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With Ezekiel Elliott out and Jay Ajayi to the Eagles, is the NFC East already decided?

The running back power just took a big swing in the NFC East

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys got bad news on Monday when they learned that Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension will go into effect and the team will be without his services until December 17th when they face the Oakland Raiders (barring a miracle appeal ruling).That leaves only three more regular season games for Elliott to play in this season. The Cowboys will now turn to Alfred Morris and others to keep the ground game going.

The Cowboys are currently second in the league in rushing yards. Morris has flashed some good play in a very limited sample size this season, but how will he perform with a larger workload? Then there is always Darren McFadden, who the team has kept in their back pocket as insurance for this very reason. What will be his role over the next six games? The answer to these questions will weigh heavily on the minds of Cowboys fans as the team continues to make a push for post-season contention. Currently, they sit at 4-3, two and a half games behind the division leader, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Speaking of the Eagles, they made a huge move to bolster their playoff run chances by acquiring running back Jay Ajayi from the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round pick. The Dolphins selected Ajayi in the fifth round in the 2015 NFL Draft as his stock dropped due to a concern of knee which he injured in college. But Ajayi has far exceeded his fifth-round expectations and has played well so far in his career, including some phenomenal performances.

It’s head scratching to see Ajayi go to the Eagles for only a fourth-round draft pick. This is a great trade for the Eagles as they now get a talented running back to add an already potent Carson Wentz-led offense. You have to tip your cap to the great work the Eagles front office has done recently to acquire some great talent via trades.

The Eagles have cleaned up the mess left by Chip Kelly and have added several tools that are helping them emerge as the top team in the NFC. In just a matter of less than 24 hours, the top running back in the NFC East has gone from Dallas to Philadelphia.

It’s going to be interesting to see how things go down over the next couple months, but watching the Eagles running game get a boost like this while the Cowboys running game suffers a setback, is no fun at all. The silver lining is that the NFC playoff picture is still wide open and if the Cowboys can just keep their head above water, they can still make a strong push towards the end of the season. Ezekiel Elliott will return. Playing great football towards the end of December is still the key to a deep playoff run and the Cowboys can still get to that point.

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