Cowboys Take Control of the NFC East
A couple of weeks ago it looked as though the Cowboys season maybe was over, they were 3-2, but their three wins were against the Buccaneers, Panthers and Chiefs (all winless at the time). The Cowboys needed overtime and a great play by Miles Austin to survive the Chiefs, and could have easily been 2-3 then. At that time the Giants were 5-0 and the Eagles were 3-1, and it looked as though the Cowboys chances for the East were slowly slipping away. Now four weeks later, the Cowboys are sitting atop the NFC East at 6-2 after beating the Eagles last night 20-16 in Philadelphia. Last night’s game was a good battle between the NFC East rivals, and really could have gone either way, but in the end the Cowboys came up big when it counted. In addition to the two interceptions of McNabb, the Cowboys defense came up huge on a 4th and 1 play at midfield in the 4th quarter. Five plays later the Dallas offense responded to the opportunity in a big way with a 49 yard touchdown strike to Miles Austin, to put the Cowboys up 20-13. The offense also came up big at the end of the game, when after an Eagles field goal, they got the ball back with 4:27 remaining. Dallas got a pair of crucial first downs, that allowed them to keep the ball out of McNabb’s hands, and run out the clock.
The Eagles have now fallen into 2nd place at 5-3 and are facing two straight road games in San Diego and in Chicago, that they will need to split to stay alive in the division. After losing yesterday to the Chargers, the Giants are now 5-4 and have a much needed bye week. When they get back in two weeks their schedule gets pretty tough, but at least they have most of their tough games at home the rest of the season. The Cowboys have a real oppurtunity here. They now face the Packers in Green Bay, which looks like a tough game, but the Packers just lost to the Buccaneers yesterday and can’t stop a pass rush. Then they come home and face the Redskins, before their Thanksgiving game against the Raiders. After that their schedule gets pretty tough, but if they can sweep these next three games, then they are pretty well assured a playoff spot and will be vying for a first round bye in the playoffs. Four weeks ago you wouldn’t have thought it possible, but the Cowboys are in control of the East and are looking like one of the powerhouses in the NFC.