Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

NFC East Roundup: Here come the Cowboys?

Taking a look around the Redskins' division

If you’ve been following this segment weekly, then you know that usually I breakdown the latest news on each team in the NFC East other than the Redskins, 

but this week, since the Cowboys are out of contention and the division race is heating up, I’ll go over a few headlines, and then predict the what the standings will be by the end of the season.

Standings

1. New York Giants (5-5)

2. Washington Redskins (4-5)

3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5)

4. Dallas Cowboys (2-7)

In the News 

Eagles 

Last week, the Eagles lost a frustrating one-point game in the fourth quarter to the Dolphins by a score of 20-19. Miami surged back from a 13-point 

deficit to overcome Philly, who lost Sam Bradford in the game to a shoulder injury. Mark Sanchez came in and played like… well, Mark Sanchez. Bradford has been present at practice this week but has not participated. He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Memories of rejection have been conjured this week as Chip Kelly and the Eagles will take on the Bucs, the team who Kelly decided to turn down in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see if Tampa was actually better off without Kelly, because though their last few years have been abysmal, their future may be brighter.

Giants

I sat on my couch in utter disbelief last Sunday as Stephan Gostowski kicked a 54 yarder and the Patriots narrowly remained undefeated with a win over the Giants, who had several chances to lock up the game. It was almost 2008… and 2011 all over again. ‘Twas not to be however, as the G-men suffered the loss despite an impressive showing. That being said, the game will definitely be a confidence booster in the locker room. The most apparent and encouraging improvement last week for New York was undoubtedly the pass rush, which has been revitalized since Jason Pierre-Paul returned from his fireworks injury. Tom Brady was under pressure constantly, looking less comfortable than his usual self. The Giants previously had one of the worst pass rushes in the league, so any development is encouraging.

Victor Cruz was placed on the injured reserve recently, but at least Giants fans will get to experience a blast from the past, as Hakeem Nicks will rejoin the team soon after immersing himself in the offense during his first practice. Nicks played a key role in the last Super Bowl run, so who’s to say he won’t again on a similarly mediocre group?

Cowboys

Wow. After a 2-0 start, the Cowboys lost every single game while quarterback Tony Romo sat out for the last seven. There’s not much to say about last week’s 10-6 loss to the Buccaneers other than that the offense was absolutely horrible. Moving on...Tony Romo may finally be back from his broken collarbone this week, and he’s still optimistic that Dallas can make a playoff run. While at first glance his comments may seem unrealistic, it is the NFL, and any thing can happen. In reality, there’s not much hope though. 

Defensive lineman Randy Gregory’s birthday is coming up, and apparently, all he wants is to end the loosing streak. He’s put the pressure on Romo in his first game and expects the veteran QB to deliver his birthday present. One game at a time.

Projected Standings:

1. New York Giants (8-8): It’ll come down to the last game. The Giants and Eagles play each other in Week 17, and the team who wins will clinch the division in a classic matchup. Ultimately, the Giants will come out ahead. They showed that they can play with anyone in the game against New England, and have the more well-rounded, more experienced, and more consistent team. The emergence of a strong passing defense would put the team over the top to go along with a formidable rush D and a veteran QB, who despite the grief he gets, does have two SB rings. 

2. Philadelphia Eagles (7-9): The same game that ends the Eagles’ season will also mark the end of Chip Kelly’s NFL career. The Eagles have been plagued by inconsistencies all season long, and their busy offseason will ultimately backfire. Sam Bradford simply looks lost, and at this point, it’s proven that DeMarco Murray does not play well as an inside zone back. The offense that was thought to be so potent at the beginning of the season ended up being one of the lesser groups in the league, and unless Kelly is willing to change up his playbook even more for Bradford, he’s out of luck.

3. Washington Redskins (7-9): It’s a shame, if the Redskins had played the Cowboys twice before Romo came back, I may have been placing them in first place, but those two games will sink them in the heated division race as Dallas, the better team when healthy, will be in a vein frenzy to get back to the playoffs. The Skins will have to face another loosing season after a tough draw of second half games.

4. Dallas Cowboys (6-10): Dallas will make a surge late, winning four of seven games, but it won’t be enough to get to the postseason for Romo. The story of the season will be characterized by injuries to crucial players. Though coming into the year, Dallas looked to be better than they had in a long time, despite the loss of DeMarco Murray, no team can get past crippling damages that Dallas faced.

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