Excerpt: "NFC EAST
1. New York Giants (6-3)
The Giants started 5-2 or better for the NFL record-tying ninth straight season. Eli Manning has led three more fourth-quarter comeback wins after seven last season, giving him 24 for his career; the most by any quarterback through nine seasons in NFL history. Though Manning already has 2,426 yards passing, he only has 12 touchdowns, including just two in his last four games.
Defensively, the Giants rank 25th in yards per game, but rank 10th in points per game with 26 takeaways (second most in NFL). Their 25 sacks are tied for third most. Every season the Giants usually go on a slump in November, and they just lost to Pittsburgh after a rough week with Hurricane Sandy.
The schedule will be getting tougher, but the Giants have a solid lead in the division and in a one-and-done playoff game, few teams are more feared.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5)
Turnovers will kill you, and the Eagles have 19, giving them a -9 turnover differential on the season. After starting 3-1 with the wins by a combined four points, the Eagles have lost four straight, putting the future of Andy Reid and Michael Vick in Philadelphia in jeopardy.
They barely scraped by for those close victories, lost two such games, and have now been outclassed by the Falcons and Saints the last two weeks. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was fired, but the defense has hardly performed any better with their lack of takeaways and sacks.
The Eagles have failed to score more than 24 points in any game this season, which is the longest streak for the team since the 2005 season. That was the last time Philadelphia finished with a losing record (6-10), and this could be the end of the road for Reid’s tenure after 14 seasons.
3. Dallas Cowboys (3-5)
Dallas is third in the division, but first in drama. After upsetting the Giants in New York on opening night, the Cowboys are just 2-5 since that strong performance. Tony Romo is usually a lock for a mid-90’s passer rating, but this season he has 10 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and an 82.2 passer rating.
Dallas’ problems are not finishing drives on both sides of the ball. The offense ranks sixth in yards, but 26th in points. The defense ranks fifth in yards, but 18th in points. The coaching and play-calling has been very suspect late in close games against Baltimore and the Giants, while the defense could not get off the field quick enough against undefeated Atlanta in what was a winnable game.
A 3-5 hole is a tough one to climb out of in the NFC, but the Steelers are the only team with a winning record left on the schedule. For Dallas to recover, it has to start in Week 10, or else Jason Garrett may be hitting the unemployment line.
4. Washington Redskins (3-6)
The excitement has been provided from rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. He has completed 65.6 percent of his passes with a 93.9 passer rating. Griffin may only have eight touchdown passes, but he has six rushing scores and 529 yards rushing, which is the fifth-highest rushing total through nine games by a quarterback in NFL history.
But the offense has been grounded the last three weeks during a losing streak where they have struggled with turnovers (Giants), dropped passes (Steelers), and in the red zone (Panthers). Washington is last in the league on third down, converting 28.6 of their plays. The defense has struggled all season, allowing a gross of 325.6 passing yards per game, and four game-winning drives against a unit missing Brian Orakpo, Adam Carriker, and with London Fletcher playing hurt.
Mike Shanahan may get a pass for what they have done with Griffin and all the injuries on both sides of the ball, but with a 14-26 (.350) record in three seasons, he could find himself on the hot seat should the losses continue. Five of the last seven games for Washington are against the NFC East." Read more...