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NFC East Breakdown: Week 11


(Dan T. writes for The Landry Hat, which is FSB‘s Dallas Cowboys blog. Representing the rest of the NFC East are G-Men HQInside the Iggles. and Riggo’s Rag.)

Donovan McNabb was quoted at the end of the game against Cincinnati saying he didn’t know there were ties in the NFL. Even I had to check the score over and over to make sure it was not an error on the ticker. 13-13 to the Bengals? Uhhhh, ok. The Dallas Cowboys get Tony Romo back and pull one out against the Washington Redskins. And the New York Giants are gaining respect each week as they blow out a formidable opponent in the Baltimore Ravens. There isn’t a division in the NFL quite as special as this one.

Dallas Cowboys (6-4):

Looking Back: The Dallas Cowboys started the game off making it into the Washington Redskins territory three out of their first four possessions, but two of them ended in interceptions. Tony Romo had a cast on his throwing pinkie and he didn’t quite have the zip in the ball. The first interceptions was just a bad throw, and the second was just a bad catch. After that, the Cowboys defense truly dominated the Redskins. Wade Phillips and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett call a bizarre fourth quarter play with a minute left that sealed the win, but a chip-shot field goal sure would have ensured nothing more than a tie. If the Cowboys missed that fourth an 1 play, the Redskins had a minute to tie it, and possibly win it with a 2-point conversion. Terence Newman looked great, and for the first time in three years, the Cowboys shut down Santana Moss.

Looking Forward: A huge win for the Cowboys gives them some much-needed confidence heading into Week 12 and the San Fransisco 49ers. The 49ers are no joke, and the Cowboys have to come prepared to hit this team and play strong defense. At 6-4, nothing is guaranteed at this point. The division is tight and no one but the Giants has a secure spot to play in January. Tony Romo needs to get that cast off his pinkie and maybe next week he will. Marion Barber played his best game of the year, and there’s no reason the Cowboys cannot repeat that performance this Sunday.

New York Giants (9-1):

Looking Back: The New York Giants are being called the best team in the NFL and in the shadow is still an undefeated team. It doesn’t matter. The Giants have all the wheels rolling at the same time. Their run game is pure dominance. Brad Johnson could quarterback this team and they’d still be good.

Looking Forward: It should be fun to see how the Giants do against the high-flying Arizona Cardinals, who are looking pretty darn good with MVP Kurt Warner. I am not sure anyone has cornerbacks who can completely stop the two wideouts on the Cardinals. But one thing is for sure, Warner will see pressure that he has not seen all year. When pressured, Warner isn’t as spectacular, and since the Cardinals are pass heavy, that’s how the Giants can win this game, and possibly quite easily. The defense is so darn good that I haven’t seen many teams block those guys.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-4-1):

Looking Back: I thought I was misreading the score or there was an error on the scroll. But it was true. The Eagles tied the Bengals. I couldn’t believe it. Neither could Donovan McNabb. He was seriously clueless that there are ties in the NFL, and that’s just boneheaded. The Eagles might just be falling apart at the wrong time. At this point in the season, you have to come out with your best, and the Eagles just are not doing that. McNabb just threw and threw and threw, and on three occasions he threw to the wrong guy. For the third straight game, Brian Westbrook was a non factor. Why the Eagles decided they were not going to run against the Bengals is beyond me.

Looking Forward: It doesn’t get any easier for the Eagles, who will face a mad and mean Baltimore Ravens team. The Eagles are on the verge of sliding fast downhill with no hope in sight. Fans are angry with McNabb and his ridiculous comments. The Ravens got demolished against the Giants and that doesn’t make the defense too happy. McNabb is going to have to really pull out all the tricks, but the Eagles coaching staff needs to learn that passing it on every down doesn’t cut it every week in the NFL. You cannot give up on your top running back just because he has not broken a big gain yet. The clue is, he will. He just needs the ball.

Washington Redskins (6-4):

Looking Back: After their first drive of the game, the Redskins never really saw Dallas territory again. Santana Moss was blanketed the entire game and Clinton Portis wasn’t effective for three quarters. That left the Redskins coaching staff unsure of who their go-to guy was going to be. Although Chris Cooley made some key catches, the Redskins under utilized him with the short-yardage plays that so many teams have beaten the Cowboys on this year. The Redskins were just flustered by intense pressure from the Cowboys defense all night.

Looking Forward: Next up for the Redskins is a game they CANNOT lose. It’s not that the Seahawks are really that bad…OK, who I am kidding, they are truly awful. And that is exactly why the Redskins have to win this game. Falling to 6-5 would all but put the nail into the coffin for Jim Zorn’s playoff hopes. It’s just too tight in the NFC East for those two final wilcard spots. Zorn’s coaching ability is now under serious scrutiny, and fans will start to criticize him soon if the offense continues to sputter. Maybe the Seahawks couldn’t come at a better time for the reeling Redskins, but a loss would be devastating.