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NFC East: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Week 7

Steve Shoup

By Guest Writer Nick Clarke:

 

The Good    dezbryant

For Dallas Cowboys fans, there really hasn’t been a more enjoyable time to follow the Cowboys over the past seventeen years than now.  They are finally starting to become what we’ve known they could be for all these years.  After their ten point victory over the interdivisional archrival New York Giants, the Cowboys improved to 6-1 and took sole possession of first place in the NFC East.  Their first divisional win of the season saw their trio of playmakers step up in crucial moments and lead the team to a very important win.  That trio would be Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, and Dez Bryant and they look absolutely unstoppable.  Murray is off to arguably one of the best starts for a running back in NFL history, rushing for over one hundred yards in every game this season.  Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are taking a back seat to Murray and the running game, but as evidenced by all seven of Romo’s targets towards Bryant going for seven catches and over one hundred thirty yards in the second half alone last week, Romo and Bryant have the ability to take over games and beat defenses in every phase of the passing game.  The trio of Romo, Murray, and Bryant has drawn comparisons to Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, also known as the triplets.  If the triplets 2.0 can stay healthy and continue to find balance, the Cowboys should be playing well into January.

The Washington Redskins recorded their second win of the season in comeback fashion, which featured a game winning drive by the third string quarterback.  In Robert Griffin III’s absence, Kirk Cousin was a turnover machine.  After throwing an early interception, Jay Gruden decided to bench Cousins after the first half.  Colt McCoy started the second half and proceeded to complete eleven of his twelve passes with a touchdown and no turnovers.  The Redskins were wise to end the Kirk Cousins experiment and move on to McCoy to give their team a fighting chance to save their season once the former offensive rookie of the year makes his return from injury.  McCoy’s first real test will be next week in Dallas on the national stage on Monday Night Football.

Odell Beckham Jr. looked like a seasoned veteran at the slot position against Dallas this past Sunday.  Beckham, the talented rookie receiver out of LSU, made his debut for the Giants right around the time Victor Cruz went down for the season, and with unexpected shoes to fill, Beckham looks ready to fill them.  Eli found Beckham for two touchdowns against Dallas and looked comfortable looking Beckham’s way throughout the ballgame.  If Eli and Beckham can establish a solid connection throughput the second half of the season, they should be a headache to deal with in the very foreseeable future.

The Bad

If not for a quick out route turned into a seventy yard touchdown by Pierre Garcon, the Redskins would not have found the back of the end zone once all game.    With Colt McCoy under center for the next couple of games, the Redskins cannot rely on big plays to account for their scoring.  Gruden needs to change the offense to focus on more intermediate high percentage passes.  Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon are excellent at quickly getting off the line and creating separation at the point of the catch.   Without a consistent passing attack and a reliance on the deep ball or low percentage catch and runs, the Redskins scoring offense will continue to find itself towards the bottom of the league.

The Giants found themselves in their own territory with eleven minutes left down seven.  Eli connected with tight end Larry Donnell for a first down, but as Donnell was being wrestled to the ground, the Cowboys stripped him of the ball.  The Giants were forced to watch the Cowboys put the game away with a commanding fourteen point lead with just over nine minutes left.  The Giants’ momentum and chances for winning the game were wiped out in an instant.  The offensive series encapsulated what was in front of the Giants, who were riding a three game win streak, prior to facing the Eagles and Cowboys and what they now face, sitting three games behind the division leading Cowboys.

The Ugly

Kirk Cousins, once thought by many as worth a first round pick, did himself no favors in trying to become an every week starter with his failed five week audition.  With Colt McCoy overtaking him as the starter in RGIII’s absence, Cousins certainly isn’t in the future plans for the Redskins.  Cousins had the opportunity to show NFL teams he could play at a caliber to be successful every Sunday, and he did not rise to the occasion.  Cousins’ failed audition cost the ‘Skins a high draft pick and Cousins a bright future in the league.

The Giants came out against Dallas with a plan to run the ball down Dallas’ throats, but quickly abandoned the run and went to a one dimensional offense that Dallas was able to stifle for the entire second half.  The Giants don’t have an identity on offense, especially with the loss of Victor Cruz.  The G-Men don’t have a prolific option at receiver for the first time in many years and how they make up for that will need to be answered sooner rather than later.

 

 



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