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NFC East roundup: A Dallas Cowboys Christmas Carol

If the Cowboys can win this game, Christmas might be coming early.

Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

NFC East Pick ’em record: (20-8)

After Halloween, I’m part of the problem by cranking the Christmas music and getting ready for the holiday season much earlier than everyone else. If the Dallas Cowboys can somehow leave Green Bay with a win, you might hear jingle bells on the flight home to Texas.

Even though the Cowboys have lost the previous three matchups against the Packers, this time feels different. Here’s a look around the NFC East for Week 10.

Dallas Cowboys (6-2) @ Green Bay Packers (3-6)

We haven’t even begun to smell the Thanksgiving turkey, and this game on Sunday has the makings of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol. You have the complete cast of characters:

  • Jacob Marley - Mike McCarthy
  • Ghost of Christmas past/Scrooge - Aaron Rodgers
  • Ghost of Christmas present - Dak Prescott
  • Ghost of Christmas future - Micah Parsons

It’s tough to play double duty in any production, but Rodgers fits the bill for both characters. Not only has he been the sole reason why the Cowboys have lost to the Packers in the past, but he has also become a bitter teammate.

No. 12 has called out players on Green Bay more than once, taking little to no accountability for his actions on the field. Rodgers threw three interceptions in the loss to the Lions last week. Last time I checked, that can only happen when the quarterback play is subpar, not the wide receivers’ fault.

McCarthy will be returning to Green Bay for the first time since he was fired from the head coaching position in 2018. He and Rodgers worked together for 13 years with tons of success. Not only did they win a Super Bowl together, but they had a combined 125-77-2 with both men on the team. In 2018, Scrooge (Rodgers) became disgruntled and decided McCarthy needed to go.

Now, the former Packers coach returns with a Cowboys cast that can give Rodgers nightmares. Prescott is playing like his old self after his thumb injury, and Parsons remains the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year. The 2022 Cowboys defense is not what Rodgers is used to facing. According to PFF, the Cowboys defense has 175 pressures through eight games and has a pass rush grade of 84.6.

McCarthy will want to set the tone early, deferring the coin toss and putting the defense on the field first. It has been the strength of this team all season and should be why they win at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Maybe the 30-24 loss to the Cowboys will humble the Scrooge of the north.

Washington Commanders (4-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (8-0)

At first glance, this feels like it did a week ago against the Texans. There’s no way the Eagles should lose this game. From top to bottom, they are the better team.

At this point, it feels like Ron Rivera is coaching for his job. With every loss, it feels more and more likely that when the Commanders play the Cowboys at the end of the season, a different name will be at the helm. The last time both teams met, Carson Wentz was the quarterback. Now it is the Heinicke show. Say what you want about his ability to play the position; he gives Washington a boost in team morale.

Since taking over at quarterback, Heinicke has a 2-1 record and a 63 completion percentage. He’s the reason why the Commanders won against the Colts and is also the reason why they lost to the Vikings at home a week ago.

Washington can win this game if they have success running the ball. The Eagles defense gave up over 130 yards to rookie Dameon Pierce with Jordan Davis missing from their defensive front. If the Commanders can get Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson going, it will take the pressure off Heinicke to play hero ball every snap and play conservative football.

The Eagles are bound to lose at some point, but not this week. Playing at home gives them the “12th man” advantage, and they have proven skill players on offense like A.J Brown and Miles Sanders. In Week 3, the prediction was the Eagles would win 28-20. It ended up being a blowout, but the second time around in a divisional game should be close. We’ll stick with that score for Monday night.

New York Giants (6-2) vs. Houston Texans (1-6-1)

Like the Cowboys, the Giants are coming off their bye week, and it sounds like they could be getting Kenny Golladay back in the mix. On Friday, head coach Brian Daboll said he is “optimistic” they will get their expensive receiver to play this weekend against the Texans.

Golladay has yet to live up to the contract he signed with the team last season, totaling just 543 yards in two seasons with Big Blue. Micah Parsons has one touchdown with the Cowboys before Golladay’s first in New York.

However, the Giants could use any help they can get at receiver. As a unit, they have 875 yards, with 154 from Sterling Shepard, who is gone for the year. The best part of their offense is running the ball with Saquon Barkley, but if they want to keep competitive in a tight NFC race, they need more of a modern passing offense.

The Texans aren’t better in that category. They are ranked 29th in the NFL with just over 1,500 passing yards. An ineffective offense is why they have just one win. Which causes confusion as to why the Giants have six wins to the Texans one.

The deciding factor has been defense. The Giants defense is 9th in points allowed and 17th in yards allowed. Compared to Houston, they are 19th and 30th in the respective categories. New York will win this game if they find a way to take the ball away. They are dead last with just one interception on the season but are second in passing completion percentage allowed to opposing quarterbacks. If they find a way to apply pressure on Davis Mills, he’ll be sure to turn the ball over.

Barkley needs to carry the team on his back for the rest of the season until they can get the receiver room going, potentially being in a position to sign Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants should win a close game beating the Texans 13-10.

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