Well, if you base your decision on this week’s games alone we’d all be told to get are heads checked. The Redskins lose to the Rams? Really? The Cowboys lose to the Cardinals? Really? The Giants lose to the Browns? What? Yes, it really happened, and yes, it shocked a lot of people. Probably the most damaged are the Dallas Cowboys, who have lost 2 of 3 games. But it is not just games they are losing. The Cowboys will be without star quarterback Tony Romo for about a month. In comes oldie and never really goody Brad Johnson. This was not the powerful NFC East we saw in the first five weeks. It is to be determined who makes it through. At least the Eagles won.
Dallas Cowboys (4-2):
Looking Back: This was a morale pounding loss. Although Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards, he fumbled the ball four (really five) times. He looked lost. He could not get Terrell Owens the ball. And somehow the Cardinals defense became decent, and pounded him to the ground and broke his pinkie. Romo’s out for a month. The running game looked bad for most of the game. Marion Barber tried to save the day with a relentless touchdown run after a dump-off pass, but it wasn’t enough. The Cowboys played to lose this game even though they came back to almost win. Jerry Jones didn’t look happy at all as he loudly chewed on that piece of hard candy. He’s never looked so depressed because he like many people thought the Cowboys would be 6-0 right now. Not even close.
Looking Forward: It’s not looking pretty for the Cowboys. In comes Brad Johnson, a journeyman QB who actually has a Super Bowl ring to his name. This is the same Brad Johnson who looked awful in pre-season and could do nothing against third-rate players. Does anyone really think Brad Johnson is going to better at finding an open Terrell Owens? I don’t think so. The Cowboys also lost Felix Jones for at least two weeks, punter Mat McBriar for likely the entire season and receiver Sam Hurd for the year. Yeah, this is a scary time for the Cowboys and their fans. Luckily, the Cowboys have a bye week after playing the Rams, Bucs and Giants. If they can come out of this three-game stint at least 2-1, then they can claim fame to surviving a month without Tony Romo, who hasn’t really impressed anyone so far anyway.
New York Giants (4-1):
Looking Back: When Eli Manning plays poorly, the New York Giants become an average team. That’s how the Browns beat the defending Super Bowl Champs. The Giants were held sackless and the offense was kept off the field with a Browns offense that sort of rejuvenated itself out of thin air. Manning threw three interceptions and frustration was all over his face. Poor kid. It’s so depressing when he puts on his pout face.
Looking Forward: Turn that frown upside down, Eli! You play the San Fransisco 49ers next! The 49ers aren’t particular good with pass defense, or anything for that matter, and that means you might have a decent game. But don’t take these guys lightly. You know what happens when you do that.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-3):
Looking Back: Most of the game against the 49ers was close. And the Eagles are still playing without their star running back Brian Westbrook. J.T. O’Sullivan’s two interceptions killed the 49ers’ chances of winning. Donovan McNabb played well and Correll Buckhatler had a respectable game replacing Westbrook. But still, there was nothing spectacular about the Eagles in this game that flashes “We Are A Playoff Team.” Frank Gore ran them over. The offensive line did not give up a sack, and that gave time for McNabb to make plays.
Looking Forward: The Eagles have a bye, and with a .500 record, it couldn’t come at a better time. It gives Westbrook another week and the Eagles can try to regroup to recapture the excitement they had earlier in the season.
Washington Redskins (4-2):
Looking Back: Note to head coach Jim Zorn: Don’t get too cocky. The Redskins have had a few seasons where they come out of the gates running, only to fall flat on their faces later in the year. Losing to the Rams was a wake-up call for Zorn and his team.
Looking Forward: The Redskins can pick up the pieces against the Cleveland Browns. But, the Browns are coming of a convincing win over the Giants. This game will be a true test for Zorn and his staff. Can they pick up the pieces of a terrible performance and hit the Browns hard? Their season could depend on it. The tightness in the NFC means these non-divisional games become much more important.