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NFC East Week 11

New York Giants

Playoffs? You’re talking playoffs? I’m sure we’ve all heard the rant by Coach Mora that became infamous through the Coors light parody, but the most applicable part of that post-game interview to this Giants team is when Coach Mora says “I just hope we can win another game!” Despite being the winners of three straight, the New York Giants look awful. This game should have been a cake walk on Sunday but instead the offense looked determined to give it away. Starting with the opening possession, the Giants coughed off the kick return and put the defense is a terrible situation early on. Then two drives later Hillis fumbles in Giants territory again. On top of that, Eli threw another pic six at what seemed to be a pivotal part of the game. For a good portion of that game offense just appeared lost. Now as a devout Giants fan I would love to sit here and tell you I knew we would pull through, but in all honesty, I was biting my nails and throwing couch cushions for the majority of that game.

The only positive in Sunday’s win was the play of the defensive unit which has seemingly found its chi. This was probably the best defensive performance of the season, even though that isn’t exactly saying much. Not to mention, that was the first punt block I’ve seen from Big Blue in as many years as I can remember. As crazy as it seems though, the Giants have managed to fight their way back into playoff contention. With a banged up Packers team coming to East Rutherford on Sunday, the Giants can potentially move within a half game of the division leading Cowboys who come to town in week 12. The Cowboys and Eagles currently have the same record but since Dallas was victorious in their week 7 meeting they currently hold the tie-breaker. It’s imperative the Giants stay focused on the game at hand and not let the opportunity for revenge against Dallas distract them from what should be a very winnable game at home. Once again the Packers will lean heavily on their run game with Rodgers missing his second straight. With the 11th ranked rush defense, allowing a shade over 100 yards per game this season, this is a favorable matchup for the Giants.

Without a doubt the Giants have had a fortuitous schedule as Sunday will be the second of three straight home games following the bye. With the first of those already in the books, this schedule could be the key to getting back into the hunt.

Philadelphia Eagles
For those of you out there who like numbers, take a look at what Nick Foles has done this season: 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Foles and Riley Cooper have really found their rhythm over the last two weeks hooking up for 241 yards and 5 td on 8 receptions. It seems safe to say after these last few weeks Michael Vick will be looking for a new home come the end of the season. Not to take anything away from what the Eagles have done of late, but they have been matched up with two below average pass defenses. Nonetheless the Eagles still sit at 5-5; good enough to be tied for first place in the NFC East. Unfortunately for the Eagles fans who attend the games, none of those wins have come at home. That’s right, the Eagles are a pathetic 0-4 at Lincoln Financial Field this season. They will certainly be looking to break that streak as they have a big division game Sunday with the Redskins traveling into Philly. With the Cowboys on a bye this week, a win this weekend will give the Eagles a half game lead on the division heading into their week 12 bye.
Washington Redskins
The Redskins looked absolutely deflated in the second half of last week’s loss at Minnesota; they managed to blow a 17 point second half lead to a team that had yet to win a game on American soil. Washington was in command early, imposing their will in the run game which subsequently opened up the downfield routes for RG3. However, something changed for the Redskins at the half and they were completely manhandled by Minnesota’s front seven in the second half. Ironically enough their best drive of the second half came in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter and put them in a position to send the game to overtime with a touchdown. Much to the delight of NFC East fans, the Vikings were able to come up with a stop on fourth and goal and hold on for the W. There is clearly a different demeanor in Washington this season then there was in last season’s playoff run. As an aside, the Giants have yet to play Washington, something to keep in mind should the Giants keep their momentum rolling into the homestretch.

As mentioned above, the Redskins travel to Philadelphia on Sunday to take on a surging Eagles offense. At 3-6 the Redskins are just as much in the hunt for the division title as the Giants are but lack the momentum that gives Big Blue a brighter outlook. All that can change this Sunday if the Redskins can pull an upset on the road over a division rival. Based on the way the Eagles have played at home this season, the Redskins might actually be the favorites in this one. Once again this game will hinge on the secondary’s ability to slow down Foles and the Eagles passing attack. This well below average secondary could allow Foles to post big numbers for a third straight week. The key factor in assessing whether a team has what it takes to make a late season run is to see how they handle adversity. The Redskins certainly have their backs against the wall going into week 11 and will need to come out fired up if they want to have a chance to salvage their season.

Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys go into their week 11 bye coming off their worst loss of the season. They went into the Superdome last Sunday night and got absolutely embarrassed by the Saints who set the NFL record for most first downs in a single game; the Saints had 40 first downs while the Cowboys only ran 43 total plays. This game was completely one sided from the very start and I loved every single second of it. The only thing I didn’t like about this game was my choice to sit Darren Sproles on my fantasy team; but that’s a personal issue and luckily I still managed to squeak out a win to stay atop the league. The Cowboys were punched in the face early and just could not respond. Rob Ryan was clearly anxious to show Jerry Jones he made a mistake firing him last year and game planned perfectly to shut down Dez Bryant and the Dallas offense.

The Cowboys defense looked lost once Sean Lee left the game early in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. After his departure, the Saints were able to run the ball effectively all night ending up averaging 6.4 yard per carry. Luckily for the Cowboys they have a bye in week 11 and have some time to regroup. They will likely burn the film from Sunday’s game and do their best to forget that ever happened. As if getting smacked by the Saints wasn’t bad enough, Sean Lee’s injury will sideline him for at least 3-4 weeks. He should be out for Dallas’ matchup against Big Blue in Week 12. Oh well. When it rains it pours, even deep in the heart of Texas.

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