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NFC East: 'Skins Fall Short Once More; Week 10 Thoughts


Man, if that wasn't familiar. 

One week ago, an NFC East quarterback lined up with a long field and a short clock against him with his team trailing the woeful Vikings. 

Faced with that situation last Sunday, Tony Romo put together a 90-yard drive that culminated in a Dwayne Harris touchdown catch for a skin-of-your-teeth win against Minnesota.

Robert Griffin III tried his hand at it Thursday night when he lined up 80 yards away with just more than three minutes remaining, as the Redskins trailed Minnesota, 34-27.

Griffin moved Washington 76 yards -- with 41 of those coming on the ground -- all the way to the Vikings' four-yard line. With 38 seconds remaining, Griffin threw three straight incompletions, and Minnesota held on.

The Cowboys were heavily criticized this week for getting pushed to the brink by a Minnesota team that just won its second game of the year. That's probably fair -- Dallas isn't the best team in the NFL, but the Cowboys have certainly proven they're too talented to lose to a cellar dweller.

Even if that is the case, it's better to slip past a bad team than lose to one.

I don't even think the Redskins are a bad team. Washington outgained the Vikings, 433-307, the held the ball for 36 minutes and they won the turnover battle.

Griffin had the best day of his season, completing 64 percent of his passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. He also ran for 44 yards on seven carries. [embedded_ad]

So what on Earth happened? For one, the Vikings did what few have been able to do this year -- they got to Griffin. Minnesota sacked the Washington quarterback four times, and hit him another 10 or so times. Griffin had been sacked just 14 times on the year entering the game.

There's also the matter of seven penalties for 63 yards by Washington.

It would be dumb to bury the Redskins, as they held this same 3-6 record in 2012 when they tore off seven straight wins. But this year's Redskins  have division games against Philadelphia and New York, as well as big games against playoff contenders San Francisco and Kansas City, coming up in the next month. 

Just like Dallas last week, they couldn't afford to drop a game against one of the easier opponents remaining on the schedule. Dallas found a way to win, but Washington couldn't. 

As has been the trend this season, the Cowboys won't complain about a division rival failing to maintain their pace.

Reed-ing the future

I will say this for Washington: it looks like they have found a mismatch at tight end in rookie Jordan Reed, who they selected in the third round last spring.

Reed had 13 catches for 106 yards in the first month of the season. Against Dallas in Week 6, he broke out for his best game of the season -- four catches for 58 yards.

In the four games since then, he has racked up 27 catches for 323 yards and two scores. 

He might not be Jimmy Graham, but Reed appears to be blossoming.

Looking ahead

The great thing about playing on Sunday night is that every game in the division will be over by the time the Cowboys take the field. 

The Eagles travel to Green Bay to take on an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay team.  It makes sense to favor Philly, given how bad the Packers looked with Seneca Wallace at the helm last week.

But Green Bay stops the run well, and thanks to Eddie Lacy, they're the league's second-best rushing team. Philly's defense isn't a powerhouse, as you might have heard. Factor homefield advantage into all of that, and I still think Green Bay finds a way to win.

I would have felt much better about Oakland's chances to beat New York before Nick Foles carved the Raiders into pieces.

Terrelle Pryor has proven he can be a handful for opposing defenses to manage. But we saw what the Giants can do to a ground game when they put their mind to it, as they held Adrian Peterson to 28 yards a few weeks ago.

The Raiders don't have the passing game to exploit New York's secondary, I don't think. I'm preparing to see New York take hold of a three-game winning streak with their game against Dallas looming on the horizon

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