The marquee matchup was Dallas at New York, a game won by the Cowboys that for all intents and purposes makes the NFC East a two-team race, with both the Eagles and Dallas at 6-5 and New York and Washington holding seven losses each (Washington hosts San Francisco on Monday night).
I didn't see every play of every game, but between the wonder of the Red Zone Channel and a bar side seat at my local Chickie's & Pete's, I saw a bunch. And this is what sticks late on a Sunday night ...
- Dallas played an outstanding game to sweep the Giants and end New York's four-game winning streak and, barring a five-game turnaround, the Giants' chances in the division. New York has three of its five games remaining on the road, and the Giants play Washington twice, at San Diego and at Detroit, along with a home game against Seattle. Tough sledding for the Giants. Give quarterback Tony Romo some credit for completing 6 of 9 passes on a final drive that led to the winning points. Dallas' schedule isn't a cakewalk, with games at Chicago, home with the Packers (and, likely, quarterback Aaron Rodgers) and at Washington before wrapping up the regular season hosting the Eagles.
- Arizona was outstanding in its blowout win over a depleted Indianapolis team. Carson Palmer is in a good place throwing the ball down the field to big receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, and that Arizona defense dominated the Colts up front. It would be helpful for the Eagles if cornerback
Bradley Fletcheris able to play to help match up size wise against Fitzgerald and Floyd. Arizona is playing very good football. Sunday will be a tough battle.
- I expected Tampa Bay to give Detroit a handful, and the Bucs went to Ford Field and pulled off an upset and damaged Detroit's playoff hopes. Matthew Stafford tossed four interceptions, although they weren't all on him. Tampa Bay dominated the game at the line of scrimmage and Stafford played quarterback on the run late in the game. Detroit had a huge statistical advantage, but five turnovers aren't going to help win games.
- What has happened to Chicago's defense? Injuries have hurt the Bears in a big way, and St. Louis ran for a whopping 258 yards, averaging 8.9 yards per attempt, in a win. Chicago made too many mistakes, fell into a huge hole early and couldn't block St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn on the way to a damaging defeat.
- I was rooting for San Diego to win and stay in the playoff hunt as the Chargers host the Giants in a couple of weeks. Quarterback Philip Rivers was brilliant, particularly in the last-minute drive that produced the winning points, and Kansas City's defense didn't play well at all after injuries sent Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to the sidelines. The Chiefs had no pass rush and Rivers was just too good.
- Carolina keeps winning the close ones. Quarterback Cam Newton has come a long way and is mixing his running opportunities and his in-the-pocket game and he certainly has a ton of confidence. Miami wins this game if the Dolphins could run the football, but that offensive line is a mess and the ground game is null and void. Good win for Carolina, which is now 8-3 and in great playoff position.
- Baltimore hosted the Jets in a game that meant nothing to the Eagles, but I watched some just to see rookie quarterback Geno Smith from the Jets. He's playing poorly and the Jets have absolutely no imagination with their scheme. It's a terrible team to watch, one that relies far too much on the Wildcat to generate yardage. So, yeah, I'm transitioning now to
Brad Smithand his role with the Eagles. I could see the Wildcat very occasionally being used in the weeks ago. Fortunately, the Eagles have tons of variety in the offense and don't need to gimmick things up too much.
- Baltimore's Joe Flacco isn't much better, by the way.
- The Minnesota-Green Bay was terrific theater. A tie for Green Bay doesn't help them too much, but it keeps them in the game and guarantees that they will have much to play for when they travel to Dallas on December 15. Green Bay's defense is pretty awful against the run, and the offense is dink and dunk and throw it up for grabs with Matt Flynn now at the helm until Rodgers returns. Watch rookie running back Eddie Lacy. He had a good game on Sunday, but he looks awfully worn out.
- So do the Cowboys have everything in order for the stretch run? No question the Cowboys came up with a huge win against the Giants and they remain tied with the Eagles at 6-5 in the division, with a 4-0 record in the NFC East. The Cowboys control their destiny in the NFC East. They have a lot of talent on offense and, somehow, the defense held it together against Eli Manning and New York's passing game. It was an excellent game and the atmosphere at MetLife Stadium was tremendous. It felt like a classic NFC East game watching it on television. Let's see if Dallas can win in December, something it hasn't done very well in recent seasons.
- Arizona wide receiver Michael Floyd in the last two weeks: 13 receptions, 297 yards and a touchdown. He's 6 feet 2 and 220 pounds and he is playing very well. He and Fitzgerald will be a handful for Bill Davis and his defensive scheme on Sunday. Can't wait for Sunday to get here as December arrives and the Eagles respond to the pressure of playoff-chase football.