Four teams steeped in history.
Recent history however shows that only one has reached the heights that all of them once took for granted. Are the glory days about to return to this once powerful division? If this past weekend is anything to go by, then yes is the answer.
The New York Giants are the current champions of the National Football League. This season has all the traits of their last two Super Bowl winning years, a yo-yo year that peaks at the right time. They have a knack of doing what is right at the best time of year. Coming out of an indifferent November, they put together a performance worthy of champions this past Sunday, beating the New Orleans Saints 52-27. During the game they had moments of brilliance, but there was also signs of a team that was still a little unsure of itself. Nonetheless they fought off a mini revival by the Saints, and scored 17 unanswered points in putting the game away.
The reason why the Giants may be playing a bit uncertain at times is because they have two teams just one game back in the race for the division. This is of course a great driver, competition makes you play harder. When everything is on the line, you play with greater intensity.
The surprise package has been the improved all around play by the Washington Redskins. Led by a coach who has been to, and won the big one. Coach Mike Shanahan, has guided his young team to a 7-6 record largely off the back of the stellar play of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Sundays home win over a playoff bound Baltimore Ravens, 31-28 in overtime has come at a price. Griffin has injured his right knee and has already been declared out of next week’s trip to Cleveland. His replacement Kirk Cousins, finished off the tying touchdown drive, and led the team for the winning field goal. So they seem to be in good hands still.
Dallas Cowboys are also just a game back, and the team had to once again come from behind to secure their seventh win. It has been the story of their year. Letting teams build up big leads before starting to play forceful football. This weekend was particularly tough as they had the tragic circumstances of a death to a teammate. Jerry Brown Jr. was killed in a automobile accident, which saw another team member Josh Brent arrested under drink related charges, and then subsequently charged with the death of Brown. This rocked the Cowboys to it’s core and they played an emotional game and won it, 20-19, as time expired with a 40 yard field goal.
The last team of this group has had an awful time of late, and the writing is on the wall for key members of the franchise. Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid is going through the motions right now, his pride just about intact as his team battled hard and beat a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that is also in the playoff mix. Rookie QB Nick Foles has taken over from Michael Vick after he was injured a month ago, and has really taken control of the team. He has admitted to ad-libbing the final scoring play, which saw Jeremy Maclin haul in a short pass tight against the sideline to end an eight game losing streak, beating the Buccs 23-21. Whoever takes over from Reid, will inherit a talented team, that has shown some fight recently and when the division is as tight as it has been over the past few years, it won’t take long to get the Eagles back in contention.
All four then , winning for different reasons this past weekend. All of them have something to play for in the next three weeks, whether it’s a division title, a playoff place, or just to stay in a job. The NFC East was known for a while as the toughest division in football. It looks like that title could well be on its way back.