Dallas Cowboys: Final Word NFC 2012 Week 8

Final Word: NFC East

October, 27, 2012
10/27/12
11:00
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NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 8:

Getting after Matt Ryan: The Atlanta Falcons arrive in Philadelphia this weekend as the league's last unbeaten team, and quarterback Matt Ryan started the season as hot as any quarterback in the NFL. The Falcons like to throw, and according to ESPN Stats & Information's Next Level stats, they have dropped back 84 percent of the time in sets that feature three or more wide receivers. Teams did start to catch on, though, prior to Atlanta's Week 7 bye. In Ryan's first three games of the season, he completed 74.3 percent of his passes, was sacked just three times, and threw six touchdowns and no interceptions in three-plus receiver sets. In his past three games, he's completed 66.7 percent of his passes, been sacked six times and thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions in such sets. Will the Eagles blitz him? Under defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, the Eagles sent an extra pass-rusher on 19.5 percent of opponents' pass plays over the past year and a half -- the lowest such percentage in the league. Castillo was fired last week and Todd Bowles is the new defensive coordinator, so things could be about to change, and Ryan could see different looks than any the Eagles have put on film in the past two seasons.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
Paul Frederiksen/US PresswireThe Redskins' Robert Griffin III is on a record pace with his 70.4 completion percentage.
Be like Ben? Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III leads the NFL so far this season with a 70.4 completion percentage. If that holds up -- or even if it drops a little -- Griffin would break the all-time NFL record for highest completion percentage by a quarterback in his rookie season. The current record-holder will be on the opposite sideline Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger posted a 66.4 completion percentage for the Steelers in his rookie season of 2004.

D up in Big D: The New York Giants' defense has been taking advantage of opportunities in recent weeks. They have forced 10 turnovers in their past three games -- at least three in each game against Cleveland, San Francisco and Washington. If they can turn the Dallas Cowboys over three or more times Sunday, they'd have the longest streak of three-plus takeaway games since the Falcons did it four weeks in a row in 2010.

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Romo a puzzler: The Giants tend to do well against mobile quarterbacks ... other than Dallas' Tony Romo. Over the past two seasons, when throwing from outside the pocket against the Giants, Romo has a completion percentage of 69.2, is averaging 12.6 yards per attempt and has thrown six touchdown passes and no interceptions. All other opposing quarterbacks combined against the Giants have a 47.8 completion percentage, 6.0 yards per attempt, one touchdown and two interceptions when throwing from outside the pocket. Justin Tuck joked recently that it's unfair that Romo is the least mobile NFC East quarterback he gets to face now, but there is something about Romo on the move that gives the Giants trouble.

Head to head: The Cowboys beat New York in the season opener in New Jersey on Sept. 5, and if they win Sunday they would sweep the Giants for the first time in the regular season since 2007 (and yes, we all know what happened when they played for a third time that season). Dallas is 0-3 against the Giants in the current Cowboys' Stadium since it opened in 2009, and has never lost four straight home games to the Giants.

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