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Division Rundown: NFC East Struggles Mightily In Week 9
Week nine was not a pretty one for the NFC East. The division was 0-4 meaning that everything stayed the same as far as the standings. But don’t think that means that the entire division isn’t reeling from their tough losses.
New York Giants 6-3
Philadelphia Eagles 3-5
Dallas Cowboys 3-5
Washington Redskins 3-5
The Giants have the type of offense that just seems like it will turn it on when they really need it. They may not score the most points every week, but when it’s time to score a couple crucial touchdowns in crunch time you just expect it to happen.
Well, on Sunday the Steelers did not let that happen. In fact, they were the ones that scored 14 points in the fourth quarter while shutting out the Giants in the final period as they defeated them 24-20.
The Giants offense was especially lackluster. It was actually a 70-yard fumble return by Michael Boley that put New York in the lead in the second quarter. The Giants’ offense only managed a meager 182 total yards. The Steelers’ offense earned over 150 more yards, ran 21 more plays and dominated the time of possession.
While all the heat in the division has seemed to be on Tony Romo and Michael Vick, Eli Manning has quietly had his two worst games of the season in back-to-back weeks. Against the Steelers he was 10 for 24 with just 125 yards and an interception. He only managed a quarterback rating of 41.1.
Things are not pretty in Philadelphia. Head coach Andy Reid (who seems to be on the hot seat himself) announced his faith in his quarterback Michael Vick. Against a terrible Saints defense, playing in a dome, this was supposed to be the game that Vick redeemed himself and the Eagles’ season.
So starting the game off by throwing a 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter was not what the Philly fans were looking for.
The Eagles did a lot of things well. They got great results from their running game and made big plays through the air. They actually outgained the Saints in total yardage by 76 yards. So how did they lose by 28-15?
Well, being 0-5 in the red zone didn’t help. Neither did Vick being sacked seven times. Seven penalties for 58 yards were pretty bad too. In other words, too many mistakes.
Is change coming in Philadelphia? Will Vick be benched? Will Reid be fired? To add to the controversy Michael Vick’s brother, Marcus, tweeted “We're requesting out of Philly.”
After the game Reid announced Vick would be the starting QB and Vick downplayed the tweet of his brother.
Speaking of teams in turmoil…
Under different circumstances one might say the Cowboys played a pretty decent game against the Atlanta Falcons. They limited their mistakes and hung tough with a team that usually puts up a lot of points. There’s no shame in losing by six to an undefeated team.
But when that loss puts you at 3-5 for the season, it’s a little bit tougher to put an optimistic spin on things.
All season it had been turnovers that were killing the Cowboys. On Sunday night the Cowboys did not turn the ball over. Tony Romo did not throw an interception. But that still wasn’t enough to beat the Falcons. The running game for Dallas was once again abysmal. Of their 18 rush attempts, 10 of them were run for three yards or less.
The Cowboys defense made a number of timely stops throughout the first three quarters, but at the end of the day, the Falcons’ playmakers made enough big plays to walk out with a victory. Star wide outs Julio Jones and Roddy White both caught for over 115 yards and running back Michael Turner got it going in the second half, finishing with 103 yards and a touchdown.
All season the Redskins had been relying on a few big plays from some of their more dynamic players to keep them in games. On Sunday, against the Panthers, they had no such luck. In fact, their longest run of the day was for 18 yards and their longest passing play of the day was for 25 yards.
You factor that in with the fact that the Panthers were able to convert touchdowns when the Redskins had to settle for field goals and Washington was never really in this game.
Mike Shanahan made the claim that, at 3-5, he had not given up on the 2012 Redskins season claiming that, “Any time you have division games, you have a great chance.”
After Shanahan made the comments, every other team in the division went on to lose, reinforcing his point.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys lost defensive lineman Jay Ratliff at the end of the second quarter to an ankle injury, but he returned midway through the fourth quarter. While it was the same injury that had caused Ratliff to miss time earlier in the season, it has not been deemed serious, and he is listed as day-to-day. Tony Romo strained his back on the final play of the game against the Falcons, but the injury is said to be minor and not cause him to miss any time. DeMarco Murray’s status for next week’s game against Philadelphia is unknown. Murray strained his foot earlier in the season.
New York Giants: The Giants did not sustain any serious injuries in their loss to the Steelers. After the game, former Cowboy Martellus Bennett was seen limping, but his exact injury and status are unknown. Linebacker Keith Rivers will attempt to return from a calf injury to play against his former team, the Bengals, this Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles did not sustain any serious injuries on Monday night. But they are still clearly feeling the effects of numerous injuries to their offensive line earlier in the season. Vick was pressured numerous times and the team was also guilty of a few false starts.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins will use the bye to rest their injured players, most notable Pierre Garcon who has missed significant time with a foot injury and is attempting to come back as early as possible.
NFL.com Power Rankings:
#6– New York Giants (previously #3)
#17 – Dallas Cowboys (previously #14)
#20 – Philadelphia Eagles (previously #15)
#23– Washington Redskins (previously #19)
ESPN.com NFL Power Rankings:
#5 – New York Giants (previously #2)
#18 – Dallas Cowboys (previously #14)
#19 – Washington Redskins (previously #19)
#21 – Philadelphia Eagles (previously #18)
-This season Tony Romo and Michael Vick have combined to throw 22 interceptions. Ryan Tannehill (rookie), Blain Gabbert (second year player), Mark Sanchez and Robert Griffin III (rookie) have all combined to throw 22 interceptions.
-While the Chicago Bears’ defense has been heralded this year for scoring off of so many turnovers, the Dallas Cowboys’ defense is actually allowing fewer yards per game than the Bears.
-While things look meek for the Eagles and Cowboys, both teams are only two wins behind the Seattle Seahawks who currently hold what would be a wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs.
New York Giants @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, November 11th, 12:00 CT (FOX)
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, November 11th, 3:25 CT (FOX)