Tom Brady suspension affects NFC East race


PHILADELPHIA -- It sure looks like Roger Goodell gave the Philadelphia Eagles a one-game disadvantage in the 2015 NFC East race.

The NFL commissioner upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension on Tuesday. That means the New England quarterback will miss the first four games of the season, including the Patriots' Oct. 11 game in Dallas. That comes a week after New England's bye, but chances are, the Cowboys will be prohibitive favorites at home against Jimmy Garoppolo or Matt Flynn.

Brady will return for the following week's game against Indianapolis. He will be eligible to play in games against Washington and the New York Giants. On Dec. 6, when the Patriots host the Eagles, Brady will be behind center.

That means Brady will miss only one game against an NFC East opponent -- Dallas. He will play against the other three NFC East teams. Considering the division hasn't been won by more than a two-game margin since 2008, that is a significant advantage for the Cowboys.

That advantage could evaporate if Brady and the NFL Players Association contest his suspension in federal court. If that happens, Brady would likely be allowed to play while the legal system does its business. In that case, Brady may play out the 2015 season and face a possible suspension later.