NFC East Breakdown: Week 10
(Dan T. writes for The Landry Hat, which is FSB‘s Dallas Cowboys blog. Representing the rest of the NFC East are G-Men HQ, Inside the Iggles. and Riggo’s Rag.)
When the New York Giants can turn over the ball twice, including a key fumble late, and still pull out a win, then it is time to take them more seriously and consider them true contenders for a second-straight Super Bowl win. The coaching from the Giants, and namely head coach Tom Coughlin was brilliant. Funny how just two years ago he was almost fired mid-season. On the flip side, Andy Reid’s decision to run the ball twice on short yardage for a key first down as they Eagles were driving for a win in the final minutes was purely boneheaded. It is even more boneheaded knowing that Brian Westbrook had just walked off the field the series before that with what appeared to be an injured groin. Why not just call a quarterback sneak or a bootleg to the left? Running the ball in the same exact area two times in a row to gain a yard just made no sense, and the Eagles not only deserved to lose, but they should not be considered a playoff contender. Neither defense was lights-out great, but the the Giants frontline showed up when they needed to, and the team owes linebacker Chase Blackburn a free meal for making the game-saving tackle.
Dallas Cowboys (5-4):
Looking Back: The Cowboys had a bye week and it was pretty quiet in Big D all week. We’re hearing that Tony Romo, Terence Newman, Kyle Kozier and Felix Jones all should be back for the first time this season. What we don’t know is how well they will play against rival Washington Redskins. The Cowboys went into the bye week after getting destroyed by the New York Giants. They learned that they can stink it up on every end of the field. Hopefully the bye week allowed for some important soul checking. No one is happy.
Looking Forward: The Cowboys must win this matchup to keep their playoff hopes alive. The division is tight beyond the New York Giants and the entire NFC is a boondoggle of teams all with chances to make it minus a few slackers. You never know what to expect with this team. We’re all waiting for the talent to explode and the machine to run like it did last year, but there’s not high hopes of it right now. A win at Fed Ex Field could do wonders for a Cowboys playoff run. They’ve got room to lose one or two more games and that’s it. The week 3 loss to the Redskins sent the Cowboys into a downward spiral, winning just 2 of those 5 games. They remember that game, and they also know they could have won it.
Looking Back: Tom Coughlin is coach of the year so far. He made so many sound and brilliant coaching decisions against the Eagles that he may have solely been the reason the team won. No one could hold onto the ball. Passes were dropped. Players were committing stupid penalties. It just seemed like nothing was going right for anyone. One thing is for sure, the Giants sure can run the ball well with their triplets. For the second straight week, the Giants gained more than 200 yards on the ground. Only the Atlanta Falcons, yes the Atlanta Falcons, are doing better. The Giants dominated time of possession and ran 20 more plays than the Eagles. The score was much closer than this game really was at times.
Looking Forward: The Giants next face the 6-3 Baltimore Ravens with a rookie quarterback and a new-found defense that is playing with a lot of drive. Both teams are coming into this game with big wins. The schedule doesn’t get a whole lot easier for the G-men either, with additional games against Dallas, Washington, Carolina, Arizona, Philly and Minnesota. The Giants have to be careful not to fall apart late in the season, a malady that often struck the Cowboys for the past decade.
Looking Back: The Eagles are in live-or-die playoff mode. Since they lost to the Cowboys already, they’re outside looking in. Andy Reid is likely beside himself right now wondering what he was thinking late in the fourth quarter. But Donovam McNabb should be doing the same thing for the horrible clock management of the same quarter. His heavy breathing late in the game that pushed them to the 2-minute warning before they could run another play made the television analysts bring up memories of McNabb during the Super Bowl. You remember, the vomiting story that Eagles fans deny but the majority of the world knows it really happened.
Looking Forward: The Cincinnati Bengals couldn’t come at a better time, right? The Eagles better not look past this team because they almost beat both the Giants and Cowboys. Brian Westbrook needs to find his groove because he’s been off the past two games. The Eagles do so much better when he plays well.
Looking Back: The Redskins hit the bye week after a crushing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Guess what some players did on this week off? They went to Disney World! Yeah! Chris Cooley was bragging about his little trip to Florida with quarterback Jason Campbell and took pictures of them on a roller coaster together. How cute. Now they have an excuse if they lose to the Cowboys on Sunday night: we didn’t take the game seriously. Certain Cowboys players took a big hit from the media when they went to Mexico in the bye week before the matchup against the Giants. And although this little foray in Florida may not be that bad, these guys aren’t paid millions of bucks to goof off during the season. They can do that February through July, right? RIdiculous.
Looking Forward: Maybe the Redskins think they really are that good and they can overlook the Dallas Cowboys, who are knocking on their doorsteps in the division. Sure, the Cowboys have lost 3 of four games, but the Redskins haven’t exactly looked amazing either. A 7-3 record with six games remaining would really look good for the Redskins, but being home for this game isn’t going to mean a sure win. We saw Pittsburgh fans take over Fed Ex Field last week, and because more than 90,000 people can get a seat in that ridiculously large park, there is no such thing has home-field advantage for rivalry games. Check craigslist and see all of the “Redskins” fans selling tickets to this game.