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Bye-Week Look At The NFC East


With the Eagles having their bye this weekend, now is as good a time as ever to take a look around the NFC East and check in with the rest of the NFC East. At 3-4, the Eagles had certainly hoped to be in a better spot than the one they are currently in, but a look around the rest of the division shows that the Eagles are actually in an okay spot seven games into the season.

Here's a team-by-team look at the NFC East …

New York Giants (4-3)

One game above .500, the Giants sit atop the NFC East. After dropping their first two games of the season despite double-digit fourth-quarter leads in both contests, the Giants have rebounded to win four of their next five, with the only loss coming in Philadelphia.

The Giants go as Eli Manning goes, and this season, things are going quite well for Manning. He ranks tenth in the league with 1,776 passing yards while throwing 11 touchdown passes compared to just two interceptions. He's benefited from having one of the best young receivers in the league as well. Odell Beckham Jr. continues to put up big numbers in just his second NFL season, catching 42 passes for 524 yards while finding the end zone four times. Fellow LSU product Rueben Randle has also pitched in with a nice start to the season, averaging 12.7 yards per catch to lead the team. The scary news for Eagles fans is that Manning has been able to find this much success without Victor Cruz, who is still yet to make his return to action after injuring his knee last year in Philadelphia. Once Cruz returns, the Giants' group of weapons will be even that much more dangerous.

Looking at their upcoming schedule, sledding will be a little bit more difficult for the Giants in the coming weeks. Back to back road games with the Buccaneers and Saints lead into a home matchup with the currently undefeated New England Patriots before New York's bye week. On the other side, the Giants remaining schedule features games with Washington, the Jets, Dolphins, Panthers Vikings and the season finale against the Eagles.

If the Giants want to take hold of what's been a very mediocre division to this point, their schedule will surely put them to the test.

Washington Redskins (3-4)

"You like that?"

Kirk Cousins asked the question after the Redskins' big come-from behind 31-30 win over Tampa Bay last weekend. It's certain that many fans in our nation's capital did indeed like the big win, as the Redskins clawed their way back into the NFC East. With the same 3-4 record as the Eagles, Washington has been able to hang around despite missing wide receiver DeSean Jackson for the majority of the season due to injury concerns.

Like the Eagles, Washington is also off this weekend, but unlike the Eagles, they enter the bye coming off a win. After their bye, Washington sees the Patriots and Panthers in a three-week span, and they also end the season with three road games in December/January.

The big question with the Redskins, as it is for most teams, relates back to the quarterback position. After going through the preseason wondering whether Robert Griffin III or even Colt McCoy might be the number one quarterback, Cousins appears to have secured the job, at least for now.

His numbers aren't very spectacular. He's thrown for 1,737 yards and nine touchdowns, but he's frequently bitten by the interception bug, having thrown eight picks on the year. Still, Cousins has found a way to will Washington to a pair of last-minute victories. If Cousins can play at a consistent level for the rest of the season, could Washington be in the hunt for the division crown down the stretch?

Washington's defense has been middle-of-the-road and their running game has under-performed as of late. After being a top five unit in Week 4 when they took on the Eagles, Washington now ranks 20th overall in rushing yards per game, averaging 99.0 yards per game on the ground. Alfred Morris is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and is yet to find the end zone this season. Matt Jones has provided a nice change-of-pace, but he hasn't quite taken off the way it looked like he would in the early going.

The Redskins are a team that appear to still be looking for their identity. Are they a ground and pound running team, or could Cousins lead the way in a quick, short-to-intermediate passing game? Either way, Washington is definitely a team to keep an eye on moving forward.

Dallas Cowboys (2-4)

The Cowboys season started off the way Dallas fans were hoping, with the team coming away with two narrow victories over the Giants and Eagles. At 2-0 and undefeated in the division, Dallas appeared to be sitting pretty after two games. The bad news, however, was that Dez Bryant and Tony Romo were each injured in the first two games and have not been back in the lineup yet. As a result, the Cowboys have dropped their last four games.

When Romo went down, the Cowboys turned to backup Brandon Weeden, but Weeden quickly proved that he wasn't the right guy for the job. He completed 71 of his 98 passes for 738 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and while the numbers don't look all that bad, the Cowboys went 0-3 in his starts and the offense largely failed to move the ball. So last week against the Giants, the Cowboys turned to Matt Cassel, who was acquired in a trade shortly after Romo went down. Cassel struggled in his first game, going 17-27 for 227 yards and tossing three interceptions in the loss to New York.

The big question for the Cowboys coming into the season was whether or not they could still run the ball effectively without DeMarco Murray, and to this point, the answer seems to be no. Dallas has rushed for 766 yards on the season, with Joseph Randle leading the way with 315 yards. Still, the Cowboys don't have a clear number one back, as Randle, Darren McFadden, Lucky Whitehead and Christine Michael have all been used in the ground game. The Cowboys also suffered a big loss in their backfield as the versatile Lance Dunbar was placed on injured-reserve after tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 4.

If the Cowboys are looking to climb back into the picture for the division crown, they'll have to turn things around with a tough road ahead. Dallas hosts Seattle this Sunday before a Sunday night showdown with the Eagles in Arlington, Texas. The Eagle will be fresh off of their bye and looking to get back to .500, and it could be the biggest game of the season for both teams.

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