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State of the NFC East: It’s the Dallas Cowboys and then there is everybody else

Checking in on where things stand across the division.

NFL: OCT 17 Cowboys at Patriots Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We are at Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season and the Dallas Cowboys have as many wins on their own as the rest of their NFC East rivals do combined. Many are ticketing the Cowboys for a division title this season and it isn’t hard to see why. Dallas is playing like one of the best teams in the NFL (they came in third in our power rankings) and their rivals are all bottom 10 teams at the moment.

This is a reality that I had a great time talking about with Brandon Gowton from Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation’s Philadelphia Eagles website. Every week BLG and I discuss the state of the division on the NFC East Mixtape, a podcast that is accessible on both the BTB and BGN podcast networks. Make sure to subscribe to BTB’s so you don’t miss any of our episodes. Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

Listening to an Eagles talk about how the division easily belongs to the Cowboys is a lot of fun, but again it is for good reason. Things look bleak for each of Dallas’ rivals and there is seemingly a lack of bright days ahead.

Washington Football Team (2-4)

Last week was an embarrassing one for the Washington Football Team franchise that ended with a drubbing of a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

You are likely aware of how their fans reacted to the ill-timed decision by the organization to retire the late Sean Taylor’s number (something the organization should have done long ago) given all of the things that the franchise has been in the news for as of late.

Fans are seemingly running out of patience both on and off of the field. Our friends at Hogs Haven outlined this in a lengthy post that you should certainly take the time to read, but this encapsulates their frustration rather well:

Sunday, and its loss to the Chiefs, was much more than just another mark in the loss column on the season. Sunday’s failure to properly honor the only 21st century legend that this team has produced was an insult to fans and a catastrophic series of mistakes by the people in charge.

The Sean Taylor number retirement should have been a slam dunk for Jason Wright [Team President] and his team. It’s hard to imagine that Dan Snyder (who was present at the family ceremony on Saturday) could have allowed this whole thing to have been mishandled.

Many people actually believed that the on-field product for Washington was enough to count on that they predicted this team to win the division this year. That idea was predicated on the defense remaining one of the top units in the NFL (something that historically doesn’t happen on the defensive side of the ball) which has been the exact opposite of where the team is at. An argument can be made that Washington has one of the worst defenses in the NFL at the moment.

Needless to say things have been better with the Football Team before.

Up Next: at Green Bay Packers (via DraftKings SportsBook)

Philadelphia Eagles (2-4)

It has been a long time since Philadelphia last played as they hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday night. Philly put up a bit more of a fight than most people thought that they would, but they are still a team with an offense that isn’t going in many positive directions.

At present moment the most pressing storylines concerning the Eagles don’t really involve them. If the season were to end today (which it does not) then Philadelphia would hold three of the 2022 NFL Draft’s top nine picks.

Remember that the Eagles own Miami’s (second), their own (eighth), and Indianapolis’ (ninth) first-rounders this year, although the one from the Colts is subject to change. Carson Wentz has to play 75% of Indy’s snaps this season for the pick that Philly earns to become a first-rounder (or 70% if the Colts make the playoffs) and given that he has played every game this year it certainly seems likely that he will meet the threshold.

Needless to say we are all rooting for the Colts for the remainder of this season to push that likely first-rounder as far back as possible given that the ones belonging to the Dolphins and Eagles themselves are likely going to be rather high.

Also of note, the Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals last week. We will see him in Week 17. And finally, Trevon Diggs has caught more passes for touchdowns this season than both DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor.

Up Next: at Las Vegas Raiders (via DraftKings SportsBook)

New York Giants (1-5)

Joe Judge loves to talk about discipline, commitment, and whatever else, but his team doesn’t seem to have any of it. Never mind the fact that his players are making some interesting accusations that video evidence can’t back up, this team is awful. Beyond that, they lack any sort of energy, juice, excitement, or any point of interest of any kind.

Consider that our friends at Big Blue View are already figuring out how to get out of this season by throwing out players whom the Giants should give consideration to trading and we haven’t even reached the halfway point of the season. Notably absent from players they are willing to move on from is running back Saquon Barkley.

There has been some chatter that the Giants should look to trade Barkley at the deadline. I absolutely get it. I also absolutely disagree with it.

Now, that doesn’t mean I think the Giants should simply hand Barkley a long-term second contract. That would be irresponsible.

I simply think a Barkley trade is not something the Giants should rush into. He basically missed all of last season. He is missing games again now with his third leg injury in as many seasons. If the Giants tried to trade him now, they would undoubtedly be selling low.

The proper thing for the Giants do is get Barkley healthy, let him play the second half of the season and — hopefully — rebuild his reputation and his value. I’m as guilty as the next writer of always saying “star running back Saquon Barkley.” I think, though, that in reality Barkley hasn’t been that player since his 2019 high ankle sprain. Not that he can’t be.

The Giants have a huge decision to make coming up soon in regards to whether or not to give Barkley a long-term second contract. My vote on that, incidentally, is no as of now. See Christian McCaffrey and Todd Gurley. The “Build Around Barkley” plan hasn’t worked to this point. I’m not sure doubling down on it with a second mega-deal is the thing to do.

It makes sense on paper to boost Saquon Barkley’s reputation around the league to try and elevate whatever the Giants could acquire for him in a trade, but that is so far and away an unlikely proposition at this point. It is a shame that Barkley (one of the most talented running backs in the game) has been unable to stay healthy, but nobody is going to be convinced of some non-reality. If the Giants want to move on then they have to move on.

Sooner or later New York is going to have to decide if they want to outright move on from Barkley (who’s fifth-year option the team picked up earlier this year) or not. Consider that - as just one small example - since the beginning of the 2019 when Tony Pollard was drafted that Pollard has more rushing yards than Barkley. That is not a typo.

Now is the time for New York. But hey, that’s up to them.

Up Next: Carolina Panthers (via DraftKings SportsBook)

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