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.
It looks like the Philadelphia Eagles have found their quarterback of the future. Nick Foles has looked very good in his last couple of starts and is a guy the team can truly build around.
He has shown great poise in the pocket and has even shown some hints of mobility although he wasn’t regarded as a very mobile quarterback. Due to the Eagles sub-par offensive line, Foles has been under constant pressure in the pocket all season. Unlike Vick however, Foles is a big guy at 6ft 6 inches and can take hits in the pocket without getting injured or losing the ball.
When the offensive line has played even halfway decent, Foles has shredded up opposing defenses. He has been averaging a total of 235 yards per game in his last 5 starts. If the Eagles can build around Foles by adding a few quality linemen, he could be the guy that takes them to the promised land.
The game between the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins presents many intriguing matchups. These matchups beginning with a key battle in the trenches.
There is also a crucial coaching clash and a pivotal head-to-head showcasing two talented running backs.
Here are the best matchups from the Ravens-Redskins.
Ravens Defensive Line vs. Redskins Offensive Line
The Ravens will hope their still powerful defensive front can shut down Washington's top-ranked ground game. The key will be the battle inside involving the interior of the Redskins' front five and Baltimore's Haloti Ngata.
The mammoth defensive tackle is the linchpin of Baltimore's defense. Ngata sets the front and the Ravens move him all along the line to challenge where teams like to run.
The Redskins run most of their zone-stretch plays to the left. Penetration is the key to stopping stretch plays, so left guard Kory Lichtensteiger will have to keep Ngata at bay.
Lichtensteiger is probably the Redskins best run-blocker. He will receive solid support from smart and scrappy center, Will Montgomery.
The Dallas Cowboys are in the middle of another disappointing season. Meanwhile, the Bengals are riding on a surprising hot streak. Should we expect much of the same in Week 14?
MarketsThis was a line move that I saw coming from a mile away. The Bengals were -1.5 point favorites in the look-ahead line last week, but after the weekend they re-opened at -3 (odds from SBRforum).The problem for Vegas is that the move wasn't enough. The Bengals are doing a lot of things right (Week 13 turnovers aside). Meanwhile, the Cowboys continue to struggle with the same flaws that have plagued them all year. This line should be -3.5 at the minimum, but I would've opened it at -4 myself.
Dallas: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The 2012 Washington Redskins can emulate the 1999 version and capture the NFC East title. Monday night's 17-16 victory over the New York Giants, has put the Redskins at 6-6.
They have a favourable remaining schedule and a 3-1 mark in the division. That makes them strong contenders to capture their first NFC East title since 1999.
That team was coached by Norv Tuner and was the Redskins best since their last Super Bowl winner in 1991. Like their 2012 successors, the '99 Redskins were keyed by their offense.
Brad Johnson and Michael Westbrook led a prolific passing game, while Stephen Davies emerged as a star runner. That potent combination gave Washington the second best offense in the league.
In 2012, the Redskins own the best rushing offense in football. They are also rank seventh overall and eighth in points.
However, like their '99 predecessors, the 2012 Redskins are hampered by an equally dubious defense. The Redskins are 31st against the pass and 29th in total yards allowed.