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The Weekly BEast Report: Top Two NFC East Teams Separating From Bottom Two

As we approach the half way point of the 2014 season, the NFC East race has turned in to a two team battle.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants (3-4)

New York Giants - 21
Dallas Cowboys - 31
  • Last Sunday the Giants suffered their second consecutive division road loss at AT&T Stadium and they fell back under .500 for the season. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys are among the top teams in the league for 2014 making the loss devastating for the Giants hopes to return to the top of the NFC East. Although there is some key talent in New York, it is becoming clear that Giants GM Jerry Reese is losing the battle to continually acquire top talent to his counterparts in Philadelphia and Dallas. Viewing the situation through the eyes of Curt Macysyn of CBS New York brings to mind a similar trend that Dallas went through prior to the arrival of the Jason Garrett era at Valley Ranch.

Now the Giants' front office thinks it can pick up a free agent, or late round draft pick, and coach him up to become a Pro Bowler, and that philosophy has not worked in years, if ever. The drafting of Odell Beckham, Jr. was a small step in the right direction, and the future of Weston Richburg seems to be bright. But third round draft pick Jay Bromley has played in one game, and maybe there was a reason why Andre Williams dropped to the fourth round. As far as free agency, the Geoff Schwartz injury may be a case of bad luck, but Jon Beason was a roll of the dice that should not have occurred given his injury history.

  • Further evidence of the statement that the Giants are simply outmanned is offered up by ESPN's Dan Graziano. Yes, first-round selection Odell Beckham, Jr. is proving to be everything that the G-men had hoped for when they selected him this spring, the other down roster players are not stepping up. The combined losses of Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings on offense and Jon Beason and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on defense cannot all be off-set by the development of one rookie wide receiver. The New York front office has failed to equip the team with NFL-level depth.
  • Last season Cowboys fans were witness to a more conservative approach taken by Tony Romo in an attempt to cut down on his interceptions. The same approach is now being used in New York. After a season in which Eli Manning did not discriminate who he threw the football to (he completed passes to DBs, linebackers, and even defensive linemen), the new offensive scheme focuses on cutting down his turnovers. After 27 picks in 2013, Manning approaches the half way point of the season having thrown only five interceptions and none over the last three games.

"We're trying to protect the football and make good decisions, not force things, not make it harder than it has to be. I'm very conscious of that, and forcing things and trying to make plays doesn't always help things out." - Eli Manning

  • The Giants will now have a week to work on righting the ship. Perhaps some guys will get healthy enough to get back on the field and make an impact. They are also looking to add some talent as well. Guys like Terrelle Pryor and former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones have been brought in to work out for the team.

Washington Redskins (2-5)

Tennessee Titans - 17
Washington Redskins - 19
  • Washington narrowly pulled out a win over the Titans last Sunday, but the victory came with a high price tag. They lost linebacker Brian Orakpo, who was playing under the franchise tag, to a torn pectoral muscle. It was another blow to Jim Haslett's defense which has struggled all season. Now Orakpo's slot will be filled in the way that Washington seems to prefer acquiring defensive players, by signing former Dallas Cowboys. This time it will be linebacker Everette Brown.
  • Washington appears to be turning to the state of Texas to fill another gap in the team's roster as well. Former University of Texas QB Colt McCoy is expected to take the helm of the offense on Monday night. The former "savior" in Cleveland turned backup in San Francisco and Washington will get another starting shot, at least until that other Texas QB, Bobby Trey, is able to return to the lineup. McCoy was impressive in his debut. If he can continue to deliver for Jay Gruden it will be interesting to watch what happens to the quarterback position in the nation's capitol.

McCoy replaced Kirk Cousins in the second half and his first pass was a 70-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon. He finished the game 11-of-12 passing for 128 yards and a 138.9 passer rating.

  • One of the issues plaguing the Washington offense is the play of the front five. As we all know, a great offensive line can make the offense shine. Conversely a lousy one can hamper even the most talented bunch. Gruden's big uglies fall into the latter category, and he is becoming fed up with their performance. Last week right tackle Tyler Polumbus found himself benched by Gruden, and the word is that guard Shawn Lauvau is not far behind. Gruden's rebuild has to start somewhere, and there are many around football that realize that everything starts up front. It appears that Washington might be ready to take that approach.
  • Washington will travel to Dallas on Monday night to visit the Dallas Cowboys.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

Bye Week
  • LeSean McCoy is coming off of his best outing of the season. Against the division rival New York Giants Shady finally managed a performance worthy of the reigning NFL rushing champion. It won't be so easy this week. He faces a Arizona defense that has already shut down the likes of Frank Gore and Alfred Morris. McCoy knows that the Cardinals are going to key in on stopping him and his fellow back, Darren Sproles.

"I'm sure they'll try to key out and take the run away, but we've just got to play ball. They're a good team. They play well together, which is so impressive about that defense, the way they utilize their players ... They play fast, they're a physical group and they do tons of things with the blitz, so it'll be a good game. - LeSean McCoy

  • Chip Kelly is an offensive-minded coach, but it is defensive coordinator Bill Davis whose unit was the star of the show two weeks ago. Philadelphia recorded its first shutout in 18 seasons against New York. Now Davis and his charges are tasked with following up on that effort. This time around that will be a challenge. Davis' group face a team with a plethora of weapons including a veteran passer in Carson Palmer, Andre Ellington as the ground threat, and receivers like Michael Floyd and John Brown. Oh yeah, there is some guy named Larry Fitzgerald who can get it done in the passing game as well. The unit may have had its best game ever against the G-men, but this week they will have to elevate to stop the Cards.

"That has to be a standard for us. It's something we did, but we can't leave it behind. We have to make it our standard. We have to play better than we played against the Giants. That's our best game to date. We still have things we can correct and get better."  - DeMeco Ryans

  • Remember when Nick Foles was the greatest thing since sliced bread? Now that he has proven to be human after all, there is some speculation that Chip Kelly would really like to have some guy named Marcus Mariota to run his system.The folks over at ESPN have jumped on the bandwagon of that line of thought. In what even they admit is outlandish speculation, they propose the Eagles trade Shady McCoy, linebacker Brandon Graham, and a pair of draft picks to Oakland for the Raiders #1 pick next season. Philly would then select Mariota to reunite Kelly and his former college passer. Sure the trade is outrageous and it is 99 and 44/100ths percent not going to happen, but it does provide some food for thought. What would the Eagles front office be willing to give up during the off-season to secure the services of the Oregon quarterback?
  • If you cannot guess from the two top segments of this portion of the BEast report, the Eagles will travel west to pay a visit to the Arizona Cardinals this weekend.

To buy tickets, visit the NFL Ticket Exchange.

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