The NFC East title race can effectively be clinched this week. That is very uncharacteristic of this division which has changed winners every year since the Philadelphia Eagles won back to back in 2004. The Philadelphia Eagles have looked like the best team in football with Carson Wentz leading the MVP race. The Dallas Cowboys have the only chance to catch the Eagles but it looks like a task too far. Injuries and suspensions seem to have caught the Cowboys from repeating as division champs. However the Cowboys at 5-4 have a shot at a wildcard berth. The Washington Redskins at 4-5 are belittled with injuries which have led to inconsistent performances lately. And the New York Giants at 1-8 look like they have either quit on the coach, the season, or a combination of both.
Game of the Week: (8-1) Philadelphia Eagles at (5-4) Dallas Cowboys Sunday 8:30pm NBC
This is the game that will decide the NFC East. Yes that’s right on November 19th, the Eagles could effectively clinch the division. The Eagles if they win this game would be 9-1 with a win over the Cowboys, and a sweep of Washington under their belts. The Cowboys knowing this must treat this game like a must win, if they want to win the division. That is a tall order with both their best offensive and defensive players out. The offense looked lost last week against the Atlanta Falcons without their star running back Ezekiel Elliott. All-Pro left tackle Tryon Smith was also out last week and Dak Prescott was sacked 8 times. Tryon Smith is expected to play in this game but I doubt he will be at 100%. Expect the Eagles to exploit the line to attack Dak Prescott. The defense lost Sean Lee, and the Falcons wore down their defense. Without the defensive leader the Cowboys could be in trouble.
On the other side the Eagles are getting healthier and are coming off of a bye. The Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi to partner with Blount, Clement, and Smallwood. Also the defense gets Ronald Darby back to strengthen the defensive secondary. I fully expect the Eagles train to continue this week.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Cowboys 17
(4-5) Washington Redskins vs. (7-2) New Orleans Saints 1pm Fox
The Washington Redskins in 2017 have been confounding and just hit with bad luck. Kirk Cousins has been his usual self; conservative and afraid one week, playmaking and leading game clinching drives the next. The gamble with Terrelle Pryor hasn’t worked out and it seems he has been battling with an ankle injury. The other weapons for the Redskins have either been injured or not effective. Crowder-injured, Doctson- inconsistent, and Reed-injured and never in my sports life have I seen that many injuries to an offensive line. All of the opening day starting line have missed game time and are nursing injuries. Meanwhile the defense has turned the corner under Greg Manusky. However, injuries have hurt the defense as well. 1st round pick Jonathan Allen is out, Mason Foster is on IR, and Josh Norman has missed games, and all the while the defense was pulling gutsy performances out of nowhere. That finally caught up to the defense last week as they gave up 38 points to the Minnesota Vikings. A schedule that did not look that difficult at the beginning of the year, has turned into the toughest schedule in the NFL. Fortunately for the Redskins, after this week the schedule turns into the easiest.
The New Orleans Saints have surprised many this year. The defense, which at the start of the year looked all-time bad, has played well since. Drew Brees has a running game to complement the passing game and their offense is scary good. The Redskins have a 7-1 record in the SuperDome so anything can happen.
Prediction: Saints 31, Redskins 28
(6-3) Kansas City Chiefs vs. (1-8) New York Giants 1pm CBS
Where do I start for the New York Giants? The predictions of a division championship, conference championship, and maybe super bowl appearance were warranted. The opening night game looked more like an aberration than trend. The offense has never looked good this season, has looked horrible without Odell Beckham. Eli Manning looks old, the running game non-existent, and offensive line horrendous. The defense which was the strength of the team has gotten worn down and have looked really bad, giving up 51 points to the Los Angeles Rams at home, and 31 to the San Francisco 49ers, which gave them their only win of the year. Should New York consider trading Eli to a contender and rebuild? and have the Giants quit on coach Bob McAdoo? Certainly time will tell but the Giants are definitely trending downward.
The Kansas City Chiefs in the beginning of season were the hottest team in the NFL. Kareem Hunt and Alex Smith were flying high. Their most impressive win was a week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. However in the last few weeks, teams have caught to their offense and they have lost a couple of game. They are still in control of the AFC West by having a 2-1 record over the NFC East. Look for the Chiefs to get back on track here.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Giants 14
Best Team in the Division: Philadelphia Eagles
Best Player in the Division: Carson Wentz