IRVING, Texas –Remember when the Cowboys appeared to be the class of the division with little to no competition in sight?
That's at least the way some critics viewed the NFC East race just a few weeks ago when the Cowboys went to Philadelphia and dominated the Eagles for a road win.
Things have certainly changed now.
Even though the Cowboys were off this weekend with a much-needed bye week, they still lost ground in the division race and for the first time since Week 2, they're out of first in the NFC East.
The Eagles, winners of three straight games, have moved into first-place by themselves after a 24-16 win over the Redskins. Philadelphia is now 6-5 and will be on its bye week this weekend.
The Cowboys (5-5) are a half-game back but can regain their share of the lead next week with a win over the Giants in the Meadowlands.
But speaking of the G-men, the rivals from New York have apparently turned things around as well. Once 0-6, the Giants have won four straight games, including Sunday's 27-13 victory over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. In fact, the Green Bay quarterback, who is out with a broken collarbone, missed the Packers' losses the last two weeks to the Eagles and Giants, but of course, he's expected to be back in the lineup for the Dec. 15 game with the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. [embedded_ad]
But the Cowboys have plenty of big games between now and then, and it really doesn't get much bigger than next Sunday's game on the road with the surging Giants.
Dallas won the first meeting between the teams this year in a 36-31 decision back in Week 1. The Cowboys got six turnovers on defense, including three interceptions off Eli Manning, whose fourth-quarter pick to Brandon Carr was returned for a game-decisive score.
The Cowboys have had recent success on the road in New York, winning two of the last three, including last year's 24-17 season-opening win over the Giants, who became the defending champions in seven years to lose the first game of the following year.
When it comes to the playoff picture, we've known for a while the Cowboys will probably have to win the NFC East to make it. A Wild-Card spot has always seemed unlikely for the Cowboys. Currently, there are four non-division teams in the NFC (Chicago, Carolina, San Francisco, Arizona) with six wins, topping the Cowboys' five victories.
Remember, the Cowboys are 3-0 in the division, having beaten all three rivals once. The Eagles are 3-2 in the division, with only the Cowboys to play in the regular-season finale on Dec. 29.
The Giants are 1-2 in the NFC East and the Redskins are 0-3. Washington and New York have yet to play this year but square off on Dec. 1 and Dec. 29.
Here are the remaining schedules for each division team:
Nov. 24 – BYE
Dec. 1 – vs. Arizona
Dec.8 – vs. Detroit
Dec. 15 – at Minnesota
Dec. 22 – Chicago
Dec. 29 – at Dallas
Nov. 24 – at NY Giants
Nov. 28 – vs. Oakland
Dec. 9 – at Chicago
Dec. 15 – vs. Green Bay
Dec. 22 – at Washington
Dec. 29 – Philadelphia
NY Giants (4-6)
Nov. 24 – Dallas
Dec. 1 – at Washington
Dec. 8 – at San Diego
Dec. 15 – Seattle
Dec. 22 – at Detroit
Dec. 29 – Washington
Nov. 25 – San Francisco
Dec. 1 – NY Giants
Dec. 8 – Kansas City
Dec. 15 – at Atlanta
Dec. 22 – Dallas
Dec. 29 – at NY Giants