NFC East Race
By Joey Bats Fitzgerald
I think out of every division in the NFL this division race is the most exciting. That or the AFC North race because the Bengals are in on that now. It’s still very early. It’s Halloween today and we still have 9 weeks left in the NFL season before teams get ready for the playoffs. Right now is when you’re starting to realize if you’re a playoff team or not. Well in the NFC East you have three or actually all four teams who are trying to figure that out. This is my favorite division and the one I know most about. The rivalries are old the teams absolutely hate each other and the fans are as passionate as any other fan base.
New York Giants 5-2, 1st Place
I give Eli Manning a ton of credit this season. He’s proven to me that he’s a top 10 NFL QB and is the NFC East’s best QB. Yup, over Vick, Romo, and yes Deion, Rex Grossman. He’s 7th in yards and a 102.1 rating. Though I have to be honest I don’t think the Giants are going to win the NFC East or make the playoffs. They’re a very inconsistent team that is lucky to be 5-2 at this point. They should of lost to the Cardinals when Victor Cruz fumbled, but the refs gave them that call. The Bills game was just a result of a horrible throw by Fitzpatrick. Yesterday? Well the Miami Dolphins clearly gave up. The Giants played horribly yesterday. They could beat anyone and they could lose to anyone. That goes for every team in the NFL, but even more from the Giants. They beat the Eagles, but lost to the Seahawks? It just makes you scratch your head.
Here’s the Giants next nine games. I’ve been saying all year long how the Giants schedule is incredibly tough towards the end of the year. (Patriots, 49ers, Eagles, Saints, Packers, Cowboys, Redskins, Jets, Cowboys) That is the Giants schedule to finish the year. They need 4 or 5 wins to be NFC East champs. That would make them 9-7 or 10-6. Do you see five wins here? I see them splitting with the Cowboys and beating the Redskins. Otherwise I don’t see two wins here. The 49ers game is the Giants traveling to the West Coast. What they need is to get one win against the Patriots, Saints, or Packers.
Philadelphia Eagles 3-4, 2nd Place
After being 1-4 the Eagles have stormed back into the thick of things with two huge divisional wins over the Redskins and Cowboys. Philly looks really good right now. I might say they’re the favorite to win the NFC East. They don’t have an impossible schedule like the Giants, but they don’t have a cakewalk like the Cowboys. (Bears, Cardinals, Giants, Patriots, Seahawks, Dolphins, Jets, Cowboys, Redskins) Overall I’d say that schedule is middle of the pack. They need 7 wins however. With the games like the Patriots, Jets, and even the Bears plus the divisional games can they manage to lose only two more games to go 10-6? I’m not sure about that.
One thing different about this Eagles team is they learned how to run the ball consistently. LeSean McCoy is a top 3 running back in the NFL. There’s a reason I drafted him to my fantasy team. He’s a likable guy and is so fast. His speed on the edges is unbelievable. He can also run it up the gut and when stuck in the backfield he’s quick enough to make the cut into the open field. The nation got a taste of the real slim Shady last night.
The Eagles defense hasn’t been the greatest, but Juan Castillo might have figured something out. It was against a young Cowboys offensive line who hasn’t been exactly great, but it’s still a plus. Cole, Jenkins, and Babin is a nice front to have with a nice blitz scheme. We didn’t see how they handled the run yesterday because Dallas was down so much so early they had to pass. What I did see though was Nnamdi Asomugha and the rest of the Eagles secondary playing man defense. Finally. Now they’ll actually be the dream team Vince Young was talking about.
Dallas Cowboys 3-4, 3rd Place
The enigma that is the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a tough puzzle to figure out. One week they look like the NFL’s elite. The next they come out flat. Actually 3 quarters they look elite and then in the 4th they seemingly give other teams gifts! The Jets and Lions games could come back to haunt Dallas in the latter months of the season. Another inconsistent NFC East team that hasn’t had the luck. The only luck their close to getting is that QB playing for Stanford. And even that is a long shot at this point.
Yesterday was bigger for the Eagles than the Cowboys. Sure it would of been huge for Dallas to be 1 game back of the Giants with their schedule compared to the Giants, but it’s okay just because of strength of schedule. (Seahawks, Bills, Redskins, Dolphins, Cardinals, Giants, Buccaneers, Eagles, Giants) The Cowboys next 5 games are big. Going 5-0 or 4-1 would make them 8-4 or 7-5. If they can do that then they need to go either 2-2 or 3-1 in their final 4 games. Which are not exactly easy games. Three divisional games including two against the Giants. The Bucs will be a tough opponent and Philly just beat down on the Cowboys. I expect Rob Ryan to come in more prepared in the their next meeting.
Whether or not Dallas makes the playoffs they’ll be highly involved in what team makes the playoffs out of the NFC. There’s also a Wild Card possibility. With the Lions, Bucs, Bears, and Falcons though that might seem unlikely.
Washington Redskins 3-4, 4th Place
John Beck is the Redskins QB. They will not win anymore than 5 games this year. That’s my analysis.
Cowboys – 10-6
Eagles – 9-7
Giants – 8-8