Can the NFC East Turn it Around?

A quarter of the way into the 2013 season and the teams in the NFC East have been abysmal. The Dallas Cowboys at 2-2 are in first place, and could easily lose today to the Denver Broncos.  Last week, the Eagles looked awful against the Broncos, but if the Eagles win today, they could be in first place with a Cowboys loss. Robert Griffin III has struggled mightily in the first half of games thus far, turning it around in the second half a tad too late. Over in New York, the football Giants have been straight up terrible. The AFC West is enjoying the fact that the NFC East is performing so poorly, as teams in the AFC West have gone 7-1 against the NFC East, pretty much getting “free wins”. I question whether or not the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, and Giants can turn it around. Of course, these four teams have to face each other, so the records for some of them could improve. I think that the NFC East division title is a race to six. Whichever team wins six games first will win the division. Right now, the schedule favors the Eagles since their next four games are against teams with a 2-14 combined record.

Dallas Cowboys
Current record: 2-2
It has to be tough to be a Cowboys fan at the moment. After giving away a win at San Diego last week, Cowboys’ fans get to watch their team face the Denver Broncos this week, and the Cowboys schedule does not get any easier. After the Broncos this week, the Cowboys face the Redskins at home, travel to Philadelphia and Detroit, come back home to face the Vikings, and then travel to New Orleans to face the Saints before having their bye week. These stretch of games will say a lot about the Cowboys, whether they do good or not.  If the Cowboys hit a wall and end up 4-6 going into their bye week, we could see some people getting fired (*cough cough* Jason Garrett).  There is no excuse for “America’s Team” to not make the playoffs and if they end up 4-6, the chances of them playing in January are very unlikely. If the Cowboys can find a consistent running game with DeMarco Murray, there is no reason why they can’t be 6-4 heading into their bye week.

Philadelphia Eagles
Current record: 1-3
What is fascinating about this Eagles team is their inability to win a football game at home. For this reason I can easily see the Eagles winning today at New York and next week at Tampa, but then losing their next two games at home against Dallas and New York. If the Eagles were going to turn their season around, it has to be during these next five games where they face the Giants twice, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Raiders. I do not question the Eagles ability to score points and run the football. LeSean McCoy has been outstanding this season, Michael Vick only has three turnovers, and DeSean Jackson is performing like the guy the NFL saw when he entered the league. I do however question the Eagles defense. It does not matter how many points a team’s offense scores if their defense cannot stop air, that team will not win many games.  The Eagles offense could take the lead with a minute left in the fourth quarter, and that defense will go a head and give up five big passing plays allowing their opponent to tie the game back up. If the Eagles do not go 5-0 or 4-1 in these next five games, the season will be over.

Washington Redskins
Current record: 1-3
Starting off slow has been the motto for this year’s Redskins team. If they did not start off slow against the Eagles in week one, the Redskins could very well be 2-2 and tied for first in the NFC East at the moment. There has been controversy on whether or not RGIII should even be playing, and their team name has even been in the headlines. Redskins’ fans should not be upset at the play of RGIII thus far. They cannot expect him to be the dual threat that he was last year. RGIII will still run the ball, but he will not be as explosive and as risky with his legs. Alfred Morris now has to carry the rushing load, and he has not done that in the first four games of the season.  With all of the issues about the offense starting off slowly in  games, the Redskins defense has not been something that Redskins fans want to talk about. The Redskins defense is close to dead last in the NFL in total yards allowed (in front of the Bills and Eagles). They will not win many games if the defense continues this play with all of the offensive problems that the Redskins have had. With a bye week, the Redskins will not be playing and therefore, can’t drop in the standings.  A tough schedule awaits the Redskins when they return to action next week as they face the Cowboys, Bears, Broncos, Chargers, Vikings, Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Chiefs, Falcons, Cowboys, and Giants to close the season. It does not look good Redskins fans and there certainly is not an easy road ahead.

New York Giants
Current record: 0-4
Is there anything positive to say about the Giants thus far? They have been outscored 146-61 in four games this season, and the road does not get any easier for the Giants defense. The Giants will face the high-powered Eagles offense twice in their next four games, along with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. Out of those four games, the Vikings game should be the one that the Giants win, but Adrian Peterson could explode and have a huge day against a weak Giants defense.  Eli Manning has once again been a turnover machine, and with the Giants inability to run the football, Eli has to throw the ball more, making him even more vulnerable to turnovers. Everything has been a mess in New York and I do not see it turning around anytime soon. As loss after loss piles up on the Giants record, there will be questions as to whether or not head coach Tom Coughlin should be fired. In the case of what happened with Andy Reid in Philadelphia last year, this very well could be Coughlin’s last year in New York, simply because the players are not good.

The NFC East has been anything but spectacular in the first quarter of the 2013 NFL Season. If I had to pick one team to turn it around, I would have to pick the Philadelphia Eagles simply because they have the easiest schedule. This division is completely up for grabs and the month of October will show us what team will have the edge heading into the final half of the season.

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