State of the NFC East: Week 6

Week 6 produced a complete 180 for teams in the NFC East, as the division earned all three possible wins. The Eagles handled business against the Giants, while the Redskins and Cowboys got somewhat surprising victories over the Panthers and Jaguars, respectively. Let’s jump in and see where that leaves things in the division.

Redskins (3-2)

The ‘Skins continued to ride the benefit of being the only team in the division to have had a bye week and combined it with an impressive win over the Panthers to retain their position atop the NFC East.

A hot start allowed Washington to carry a 17-6 lead into the half, and despite a sputtering second half offense the Redskins were able to hold the Panthers at bay and get out with the victory.

Adrian Peterson was productive, piling up 97 yards on 17 carries, and Alex Smith spread the ball around to eight different receivers. The passing game was far from prolific, netting just 156 yards through the air, but the ground game picked up the slack and the ‘Skins didn’t turn the ball over.

Defensively the Redskins forced three turnovers, and anytime you are plus three in the turnover department you’re in great shape to win the game.

Outside of a lopsided loss to the Saints, the Redskins have had a tendency to play up or down to their competition this season, so we’ll see what they do on Sunday against the Cowboys in a big divisional game.

Cowboys (3-3)

The Cowboys produced one of the surprises of the week with a trouncing of the Jaguars.

The struggling Dallas offense erupted for 40 points. While Dak Prescott threw for just 187 yards, he tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions. Cole Beasley broke out, hauling in nine catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott rumbled for 106 yards and a touchdown, while Prescott was also effective running the ball with 82 yards and a touchdown.

The Cowboys defense rendered the Jaguars offense invisible. Blake Bortles threw for just 149 yards and threw and interception. They also forced and recovered a fumble.

The surprising win keeps the Cowboys squarely in the mix in the division. They’ll have the chance to overtake the Redskins on Sunday with a head-to-head matchup.

Eagles (3-3)

A date with the Giants proved to be just what the doctor ordered, as the Birds bounced back and crushed a dispirited G-Men squad.

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Photo: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Carson Wentz continued to look better and better, going 26/36 for 278 yards, three touchdowns, and a 122.2 rating. The running game managed 108 yards on the ground, while the receivers stepped up in a big way.

The defense harassed Eli Manning, netting four sacks, 13 QB hits, forcing an interception and preventing the Giants from getting in the end zone through the air. The much-maligned secondary knocked away nine pass attempts and the defensive units complemented each other beautifully.

Most importantly, the Eagles showed marked improvement in some of the biggest areas of concern, and the team put forth a performance they can build on. For the first time this season, they put forth a complete team effort and displayed the swagger that was so evident a season ago.

They will look to keep things rolling on Sunday against the Panthers.

Giants (1-5)

The Giants are toast. They appeared to quit on Thursday against the Eagles, and outside of Saquon Barkley there isn’t a single positive they can take away from the loss. They are on the fast-track to a top five draft pick, where they will presumably try to find Eli Manning’s replacement. It’s going to be a long two-and-a-half months in North Jersey.

Overview

Six weeks in, and no one in the NFC East has been able to separate themselves from the pack while one team is all but eliminated from contention.

The Redskins continue to be a mystery, at times looking like legit playoff contenders while looking terrible at others. The Cowboys win over the Jags was both impressive and surprising as they keep pace with the pack. The Eagles finally looked like the team they were expected to be, and all eyes will be on them Sunday to see if they can replicate last Thursday’s performance.

As we inch closer to December, things will continue to get clearer, and Week 7 will help to move things along with the Eagles facing a playoff hopeful and the Cowboys and Redskins squaring off in a big divisional game. Check back next week to see how things have changed.

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